Was my 2000 Toyota Camry worth $3k?

I have been there, done that with my 1997 F-250 light duty. This is a strange truck and was only made this way for ONE YEAR and I have the rare VIN number (less than 6%). I would NEVER had bought it had a known what I was getting into but traded a rifle and laptop computer for it. It became a literal Fix Or Repair Daily for a while as it was always something else. I just kept fixing things because I knew eventually I would have it taken care of and I already had a bunch of money in the thing so just kept going. Parts were hard to find and match because of the rarity of the truck. I had to take the old parts in so they would match them properly as things weren’t right in the computer, even at the Ford dealer.

Now I have a good reliable beater truck. I use it for my winter truck, hauling firewood, scrap metal, etc. It is a work truck pure and simple. It probably isn’t worth what I put into it but it is kinda nice to not having to worry about getting a scratch in the woods or at the scrap yard. I leave it along a river access when camping or floating and don’t worry too much about people doing anything to it. The engine, transmission, and 4WD are all in good shape.

For me to replace the truck with a good reliable 4WD, it would probably cost quite a bit. I am also not sure I would want a nicer truck as I use this truck for hard use quite frequently. Again, it is perfect for what I do with it. I try to keep the rust at bay but figure rust will kill it before a mechanical failure of something major.

Depends, you could easily have been ripped off for $3k worth of unnecessary repairs. Entire portions of the repair industry specialize in doing this, often focusing on older and younger women. A Les Schwab told my daughter her 95 Wagon needed an entirely new braking system ($2400) and cut her two outer CV boots clean through. Its either DIY or “The Blanche DuBois school of car repair” (Relying on the kindness of strangers…) in my experience.

Ted, this thread is 6 months old and saying things against the repair industry here is not good. There are many professional mechanics and repair shop owners here who really strive to give good advice.

Truth doesn’t hurt the honest

Hi. Im new here and i just want to say something. Im 68 years old and last time i bought a new car was in 1976 - A 1976 amc Pacer and i paid 2900 for it. When i went to a “full service” gas station the attendant accidentally(ignorant) put windshield washer fluid in my coolant reservoir and of course the engine froze and i had no recourse. So…i began buying used cars. Here is the formula that ive been using since, and i usually achieve the formula about 75-80%. Here goes. My formula is 10 cents per mile not counting repairs… Lets say you buy a brand new car that cost $35k. At 10 cents a mile you should get 350,000 miles not counting repairs. $45k car equals 450,000 miles and in the orher direction a $5k used car should get 50,000 miles and a $3k car should get 30,000 miles. Of course you must add repairs (not brakes, suspension parts from pot holes etc. or parts that are considered “normal wear and tear”). Think about it. How many of you have achieved that? And…automobile knowledge helps! There needs to be a class on the “basics” of buying used cars. All you need is one hour, maybe an hour and a half at most. Such as: Does oil or transmission fluid smell burnt? Transmission shift properly? Leakage of fluids etc. Ticking from the engine. Excessive undercarriage rust and cracks etc. Pretty easy and doesn’t take much time.

Sorry. Add repairs to the cost of the car. That should be 10 cents a mile including repairs.

Thanks Darryl , you tagged on to a post that has nothing to do with buying vehicles with some really silly thoughts. 10 cents a mile , you have to be kidding.

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Nor maintenance…unless you’re lumping maintenance into repairs…which it looks like you are.

Not counting repairs or maintenance…our previous 5 vehicles we were averaging less then 6 cents.

You can NOT make a assessment without counting repairs or maintenance. Hell I can just keep rebuilding engines and trannies and keep a $10,000 vehicle forever.

not sure how that would freeze up an engine… Might make for a soapy mess, but unless windshield washer fluid was significantly different in 1976, it shouldn’t have locked anything up.


That is a good rule of thumb, Darryl. I applaud your ability to locate good used cars.that meet your needs.

I think you’ll find that, currently, average cost-per-mile is 60 cents, nationwide. I assume (when driving regularly) you could get maybe 1/3 that figure. The first figure is calculated based on all costs divided by miles. Fuel, alone, can run 10 cents… and, oddly, cost-per-miles drops when you drive a lot.

I like your thinking. Occasionally buying new works out cheaper, and reilability/comfort is a factor not included, but your system works for you. Stick with what works for you.

Im sorry. I sent a follow-up post almost immedately after re-reading what i typed. My post said that you should count repairs in the equation. So…therefore, buy a car fir $5k, add $2,500 in repairs fir a total cost of $7,500 and a tital of 75,000 miles to equal 10 cents a mile. I appreciate your eagle eye. My first time. My first mistake.

I also see i typed in “i” for/instead of “o” three(3) times for another posting mistake. Guess i"ll just quit right here.

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Hi Darryl, if you ever want to edit your posts, you can click the pencil icon in the bottom row of icons below your post.

My best was a used car I bought for $800, drove it close to 100k miles and put almost nothing into it.

On the other end of the spectrum was that car I spent almost $10k and didn’t survive much more than 10 miles (in 1/4 mile increments).

On average I’m doing OK.

Nicely done. That’s how I would calculate buying (newer) used cars. You also have the advantage of hind site… can research serious problems with the model.

It’s a bit OCD, but I track car costs. It’s eye opening to see total costs of operating a car. Gas and insurance tripled ownership cost.

Our 11 year old van, no major repairs cost us $218 a month to own, at 11 years it was starting to rust, dash gauges and interior lights went whacko from time to time, leased an optima $200 a month,never worry about repairs,tires, brakes etc., and have a dependable car for wifes 300 mile road trip to see her mom. As long as you can keep in the mileage restrictions something worth considering. 28k total cost, 110k miles, .25 a mile plus gas?