Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

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Newlife
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:42 pm

Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Newlife »

Dear Bogleheads,

I would like to seek your help in making a decision, especially from those who know cars well. I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla with 136,000 miles. This is my only car. I was planning to buy a new car at the end of the year and give Corolla to my daughter early next year when she turns 16. However, I was told that I need to fix several items.

Now
Serpentine Belt, $81.16
Suspension Strut Complete Assembly R&R (Front, Both Sides), $553.78
Suspension Strut Complete Assembly R&R (Rear, Both Sides), $505.53
Stabilizer Bar Link Kit R&R (Both Sides), $132.13
Alternator R&R, $312.71

Future recommendations
Steering Rack and pinion: $795
Rear brakes: $200

Questions
1. Should I repair the car? The repair price is more than the car's value. The mechanic told me that Corolla can be driven by 300,000 miles. Will I have more repairs coming up? Is it worthwhile to repair the car?
2. Should I just fix the alternator now? I need a car before I buy one. Then sell the car after I get a new one.
3. Rear struts conditions are fair but recommended to replace them along with front structs for even rides. Is this a fair recommendation?

I am the first owner of the car. My husband purchased it. He died one year ago so it is sad to let go of the car. However, I don't think he would want me to spend more money if it is not worthwhile. I appreciate your suggestions/ideas.

Newlife
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rob
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by rob »

Time to let it roam free on a farm :-)
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien
Normchad
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Normchad »

Does the car run now?

A lot of that stuff looks like what a mechanic would say when asked “what do I need to do, to make this car perfect for my 16 year old?”.

The alternator is important. Is it broken now? If it were, you’d be having trouble starting the car and need to jump start it a lot.

The front and rear struts should be replaced, *if they are leaking*. So, are they leaking, or is this a preemptive move?

The steering rack is important, and should be replaced, again,mix it’s failing. Is it leaking?

Having said all that, when I was in your shoes, I had planned to give my 16 yo daughter my 12 year old Honda Accord. When the time came around, I decided instead to give her a much newer car. There wasn’t anything wrong with the car per se, but I was haunted by the fear she’d be an accident, and I’d forever regret not putting her in something even safer.
RetiredAL
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by RetiredAL »

Those are pretty standard shop talk items for when we see a money bags!

The belts wear and at some point of time, they need replacement. Alternator?? Unless it's whining from a bad bearing, no way. A alternator electrical failure means your battery will not be charging. Struts only if they are leaking to the point not functioning properly as a shock absorber.

A real question to ask yourself is how much safety equipment does a 2003 Corolla have. It's an economy car so does it have side airbags. The odds are as a learning driver, she will not be as aware of hazard details such as will the car coming from my left stop or push the light, do I need to sit tight a moment? I say upgrade to something newer that has better occupant safety features, in particular side impact safety.
christoph_kohl
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Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:22 pm

Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by christoph_kohl »

Should you repair the car? Maybe.
What are the symptoms?

How many miles (and months) is the current serpentine belt going for?
This is a somewhat reasonable maintenance.

Why are your suspension struts bad? Are they really bad, or just sub-optimal?

Is the alternator bad?
This is a somewhat reasonable maintenance. Guess if you're going there, might as well look at the water-pump and/or others.

Is your steering going? I think this is something you can wait on, unless its visibly leaking.

Newlife wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:57 pm Dear Bogleheads,

I would like to seek your help in making a decision, especially from those who know cars well. I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla with 136,000 miles. This is my only car. I was planning to buy a new car at the end of the year and give Corolla to my daughter early next year when she turns 16. However, I was told that I need to fix several items.

Now
Serpentine Belt, $81.16
Suspension Strut Complete Assembly R&R (Front, Both Sides), $553.78
Suspension Strut Complete Assembly R&R (Rear, Both Sides), $505.53
Stabilizer Bar Link Kit R&R (Both Sides), $132.13
Alternator R&R, $312.71

Future recommendations
Steering Rack and pinion: $795
Rear brakes: $200

Questions
1. Should I repair the car? The repair price is more than the car's value. The mechanic told me that Corolla can be driven by 300,000 miles. Will I have more repairs coming up? Is it worthwhile to repair the car?
2. Should I just fix the alternator now? I need a car before I buy one. Then sell the car after I get a new one.
3. Rear struts conditions are fair but recommended to replace them along with front structs for even rides. Is this a fair recommendation?

