Looking at buying 1998 Celica Convertible, issues to look for?

Looking to pick up a used 1998 Toyota Celica GT convertible, 186k miles, etc in the next couple days. Just wanted a heads up on what issues I should look for. I’ve been told by another 1998 Celica owner to investigate the timing belt, roof, switches, and struts. Aside from that, anything else I should look for? Thanks.

At 13 years of age and almost 200k miles the entire car is suspect, along with the price.

How much are they asking for this thing?


In my area, Edmunds says it’s worth $2100 in clean condition with a manual transmission; $2200 with auto. It’s a decent deal if it is dealer pricing.

And I agree with ok4450 that everything is suspect on a high mileage car of this age. Get it checked by a trusted mechanic before you buy it. It could cost a couple hundred bucks, and it’s worth it.

Make sure the top is in good shape and that it runs and drives okay. With that many miles, this is a drive it till it stops kind of car. That could be very soon, or it might run fine for several years. As long as you are okay with that, go for it. Otherwise, look for something with less miles.

Check for rust from a leaking roof that has since been repaired.

It’s overpriced in my opinion and I would have no hesitation in wagering that an astute mechanic could fine a number of issues with this car unless it’s been religiously maintained with receipts to back it all up. Even then it’s a crap shoot.

The first thing I would do is have a compression test run on it. That alone will tell you whether to even proceed any further with an inspection. Considering the mileage, and if I were the one considering the car, I’d want to see about 175 PSI on all cylinders and that’s at a minimum.

Thanks guys, I already have a Honda CRV in DC, and I was just looking at this as my “fun vehicle”, but sounds like it’d be more hassle than it’s worth. Thanks.

As with any used car, have it thoroughly checked out by a good shop, with a full written report.

But I gotta tell you, if you find one of those that’s confirmed to be in good shape, they’re fun little cars and affordable to own.

If you’re looking for a ‘fun vehicle’, look first at a Miata. Much better sporty/sports car than a Celica.

for someone 6’ 3"?

Uh-oh. My problem, too. Then follow the advice above.

Don’t brush this one off. If you are really interested pay a mechanic the $100 or so to check it over. Money well spent. Its an old car but if the previous owner took care of it may be fine. Also many convertibles are not driven much in the winter. It will be very obvious by looking at top and paint condition what life it led.