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Fix or junk a 98 Camry?

My Camry has 114,500 miles on it. It needs a new oil pump seal - I have been quoted about $900 for the job. Trying to decide if I should fix it or buy another car.


For me, it’s clear you have the 5S-FE 4 cylinder engine

I’ve actually done this repair, and it’s quite involved

It’s essentially a complete timing belt job, plus partially resealing the oil pump . . . just the front portion of it. The seal becomes hard and lets the oil gush past

I urge you to do the repair. You’re probably due for a timing belt anyways

If you go for it, also have the shop replace . . .

Timing belt
Cam seal
water pump . . . it’d be a shame if you don’t do it, and it leaks 6 months from now
Crank seal
Oil pump radial seal . . . yes, the oil pump has more than one seal
timing belt tensioner
idler pulley
accessory drive belts, if they’re in bad shape

This list may seem lengthy, but most of those parts are probably in marginal shape by now

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114k is minimal miles on a Camry. I have 178k on my 99. My son still drives it daily. It’s a great car that will go many more years with a little love.

If the car is in good shape otherwise and has only 114k miles it’s easily worth the repair. It would be crazy junk it.

I agree with the others here. Where else are you going to find a reliable car with a known history and at least 100,000 miles of life left for only $900?

Unless, of course, my assumptions about the car’s overall condition are overly optimistic. Are they?

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If the car runs well and is clean with little or no rust then keeping it and having the timing belt job/ oil seals performed would be a slam dunk decision in my opinion. Fix it and motor on.

Fix it. A complete timing belt job and oil pump reseal for $900 is a reasonable price.

$900 won’t even cover the sales tax on a replacement car.

Do the work, these things run forever. A buddy and I did a check on his 226K mile 4 cyl Camry. It still had good compression, all 4 injectors worked perfectly and the engine ran great. After a little suspension prep and some racy tires we took this 4 cyl automatic, 4 door to a weekend track event and drove the beans out of it. It was slow on the straights (it would hit about 85) but it would hang in the corners with the faster cars. It put a smile on everyone’s face that weekend. Most couldn’t believe we brought it.

I love the run forever yet require $900 repairs…

I think the owners are willing to put money(maintenance/repairs) into cars like Camry/Accord based on reputation of running forever so they last longer since they don’t turn to junk piles and turn off the owners as quickly.

They are decent cars always though at least.

$900 may last you a few months or years, no looking into the future. The question comes down to what do you have in hand to spend on next car?

@anfdrewRA, what’s a $900 repair in the scheme of things? Well, it is 2 to 3 car payments for a newer car. 3 months payments versus 48, 60 or even 72.It is a fraction of the cost of an engine rebuild ($3500 or more) or a transmission rebuild ($2500 or more).

The big stuff on these cars will run a very long time. I wouldn’t recommend this expense on a Daewoo Nubria or a Dodge Neon but A Camry? Sure! The others have no reputation for reaching 200K miles without major expenses (and $900 is not major these days). The reputation matters as a reduction of risk.

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Tell me where to come pick up that piece of junk. I need a good cheap car that only needs $900 worth of repairs to go another 100K or so.

Fix it!

Sorry everyone, I mistakenly wrote 114 k when actually its 214 k miles…does that change your answers? (I can’t believe I did that - maybe wishful thinking?) The rest of the car is OK - a rat chewed one seat-belt in the back seat, the tape player eats tapes, it needs new struts…but has been an incredibly reliable and easy car to drive.


The fact that you have 214k miles doesn’t change my opinion

Go for the repair and drive on

As for struts, I recommend KYB . . . “ready struts” which are the strut, spring and mount pre-assembled are the way to go, in my opinion

I have 2 Toyotas, a '92 Celica with 385k and '88 Supra with 290k. I would not hesitate to fix either until repairs exceed a few thousand. With the Supra, as an all original survivor, It would need to be near complete destruction.

If it was $2,000, I might wonder, but I’d spend the $900, if the rest of the car is OK.

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I have a 1998 Camry with about 202,000. I take good car of her. Just got a new rack and pinion. Although I don’t have a radio and my passenger side window doesn’t go down, the car otherwise runs great.
My kids want me to get a new used car. So - should I or should I keep driving this gal? I read in one of these exchanges that other Toy owners would keep driving until the repair was several thousand.
Any thoughts everybody?

Not even a little bit.
My '89 Toyota pickup had 338,000 miles on it when it got totaled by an errant Hyundai.
My '91 Camry had 242,000 miles on it when I gave it to my son.
My current 2005 Scion tC has 245,000 ++, and it’s still running great.
And, last but not least, $900 is only about three new car payments. Your “break even point” is three months.

Get it fixed. It’s just a maintenance expense, nothing else.
Unless, of course, you need a good excuse to get the spouse to let you get that new Porsche 911… :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Me, I’d probably just keep your 98 Camry going as long as it was performing well and reliable. My perspective is as the owner of a early 90’s Corolla, which also runs flawlessly. To me your 98 Camry is a newer car. Why replace it with another used car, which might not run as well or be as reliable as your Camry. Plus you know your Camry had been well maintained, while you won’t be sure about a used car. Too many risks to trade your Camry in I think. Keep saving your dollars by driving the Camry. If you decide later on to buy another car, you’ll have saved enough to buy a new car rather than a used car…

I have a 98 Camry with 247k. …I am looking for a new car now. It squeals,
burns oil, eats cassette tapes, only unlocks on the passenger side and has
no shocks at all - but it just goes and goes and goes! It has been a great
car. I am not look forward to car payments…but I think it’s time.

I’m in the southwest, where the weather is kind to cars, and the rust doesn’t get them

But anywhere else, and I’m guessing a 1998 Camry might be akin to swiss cheese by now :cheese: