Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

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dm200
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Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by dm200 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:16 pm

As I look for an older, inexpensive good used car - what I seem to find (as I look, mainly on Craigslist) is that the larger Toyotas (Camry and Avalon) seem to be more available in the lower mileage, long ownership - than the smaller Toyotas (Corollas).

I/we now drive well under $7,500 per car per year - so fuel mileage is no big deal. We do not need the larger Camrys or Avalons - BUT I see (and am looking at) some 15-20 year old well cared for such models locally (from individuals, not dealers).

Does this make sense?

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:21 pm

Yes. Think of a car that my 82 year old mother might drive. Camry, Avalon, Fusion, Accord, Altima, sure. I have my mom's car for half the year. In the half year she has it, she never puts even 1000 miles on it.
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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by goingup » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:23 pm

It makes sense. Speaking in general terms a Corolla is a young person's "starter" car and young people drive a lot. A Camry appeals to older folks and they probably drive less.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by Pinotage » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:26 pm

dm200 wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:16 pm
As I look for an older, inexpensive good used car .
.
.
Does this make sense?
Not sure I get it.

So you’re looking for an inexpensive old car, and you are disappointed to find that your choices are nicer than you expected? Sounds like a score!

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dm200
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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by dm200 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:41 pm

Pinotage wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:26 pm
dm200 wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:16 pm
As I look for an older, inexpensive good used car .
.
.
Does this make sense?
Not sure I get it.
So you’re looking for an inexpensive old car, and you are disappointed to find that your choices are nicer than you expected? Sounds like a score!
Oh no, not "disappointed" at all. I just want to see if my conclusions/observations are correct. Yes - in some (perhaps many) ways this can be a good thing for us.

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dm200
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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by dm200 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:43 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:21 pm
Yes. Think of a car that my 82 year old mother might drive. Camry, Avalon, Fusion, Accord, Altima, sure. I have my mom's car for half the year. In the half year she has it, she never puts even 1000 miles on it.
Yes - this seems to be the pattern of types of cars driven fewer miles per year AND well maintained.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by Pinotage » Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:09 pm

dm200 wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:41 pm
Oh no, not "disappointed" at all. I just want to see if my conclusions/observations are correct. Yes - in some (perhaps many) ways this can be a good thing for us.
Enjoy in good health!

A slightly used Avalon or Camry should make a wonderful car!

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by JBTX » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:11 pm

dm200 wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:16 pm
As I look for an older, inexpensive good used car - what I seem to find (as I look, mainly on Craigslist) is that the larger Toyotas (Camry and Avalon) seem to be more available in the lower mileage, long ownership - than the smaller Toyotas (Corollas).

I/we now drive well under $7,500 per car per year - so fuel mileage is no big deal. We do not need the larger Camrys or Avalons - BUT I see (and am looking at) some 15-20 year old well cared for such models locally (from individuals, not dealers).

Does this make sense?
Yes because these cars are often owned by older and more relatively affluent people.

About 12 years ago my parents gave us their approx 1997 Avalon with around 40,000 miles. We subsequently put another 180k on it the next 7 years or so.

Then in 2010 we bought a 2007 Avalon that had about 20,000 miles on it. Practically in new condition. Prior owner was older I think.

A couple of years ago we bought 2012 Lexus ES350 with about 40,000 miles. We don’t know for sure but I think the prior owner was lady was an older one based upon the phone numbers she left in her blue tooth which included her minister and other such contacts.

These are our favorite types of cars to buy. They are really nice and comfortable, practically in new condition, have most of their life left and cost roughly half what a comparable new one would.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by carolinaman » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:23 am

I have owned Camrys since 1992 (my current one is 2014 Hybrid) and love them for performance and reliability. They are economical to own. My wife has a 2007 Avalon Limited with all the bells and whistles. She loves it but to me it is just too big. I feel like I am driving a boat. The Avalon is pretty reliable and gets decent mileage but it costs more to repair when maintenance is required. My guess is that cost of ownership is higher for the Avalon. The Avalon depreciates more than a Camry so you can get better buys on a late model used one but I am not sure how they would compare on higher mileage and older models. It really comes down to your preference for a car. They both are good cars but fit different niches of the market.