I am the first owner of the car. My husband purchased it. He died one year ago so it is sad to let go of the car. However, I don't think he would want me to spend more money if it is not worthwhile. I appreciate your suggestions/ideas.

Newlife
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Watty
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Watty »

Newlife wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:57 pm The mechanic told me that Corolla can be driven by 300,000 miles.
Even without a lot of miles for the age 18 years is a good run for a car.

While some Corollas may go 300k miles, most don't and the ones that do are typically owned by someone who can do their own car repairs and enjoys working on cars.

People have posted that the used car market is going crazy right now so even with the known issues you could still likely sell it for non-trivial amount even in the current condition since it has such low mileage for its age. For example I bought a new 2018 Corolla three years ago and places like CarMax are selling them for more than I paid for it when it was new.

Someone who can work on cars themself might love to get a one owner low mileage Corolla like that that they could fix up for a few hundred dollars in parts and some elbow grease.
Newlife wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:57 pm I was planning to buy a new car at the end of the year and give Corolla to my daughter early next year when she turns 16.
....
I appreciate your suggestions/ideas.
A lot depends on your budget but if I was in your situation then I would go on and sell it as is then get the new car now since you were planning to get one by the end of the year anyway.

If you get a new car, and not a used car it will come with a boatload of advanced safety features that would be good for a new driver to have when they are learning to drive. There have been a lot advances in car safety in the last 18 years. It might really sting if she wrecks your new car but there would be a lot better chance that she will walk away from an accident and your car insurance should cover the damage.

One big safety advantage is that electronic stability control(ESC) is a really good safety feature to have and it became required as standard equipment in 2012. Your 2003 Corolla very likely does not have it. Next year if you want to get your daughter a car of her own the used car markets may have normalized by then and you might be able to get a much newer, and safer, used car for her by then.
Last edited by Watty on Sat Apr 03, 2021 10:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
rooms222
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by rooms222 »

We have in the family the almost identical 2005 Corolla. Those are all things that we have replaced with about 200,000 miles overall. Any mechanic would love to buy this car used and fix those things up, as they are common wear items over time. As the person in the family that has the car now is of limited means, she has been slowly replacing maintenance items over time. Even so, multiple mechanics have always wanted to buy her car.


That is the nature of an older car. Are you budgeting for maintenance each month? Like about $200/month?
Doing things step by step is how to do it if you are keeping the car.

Serpentine belt would be number one.

Agree that struts can usually wait. Do they feel bad? Are they clanking yet?

Need more info on the alternator. Is the light coming on? Is he recommending doing it because it is cheaper to do when he also does the serpentine belt?

Steering rack is also a future item.

Also, was your car part of the airbag recall? If so, did you get them fixed?
lakpr
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Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:59 am

Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by lakpr »

Coincidentally, I had just given up by 2004 Honda to charity (Kars for Kids) as I had become tired of never ending repairs. I would urge you to let it go, let it gooooo...
random_walker_77
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by random_walker_77 »

Do also consider that cars have undergone large improvements in structural strength over the years, in no small part due to "tougher" IIHS crash tests. They added testing for side impacts and small overlap frontal impacts in 2003 and 2012. When cars perform poorly on such benchmarks, the next generation tends to get designed to do better.

Take a look at this short crash test video of a 1998 corolla vs a 2015 corolla. If money isn't an issue, I'd suggest putting your daughter in a used corolla (or camry, or minivan) from around 2015 or later.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xidhx_f-ouU
Normchad
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:20 am

Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Normchad »

random_walker_77 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 10:21 pm Do also consider that cars have undergone large improvements in structural strength over the years, in no small part due to "tougher" IIHS crash tests. They added testing for side impacts and small overlap frontal impacts in 2003 and 2012. When cars perform poorly on such benchmarks, the next generation tends to get designed to do better.

Take a look at this short crash test video of a 1998 corolla vs a 2015 corolla. If money isn't an issue, I'd suggest putting your daughter in a used corolla (or camry, or minivan) from around 2015 or later.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xidhx_f-ouU
Wow! What a great video. It really shows just how much crash worthiness has improved in just the last 20-25 years. Just amazing.
inbox788
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by inbox788 »

Replace it! Buy the replacement sooner so you don't have to worry about this car and have use of the extra car and can take your time selling or doing minor repairs if necessary. What are you buying? New vs used?

