Should I sell or keep my 1996 Toyota Camry


I have a 1996 Camry with 122,000 miles and in good working order. This past May I had to replace my AC unit as the compressor, etc was not working and we need AC in Arizona. Now I had to replace the power window switch on the drivers door.

All this has cost about $3,000 and wonder when does one say forget it and get a new car…




I would love to see the repair bill broken down on this.
How in the world did they get 3 grand out of a bad compressor and window switch? Ouch. That seems way high.

Those 2 repairs are normal types of things that happen with time/use and are really not an indicator of a car being unreliable and trouble-prone at all. That 3 grand is a bit much though.


The window switch, dome light and some other part this week will be about $700. The AC unit was bad and had some other hose leaks, etc. The total for both will be about $3000K. My family has used this place for years and are good. It’s not the dealer or anything like that…


$3000K = $3,000,000


I meant 3K. Give me a break.


The window switch, dome light and some other part this week will be about $700

I hope that “some other part” is worth about $500 or else these guys aren’t as great as you believe. I cannot comprehend anything better than a recycled switch for a 10 year old car. There are hordes of these in recycling yards with perfectly good switch banks that can be had for a fraction of the price of a new switch.


Given you just fixed all this and spent $3k why on earth would you sell it?


In accounting terms, what you spent on your car is called a “sunk cost”. It should not determine whether you should keep the car or get rid of it. What determines whether you should keep it is “how much life is left in it with reasonable maintenance and repair costs?” In this case, the mileage for a Toyota is low and there should be plenty of life left in it. Also, a dry climate will ensure that the car will not succumb to rust. The past repairs are not unusual for an 11 year old car. The costs incurred appear high, but shopping around for non critical parts such as switches is very productive. An independent garage will certainly be helpful here. I know a person who still drives a mid 80s Toyota Celica with 1.2 millon miles on it, mostly accumulated in Nevada. I’m sure he has gone through some A/C components, but a dry climate allows you to drive a good car (like a Camry) to a dizzingly high mileage.


You can get an aftermarket driver’s switch set for $70 delivered on eBay motors. The ad said that Toyota charges about $350 for it. I’d buy the aftermarket part and have your mechanic install it. Ask the mechanic if the compressor is rebuilt or new. I’d opt for a rebuilt compressor or have the failed on rebuilt.

The car is 11 years old. Why put new OEM parts in something that you probably won’t keep another 11 years?

Actually, I’d buy the switch and install it myself. It’s incredibly simple. You carefully pry the switch casing out of the door, unhook the electrical connection, put the plug in the new one, and press it back into the door. You could disconnect the battery if you want to, but the chance of problems is low. I did this (and replaced 3 window regulators) on my 1998 Buick. The whole job was way easier than I thought.


A window switch and dome light is an acceptable repair cost. You did not specify what this “other part” is so I don’t know if the 700 is fair or not.
Don’t worry about buying new OEM parts unless you can get them cheap on eBay. Good used parts can easily be had on eBay or a salvage yard.
Some parts can be had reasonably at the aftermarket stores. Advance carries a number of switches for instance, but I have not verified if they have the window switch.

That 2300 seems high for a compressor and hoses only, but you state they replaced the A/C “unit” which can mean anything including the compressor, condenser, evaporator, etc. If that were the case and factory OEM parts used then it could hit that amount.

JMHO, but I don’t see a problem with keeping this car if it runs and drives well. You know what you have now; trade it and you may not know.