FWIW, I have rented Corollas a couple of times when traveling and there is no comparison between a Corolla and a Camry. The Camry is far superior and a much better ride. The Corolla is a much cheaper car in every respect.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by munemaker » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:32 am

The Toyota Avalon is a codger car. According to this article written in late 2012, the average age of a Avalon buyer is mid 60s. That confirms with my personal observations. It appeals to the group that buys Buicks.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/ca ... n/1705517/

The Camry and Accord are more mainstream, high volume cars that appeal to a broad spectrum of buyers. I would not put them in the same category as the Avalon.

I agree Corollas (and Civics) are bought primarily by younger people.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by harrington » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:57 am

My Mom and Dad are 91 and 93 and no longer drive. They just gave me a 2003 Buick Century with 24,000 miles on it and it is absolutely immaculate. I'll drive it probably for 10 more years.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by lostdog » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:30 am

I am 41 and I love my 2011 Corolla. It's a smaller car but I love the pick up and being able to manuever in small spaces. Rock solid car.
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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by jabberwockOG » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:36 am

The larger Toyota's especially Avalon can be found used at great prices. We purchased our latest Toyota SUV privately when it was 3 years old (with less than 15k miles on it) from a married couple that were 94 and 93 years old who had recently stopped driving due to infirmity.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by dm200 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:40 am

carolinaman wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:23 am
I have owned Camrys since 1992 (my current one is 2014 Hybrid) and love them for performance and reliability. They are economical to own. My wife has a 2007 Avalon Limited with all the bells and whistles. She loves it but to me it is just too big. I feel like I am driving a boat. The Avalon is pretty reliable and gets decent mileage but it costs more to repair when maintenance is required. My guess is that cost of ownership is higher for the Avalon. The Avalon depreciates more than a Camry so you can get better buys on a late model used one but I am not sure how they would compare on higher mileage and older models. It really comes down to your preference for a car. They both are good cars but fit different niches of the market.
FWIW, I have rented Corollas a couple of times when traveling and there is no comparison between a Corolla and a Camry. The Camry is far superior and a much better ride. The Corolla is a much cheaper car in every respect.
I wonder if this is true for the older Avalons? My understanding is that (unlike similar vintage Camrys) they do not have timing belts.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by investor997 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:32 am

A few weeks back I summoned a Lyft and a gentleman picked me up in an older Avalon. I didn't ask him what year it was, but it was the same body style built from 2000-2004 or so. The LCD display in the center of the dash was almost comically large, as if designed specifically for folks with lousy up-close vision. It made it easy for me to read the odometer. The car had under 70K miles on it. As far as finding cheap, comfortable and reliable transportation was concerned, this guy may have been on to something.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by dm200 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:05 pm

investor997 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:32 am
A few weeks back I summoned a Lyft and a gentleman picked me up in an older Avalon. I didn't ask him what year it was, but it was the same body style built from 2000-2004 or so. The LCD display in the center of the dash was almost comically large, as if designed specifically for folks with lousy up-close vision. It made it easy for me to read the odometer. The car had under 70K miles on it. As far as finding cheap, comfortable and reliable transportation was concerned, this guy may have been on to something.
My current conclusion as well. The key is finding one that these older, low mileage drivers want to sell.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by heyyou » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:30 pm

The key is finding one that these older, low mileage drivers want to sell.
Patience is fullness, but as soon as you buy one of the few that you can find, expect two more to pop up with either less miles or a cheaper price, similar to the price volatility just after doing a Roth conversion. c'est la vie

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by dm200 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:31 pm

heyyou wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:30 pm
The key is finding one that these older, low mileage drivers want to sell.
Patience is fullness, but as soon as you buy one of the few that you can find, expect two more to pop up with either less miles or a cheaper price, similar to the price volatility just after doing a Roth conversion. c'est la vie
Very true ;) ;)

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by catdude » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:20 pm

I just sold my 2007 Camry V6 via Craigslist. It only had 65,000 miles on it, and it was snapped up quickly by a guy who's 72. He knew a good value when he saw it.
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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by munemaker » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:37 pm

harrington wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:57 am
My Mom and Dad are 91 and 93 and no longer drive. They just gave me a 2003 Buick Century with 24,000 miles on it and it is absolutely immaculate. I'll drive it probably for 10 more years.
Many older people seem to love their Buicks!