[What state are you in? Condition of car from Michigan is very different than Arizona.]

Is anything broken? Don't fix anything that's not broken. Don't replace things that might break.

If anything is broken, sell it as is. You won't get your money back on what you spend to fix it. You can probably get $2k or more with some broken or failing items. If you do everything on the list, you might only get $3k.

Do you have repair records? (not just routine maintenance service -- assume that was more or less done on schedule) What has already been fixed (when -- mileage)? There's a fair chance the alternator may already have been replaced, but if not, then it's on borrowed time. A jump start gets you home, so keep a battery starter in the car just in case, but that doesn't solve your $300 (plus $80) problem (For the DIY, it's only a $150 problem and a couple of hours work/entertainment/satisfaction and they might take care of that $20 serpentine belt as well).

Any problem on how it rides? Going over bumps? Hows the tire wear? Regular and even? How old are the tires and how much thread is left? No mention, so assume it's good. Same with front brakes. Depending on when last rear break service was done, same issue as alternator. Hopefully they were changed and not original ones.

I'm guessing a lot, most or even all the items on the list aren't broken or failing, but just old and at risk. You just never know which one is the first to go or when, so you change them all. But that's not worth it IMO.
VoiceOfReason
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by VoiceOfReason »

Newlife wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:57 pm

Now
Serpentine Belt, $81.16
Suspension Strut Complete Assembly R&R (Front, Both Sides), $553.78
Suspension Strut Complete Assembly R&R (Rear, Both Sides), $505.53
Stabilizer Bar Link Kit R&R (Both Sides), $132.13
Alternator R&R, $312.71
This list sounds like the generic list of recommended work provided by a bad shop every time they see an old car.

Is this a mechanic you trust or a national shop type place with a rotating crew?

I have a 2007 Toyota with 240k miles. Having a trusted mechanic that is aligned w my goals of the car has been key. They are not out to suggest nonsense, just the work that is actually needed to make the car reliable and safe until my targeted end date for the car.

The alternator and the belt will fail. It will not be catastrophic failure, just a temporary nuisance. (Car won’t start one day). The struts and other items, like someone else says, are they actually failing?

The real question, is this an appropriate car to give your daughter?
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

For a car like this, I'd recommend not comparing the cost to repair to what the car will be worth, but instead, compare the cost to repair with the cost of a new car. This is way cheaper than even a 50k mile used Corolla.

Things that make sense: Alternator and serpentine belt. If the alternator needs to be replaced, this means that you've gone out to a dead battery and had to have the car jumped to start. If that's not the case, then why is it being suggested to replace the alternator?

Shocks can wait. If one was completely toast, the mechanic would have specifically pointed it out. Shocks tend to very slowly deteriorate over time. If you're not trying to get the best set through the turn 6 bowl at NHMS, then who cares?

Sway bar end links don't need to be done. I'm not saying they're not bad.....at that mileage, they certainly are. You'll probably find that a lower trim level Corolla doesn't even have a sway bar. The effect is that you're going to hear a dull thump while going over bumps. Who cares? The end links themselves are under $10 at Rock auto. Some are under $5. If you want to do them yourself, go for it. I changed the ones on an 09 Fusion I had, but it was just the fronts to get rid of the thunks and I was willing to spend $25 including shipping to have Rock Auto send me some new ones.

If you decided to do all of these services, I don't think that's a bad idea. Think of it this way. A car payment is typically $300 a month for a car like yours. In a year, that's $3600. So for the cost of all of these repairs, you're paying on par with a year of car payments.

What else might be due? Well, the car IS old and has a lot of miles. If I were buying your car, besides what you're talking about, I'd change the brake fluid (get a turkey baster and remove the brake fluid from the master cylinder and put in some new DOT 4....maybe $5). I would expect some of the coolant hoses are going to need to be replaced from age. Figure $100 for hoses and new coolant. How are the brakes? Rock Auto would again be my go to place for parts there. 4 rotors and 4 sets of pads with shipping are under $100. If you're having a shop do it, they're going to charge you a total of $800 for that. Wheel bearings? I don't know how long they last in Corollas, but figure a couple hundred each and you have 4 of them. CV axles: the boots aren't going to last forever. If they're ok, leave them alone, but they cost something like $75 each at an Auto Zone or Rock Auto. Changing them is maybe a couple hours shop time. They will need to be replaced when you start smelling what seems like oil because the grease in the boots get flung all over the engine compartment when these fail.

