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Camry with 240K miles

Hi, I’ve read many posts and answers in this forum, would love to hear opinions on the following:

I have a 1999 Camry LE with 240,000 miles. For the most part the car has served me amazingly well and I do keep up with all major maintenance, using dealers for the first 100K miles and independent mechanics the last 140K

Last year the steering rack was replaced, the passenger side wheel bearings, valve cover gasket.

It is now due to change the timing belt / water pump / tensioners as I have done that every 80K miles./ 7 years The front passenger side window motor slips/stops on occasion so that may have to be replaced soon. I do need 4 new tires and have always done well with Firestone and have a quote for their “All Season” 195/75/R14 for $400 for the tires, installation, wheel balance and alignment.

I am estimating the work above to cost $1300 - $1500. Of course there are a few other things I could do while the car is in the shop anyway like drain and refill coolant, drain and refill trans fluid, I have done almost all my own oil changes at 3000-3500, there is no sludge. I did my last oil change last week,

Having read that the 1997-2000 vintage Camry is very reliable I know that 275K-300K is certainly possible. And I do not find spending $2000 to get there to be unreasonable.

I have started to notice that I am low about 1/2 qt of oil after 4 weeks. I add 1/2 qt and then re-check every 2 weeks.

Maybe the oil loss is due to the timing belt needing to be replacedment ? Or is this the first sign of an engine problem ?

So I am at the stage where I have to decide do I keep investing in repairs ? Or run the car until it stops and use the $2000-$3000 as down payment towards another used car ?

To add to my dilemma … I saw an ad for a 2000 Camry LE with 179K miles for $2900. The car looks to be in excellent shape and they said they have recently changed the timing belt/water pump, struts, and 4 new tires., I have not seen the car in person yet but it is still available and I am tempted to look at it.

Thanks in advance for any feedback and advice


While most cars should be disposed of when multiple repairs start happening, Toyotas are in a class by themselves. My brother has had a Toyota Matrix in the family for a number of years and now in the hands of one of his kids it now has over 375,000 miles on it and still going strong!. Like you, they have maintained it well, and made necessary repairs as they occurred.

Toyota parts are long lasting and the cars are engineered to be almost infinitely repairable. My brother and his family are hard-nosed and frugal folks and would dump the car the moment it became UNECONOMICAL to repair it. If the Camry was a Volvo or a Volkswagen you would have disposed of it long ago.

So, you have to sit down and do the math; add up expected repairs and replacements for the coming year and compare that with monthly new car payments or depreciation on a newer car.

As other say, that mileage on a Camry is not unusually high.

I’m assuming the car is still safe to drive and you can live with the less than new car appearance.

My neighbor’s wife had a 2017 Volvo which she will trade the minute the warranty expires.


Why in the world would you even consider this thing ? You would be much better off putting money in the one you have. You did not say how many miles it takes to use a lousy 1/2 quart of oil . That is not a problem .


At that age, it could be valve guides and/or stem seals. Could be the oil control rings no longer in top shape

but seriously, 1/2qt low after 4 weeks of driving sounds pretty reasonable for 18 years old and 240k. Keep on top of the engine oil level and keep driving it.

Your comments are proof that adhering to the proper maintenance schedule plays a large factor in the life of a vehicle

Forget buying that other camry. It’s probably been maintained worse than yours. The devil you know . . .

Assuming you have the 4 cylinder, tell the shop to take a real good look at the cam- and crank-seals and replace them if they’re seeping. Also make sure the oil pump seal(s) . . . are not leaking. That is normally a huge job, but not if you’ve already got the timing belt covers off.

To sum it up, keep up with the maintenance and repairs, and keep enjoying your car


I think what you are saying is its time to look for a new car but not a one year newer car. How about a ten or 15 year newer car? But then on a trade, expect that the cost of maintenance items not done like the timing belt and tires will simply be deducted from the trade in value. So do the maintenance or not, it’ll still cost the same. So do the maintenance AND start looking for a new ride.

How many miles per 1/2 quart?

The oil usage is a little concerning, but not a show stopper. Are you sure it isn’t a leak? At that age and mileage lots of stuff could be leaking a little oil. Do you see any signs of oil dripping onto the ground after you park overnight? If so, the valve cover gasket (again apparently) is the first suspect. A leak there can easily lose 1/2 quart in a month’s driving, if you drive most every day. The timing belt replacement job will expose any leaks at the front crank seal and the camshafts seals. Those seals are often replaced routinely, as part of a timing belt service, they come with the kit sometimes, along with the water pump and the tensioner. Also check the coolant for signs of oil.

