94 Camry: 190k miles. Do I trade in?

My Camry has been to-date very reliable however, at 190k, I need to replace timing belt (about $950). Also some fluid is leaking: I am told replacing gasket, etc. may cost up to $1000. Am wondering whether the car will require more repairs because of its age and whether to trade in this car for a newer used Camry. I really like this car and don’t want to get a new one. Want to drive it another 20 years. BUT, if the writing is on the wall, I will do what needs to be done and trade this baby in. Thank you!

That’s a tough one. How much, and what kind, of fluid is leaking? Which engine? If the fluid leaks is small, skip the fix, live with the spots on the garage floor. You’ll pay off replacing the timing belt in short order, compared to a car payment. If you like it, keep it.

The thing is, when you trade it in the dealer will just deduct the cost of necessary repairs from the trade in-value, so you’re not really saving anything. Of course a 15 year old car with 190k on the clock isn’t going to be worth much to trade in either. It’s kind of a wash either way.

$950 is really high, ask around but do not go to quick lube or trans chain.
Also do water pump.
If its a oil leak just keep it checked and it will be fine. If its break or power steering fluid you will have to check into it more.
A trans fluid leak from pan is no biggie but if it is a seal it may get bad enough and you will have to fix.
If the power steering is leaking from the rack and it needs replaced that is the ONLY thing that would make me think of getting ride of it.

Agree; do the work necessary, and monitor the leaks to decide if repairs are warranted.

Camrys are capable of very long economical life, and I would not hesitate to drive this vehicle a few more years. Any repairs will not come close to the additional depreciation and higher insurance costs on a new car, which is really the comparison.

If you want a newer Camry(next generation or after) go for it, great time.

$1000 is not terrible but may not be the end of it. All old cars(>150k and definitely 15 years) no matter who makes them require occasional repairs and in your case more expensive ones.

Another leak to watch out for is a coolant leak. My V6 started leaking at the top radiator connection, turned out to be bad engine mounts letting the engine rock, cracking the radiator at the connection. That (mounts plus new radiator) wasn’t cheap, but had to be done (I wanted to keep it).

Always remember this, if your car needs $1,000 in repairs to be useful, then anyone buying the car will expect it to be sold for $1,000 less. That includes trade-in transactions.

So unless the current repairs (past repairs, even those made last week are gone and are not part of the calculation.) are more than the value of the repaired car, it pays to get it repaired.

One other factor YOU need to add is how much YOU want a new car vs your repaired car. We can’t answer that for you.

Trade it! You don’t need to ride around in that old junk. You will love a new car and will wonder why you waited. I just went through this and have no regrets except for waiting too long. I traded a 96.

Your car has no real market value now. If you just can’t stand to give it up you should ask and see if you can get a warrantied replacement engine for it. However, I think you can find a swell 8 year old Camry with 100,000 miles for 6 or 7 thousand dollars that will do fine for another 8 years or so. All your repairs on this car will cost you at least half that much, and you know there will be more soon. Donate the old car or sell it for $1,500 and move on.

Am only just now able to check my email and want to thank you all so much for the many very helpful information and suggestions.

I?ll get the fluids checked to see where the leak is coming from. I know it?s not leaking from the transmission or engine because I know how to check both and there has not been any appreciable change in levels in the last 2 months. So that leaves (1) the power steering fluid (2) break fluid (3) coolant/radiator leak and (4) also water pump. I guess the mechanics will know where to check but I?ll be sure to take note of the above. They suggested that I take my car to the car wash and wash the underside so that they can track the leak.

Thanks again, folks!

I had two 94 camrys (4 cyls). traded one in at 199.5K so I don’t know what’s up with it) and the other my brother in law still has (it’s about 215K now). Getting the timing belt changed (I went up to 90-125K on the belts and all was fine). The front and rear seals on the crankshaft are probably shot if that’s your leak. Could be the valve cover gasket which is cheap. To get the timing belt done (and water pump if not done ever on your car) should cost 450 bucks or so. My radiator went out (the plastic top part) and I had two front struts put on by midas (300 bucks). Other than that, the fuel pump is fine in that 2nd camry. So I’d fix it and keep driving it. My other brother in law has an altima and it just crossed 400K (granted he needed lots of repairs but it’s in great shape).

What kind of driving do you do? If you are on the highway a lot and you depend on your car, then you may want something newer with fewer miles. On the other hand, if you do local driving and if the car is laid up a couple of days or doesn’t start, you have alternative transportation, then it may be worthwhile to shop around and have the repairs done and the maintenance brought up-to-date.

One other thought: What is the condition of the body? If it’s rusted or beginning to rust, you may not want to put the money into the car. Also, you need to be certain that the steering gear and brakes are in good shape.