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Hello, I’m a little new here and not very experienced with car repair, so I apologize in advance.

I have a 2005 Toyota Camry. Just some info on it:

  • 225,500 miles
  • Daily driver
  • I bought this car in October of 2014, so it already had some age and wear on it.
  • I’m wanting to make this vehicle last me for several more years.

I’m expecting to get a $1500 bonus within the next week and plan to apply all of it toward car repairs. Nothing is necessarily “wrong,” but I’m sure if I took it to the dealership they would be claiming I need a list of repairs. Not looking to exactly go over $1500, but I want my car to be dependable and avoid breaking down and then wish I had applied the $1500 toward a down-payment.

Now that you have a little bit of info, I’ll cut to the chase of what I know what it may need:
Whenever I’m driving it’s not exactly as smooth as when I first got it. I got a flat tire on the interstate a few months ago and the guy who came to my assistance said my wheel bearing was pretty bad rusted and probably needed replaced. I’ve been driving it since without replacing it and I’ve not had any problems, but I’m concerned that this could be a safety issue later on. Should I get all the wheel bearings replaced at once?

Basically I would like to know how I should apply the $1500 for repairs. I know it’s hard to say on a vehicle you’ve not looked at, but what are must haves I should be looking at? Thank you in advance for your input!

how much repair history do you have for this car?

When I bought it there was a crack in the water pump, so got that replaced. Also got my tie rod replaced as well. Other than that I’ve had no problem with the vehicle and that’s why I want to keep it long term.

Forgot to hit the reply

Did a mechanic check it before you purchased it? If you didn’t have that done already, it would be a good investment to take it to a reputable independent mechanic and pay to have it inspected from fender to fender. This Camry is 12 years old with 225k on it, there is no need to ever take it to the dealer. Get it inspected and see what they say. That’ll give you the best answer on whether to put more money in or save your money. It is a commendable goal to keep it on the road, but let them check to make sure nothing big is coming due

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This thing has so many miles on it that the term "borrowed time " is in play. Taking it to the dealer is not what you want to do . The value of this thing is not much. I would have the wheel bearings looked at by an independent shop. As for long it will last who the heck knows. I would just drive it and fix as needed.

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It was a rather quick purchase due to lack of finances, credit availability, and lack of time to search somewhere else. The dealer replaced the water pump and tie rod, and did the usual overall inspection. After that repair they told me, “we shouldn’t have to see you for quite a while.” It drives just fine, I’m just wanting to keep it on the road and prevent any surprises from arising. I wanted to come get advice before taking it in somewhere and them selectively choosing what it “needs” to make some extra money on someone who isn’t knowledgable.

Take the vehicle to an independent repair shop, and ask that they perform a prepurchase vehicle inspection.

They will inspect the entire vehicle and will recommend what repairs the vehicle requires prior to purchasing the vehicle.

The shop doesn’t need to know that you already own the vehicle.

This way, you get an honest report of what the vehicle needs as far as repairs.



I absolutely agree with tester’s suggestion, except that I’d just tell the shop that I simply want a full report on anything needed to prioritize needs. It’s true that he does not need to know that you already own it, but if he asks, the best policy is honesty… except that I would not recommend that you tell him you’re coming into $1500 and want to know what to spend it on. Honesty does not require full disclosure.

I strongly feel with a very careful inspection that many needs will be found and which 1500 dollars will not completely cover.

Right now I’m not exactly sitting on a load of cash. My objective is to stay on the road safely, and not dive into another 36-48 month car loan. I have enough car repair experience to know $1500 can buy a good chunk of repair. This car runs fine for what I can tell by driving it, other than just not exactly driving smoothly, which it’s my guess has something to do with my wheels/rotors, or something of that nature - not the engine. My objective is to at least make this car last for a year longer, and if spending $1500 repairs buys me another year or longer - to give me time to save for a decent downpayment - and then get myself into another car payment, thats fine.

Get your inspection then give us the rundown. That will give us all a better idea of exactly what’s going on with your car and how far that $1500 will go :slight_smile:

If you take it to most dealers and ask for an inspection you will be told things like “Your suspension bushings are cracked and need replacement. there is leaking around your engine, transmission etc.”

The truth is all old suspension bushings are cracked and don’t need to be replaced unless they allow too much movement. Seepage around gaskets is not a cause for replacement unless they are dripping on the ground or an exhaust manifold. I have stopped or slowed a lot of oil pan, transmission pan and valve cover leaks by lightly tightening the bolts, finding some not even finger tight.

You need to develop a relationship with a good local shop. Let them do all your work and get to know you and your car.

If your car needs work they don;t do like alignments or transmission work, let them tell you where to go.


Funny how a dealer will focus on shiny paint and downplay the 225k miles. Ah, those camrys run forever. U may have no issues now. U could drive for 1 yr with zero repairs. Or not. U could buy an extended warranty and have no issues. Or have a bunch of issues. Keep ur money for actual issues that come up.

yup, there’s a reason why I’ve never taken any of my vehicles to the dealer for anything unless it was warranty work.

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I absolutely agree, oldtimer. I’ve seen and stated many times why a dealer should not be used for these kinds of things.