This car has a timing chain, not a belt, so you won't need to replace that. But eventually, you're going to need to do the tensioner and guides. That's a few hundred dollars. The 1ZZ engine is an "interference" engine, which means that if the timing chain does fail, your engine is toast. Technically, you could rebuild the head with new valves and guides if the pistons don't have major damage, but that's sort of at the point where either you replace the engine with a junkyard engine.
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Kris3
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Kris3 »

The steering rack “future repair” recommendation is odd. It is either leaking and needs to be replaced immediately, or it is not and can go on indefinitely. I would ask the mechanic, as they typically fill one of the boots with fluid when a seal is compromised. That recommendation makes me question the entire list.
david99
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by david99 »

You may want to look at how much rust the car has. I had to get rid of a 2000 Toyota Corolla three years ago due to rust. The gas line had rusted and was leaking. The car ran well and only had 100000 miles but there was a lot of rust on the underbody.
MikeG62
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by MikeG62 »

Newlife wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:57 pm Dear Bogleheads,

I would like to seek your help in making a decision, especially from those who know cars well. I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla with 136,000 miles. This is my only car. I was planning to buy a new car at the end of the year and give Corolla to my daughter early next year when she turns 16. However, I was told that I need to fix several items.

...I am the first owner of the car. My husband purchased it. He died one year ago so it is sad to let go of the car. However, I don't think he would want me to spend more money if it is not worthwhile. I appreciate your suggestions/ideas.

Newlife
I am sorry for your loss.

I personally would not give an 16 year old car to either of my daughters to drive regardless of miles or condition. I'd try and get them a late model car with all the current technology and safety features if that is in any way affordable.

Good luck.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience
1moreyr
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by 1moreyr »

Lots of good information above.

If you can afford to put yourself and your daughter in newer cars, that's great. If I added it up right, it's about $2200 in total. you would be hard pressed to find a decent car for your daughter at that price. You know the maintenance history and reliability of the car so you can factor that in as well.

if the body is solid, Fix it up, get your daughter a AAA card and let her get a part time job. maintaining an older car builds character :happy
T4REngineer
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by T4REngineer »

Newlife wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:57 pm Dear Bogleheads,

I would like to seek your help in making a decision, especially from those who know cars well. I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla with 136,000 miles. This is my only car. I was planning to buy a new car at the end of the year and give Corolla to my daughter early next year when she turns 16. However, I was told that I need to fix several items.

Now
Serpentine Belt, $81.16
Suspension Strut Complete Assembly R&R (Front, Both Sides), $553.78
Suspension Strut Complete Assembly R&R (Rear, Both Sides), $505.53
Stabilizer Bar Link Kit R&R (Both Sides), $132.13
Alternator R&R, $312.71

Future recommendations
Steering Rack and pinion: $795
Rear brakes: $200

Questions
1. Should I repair the car? The repair price is more than the car's value. The mechanic told me that Corolla can be driven by 300,000 miles. Will I have more repairs coming up? Is it worthwhile to repair the car?
2. Should I just fix the alternator now? I need a car before I buy one. Then sell the car after I get a new one.
3. Rear struts conditions are fair but recommended to replace them along with front structs for even rides. Is this a fair recommendation?

I am the first owner of the car. My husband purchased it. He died one year ago so it is sad to let go of the car. However, I don't think he would want me to spend more money if it is not worthwhile. I appreciate your suggestions/ideas.