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by dm200 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:49 pm

catdude wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:20 pm
I just sold my 2007 Camry V6 via Craigslist. It only had 65,000 miles on it, and it was snapped up quickly by a guy who's 72. He knew a good value when he saw it.
Wish I knew you before you sold it... :)

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by jimb_fromATL » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:13 pm

dm200 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:40 am
carolinaman wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:23 am
I have owned Camrys since 1992 (my current one is 2014 Hybrid) and love them for performance and reliability. They are economical to own. My wife has a 2007 Avalon Limited with all the bells and whistles. She loves it but to me it is just too big. I feel like I am driving a boat. The Avalon is pretty reliable and gets decent mileage but it costs more to repair when maintenance is required. My guess is that cost of ownership is higher for the Avalon. The Avalon depreciates more than a Camry so you can get better buys on a late model used one but I am not sure how they would compare on higher mileage and older models. It really comes down to your preference for a car. They both are good cars but fit different niches of the market.
FWIW, I have rented Corollas a couple of times when traveling and there is no comparison between a Corolla and a Camry. The Camry is far superior and a much better ride. The Corolla is a much cheaper car in every respect.
I wonder if this is true for the older Avalons? My understanding is that (unlike similar vintage Camrys) they do not have timing belts.
A lot of older Toyotas do have timing belts. Here’s some info:
Which ones have timing belts

Here's a bunch more stuff to think about:

My wife and I and our families have owned Toyotas since the late 70s and pass them down in the family from generation to generation. And I've always recommended used Toyotas for other folks. I also agree with the observations about pros and cons of the various models.

However, there are now some models of Toyotas (and Lexus) within that age range that I cannot recommend as used cars. You need to be aware that the Toyota Camry 4-cylinder engine from 1997 through 2001 and 1997-2003 Toyota-made vehicles with the 3.0 V6 engine, including the Camry, Avalon, Sienna, Highlander, ans Lexus models with the 3.0 V6 have an engineering design defect that can cause the engine oil to sludge up and cause premature catastrophic engine failure.

For other models of Toyotas and other cars especially at that age, I'd suggest not buying anything at any price without taking it to a mechanic of your own choosing to have it checked out to see if it is likely to run for a while without needing any major work.

At that age tires, brakes, shocks/struts, rubber belts and hoses, and a timing belt where applicable are likely to be immediate needs regardless of mileage. So you need to keep at least several hundred dollars in reserve to do repairs in addition to the cost of the car.

Even someone you know who may be selling their one-owner car may not really be aware of problems that are developing in older cars. So you still need to have any car checked out by a mechanic before you buy it.

The problem with the oil sludging is that there no way to know which engine may have the problem and which one won't.

I researched the problem extensively back in the early 2000s when shopping for a used Toyota, after noticing an extraordinary number of 1997-2001 Camry, Avalon, and Sienna engines that were noisy and/or or smoking on start-up more like I'd expect to see and hear in very worn, very high-mileage engines.

However, all but one of several Toyota mechanics I talked to said they had never seen one with the problem if the oil was changed every 3000 miles. The problem is that the book only requires only 7500 mile intervals. So even if it was maintained by the book, it may still have the engine failure.

I also learned that Toyota --at least in the Southeast-- would not even support the manufacturer’s certified used car warranty on models with the potential sludging problem unless they had an officially documented history of 3000 mile or so oil and filter changes plus removing the valve cover(s) to inspect the valve train and oil passages for signs of varnish and sludge. Some folks told me that fiber optics viewers might also be used to inspect the cylinder walls for scoring.

What this suggests ... to put it one way ... is that if it ain’t good enough for its own folks, it ain’t good enough for you. IMO you should not even consider a Toyota of those models that might subject to the oil sludge problem unless there is documented proof that the oil and filter were changed religiously at no more than 3000-3500 mile intervals for the life of the car so far.

And you must also have a mechanic who is very familiar with this specific oil sludging problem check out the engine thoroughly. In my research later I learned that even the absence of visible sludge in the valve covers and oil passages is not proof that the engine doesn’t have the problem . Many used car dealers know to flush the engines to remove the visible deposits. Bu if it originally had the problem the extra wear is still there, and the legendaryToyota engine longevity probably isn’t there.

There are other problems with older used vehicles -– even Toyotas, too.

For example, over several years of shopping for used vehicles that are just a few years old I have learned that I can often immediately identify a lot of cars -- Toyotas and other makes -- that were shipped into Atlanta from Florida merely by the cracks and fading on the dashboards, the faded upholstery at the top of the back seat, and deteriorated rubber weather stripping on the doors and trunk -- which were often dried out and cracked from baking in the hot sun for most of their life. Some exterior paint colors, especially reds and dark blues, often fade prematurely, too.

