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1997 Toyota Tercel - repair or not?

I have a 1997 Tercel with 125000 that has been a trooper. Two weekends ago while taking my son to college one cylinder failed from lack of oil and one of the camshafts was severely damaged. The mechanic (not my local one) pointed out the damage, which was clear, and he told me that the car should be repaired - just under a thousand dollars with a rebuilt head. Sounds right, but what are the pitfalls of pursuing this? Is the Tercel worth repairing?

If you can get away with just replacing the head, it may be worth it. If you ran out of oil other parts of the engine may have been damaged. Only do the head replacement if the work and parts come with at least a 6 month warranty. Meaning the shop is willing to guarantee that the rest of the engine is ok for at least 6 months otherwise you get all your money back.

I’d want more information about the “cylinder failure from lack of oil” before deciding whether or not it’s worth repairing.

What, exactly, failed, and why wasn’t it getting enough oil?

It is not worth repairing. The chances are pretty good there is more damage than the obvious upper end of motor. It has an entire lower end.

Also no shop will guarantee this work will solve your problems.

Hello - Thanks for your help. The mechanic thinks that the cylinder likely got blocked with debris, the other cylinders were lubricated well. We get our oil changed regularly -every 3-5,000 miles, so I do not think it was oil pressure. This is the first major repair on the car since we purchased it in 2006.

"The mechanic thinks . . . " The key word is “THINKS.” There is no guarantee the mechanic is correct. I don’t like the theory, and I’d want a second, maybe even a third opinion before deciding whether or not to spend money on this engine.

You could pay for a new cylinder head only to discover that there is more damage deeper in the engine.

If there was sufficient “debris” to block an oil passage there was sufficient debris to block many more.

And where, exactly, did this “debris” come from? Is there sludge in the engine? Have you seen any evidence of “debris?”

I still don’t like the explanation.

Hey i was wondering if you fixed the car yet if not are you willing to sell as is and where are you located