Newlife
I am sorry for your loss and applaud you for digging into this vs "Accepting what the mechanic says"

You are going to find alot of various opinions on this ranging from
*Only the safest is best, buy her something newer
*Drive as is
*Fix it yourself
*etc

None of the above are wrong answers they are just answers from different perspectives given the limited information. If by some random chance you happen to be near mid Michigan I would be happy to help evaluate what actually needs to be done and would certainly be willing to do most of this for free (these jobs are extremely simple except for maybe the steering rack and alternator depending how buried in the engine bay they are - simple for someone with mechanical inclination , tools and a lift - not saying simple for everyone). Below are my thoughts on the jobs which are echos of many others above, in general I would say if your daughter is only driving in town at lower than 45mph there is nothing wrong with the car, if they are commuting on a highway at 80mph during early morning or evening I would be more inclined to get a new option. A huge part of this choice is also the financial, is ~$3000 in repairs pocket change to you, is a 25K new one the same way and x2 if you need a new car Aswell? Also overall condition plays into it, lots of rust id be more incensed to move it on. If you happen to know any friends who are handy this is the ideal car and I guarantee who ever buys it will be someone handy with

*A long commute looking for a commutor
*Someone with a newer driver
*Someone in need of cheap transportation

For whats is worth and as a random piece of info it looks like its about 5-800$ in parts to do all these jobs and thats not rockauto prices , just 1st listing on google prices.


*Belts wear out with time and age, if you know the last time it was replaced including miles its helpful but the easiest visual way is to look at the side of the belt with grooves and if you see a lot of cracking its a good chance its time to replace. The other item to generally replace here is the tensioner pulley if its going bad, they don't last forever and if it fails it will generally eat a belt.

*Alternator you would know if its bad, either its not charing the car and you are having to jump the batter often or its making noise, if neither of those are occurring almost no one replaces them as preventative maintenance (Sounds like its bad and causing problems from your post)

*Steering rack is the same thing, you are going to know if this is failing - loose steering, noisy I would not replace as preventative maintenance

*Sway bar end link is similar, if you get under the car and grab them and attempt to move them , movement in the end joints is indication they have failed (the only other way to fail is to be snapped in half) If they are bad I would replace because the noise it will make is annoying and also you get used to it and then won't realize when other things are going bad - no one listens or feels there cars anymore, which is why people can not self diagnosis - they are machines but they talk in more ways then error codes :)

*Struts you know are bad if you push on the hood and/or trunk (gently) and let the car bounce, if it does not stop bouncing within a few bounces and the bounces get noticeable smaller every time your have bad struts/shocks

*Brakes are due when they are due, this should be determined by remaining pad life and then if the rotors/drums have to be placed is generally more of a judgement call. A lot of times they are replaced when there is not technically anything wrong but because you are already in there doing the job.
the-worst-investor
Posts: 26
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by the-worst-investor »

My wife has a 2007 Corolla with around the same mileage. At that point in a cars life, pretty much everything than can go wrong is going to be a preemptive fix now. I would keep the car because it has relatively low mileage for a Toyota. Repair things as they break because more than likely that car is going to last another decade or more. You don’t want your kid driving a brand new car that they’ll probably destroy in the first place. Most of the time when you take a vehicle to a mechanic they’re going to give you a laundry list of things to fix, even though the car doesn’t necessarily need it to function. Keep up regular maintenance and that car will keep chugging along.

We joke that our newborns first car is going to be my wife’s Corolla.
RobLyons
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by RobLyons »

I had an 04 Corolla that all I put into it was brakes and clutch. Great little cars. Very reliable. First was this at a local independent mechanic or dealership? Dealerships are almost always more money. I'd get a second opinion with a clear breakdown of exactly what it needs and why the future recommended upgrade.

If 2nd opinion is about the same then it's time to trade it in and get something newer. The car is 18 years old and you need to sink $1500-$2k+ with more expenses on the way. Not to mention all the benefits of newer vehicles (safety, comfort, tech) its time to treat yourself.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"
dknightd
Posts: 2551
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by dknightd »

I'm going to assume you took the car to a mechanic because the battery light was on.
So it likely needs a new alternator. If the belt has not been replaced lately, now would be a good time.

It seems you already plan to replace this car, and perhaps give it to your daughter.

