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2002 Camry

Today we took our 02 Camry to the dealership and they told us we need a new motor. Does anyone have any idea what this should cost us? Does anyone have any questions we should be asking that might be helpful?



Omaha, Ne

Assuming that the diagnosis is correct, the only relevant question is how long is the warranty. However, you may want to take the car to an independent shop for a second opinion and a second estimate. There’s no reason to use the dealer if it’s not a warranty issue.

First, don’t go to a dealer unless you need warranty or recall service. The former is obviously irrelevant given the age of the car.

Why don’t you fill in the details. Did the car get to the dealership on a tow truck or what? Or is it running? If so, how? How many miles are on it? What is its service history? What’s been happening recently?

If you do need a new motor the cost can vary widely. You could find a used one from a junk yard as the cheapest option. For the cost of an actual Toyota rebuild (if they even have them) I’s imagine a whole new car would start looking smart. Then there are general aftermarket engine rebuilders (such as Jasper) that will cost less.

Whatever you do, don’t have a dealer do it. Just find a local, owner-operated shop and have them advise you about the best way to get back on the road.

  Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner's manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. They are fast cheap and very very bad.