There can be more mechanical problems with very-low mileage cars, too.

Extremely low mileage cars even a few years old, whether from Florida or elsewhere, also may literally suffer from lack of use. A lot of rubber and synthetic seals and gaskets in the body, engine, transmission, water pump and other parts of the heating and cooling system may dry up and harden if the car is not driven for days at a time. The "set" and/or lack of flexibility from lack of use and lubrication often causes leaks of lubricants or coolant that can become a problem when the cars are driven a lot more.

Brake rotors and drums can rust up enough to cause excessive wear and pitting, often requiring brake system overhauls a lot earlier than normal for the mileage. The cylinders and pistons for disk calipers and drum brakes can rust internally, preventing the calipers or shoes from retracting fully, causing brake drag and overheating, and/or internal brake fluid leaks.

As an extreme example, I know of one very low mileage car that was over 10 years old that had sat so long without being driven that the oil drained of the ring gear in the differential. With no oil to protect it from air, there was such a big build-up of rust and pitting of metal that the differential was noisy and had excessive vibration, requiring the ring and pinion gear to be replaced. I’ve known of several cars that had brakes dragging because of rust in the wheel cylinders from lack of use. Poor gas mileage can be a symptom for short hops, and overheating – even brake smoking and locking up – can occur on the first long trip. I have actually seen cars that caught on fire that were caused by dragging brake calipers

Another problem is that car owners who drive very little may not change the oil for literally several years at a time, mistakenly thinking that low mileage means no need to change it. The problem is that short hops may not warm up the engine long enough and hot enough to evaporate moisture and other pollutants from the engine oil. Then possible pitting and corrosion can cause more wear on internal parts.

Actually, for very low usage, the oil (and filter) need to be changed more often. Toyota and others typically recommend no longer than 6 months to a year between oil changes for extremely low usage. That could mean oil changes every 2000 to 3000 miles, whereas 10,000 miles might be perfectly acceptable for cars that are driven hundreds of miles at a time on long highway trips.

Most of the wear on internal parts occurs during cold starts, too. So a car that has very, very low mileage from being driven only a few miles at a time -- a few thousand miles per year -- with long intervals of non-use may have more internal wear than cars that have been driven literally tens of thousands of miles more.

Yet another problem is that age alone is a big factor in the need to replace tires. Depending on the weather and temperature, tire rubber may deteriorate enough for the tires to be in danger of losing air or blowing out after as little as 5 years even though they may still have the majority of their original tread.

Yet another problem with lots of used cars is the flooding from hurricanes. Carfax and other vehicle histories may not reflect that cars were flooded because minor or even major flooding shows up in history reports only if the owners made an insurance claim or if repairs were made typically by dealer shops who report repairs they've done. I have observe that it's not unusual at all to see cars that to an educated eye have obviously been in floods, but which have clean histories.

So ... I still like, buy,and recommend Toyotas both new and used, even older models, but not all models from all years. And not without knowing their ownership and maintenance history and/or having them checked out very thoroughly.

jimb

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by catdude » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:40 am

dm200 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:49 pm
catdude wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:20 pm
I just sold my 2007 Camry V6 via Craigslist. It only had 65,000 miles on it, and it was snapped up quickly by a guy who's 72. He knew a good value when he saw it.
Wish I knew you before you sold it... :)
dm, if I still lived in the DC area I woulda happily given you a nice BH discount on that Camry... :)
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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by lostdog » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:49 am

dm200 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:05 pm
investor997 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:32 am
A few weeks back I summoned a Lyft and a gentleman picked me up in an older Avalon. I didn't ask him what year it was, but it was the same body style built from 2000-2004 or so. The LCD display in the center of the dash was almost comically large, as if designed specifically for folks with lousy up-close vision. It made it easy for me to read the odometer. The car had under 70K miles on it. As far as finding cheap, comfortable and reliable transportation was concerned, this guy may have been on to something.
My current conclusion as well. The key is finding one that these older, low mileage drivers want to sell.
That's how I found my current 2011 Corolla. It was a lease to an elderly couple. I bought it in Sept 2014 with only 10,000 miles on it. The only issue it has are scratches in the plastic where you insert the key to start the car.
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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by dm200 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:33 am