So you really have 3 decisions to make.
1) replace now or later
2) what are you going to replace it with
3) do you really want to give your kid this car
Newlife wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:57 pm 1. Should I repair the car? The repair price is more than the car's value. The mechanic told me that Corolla can be driven by 300,000 miles. Will I have more repairs coming up? Is it worthwhile to repair the car?
2. Should I just fix the alternator now? I need a car before I buy one. Then sell the car after I get a new one.
If you need a car now. My advice would be to do the alternator and belt. Or, if you are having the service done by a toyota dealer, and you want your next car to be a toyota, walk next door and drive off in a new car.
All the other recommended services are for keeping the car alive for a long time.
Newlife wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:57 pm 3. Rear struts conditions are fair but recommended to replace them along with front structs for even rides. Is this a fair recommendation?

I am the first owner of the car. My husband purchased it. He died one year ago so it is sad to let go of the car. However, I don't think he would want me to spend more money if it is not worthwhile. I appreciate your suggestions/ideas.

Newlife
Sorry for your loss. I do not know your financial situation. I suspect he would like you both to drive nice new cars. If you are in the habit of keeping cars for a long time that is good advice IMO. If you can afford it buy a new car for you, and buy a new car for your daughter.
If you value a bird in the hand, pay off the loan. If you are willing to risk getting two birds (or none) from the market, invest the funds. Retired 9/19. Still working on mortgage payoff.
mrpotatoheadsays
Posts: 244
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:36 pm

Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by mrpotatoheadsays »

Sounds like you need a new mechanic first.

I had a mechanic tell me my car needed over $2000 in repairs. I fixed what needed to be be done myself for ~$200, drove it for two more years and then sold it near the expected end-of-life mileage.
dknightd
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by dknightd »

mrpotatoheadsays wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 8:54 am Sounds like you need a new mechanic first.

I had a mechanic tell me my car needed over $2000 in repairs. I fixed what needed to be be done myself for ~$200, drove it for two more years and then sold it near the expected end-of-life mileage.
Are you volunteering to fix her car?
If you value a bird in the hand, pay off the loan. If you are willing to risk getting two birds (or none) from the market, invest the funds. Retired 9/19. Still working on mortgage payoff.
alfaspider
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by alfaspider »

I’d leave it be unless you are doing the work yourself (would be about 1/4 of that price). The suspension is likely tired, but unless the shocks are completely blown, it’s all functional. If the alternator was bad the car wouldn’t start. Serpentine belt is not a terrible idea as preventative maintenance if you don’t know when it was last done.
kilkoyne
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:38 am

Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by kilkoyne »

Struts with the springs are easy to put on and you can pick them up for less than $50.00 each. You can do the whole car for under $200.00. I wouldn't even bother with a front end alignment. I've been riding on mine without an alignment for 2 years and the tires are fine.


Serpentine Belt is around $10.00 and is very easy.
Alternator is $80.00 after core.

Check out the prices on RockAuto like the other poster mentioned. Most of this work is easy.
Last edited by kilkoyne on Sun Apr 04, 2021 9:33 am, edited 3 times in total.
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F150HD
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by F150HD »

2003 Toyota? IME, I'd try to keep it as they do tend to run awhile (unlike some current vehicles)

Consider...putting some $$ into it but then only carrying liability (and comprehensive). Insurance savings may offset some maintenance cost.
furb
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by furb »

Sounds like the mechanic thinks you are an easy target. I’d take it somewhere else and see what they say. My 1999 Corolla had 268k on the original struts. Did it drive like the struts were shot? Maybe but it’s a Corolla not an auto cross car and they weren’t leaking. If it actually needs an alternator it’s a good idea to change the belt while it’s off. That’s a lot for a car with 118k on it regardless of age. My 98 Crv has over 250k on all the original suspension. Most of the cars I end up with are from people getting large repair estimates for inspections. I had an Integra that needed almost $4000 in repairs for inspection at one garage. I bought it and had it inspected after putting two tires on and taking to a reputable mom and pop garage for inspection. Dealerships and fancy garages need to pay for the overhead somehow. Another car I bought had service records with it. They charged extra labor to check and adjust ride height after replacing control arms. There is no way to change the ride height on the car.
dknightd
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by dknightd »

If I die before my wife. I want to make sure she can buy a new car. That could come from life insurance, or portfolio balance.
Cars are consumables. Just like food or water. Perhaps a better way of thinking about this is - how much transport do you need. Does a car even make sense?

