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Toyota Avalon with 300k miles

I have an acquaintance who wants to sell me their Toyota Avalon for only $400. It runs, has leather seats and only has one rust spot on the paint. But it has 300,000 miles on it. And the grill is damaged I assume from an accident and it will need a new windshield. It seems worth for the price since it runs good but I am concerned of how many more miles I could still get out of it. I don’t know the year at the moment but I will believe its from the early 2000’s. It has mostly high way miles on it. Does anyone know how many more miles I could get out of it and is it worth it?

Wow, that car must have considerably more value than $400 just for the parts. It seems like a very good deal to me. But remember, according to my ex at least, I’m sort of cheap. lol

I think you understand that if you purchase this car, the engine will probably need complete replacement in the not so distant future. And if it is an automatic, the xmission may need complete replacement soon too. But if you are good w/that – after all, replacement engines and xmissions are pretty reasonably priced these days – it looks like a reasonable deal to me.

$400 is ok, if something significant goes wrong junk it.

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@snoble

If you get the car, here’s a list of stuff that should get (eventually) done

Timing belt (with water pump, idler and tensioner)
Coolant service
Spark plugs
Transmission fluid and filter . . . NO FLUSH!

$400? The sales tax alone on a marginal used car will be $400. One month’s payment on a new car will be $400. If it runs and drives for $400 take it. But realistically expecting more than 300,000 miles is kind of a long shot.

Leave the windshield alone (unless you have some state safety inspection that requires a new one), who cares what the grille on a $400 car looks like, and just drive it. First time it breaks down or needs a repair that will cost more than $200 send it to the scrap yard. You’ll get half your money back just on scrap metal.

I had 500K on my Riviera and got $500 for it in trade. I think it really isn’t a matter of how many more miles it will go but rather if you will be willing to maybe do more frequent repairs, especially on electrical and accessories such as alternator, air conditioning, etc. My Riv still had the original engine that hadn’t been opened up, and the trans had only been overhauled once. Most likely the engine and trans will be fine but you’ll be doing smaller repairs along the way. All in all though how many miles do you have to drive to justify $400? 10, 20, 50,000? If you don’t mind the car and it in reasonable condition, hard to go to wrong.

I think $400 is makes this a pretty low risk for you as a buyer. If the tires are OK for 20K miles even better. Basically the motor in this car is a Toyota V6 which at 300K miles could still have more miles yet to go. The major issue with this motor was sludge build up, and regular oil changes every 5K kept this from happening.

You should have some money available to do a brake job and for other repairs as needed, but I’d jump on this one. It is a non-interference motor meaning if the timing belt brakes the motor stops but isn’t damaged internally. A new belt and you are back in business. Therefore I’d drive it and see how long it last and deal with issues as they come up.

If you hope to keep it 5+ more years and 100K+ more miles then you need to budget to keep up on the maintenance. It should get new plugs every 30K miles, a coolant change every 5 years, a transmission fluid change every 30K miles, and brake fluid change every 3 years. Keep up with this maintenance and do the 5K oil changes and you might run this one up to 500k miles and beyond. Along the way expect a new alternator, steering rack, struts, and exhaust system as stuff like this just wears out on older, high mileage cars.

The key is - “How well it’s been maintained”. $400 is pretty low risk, so it’ll probably be worth it.

If the vehicle has been well maintained and not abused…then 400k or even 500k miles is not hard to fathom. I gave my daughter my 98 Pathfinder when it had over 300k miles…she drove it another 100k miles. Sold it to her ex boyfriend who sold it when he graduated grad school and it was approaching 500k miles.

I agree that $400 is not much of a gamble for this car.

However, unless the OP is ready, willing, and financially able to spend $2k-$4k on the inevitable repairs that will be necessary over the next year or two, then he she may want to reconsider the idea.

The reality is that, even if it has been well-maintained, the car will need significant repairs in the next couple of years simply because of the high odometer mileage. When repair costs begin to mount-up, the OP will need to either just junk it or be ready to spend several thousand $$ in order to keep it on the road.

What repairs are you thinking that will be in the $2k-$4k range??

^
Transmission overhaul + the cost of replacing the timing belt, water pump, belt tensioners + the cost of the unknowns that will inevitably pop up with any car after this much mileage, such as brake work and probable major front end repairs. Instead of just, “repairs”, I should have said “maintenance and repairs” since timing belt work and brake work is really more in the nature of maintenance than repair.

I wouldn’t do any of that. Drive it till it croaks.

As others say, not much of a gamble. This is an ideal car for use as a second car for running errands. I would do the basics as recommended. If the car was maintained well at all it should have a lot of miles left in it. Highway miles are very easy on a car.

However I would not buy this car as a reliable commuter.

Maintenance should be the same if the car has 100k miles or 300k miles.

Repairs…I’m sure there are bound to be more then a vehicle with 100k miles.

Transmission overhaul?? This vehicle known for having tranny problems? None that I heard of. I don’t see how it can’t go for another 200k miles.

We have a 2004 Toyota Avalon with 200,000 miles on it and the only thing that I have ever had to do was replace the rear left wheel bearings. As long as you keep regular oil changes you should be fine for at least 400,000 miles. My friend has a 2003 Toyota Avalon with 400,000 miles on it and he has not had to do any major repairs whatsoever yet. Probably one of the most reliable cars ever made in my opinion.

This person asked about buying this vehicle 6 years ago. I doubt if it is even anywhere but a savage yard now.

I know. I’m a little way late. I just had to brag on my Avalon a little. Lol…

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I see this thread is quite old but this video is too good not to share. A car like this can be the best investment. When it breaks down someone is likely to give you $400 for it as a PARTS CAR. Beaters are always the cars you remember!

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