Our '98 Camry - purchased privately in 2015 with 70,000 miles - has cost us about $100/month maintenance and repair. Several electronic/electrical things - door locks, drivers power window, brake and tail lights. We have put about 12,000 miles on it in 2 years. The surprise expense was about $500 for a canister - vapor lock. It never hd the timing belt replaced - so we will do that this winter.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by sport » Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:51 am

munemaker wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:37 pm
harrington wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:57 am
My Mom and Dad are 91 and 93 and no longer drive. They just gave me a 2003 Buick Century with 24,000 miles on it and it is absolutely immaculate. I'll drive it probably for 10 more years.
Many older people seem to love their Buicks!
I had a Buick... once.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by bloom2708 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:02 pm

Find a lower mileage Lexus LS 430. 2001 to 2006.

Toyota luxury brand. Great value. Smooth, quiet and powerful.
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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by lostdog » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:35 pm

What is the Lexus luxury equivalent of the Corolla?
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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by dm200 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:24 pm

lostdog wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:35 pm
What is the Lexus luxury equivalent of the Corolla?
I do not think there is a Lexus equivalent of the Corolla

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by randomguy » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:12 pm

dm200 wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:16 pm
As I look for an older, inexpensive good used car - what I seem to find (as I look, mainly on Craigslist) is that the larger Toyotas (Camry and Avalon) seem to be more available in the lower mileage, long ownership - than the smaller Toyotas (Corollas).

I/we now drive well under $7,500 per car per year - so fuel mileage is no big deal. We do not need the larger Camrys or Avalons - BUT I see (and am looking at) some 15-20 year old well cared for such models locally (from individuals, not dealers).

Does this make sense?
a) Expensive cars always look better deprciation wise. Paying 7.5k for a 30k car seems like a better deal than 5k for a 20k car. This is the logic people use to buy 3 year old lexus's (was 40k new so it must be a steal at 25k) instead of new camrys (25k)

b) You would have to run the math on if fuel mileage matters. The tough part is that 20mpg from the EPA in 1997 isn't the same as 20mpg in 2017. The 1997 number is probably closer to 12 or so with the modern methodology.

c) 15-20 years old is getting up there in age no matter what the miles. A lot of the rubber components wear more with age than miles

d) Low miles always runs the risk of too low of usuage. You could have 40k over 7 years and then 0 miles over 8 years. That isn't what you want

e) At some point you need to decide how much safety matters to you. A 20 year old car is missing the last 3-4 generations of safety gear ( AEB, VSC, side airbags, probably ABS, better crumple zones). People will debate forever if going from say 4 in 1000 chances of dying to 1 is either huge (75% reduction) or meaningless (4/1000 means your odds of dying are tiny to start with).

f) is a 15 year old car a better deal for you than say a 10 year old one or a 5 year old one? It is basically a tradeoff between depreciation and repair costs. Depreciation is easy to estimate. Repair costs aren't and tend to big outliers. Getting stuck with a 5k repair bill isn't likely to happen but it also isn't some crazy outlier event. In the end buying the car that is underpriced matters as much as this choice.

G) Buying something you don't want because it is a good deal is rarely a good idea.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by bloom2708 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:14 pm

lostdog wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:35 pm
What is the Lexus luxury equivalent of the Corolla?
The Lexus ES series is Camry/Avalon mid-sized.

The IS series is smaller and sportier. GS is mid-sized but on the sportier side.

My LS is not a huge car. It is 3" or so shorter than the current Ford Taurus. The LS 460 is a bit longer. The L model is even longer.
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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by dm200 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:17 pm

