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How to make my toyota last; vehicle longevity

So far I have 245K miles on a '95 corolla. It’s needed a timing belt, water pump, spark plugs, brakes (done once each front and back) and alternator and a couple of batteries. I do change the oil, trans fluid and coolant regularly.

Is there any way to tell how long it is going to last? So far so good, 35mpg, still very smooth. Do head gaskets and things like that just “blow” at some point? Thinking of putting another $500 or so for another timing belt, but I don’t want to if the car will die in a year or two.

Also the car burns about 1 qt every 1000 to 1500 miles, not sure why that is. I don’t see any smoke on start up at all or underneath the car. Valve guide seals possibly? How much would that cost, is it worth it? Also the book says to “adjust the valves” or inpsect them every 60K miles, but wouldn’t that be very expensive to take the “head” off?

If it’s due for a new timing belt, than definitely do that. I’d suggest changing the water pump and the tensiomer too at the same time while while it’s readily accessible.

Other than that, just keep doing what you’re doing. One quart every 1000 to 1500 miles is perfectly normal and acceptable for an engine 245K on it. Manufacturers even consider that amount acceptable on new engines, althou we debate that here occasionally…or should i say “routinely”.

The head does not have to be removed to adjust the valves, only the valve cover. Honestly, it it’s running smoothly I’d skip it.

@mountainbike I agree that this car has basically good genes and with normal maintenance will last a good deal longer at modest expense.

The record for a Toyota in this area is an 83 Toyota Celica brought from Las Vegas and carefully nurtured. The car accumulated most of its miles in the SW desert. At last posting (1997), it had 1.5 million miles on it and had the original engine. The white paint looked a little scruffy, but otherwise it was presentable. The owner changed oil and filter every 3000 miles.

Another high mileage Toyota I rode in was a diesel Corolla in Malaysia which had gone 1.4 milion kilometers (870,000 miles). It smelled and the seats were ratty but it ran well on its original engine.

So OPs’s Toyota had a lot of life left in it. Corrosion would be the most likely factor in limiting its life.

You don’t have to remove the head to inspect and adjust the valves. Change the timing belt and drive on.

Rust is the biggest car killer, other than owner neglect. You are taking good care of the car and it will take good care of you! I see another 10 years for you and your beloved Corolla.

Nevermind the motor if I’m reading the OP correctly he’s done 1 brake job on an 18 yr old Toyota with 245k miles on it ? If true the OP should be giving advice on longevity

The highest mileage Toyota I’ve evr driven was my '89 pickup…at 338,000 miles before it got hit and totalled. And, for the record, it used a qt about every 1200 miles at its highest point. I was perfectly happy with that.

@kenberthiaume congratulations on getting good usage out of the Corolla.

FWIW many owners with Corollas of that vintage use far more oil than you do. You’re fortunate.

I believe you should get the valve lash checked and adjusted. Tight valves would cause you to lose compression and lead to valve burning, long cranking before starting, etc.
If you do get the valves adjusted, make sure the guy has experience adjusting valves on engines which use shims. It is somewhat involved. And it’s possible any needed shims would have to be ordered. Not too many guys think to pay to have their valves adjusted, so the shims are usually not in stock.

I recommend replacing the thermostat, if it hasn’t been done in a few years. They sometimes get stuck open, which means the engine takes a long time to reach operating temperature. That means the engine stays in open loop for a long time, which decreases fuel economy.

As far as your fuel economy goes, you’re doing great. Some stick shift Corolla drivers were lucky to get 35mpg.

What you might want to do is check your compression with a gauge. If you do, please post back.
You can also hook up a vacuum gauge and tell us what it reads at idle.

If you did have bad valve stem seals, you might see blue smoke when starting up. That would be in severe cases, though.

Keep doing what you’re doing. I have a '92 Toyota Celica with 375,000 miles on it that has been given the exact same treatment, but it needs some suspension bushings replaced. Otherwise a nice, rust-free solid little car. Starts every time I turn the key. And, it also gets 35 mpg.

And, don’t lose any sleep about the head gasket. I had one replaced on my '90 pick-up at 250k, but this little car, not yet. Chances are, never. Some engine designs are better than others like that.

