CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Help! need to make huge decision

My co-worker has a 2005 Toyota Camry V4 (95,000 miles). Her engine blew on the expressway. Her mechanic says it’s a good car and she should replace the engine for $3,000. Should she go ahead with repair or finance a new Hunday at $12,000. Either way she has to finance.

We sell a lot of rebuilt engines here and it is often a great option when the rest of the vehicle is good enough.
It’s like buying a good used car for just the 3 grand.

To top it off the warranty on many rebuilt engines is often a great selling point.
Mine come with a 3 year 100k warranty.

This one is a no-brainer. If she has to finance a $3,000 repair, she’s in no financial position to be buying a new car. She should fix this one, hope it lasts for a while, and start putting money away for the next car (or possibly the next big repair on this one).

Is this quote for a new engine, a rebuilt engine, or a used engine, by the way?

Out of curiosity, why did the engine blow?

New (rebuilt is new to me) engine for the Camry. Should be many good miles and years left in the car.

First off, its an I4, not a V4. :slight_smile:

Second, what sort of Hyundai does she think she can get new for $12,000? The cheapest she’s likely to get is about $13,300 for a bare-bones 2012 Accent, from what I see. Then add in tax, title, and license, and you’re looking closer to $14,200 most places. If she’s financing, that’s likely to be $260 or more per month on a 5 year loan @ 4% (assuming higher than average rates if she can’t afford the $3,000 for a repair). That means that 1 years’ worth of payments would be greater than the repair cost. Nevermind that she’d need gap insurance if she can’t put money down on a new car.

This one seems like a no brainer - replace the engine with a remanufactured one with a good warranty (or possibly a cheaper used one), and keep the car.

At the same time, she needs to know why the engine blew… if she neglected some maintenance or repair and that led to the failure, she needs to change her habits or she’ll be right back in the same place soon…

Timing Belt Broke at 55 MPH.
Thanks so much for all the HELP!!! You guys (and gals) are AWESOME!!!

I don’t understand why the engine requires replacement because of a broken timing belt. This engine is a non-interference engine which means if the timing belt fails no damage to the engine occurs. All that needs to be done is replace the timing belt/water pump and it should be good to go.

Tester

The engine is either an I-4 or a V6. There is no V4.
The I-4 uses a chain.
The V6 used in the 2005 Camry uses a belt, but is not an interference engine.

In short, if she had a timing belt break she must have had a V6, and it would have done no damage to the engine other than to stop it in its tracks. A new belt (I’d do the water pump too and check the front crank seal) and she should be on her way.

Get a second opinion. Definitely.

Please tell us more about this mechanic. Is this is an independent mechanic with a good reputation? Or is it a chain shop such as Pep Boys or Firestone, perhaps?

Both the I4 and V6 have dual overhead cams. There can be damage if the exhaust and intake valves clash with each other during the failure.

If the problem is due to cylinder head valve damage then a used cylinder head might be considered as a replacement.

The chart shows this car as having a chain and seeing as how a chain should not have failed at 95k miles this brings up the possibility of an engine oil problem; either not changing it regularly or running it out of oil. This could have led to the chain being shucked and if that’s the case it’s likely the motor has issues other than a chain and another motor would be the best route.

I think $3,000 installed is a pretty good price for a rebuilt warranteed engine. If you have experience and confidence in the mechanic, I’d go that route.

Chain or belt, regardless, replace and go. If the mechanic balks, get another mechanic.