randomguy wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:12 pm
dm200 wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:16 pm
As I look for an older, inexpensive good used car - what I seem to find (as I look, mainly on Craigslist) is that the larger Toyotas (Camry and Avalon) seem to be more available in the lower mileage, long ownership - than the smaller Toyotas (Corollas).
I/we now drive well under $7,500 per car per year - so fuel mileage is no big deal. We do not need the larger Camrys or Avalons - BUT I see (and am looking at) some 15-20 year old well cared for such models locally (from individuals, not dealers).
Does this make sense?
a) Expensive cars always look better deprciation wise. Paying 7.5k for a 30k car seems like a better deal than 5k for a 20k car. This is the logic people use to buy 3 year old lexus's (was 40k new so it must be a steal at 25k) instead of new camrys (25k)
b) You would have to run the math on if fuel mileage matters. The tough part is that 20mpg from the EPA in 1997 isn't the same as 20mpg in 2017. The 1997 number is probably closer to 12 or so with the modern methodology.
c) 15-20 years old is getting up there in age no matter what the miles. A lot of the rubber components wear more with age than miles
d) Low miles always runs the risk of too low of usuage. You could have 40k over 7 years and then 0 miles over 8 years. That isn't what you want
e) At some point you need to decide how much safety matters to you. A 20 year old car is missing the last 3-4 generations of safety gear ( AEB, VSC, side airbags, probably ABS, better crumple zones). People will debate forever if going from say 4 in 1000 chances of dying to 1 is either huge (75% reduction) or meaningless (4/1000 means your odds of dying are tiny to start with).
f) is a 15 year old car a better deal for you than say a 10 year old one or a 5 year old one? It is basically a tradeoff between depreciation and repair costs. Depreciation is easy to estimate. Repair costs aren't and tend to big outliers. Getting stuck with a 5k repair bill isn't likely to happen but it also isn't some crazy outlier event. In the end buying the car that is underpriced matters as much as this choice.
G) Buying something you don't want because it is a good deal is rarely a good idea.
Very good points .. The actual fuel mileage we got on the '98 4 cyl Camry seems good - well over 20 mpg on a recent trip. Not sure about intown.

I feel very safe in most older vehicles.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by randomguy » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:46 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:14 pm
lostdog wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:35 pm
What is the Lexus luxury equivalent of the Corolla?
The Lexus ES series is Camry/Avalon mid-sized.

The IS series is smaller and sportier. GS is mid-sized but on the sportier side.

My LS is not a huge car. It is 3" or so shorter than the current Ford Taurus. The LS 460 is a bit longer. The L model is even longer.
What do you consider a huge car? A school bus?:) Seriously the Taurus is 203" long. That is a huge car. Other than a couple of Rolls Royce,s there aren't many cars that are noticeably bigger than a Taurus. A 200" long car is well into the huged category in my world. I would argue a ES (and accord for that matter) are pushing into the huge world. They pretty close to the same size as full sized cars fo the 80s. Heck a modern civic is the same size as an 80s accord. But huge is only bad if it is an issue (parking tends to be the big one) for you.

Size wise the Corolla is about the same as an IS but otherwise they have little in common (i.e. RWD versus FWD, totally different platforms). The accura ILX versus civic is more of the luxed up entry level car.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by randomguy » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:55 pm

dm200 wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:17 pm


Very good points .. The actual fuel mileage we got on the '98 4 cyl Camry seems good - well over 20 mpg on a recent trip. Not sure about intown.

I feel very safe in most older vehicles.

From where I sit well over 20mpg is horrible gas mileage for a modern midsized sedan.:) Most of them are 35+ in highway driving (obviously your exact situation matters. Drive 60mph on the highway and 40+ is doable. Start throwing in tons of acceleration and braking and it drops). Does it matter? 2-400/year in gas does add up over time but it doesn't come close to depreciation in almost any case. Even 5 dollar gas isn't enough.

And feeling very safe and being safe are not the same thing. A lot of people felt safe in there 90s SUVs because they were big despite the fact they were 2x as dangerous as a car because of the roll over risk. But as I said, ignoring safety issues isn't a big deal for a lot of people. Others panic about it.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by dm200 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:30 pm

randomguy wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:55 pm
dm200 wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:17 pm
Very good points .. The actual fuel mileage we got on the '98 4 cyl Camry seems good - well over 20 mpg on a recent trip. Not sure about intown.
I feel very safe in most older vehicles.
From where I sit well over 20mpg is horrible gas mileage for a modern midsized sedan.:) Most of them are 35+ in highway driving (obviously your exact situation matters. Drive 60mph on the highway and 40+ is doable. Start throwing in tons of acceleration and braking and it drops). Does it matter? 2-400/year in gas does add up over time but it doesn't come close to depreciation in almost any case. Even 5 dollar gas isn't enough.
And feeling very safe and being safe are not the same thing. A lot of people felt safe in there 90s SUVs because they were big despite the fact they were 2x as dangerous as a car because of the roll over risk. But as I said, ignoring safety issues isn't a big deal for a lot of people. Others panic about it.
When you drive a car only 5,000 - 6,000 miles a year - fuel economy is not a big deal.