We had one that my son easily made to 280k without much effort and very few repairs. It’s as much how you drive as maintenance. You’re doing fine ! Just don’t expect a car that old to not have any problems with that high mileage regardless of maintenance.

I have 234 miles on my 05 4Runner right now. Just normal maintenance.

The only disappointments I’ve had is the front calipers. A known design flaw. I’m on my 3rd set of calipers. Luckily it’s an easy job. I’ve replaced more calipers on this truck then all my previous vehicles combined. Toyota fixed this problem by 2009.

I change my oil every 5k miles…and the oil is down at most a pint. And the truck runs PERFECT. Couldn’t be happier. My youngest starts college in a couple years…and when he does he’ll get this truck and I can get a new one.

Thanks for advice. Yes, it has had only one set of brakes. I bought it at 40K used and had them done on the front at 70K. Had the rears done recently.

I think this car has spoiled me.

It has all original shocks, struts, distributor, wires, 02 sensors, catalytic converter.

Just needed an alternator and a timing belt, and one front axle. And maintenance, batteries, spark plugs etc.

Althought the check engine light has been on for about 7 years due to an EGR valve. But it doesn’t knock really, and they cost a lot so I’m not sure what to do about that.

I do have them check the PCV valve, but they always say it’s fine. Hoping there’s nothing I miss that will cause a catastrophe. Makes me wary of buying a new car, one slip up and boom!

The EGR doesn’t expressly prevent pinging. It was designed to lower combustion temps to prevent the formation of NOx’s, which is in acid rain. Pinging is prevented with the knock sensor. You could see long term problems with exhaust valves and other exhaust parts designed to work with EGR equipped engines, or never see a problem.

As far as the oil leak goes, look at your valve cover gasket, and underneath your distributor. Toyotas of that era tended to weep at those spots after a time - my MR2 is doing it now, in fact, and I just need to get un-lazy enough to replace the gaskets.

As for the rest, you sound like you’re doing just about everything right maintenance-wise. It’s entirely possible your car will go another 100,000 miles, but expect to replace some things over that time. It’s hard to say whether or not a t-belt job now would be a good idea as far as how long the car will last beyond the job. After all, even a newer car runs the risk of getting hit by a semi the day after an expensive repair job is completed, so there’s always the chance that the car won’t be viable much longer. Personally, I wouldn’t replace it, because if it breaks, you can replace it then - your engine is non-interference, and so breaking the timing belt won’t break anything else - you’ll just coast to a stop.

Yes, that’s true, it’s a noninterference. I’ll replace it soon, I don’t want to be stuck, but the first one lasted 155K miles, so they must be durable.

I didn’t know that about the EGR valve, maybe I should ask them to clean it out, not sure if I mentioned that before and they were reluctant, that’s what I recall. It does idle a little rough sometimes, just a little. On the highway it’s like silk though. I thought EGR only mattered if the engine was getting too hot, then it routed exhaust gas in to retard ignition a bit. It could be the knock sensor is doing that though, like you say.

Well I just spoke to the indy mechanic. I need some spark plugs and coolant change so I asked him about EGR valves. He said “if it’s just the valve”, it’s like $100 but if they have to “clean the ports”, etc., then it’s more. I thought if you use a whole new valve, then you don’t need to clean the ports at all. I thought the whole point of “cleaning” was that it was cheaper than “replacing”. So maybe I’m a little slow. I would guarantee it needs cleaning as it’s 18 years old! Maybe I should just skip it.

The ports are the passages that lead to and from the valve.
It’s like having a ball of hair plugging your bathtub drain righ where you can see it vs a clog several feet down the drain pipe.

He said the ports would be expensive. Maybe I should just skip it then. It mustn’t run too hot, as it never really knocks.

@MikeInNH
234 miles ? I’m not impressed what so ever. ;=)

234 miles ? I'm not impressed what so ever. ;=)

OK…OK…I for the K…234K miles…

Feel better…8*)

" OK…OK…I for the K…234K miles… "
Mike, I Think You Forgot The Got !
CSA