Was my 2000 Toyota Camry worth $3k?



I drive a 2000 Toyota Camry. I just paid $3000 for repairs and parts for it. My husband laughs at me for spending that much on a car worth only 1/4 of that, but it only has 145,000 miles on it. Am I right or is he?


You’re going to get both opinions from posters here.

I think you are right, if everything else on the car is in good shape, where else are you going to get a decent car for $3000 ?


+1 to @It_s_Me You are right.


You may be right. But it is always good for a marriage to tell the husband that he is right. The smart approach is to say to your husband: I’m so sorry, you were right, I should not have sunk all that money into an 18 year old car. So I put it up for sale and I made an appointment at a new Toyota dealership to purchase a new one with a warranty. He’s right.


@tcmichnorth ---- I think this is supposed to be a joke post , at least I hope so.


I hope so too, cause mine was a joke reply


In my area, buying this car from a used car dealer will cost $2500-$3000 dollars. I would guess the money put your car in good shape while you don’t know what kind of shape another one would be. There is also sales tax and registration costs, so if you like the car I think you did OK.


If the rest of the car is/was in good shape, then the value is somewhat irrelevant. You have to look and see how many months of good driving you can get out of it after the $3K repairs vs how many months of new car payments the $3K would have been. I am guessing if you keep the car for another year without major repairs, you will come ahead.

That is pure finances though. Some people want/need new cars with all the gadgets, that is a whole different story.


We get this question often! An older car with a good reputation and not too many miles is usually worth repairing, especially if you like the car.

Buying a $3000 car 18 years old is a crap shoot. Think of your Camry as the devil you KNOW rather than the devil you don’t know.

My niece was given a 2000 Camry (bought new) by my sister who does not drive anymore. This car has low mileage and my niece would not think twice about spending some money on it when the time comes.


since car repair is somewhat specialized you have to pay 80% for labor and 20% for parts. so the argument can be skewed to your favor if you do the work. you did not say what you replaced for your money.
tires? ok you need them
brakes? ok, you need them
timing belt? if it aint broke at least you might feel better


If you like the car and it is otherwise reliable you probably made the right decision. Figure a $300 a month car payment, if your car lasts more than 10 months you are ahead of the game.


300/mo will get a new car. not a 2000 camry. better than a hyundai i suppose


My answer would also be partly based on where this car has lived its life. A car spending its time in Phoenix looks far different after 18 years than one that has spent its life in Buffalo, NY. After 18 years and any amount of miles, I would be looking under the body and inspecting all mechanical components as well as brake and fuel lines before I sank four figures into repairs. If the body and mechanical components look good and the car is in sound condition with no drive-train issues at all (e.g. oil burning, transmission clunking) then I would not hesitate to repair it, even if the cost was substantial.


I’m glad you asked this question. I am faced with precisely the same issue and therefore appreciate your bringing it up and the responses given here.


I am one to keep repairing a machine until it is absolutely hopeless. I bought a new Oldsmobile Cutlass in 1978 and drove it 33 years. For the first 10 years, it was our road car. It then became an around town car
A lot of whether it was worth putting $3000 into your 2000 Camry depends on how you use the car. If you are making cross country travels or long distance commutes, then maybe a newer vehicle may have been a better way to spend your money. On the other hand, if this is an around town car, then the $3000 was probably justified. If the undercarriage isn’t rusted, then I would go along with the expenditure of $3000. You know this vehicle and you would be hard pressed to buy a serviceable vehicle for $3000.
One potential problem: if the vehicle is totaled in an accident, the insurance will only give you book value for your Camry. The insurance company will not compensate you for the $3000 you spent on the vehicle.
I essentially, though, am in agreement with your decision. If a vehicle isn’t rusted and parts are still available, $3000 is not a lot to spend on keeping the vehicle in service. My brother has a 1999 Ford F-150 pickup truck. Over the last year, he put $2500 into the truck–new tie rods and ball joints, new tires and some transmission work. He couldn’t get a replacement truck for $2500. His truck probably has over 200,000 miles. The engine runs well and it uses no oil.


That depends on what state you live in, where I live they have to give you replacement value for a comparable vehicle. I had a 95 Toyota P/U 4x4, book value was $4000.00, replacement value was $8000.00 + tax and registration fees, I got a check for just over $9000.00, that was over twice the book value.


My very nice 1966 Chevy Malibu (new paint job) was totaled in 1976 during a snow storm. I had just installed a new battery and the car only had 98,000 miles on it.

The insurance paid a puny amount (market value) and kept asking if I had any injuries (such as whiplash) that might result in future claims. Wearing a seat belt I had none and took the cash.

I keep vehicles long and don’t worry about future insurance payouts


Ah…that’s not the same thing. Replacement value is the retail value of the car, Book value is the wholesale value. They are two different things.

@Tridaq is correct. Adding $3000 of repairs to a vehicle does NOT increase it’s value by $3000.

There are instances where upgrading a classic car will increase it’s value. For example - I buy a C1 Vette for $10,000 that’s in need of a lot of repairs. Then spend 2 years fixing it up and now the vette is worth $100,000. Unless I notify my Insurance company and get a proper certified evaluation stating it’s now worth $100,000, then if I get in an accident and total the vette before I do that - the insurance company will only pay out $10,000.

Once I get the certified appraisal and notify the Insurance company - my insurances will increase to cover the increased value of the vehicle.


Like others have said, it really depends.

A new Camry costs on the order of $25k. If you put $2,500 down and get a 48month loan at 4% you’ll be paying about $500/month in car payments. In addition you’d have higher insurance, and possibly higher license tab fees. In return you get a brand new, safer, more reliable and more comfortable car to drive. If you’re solely looking at out of pocket expenses, though, you can probably make up your repair costs in about 6 months, assuming nothing else goes wrong. Your old car is cheaper to insure and you have the luxury of not caring about parking lot dings, etc.

What kind of repairs and parts did you do? Was it relatively routine stuff like a timing belt, brakes & shocks or something else? What kind of shape is the rest of the car in? Before spending $3k on an 18 year old car, it’s a good idea to have your mechanic look it over so you know what else you’re potentiall in for. If the head gasket’s blown and the power steering pump is leaking and the transmission is sticking, I’d have a hard time paying for new oil. If everything else is relatively good, then it may make sense.

$3000 is a lot to spend on an 18 year old car, and you should think twice before doing so, but I don’t think you can automatically say it wasn’t worth it.


My answer is that it doesn’t matter. You’ve already spent the money. Drive on and quit worrying about it. Next time, ask the question before you spend the money, when the answer can change the outcome. :wink: