Keep 11 year old car or trade it in?


I have a 96 Toyota Avalon with 65,000 miles and a 2 year old rebuilt engine, with about 2,500 miles. Car needs painting, interior cleaning. Front seat belts don’t work, back windows don’t open, and a few other cosmetic problems. No dents. Here is the question: how much money should be invested in this car or should I trade it in for am later model? My elderly sister and I drive less than 200 miles per month, on average.


Is there any rust? if not, I’d keep the car. Get the seat belts fixed first, and do it right away. Can you clean the interior yourself? If not, get it done by a detailer. Then get the paint taken care of. You did not say much about the condition of the paint. Maybe it just needs to be buffed. The detailer can do that, too. Otherwise, get the exterior painted the original color at Maaco or a similar store. You can save money by covering the chromework yourself, but they will do it. Fix the windows last. It will probably cost you $2000 or so, but where else can you get a nice, low mileage car like that for $2000?


A few spots, mostly on the edge of the doors, show some chips and rust. Otherwise, it is ok. Car sits out in Florida sun - so it needs something done to the finish. By the way, the seatbelt does connect, but it does not retract…this was a $250 job at the dealer last year for the other one.


Keep the car and spend the money for seat belt/paint repair. If you buy a new or newer car, you’ll have the same problems with the paint in a few years since it’s exposed to the FL sun.

Use the money saved by not buying a new car and take a cruise or two.


Clean the interior,buy belts from junkyard and install, check; I say forget the paint and get used to it, but then that is very personal, can get a cheap paint job that would at least make the car look better. Drive it to the ground, that is what makes the most sense economically.


Otherwise, get the exterior painted the original color at Maaco or a similar store

Or, maybe get it another color, might make it seem like a brand new car, especially if it is originally red. Red is one of the most expensive colors to buy in paint(save for the color changing paints)


My first question is how did this car come to need an engine rebuild at 60,000 miles? Did you never change the oil? Was it a manufacturing defect? Unknown due to previous owner?

I’d probably fix it and keep it if you like the car and are otherwise happy with it, but if you don’t like it you could sell it and find something you like better.


The door wells, inside the trunk, and under the hood don’t have to be painted if it’s the same color. The cost is a lot less that way.