Repair or Junk?


I have a 93 Camry LE V6, 85K miles. Needs new head gasket and radiator.

Teenage son is about to start driving…is it worth the $$$ (~$2K I’m told) to repair or look for something else for him to learn on? (funds are currently very tight and anticipating sky high insurance costs for the kid)

Everything else in the car seems fine, tranny, a/c…

Advice much appreciated!!


Was the engine overheated, perhaps due to the bad radiator? Even though the car is 15 years old, that’s very low mileage for a headgasket to blow. How definite is the diagnosis?

Any chance you could get sonny interested in doing some repairs? The headgasket is not a job for a neophyte, but the radiator replacement should be fairly easy, and save you a few hundred bucks.

Another way to look at it this: Will you be able to find a comparable vehicle for the cost of the repairs? Probably not; the resale value of the car in its current condition is very low, so it won’t be of much help in purchasing another car.

Bottom line: If the rest of the car is in good condition, you are probably better off fixing it.


I agree with NYBo except that this may be a good opportunity for a neophite to learn, IF he’s mechanically oriented and willing to begin with. Especially of the blown gasket is on the foreward facing cylinder bank, which will be easier to access.

I’d be inclined to avoid spending the $2K. 85K on a 15 year old car indicates lots of stop and go driving, which means the car could be a lot more tired than it appears from the mileage, and there is a risk that damage has occurred from overheating. That would drive the cost of the repair up quickly.