To repair or scrap a 95 Camry? What to do... What to do

I have a '95 Toyota Camry with 76k miles in fair condition (BB value about $2,300) that had the registration expire. To get it registered I need to pass the state inspection, however, my inspection returned a quote of about $1,818 (with tax) to fix the car. (Issues listed below.) CarMax offered me $2,000 for the car.

So, a few questions. 1) Is $1,800 reasonable and 2) Is it worth fixing?

Thanks for the help!


Power Steering hbh-p hose (1$69.23)

Power steering return hose from reservoir ($129)

Power Steering Fluid ($9)

Rack and Pinion Leaking ($369)

Front Brake Pads ($68)

Front Brake Rotors 2x8? ($160)

LF and RF marker bulbs ($5)

Wiper blades ($20)

Left axel shaft ($149)

Labor 7.5 hours ($640)

Also a valve cover is leaking.

The mileage is very low for a Camry. If the rest of the car is good, I would go ahead and fix it. At least you will know what you have.

Some of those things are just normal maintenance items (brakes; bulbs; wiper blades). You could reason that those needed to be done even if the car were in perfeect condition.

Some of the things you could do yourself (bulbs; wiper blades; maybe the P/S hoses).

The prices look reasonable to me, but I hope that some of the experts here will chime in.

If you are not locked in to the place that quoted you those costs, perhaps you could shop around a little.

Camrys are good cars, for the money you will not get anything as good. Ask friends for good cheap repair man

I concur. Sounds like the shop that does inspections also does repair work. I’m always suspicious when they return a large amount of work in order to pass inspection. Especially wanting to practically rebuild the entire power steering system. Take it to another shop for a second opinion.

IMHO, even with a $1,800 repair bill, if the car is overall in good shape and runs well, especially that this list doesn’t include any engine work, like tune-up or sensor replacements, I’d consider the cost of a comparable used car to replace it. You’ll probably not find a car in as good a shape anywhere near this amount. With the work listed, this car still probably has 2 to 3 years life left in it easily. And, all cars need periodic maintenance, especially as they age.

Thanks for the comments, all. The problem is that everone around here want s to charge me $70 for an estimate. Though, the good news is that I was able to talk him down $100.

Still, I’m not sure if it’s worth it. Anyone know an honest mechanic in the DC area?

I found Kensington Auto Clinic in the Mechanix Files on this site. They know Toyotas, and they are competent and reasonably honest (be clear about what is going to be done). In Wheaton is Autoserv (also know as GTO’s). Similarly competent and honest. Neither of these two is particulary cheap.

If you can schlep to Waldorf and sit around for a day while the guy does the work, try Stephens Automotive. He can handle the kind of work you need, and will probably give you a better price. (That shop was the only advantage I had from working in End-of-the-Road, MD, for ten years).

I would fix it - but I would question some of the costs… I would be suspicious that the power steering hoses and rack and pinion work are sort of hunt and peck replacements trying to stop a leak. The hoses shouldn’t be more than $75-80 even with mechanic markup. The return hose cost is obscene (shouldn’t be more than $10-15 per The Rack and pinion price isn’t bad and the labor for this can be a pain… But $160 for rotors and $68 for pads? Rotors should be $40-50 each for nice ones on this car…

Some of the prices aren’t bad, but I would definitely shop around a bit to make sure everything they said is right.

Are you sure all those things are on the state inspection list? I have my doubts about the first four items.

If this was a US brand car, you would be getting an earful from some about what a crappy car it is and that it should be scrapped being 13 years old. Instead, I see posts that say what a great car it is. I will scratch my head now.