For some a car is a unnecessary expensive
If you value a bird in the hand, pay off the loan. If you are willing to risk getting two birds (or none) from the market, invest the funds. Retired 9/19. Still working on mortgage payoff.
Helios
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Helios »

I have owned 5 corollas. They are very easy to work on. A serpentine belt can break or...stretch. Replacing it is very youtubr easy. It will run better with new belt. Alternator, easy fix.
Go on your local social media and find a shadetree mechanic, they can fix all of those things.
I now am on my 5th corolla, a 2018, wife drives the 2015 avalon.

Toyota dealerships routinely give you the entire menu. Its tuff to make money fixing cars that are almost bulletproof.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Something to consider: Just replace the serpentine belt. If it's really old and slipping on the alternator pulley, the alternator could be perfectly fine, but not charge as well. I don't know if this is the case with your car....just something that can be considered.
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illumination
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by illumination »

In purely economic terms, fixing your current car is almost always cheaper. I also think it's a good idea to give a 16 year old an inexpensive car.

That being said, this list really is a mechanic "wish list" that sounds excessive to me. I would have to see it for myself to know, but you don't preemptively replace things like an alternator, it's either tested and working or it isn't. Did it leave you stranded? Is a dash light coming on?

I'd obviously have to see the vehicle myself to really know, but my instinct is it needs none of these things. I've had cars on original struts, suspension parts, starters, alternators, etc at 180k miles.

Find another shop, ask around, but if the car has no handling problems and no lights going on, I'd personally just hand it over to your 16 year old to drive. Taking it to a shop and asking for them to find issues is just an invitation to be taken advantage of at most places.
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goonie
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by goonie »

Nothing on that list signals to me that you should definitely get rid of the car.

If you're going to keep it, I would take it to a different local mechanic shop (one that is well regarded in your area) and get another inspection. Any repairs listed as necessary on both inspections - have those taken care of by one of the two shops (you choose). Nobody on this forum is going to be able to give a fair assessment of what you should and shouldn't have done without seeing the car in person and driving it. I think you should rely on the mechanics in your area but still get a 2nd opinion.

Going forward you can keep in mind everything else that was on the 2 lists and see what gets mentioned as necessary the next time you bring it. Maybe take it back in about 6 months for at least an oil change. Most shops do a multi-point inspection with an oil change, so you can see what stuff they bring up at that point. Also, have you been keeping up with the maintenance schedule in the owners manual?

This car seems to be a decent option to give to a high school student who isn't venturing far from home. With that said...if your finances are in really good shape, a case can definitely be made for replacing it now with something newer, driving it yourself for a while, and then giving it to your daughter when the time comes.

Also, if you decide to keep this car, it's not a one-time decision. Re-evaluate everything from time to time.

Best of luck and I'm very sorry for your loss.
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Kenkat
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Kenkat »

My guess is that your battery light is on because the alternator is failing. So I think you need to replace that. I think they are recommending the belt because you might as well replace it since you are removing the alternator (which runs off the belt) anyway. Even if you are going to sell it, it’s probably worth getting these items replaced.

As far as the struts and sway bar, those items can probably wait - especially if the car will not be driven a lot by a new driver.

As to whether to replace or not, that’s really a personal decision. Yes a new car is safer, but there’s a cost trade off to that as well and it’s a question between safe and safest in my opinion.
Zillions
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Zillions »

Newlife wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:57 pm Dear Bogleheads,

I would like to seek your help in making a decision, especially from those who know cars well. I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla with 136,000 miles. This is my only car. I was planning to buy a new car at the end of the year and give Corolla to my daughter early next year when she turns 16. However, I was told that I need to fix several items.

Now
Serpentine Belt, $81.16
Suspension Strut Complete Assembly R&R (Front, Both Sides), $553.78
Suspension Strut Complete Assembly R&R (Rear, Both Sides), $505.53
Stabilizer Bar Link Kit R&R (Both Sides), $132.13
Alternator R&R, $312.71

Future recommendations
Steering Rack and pinion: $795
Rear brakes: $200

Questions
1. Should I repair the car? The repair price is more than the car's value. The mechanic told me that Corolla can be driven by 300,000 miles. Will I have more repairs coming up? Is it worthwhile to repair the car?
2. Should I just fix the alternator now? I need a car before I buy one. Then sell the car after I get a new one.
3. Rear struts conditions are fair but recommended to replace them along with front structs for even rides. Is this a fair recommendation?