I think that many SUVs do not need to comply with the degree of "safety" requirements as passenger cars.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by mxs » Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:43 pm

I thought the Avalon was just a more upscale Camry. I know I looked at the passenger volume and maybe cargo volume numbers and they were either identical or nearly identical.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by dm200 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:47 pm

mxs wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:43 pm
I thought the Avalon was just a more upscale Camry. I know I looked at the passenger volume and maybe cargo volume numbers and they were either identical or nearly identical.
Not exactly - as I understand and read. The older Avalons were based on a "stretch" Camry wheelbase (according to Wikipedia). I guess it depends on whether you define a slightly longer and larger car than the Camry as "more upscale Camry" or not.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by mxs » Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:54 pm

dm200 wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:47 pm
mxs wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:43 pm
I thought the Avalon was just a more upscale Camry. I know I looked at the passenger volume and maybe cargo volume numbers and they were either identical or nearly identical.
Not exactly - as I understand and read. The older Avalons were based on a "stretch" Camry wheelbase (according to Wikipedia). I guess it depends on whether you define a slightly longer and larger car than the Camry as "more upscale Camry" or not.
By more upscale, I meant nicer interior materials and more options. It does appear to be slightly bigger, although I am not sure how noticeable the difference is. I haven't been in or around Avalon's, and rarely around Camry's.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by dm200 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:21 pm

By more upscale, I meant nicer interior materials and more options. It does appear to be slightly bigger, although I am not sure how noticeable the difference is. I haven't been in or around Avalon's, and rarely around Camry's.
Saw a friend's used 2002 Avalon - much nicer (like leather seats) and just a bit bigger than Camry. They also have the 6 cyl engine.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by dm200 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:30 pm

When you drive a car only 5,000 - 6,000 miles a year - fuel economy is not a big deal.
If gasoline costs $3.00/gallon and you drive 500 miles a month:

At 15 mpg = $100
At 20 mpg = $75
At 25 mpg = $60
At 30 mpg = $50
At 35 mpg = $43

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by GreatLaker » Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:35 pm

dm200 wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:24 pm
lostdog wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:35 pm
What is the Lexus luxury equivalent of the Corolla?
I do not think there is a Lexus equivalent of the Corolla
Lexus IS250/ IS350 are about the same size as Corolla, but substantially different car.
Corolla is FWD, 4cyl, 102" wheelbase. IS250/350 are RWD/AWD, 6cyl, 108" wheelbase. I think the IS is based on a Japanese Toyota that is not available in North America.

I have a 2012 IS350 that has never had a problem and only one minor recall. It is now 6 years old and I hope to keep it for at least another decade. But it is a small sports sedan with a firm ride and tiny back seat; a huge upgrade from a Corolla and IMO not at all comparable to Camry/Avalon for size and ride. Definitely not a codger's car, despite my age implying impending codger status. :wink:

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by burt » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:05 pm

We bought a used 2010 Avalon in 2011 with 17,000 miles on it.
Car now has 55,000 miles and we plan to keep it 3 more years.
We love this car. Very comfortable for "larger" people. Good horsepower.
From what I've noticed used, 2-3 year old Avalons are very hard to find.
We will probably buy a new Avalon in a few years.

burt

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by dm200 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:23 pm

From what I've noticed used, 2-3 year old Avalons are very hard to find.


I suspect folks who buy new Avalons keep them for a relatively long time.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by randomguy » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:35 pm

dm200 wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:21 pm
By more upscale, I meant nicer interior materials and more options. It does appear to be slightly bigger, although I am not sure how noticeable the difference is. I haven't been in or around Avalon's, and rarely around Camry's.
Saw a friend's used 2002 Avalon - much nicer (like leather seats) and just a bit bigger than Camry. They also have the 6 cyl engine.

You can get camry's with V6's and leather if you want one. The avalon has slightly better materials (i.e. not lexus quaility but better than camry) but the camry drives a bit better (i.e. less body roll). The Avalon is slightly bigger. The avalon is basically tuned to be the olds person car (not sporty, very floaty). You don't see many of them for sale because it is out sold by like 5:1 versus the camry.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by carolinaman » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:26 am

