2009 Toyota Yaris - Assessment

used car assessment - what is covered - my daughters car has 170,000 miles on it - I think she should have it assessed to see if she should keep putting money into it - or buy another used? What is involved in an assessment?

You can get a rough idea of the value of the car at Edmunds.com.

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There really isn’t an official assessment of a cars condition per se.

If you want to know how the car is holding up, have it inspected by your regular mechanic. It will cost you a few bucks but the mechanic can tell you the condition and likely things that will need service in the near future and an estimated cost.

Now he does not have a cystal ball so he can’t predict the unpredictable. An engine or transmission failure can’t be predicted.

The time to replace the car is when it breaks often enough that your daughter no longer trusts it or something major hits. At this point, any more use she gets is pure gravy.


Mustangman is correct, it can vary with each shop. I would have it done by an independent shop you trust. Local cost was $125 five years ago. My shop spends 60 to 90 minutes going over the car, checking general condition, switches, lights, and body. They also test the engine, electrical systems, belts, hose, suspension and exhaust. They even do a quick road test of the car.

I’ve had them done on several used car purchases, as well a couple times in between. I had a 140 mile round trip to make each day, so wanted to keep ahead of any maintenance issues. As Mustangman said, they could not predict when a sensor would blow, but I didn’t have to worry about a wheel bearing failing immediately.

As a trade, I’m betting a dealer will offer $500. If you have time to do the sale yourself, it will bring in more, especially if it is currently in decent running shape. I used that logic and kept driving my previous car… and got more than $500 in additional use. I then donated it.

It’s probably a good idea to do at 170K. Some shops call this service a “general inspection”. I expect as long as the car has received the recommended routine servicing schedule, and has been driven reasonably, they’ll say with just a few needed repairs it should be good to go to at least 200K, probably more. If it has an automatic transmission, that’s probably the biggest risk for an unwanted future big $$ expense. Manual transmission ? I expect you are good to go … or continue going as it were.

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Thank you for the input. We will make a plan! Anne

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One thing to note about the general inspection, sort of counterintuitive, the better shape the car is in , the longer the inspection takes, and the more expensive the invoice you’ll receive. The reason is the shop is focusing on finding reasons why it can’t be economically repaired. B/c if they find even one, the inspection is then over. Stands to reason it takes more inspection time to prove there are no such reasons.

Ah - so if the trainee is dodgy or it is all rusty underneath than the show is over. She also has to decide how important ac is - it doesn’t keep a charge. I think as long as it is safe she will keep it as long as possible. We need to watch out for winter though. Now I am trying to get her to buy something used. Any ideas? She doesn’t make much and has a 70-80 mile daily commute (highway). She is so comfy in that car I might suggest she just get another. I wonder if the dealer will give her more trade in money if she does? I hate buying cars… Anne

I think you answered you own question. A friend of mine recently purchased a new Corolla, replacing a nearly identical looking Corolla she had purchased new 12 years before. If you like pretty much everything about the make/model, why change?

Thanks for your help! How is the weather in San Jose?

with 170,000 miles on it, she’ll be lucky to get $500, if they’ll even take it.

I realize that it’s seldom done but the first thing I have always done with a car inspection is connect a vacuum gauge. Quick,easy, and will reveal a lot of info about what’s going on with the engine. Ideally, the gauge needle is rock steady at 20-21 inches of vacuum then the upper end along with ignition, etc is great. If the gauge needle wavers or has a low reading (say 16 inches) then there are some issues that need to be sorted out They may be minor or major.

If the vacuum gauge shows good then check the transmission fluid and a test drive followed by going over the rest of the car. It’s a used car so problems can develop no matter how thorough the test.


The trade in price will be about the same no matter what the other vehicle is . The dealer will just set the 2009 Yaris on the back of the lot and wholesale it to a lower price dealer .
If you dread buying a vehicle you will definitely dislike trying to sell one yourself.
As for being comfy it is mostly because she is used to it .

Please don’t take this the wrong way . . .

The way your brain works is WEIRD :confused:


Take a look at the Car Talk info for your car. Interesting. Mommy

I have no idea what that post means .


No offense. And you may just have a point. For example almost every time I find something’s that I lost, I always find it in the last place I look! How weird is that? :wink:

Clear and sunny, 79 hi, 60 low

Pretty much the same as in Duluth!

Summer, it’s the best!