If everything checks out above, but you are still losing 1/2 quart per month, have someone stand behind the car while you start it, aftter it has been sitting an our or so from the last time it was running. Does a puff of black smoke come out the tailpipe? If so, probably leaking valve stem seals. Nothing there either? A compression test would be the next step, but if the car is still running well, probably just live with it, keep the oil topped off, & do the compression test when that’s needed for something else. Likewise if there’s a leak at the rear crank seal.

Keep your Toyota because its a top quality car.My 99 Corolla outlasted every cars I owned.

I would rather stick with the one you have. 179 vs. 240. What’s the difference?

My father drives a 1999 Camry LE. His has about 200,000 miles. He is nearly 80, and he drives it only to go to church, supermarket and a few other places. I think he drives less than 5,000 miles a year now. He thought about replacing the car, but it doesn’t seem worth the money. He doesn’t drive enough to sink money into a new car, and he is not so sure about getting a newer used car. How can you be sure someone else maintained his car as well as you did?

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Save yourself some money on the timing belt. Your car has a non-interference engine which means you won’t wreck anything if the belt snaps. All it will cost is a tow when it does break, and you can have it replaced then. The belt in my car, which has the same engine, probably has 160k on it by now and is still fine. I’ll replace it next summer when I do the seals.

If it’s using oil and hasn’t been using it previously, then it’s a good idea to figure out why. Auto parts stores have a UV dye that you can put in the oil. Do that, run it for a week or so, then shine a UV light around until you see glowing yellow splotches. There’s your oil leak. Some stores sell the light and the dye as a single package.

If you don’t see any glowing yellow splotches, then that means you might be burning oil rather than leaking it.

How many miles do you dive per week?

Nomatter. You have a known good, reliable car, the history of which you know in detail. In my opinion it would be foolhearty to replace it with a totally unknown vehicle… which is probably on the market because it has a problem.

For the record, I’ve owned a number of Toyotas for hundreds of thousands of miles. Come to think of it, my current 2005 Scion tC (Camry engine, bought new) has 249,000 miles. Still runs great and I ain’t even considering replacing it… unless I win the lottery… in which case I’ll get a Bentley Continental. :rofl:

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You have not gathered enough information. You are looking a imminent costs. You and your mechanic should also look for potential costs over the next 7 years/80k miles. I.e. battery, struts, CV joint boots/axles. Worse case I suspect would be $2200 additional. Add this to the est $2000 for immediate needs and you are looking at $4200 for 7 years of service.

That 2000 Camry you are considering may also need some additional work, i.e. CV boots/axles etc.

Once you have gathered these facts, I think you will have your answer.

Depends on the week, usually 200-250 miles per week
I do agree and understand your points and appreciate your feedback. I will probably at least take a look at that other Camry just to compare and see what I can find and see. Looking is free. My reason is from the outside it is the best looking camry i have seen as far as paint job and shine, no scratches no dents. Plus I know all the things I went thru over the last 100K miles so I have an idea what to look for. But i also know the car you know is usually better than the unknown
If i won the lottery … Maserati MC Stradale 2013 or later

Reminds me of that song … Life’s been good to me so far I think is the title …

“My Maserati goes 185
I lost my license, and now I can’t drive” … lol .

OP here … I do appreciate all the feedback and opinions and helpful advice. A worn cam or crank seal causing the leaking seal is certainly a possibility and as many have said, easily repairable when I replace the timing belt and water pump

I do know it is a non-interference engine but honestly I have never broken down in the car in the 240K so I would replace the timing belt before it snapped. But it is interesting to note the person who has gone 160K on one belt, that is something I did not think possible.

As for that 2000 Camry … like I wrote taking a look is free, my interest started because the car was immaculate on the outside for a 17 year old car. Of course looks can deceive and I also know immaculate condition may not translate to the engine and trans, so a through inspection by a mechanic would be necessary IF I was tempted enough to take it to that level. Most likely not as I do agree I know everything repair wise about mine and can’t complain. But me spending 90 minutes on a saturday afternoon doing my own preliminary check would not be the worst time I’ve ever spent. I know all the things that I had issues with over the last 6-8 years, so if anything I’d want to see how this car compares.

LOL, thanks for the chuckle, George.