dm200 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:40 am
carolinaman wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:23 am
I have owned Camrys since 1992 (my current one is 2014 Hybrid) and love them for performance and reliability. They are economical to own. My wife has a 2007 Avalon Limited with all the bells and whistles. She loves it but to me it is just too big. I feel like I am driving a boat. The Avalon is pretty reliable and gets decent mileage but it costs more to repair when maintenance is required. My guess is that cost of ownership is higher for the Avalon. The Avalon depreciates more than a Camry so you can get better buys on a late model used one but I am not sure how they would compare on higher mileage and older models. It really comes down to your preference for a car. They both are good cars but fit different niches of the market.
FWIW, I have rented Corollas a couple of times when traveling and there is no comparison between a Corolla and a Camry. The Camry is far superior and a much better ride. The Corolla is a much cheaper car in every respect.
I wonder if this is true for the older Avalons? My understanding is that (unlike similar vintage Camrys) they do not have timing belts.
Per Internet site, Avalon has had timing chain since 2005, timing belt prior to that. 4 cyl Camry began timing chain since 2002. I based my reliability comment on our experience with our Avalon which has 150k miles. We have not had many problems but when we do, it seems more expensive to fix than Camry.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:29 am

randomguy wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:46 pm
What do you consider a huge car? A school bus?:) Seriously the Taurus is 203" long. That is a huge car. Other than a couple of Rolls Royce,s there aren't many cars that are noticeably bigger than a Taurus. A 200" long car is well into the huge category in my world. I would argue a ES (and accord for that matter) are pushing into the huge world. They pretty close to the same size as full sized cars fo the 80s. Heck a modern civic is the same size as an 80s accord. But huge is only bad if it is an issue (parking tends to be the big one) for you.

Size wise the Corolla is about the same as an IS but otherwise they have little in common (i.e. RWD versus FWD, totally different platforms). The accura ILX versus civic is more of the luxed up entry level car.
Compare it to a Crew Cab pickup, a Suburban, a Yukon XL or many of the other SUVs and trucks out there and it is still not big. I guess it is all relative.

I get your point. In the sedan arena, the LS 430 is still on the bigger side. It doesn't drive big. Our ES 350 doesn't drive much bigger than an Accord/Camry/Fusion.

With teen drivers I reached the point there smallness wasn't a key factor. In fact, I avoid smallness for smallness sake due to safety.

I also like the comments about gas mileage not really making that much difference. My car gets driven 5,000 miles. Our teen drivers put on about 5,000 miles. Gas mileage and Premium gas may account for $400 to $500 more per vehicle in a year.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by pangea33 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:13 am

My 2001 Camry has been in the family for about 12 years now. My wife put 80k miles on it and I've pushed that to 172k. Still running strong.

Got the bug to tinker on mechanical things when I started riding motorcycles. Gradually progressing until I had the confidence to start working on my car. Added plus that I don't think has been mentioned yet: Camrys are exceedingly simple to work on and replacement parts are very affordable.

Mechanic quoted me $1300 for struts when I was getting a gasket replaced. Paid $400 and installed them in a couple hours. Last week I replaced my front rotors and pads for under $100 in about an hour. I've heard multiple professionals tell me they routinely see these 2.2l 4-cylinders with 300,000+ miles on them.

Whenever I get bored of this car, my only question is which Camry I want to replace it with.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by ArmchairArchitect » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:57 pm

I'd pass based on having to spend big money ($1,000+ each time) on periodic timing belt replacements.

Cars with timing chains are much lower maintenance.

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:03 pm

ArmchairArchitect wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:57 pm
I'd pass based on having to spend big money ($1,000+ each time) on periodic timing belt replacements.

Cars with timing chains are much lower maintenance.
How many people keep their car through one, two or three "9 year/90k mile" milestones? Very few.

I had no trouble putting $1k into a new timing belt/water pump. The alternative was sell the car that drives like new and spend $20k, $30k, $40k on a new (or used) car.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

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Re: Toyota older, "good" cars - my observations

Post by tivattom » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:14 am

ArmchairArchitect wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:57 pm
I'd pass based on having to spend big money ($1,000+ each time) on periodic timing belt replacements.

Cars with timing chains are much lower maintenance.
In general, you are right. However I thought the same thing when I bought our 2009 Ford with the duratec 3.5 v6. It has timing chains so I thought large preventative maintenance of a timing belt would be avoided. Instead I learned that this particular engine has a water pump internal to the engine driven by the timing chain. When the water pump fails, it dumps coolant directly into the oil pan and the entire engine need to be replaced. So I recently replaced all chains and water pump myself at a cost of $600 for parts alone. At a shop the cost would have been $2k.

So not all timing chain engines are created equally.

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