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224,000 Miles and 12 years old--time for a new car?

I have a 2000 V6 2WD Toyota 4Runner with 224,000 miles. For the past 3-4 years, I have had a constant battle with the check engine light. I have replaced everything in the path of the emissions electronics, Cat Convertors, o2 Sensors, EGR Valve, etc etc etc. No matter what I replace via my mechanic (very reputable) within a couple of months on comes the Check Engine light and something new needs to be replaced. The latest may be a vacuum leak–need to confirm with my mechanic. All of these Check Engine issues, require multiple hours of diagnosis and often a whole day at the shop to be determined and then repaired…

I should mention the rear brakes need about $1000 in work that requires removal of the axle (truck runs/operates fine without this repair, but my mechanic figures that I only have about 50% of the rear brake capacity at this time). In spite of all of the “emission” errors and check engine light issues the truck runs great and averages 19.5 miles per gallon. On a road trip in the summer running the AC in 100 degree heat, I averaged 21 miles to the gallon.

At this point though, I am getting tired of bi-monthly repairs that are needed. From a cost perspective, I am still not near a car payment for repairs, but am heading there and starting to wonder where one draws the line. Over the next couple of months I will need to do the following:

  1. Fix Check Engine light yet again ($200-$2000 TBD) asap
    2.New front brakes $200 asap
  2. New tires: $600

With the high mileage, constant need for repairs, and age I am just waiting to walk out one morning and find that the truck is dead. Additionally, I am getting tired of $60 fill ups.

So, any thoughts ? Is it time for a new, gas conserving vehicle, or should I keep fixing the 4Runner?

Appreciate any expert advice.

Get rid of it. The truck is more trouble than it’s worth to you. You said it yourself. Much of the work that needs to be done is maintenance and not repairs, but it sounds like you have a lot of repairs, too. What will you replace it with? How much can you pay for a new to you vehicle?

I agree, you’ve gotten plenty out of it, trade it in on something you like.

You’re ready. I can tell by the tone of your post.

Get a new gas conserving vehicle. But be warned: don;t get swayed by teh term “hybrid”. Look at the actual mileage figures and relate them to your type of driviing.

Then get a Tesla.

You’ve gotten marvelous service from this Truck, but it’s past its prime. Let it go.

Toyota’s of this era (I have an '00 Camry) have a very complicated vapor control system. Lots of valves, tubes, and etc., to make sure vapors don’t escape from the gas tank. Even non “Toyota” brand replacement gas caps can cause problems and throw a CEL. You might try another mechanic very familiar with this era Toyota cars and trucks, or even a Toyota dealer. It is possible your mechanic is missing something.

If you are ready for a new(er) car go for it. But, it is possible there is some good life left in the 4 Runner if this CEL issue was properly resolved. 4 Runner’s are perhaps the best vehicles out there at living long and productive lives.

The love is lost move on.

Part of decision is emotional, go with it.

“Then get a Tesla.”

What’s the pay-back time? It’s only $109,000 or $128,500, depending on which roadster. Even though the Mercedes Benz SL550 starts at $102,600, you’ll be way ahead with the Tesla after the gas guzzler tax on the Benz and the government rebate for the Tesla. The Tesla is an immediate winner before gas costs! Score!

But it’s a little harder to justify compared to a Porsche 911 coupe.

Sell the 4Runner. It’s still a 4Runner, and there’s still a good market for that style, regardless of mileage. If it’s running, and there are no engine/transmission problems, you’re golden. A CEL won’t throw off a serious buyer who wants it for off-road purposes.

Buy something new, something you like. Let someone else deal with it.

Agree; get rid of it; you’ve had good use outr of it, and it is time to move on!

Wait a minute…my wife’s been with me for 12 years and she’s got a sagging rear end and leaks a little. Veins are showing in her tires and her check engine light is on all the time. But does that mean I need to trade her in? I know every tick of her engine, even if the valves clatter! I love the comfortable feel of her well worn seats. This is the problem with you young punks - chunk 'em and get a new one. Keep it. Put a little extra love into it. If I had only kept my 65 mustang or my 77 280-Z.

I ONLY suggest selling it, because of the tone in is original post. It sounds like he wants to get rid of it, and only wanted confirmation. I still believe there are lots of good miles left in it, but it will take some TLC to get them.

And my wife’s been with me now for over 26, and I have no plans to replace her. I don’t think I could actually find a good replacement. There are no leaks yet, but I’m OK with a sag or two in the right spots. I’ve finally got most of the controls figured out, which parts need regular maintenance and which need long term servicing. I can easily (finally) identify what each CEL means, and if I’m not sure, I can figure it out with an easy query.

Hi all. Thanks for the responses so far. I should mention and clarify, I love the 4runner and would prefer to keep it and avoid a car payment. However, my biggest concern is spending so much on repairs/maintenance and not really knowing how much life the truck has left. Again, the truck runs great even with the emission problems and when my check engine light is off, all is right in the world! So the question really is: given the mileage, age and issues should I replace or continue to repair? Trying to keep emotion out of it…if it were your truck how would YOU proceed? What I believe I am hearing is everyone still thinks this truck has life left in it…

Thanks again!

Being purely mathematical, when the cost or keeping one running exceeds the cost of new, it’s time to replace. Don’t forget to consider new cars require more insurance, and they may come with their own quirks.

It’s hard for me not to get a little emotional about it. Just yesterday, I was outside having a smoke, talking with a couple co-workers and my boss, and he was leaning on my truck…I asked him if he was wearing microfiber or terry cloth pants…he promptly looked down at his jeans, realized what I was talking about, and stood slightly away from it…as I was. My last car was a '79 Corolla I finally replaced due to electrical problems and a complete lack of parts (although the rust was pretty intense).