I am the first owner of the car. My husband purchased it. He died one year ago so it is sad to let go of the car. However, I don't think he would want me to spend more money if it is not worthwhile. I appreciate your suggestions/ideas.

Newlife
I am so sorry for your loss.

Like you, I have a teen daughter who will get her license this Summer. I would give your child a newer and "safer" car. It doesn't have to be "brand new" but a car that is a newer model (preferably 2016 or later) with only a few thousand miles on it.

My kid is reasonably cautious and will likely be a good & defensive driver but I wouldn't want to risk her driving an older car, definitely not a 2003 model. JMO.
Broken Man 1999
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Well, if your intent is giving your daughter the 2003, and buying a new car, I would give the daughter the new car, and I would continue to drive the old car.

A better option if you could afford it would to buy two new cars, or two newer cars, as many safety features have been out for a few years.

No way I put a new driver in such an aged vehicle, nor would I drive one myself, funds permitting.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go." - Mark Twain
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Dottie57 »

rob wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:00 pm Time to let it roam free on a farm :-)
+1.
squirm
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by squirm »

Sell it, buy yourself a nice replacement, enjoy it.
tibbitts
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by tibbitts »

Nobody can make useful comments without understanding the OP's financial position. Of course we have the usual assortment of misguided comments about how easy these repairs are for anyone to do themselves, but that's just a feature of the forum so everyone has to put up with it.

I do understand the vehicle having some sentimental value. Honestly I've thrown away some items that were much more personal and had sentimental value that I wish I could have back, but they were 100x smaller than a car and would have been easy to keep. Because a car isn't normally a very personal item, I really believe the OP wouldn't miss the car for long if it's sold.
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Newlife
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Newlife »

I really appreciate your valuable suggestions and feedback. The video is very informative and I am sold. I lean toward buying a new car now. I don't want to jeopardize my and my children's lives.

My next decision would be--which car to buy. I live in California so gas cars will phase out in 2035. So far I have not entertained the idea of an EV. However, the new development made me think that perhaps I should think about it. I am also attracted to the idea of low maintenance. A friend of mine likes her Telsa. I don't like a big car but would need to have a car for road trips. We did a 1000-mile trip on our Corolla so I don't mind another Corolla. I don't know what to choose: an electric, a plug-in hybrid, hybrid or gasoline car. The family car will be used to commute to work, school, soccer, and occasional road trips. I only have a 4-mile (one-way) commute to work. I am still working from home but will return to work in the fall.

My personal finance situation. I think I can afford to buy two new cars, but not luxury cars. My income is not high but we have some savings. Because I am the sole breadwinner with two children, I feel that I need to be careful with money. However, safety should come first. I do keep cars for many years so it will be worthwhile to spend money on reliable cars.

I am thinking of buying a Corolla or Corolla Hybrid now and get it to my daughter next year or whenever she is ready to drive. I don't know how reliable an EV is now. It might be better if I wait until I have the first car. What do you think? I really appreciate the collective wisdom.
Normchad
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Normchad »

Newlife wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 6:27 pm I really appreciate your valuable suggestions and feedback. The video is very informative and I am sold. I lean toward buying a new car now. I don't want to jeopardize my and my children's lives.

My next decision would be--which car to buy. I live in California so gas cars will phase out in 2035. So far I have not entertained the idea of an EV. However, the new development made me think that perhaps I should think about it. I am also attracted to the idea of low maintenance. A friend of mine likes her Telsa. I don't like a big car but would need to have a car for road trips. We did a 1000-mile trip on our Corolla so I don't mind another Corolla. I don't know what to choose: an electric, a plug-in hybrid, hybrid or gasoline car. The family car will be used to commute to work, school, soccer, and occasional road trips. I only have a 4-mile (one-way) commute to work. I am still working from home but will return to work in the fall.

My personal finance situation. I think I can afford to buy two new cars, but not luxury cars. My income is not high but we have some savings. Because I am the sole breadwinner with two children, I feel that I need to be careful with money. However, safety should come first. I do keep cars for many years so it will be worthwhile to spend money on reliable cars.

I am thinking of buying a Corolla or Corolla Hybrid now and get it to my daughter next year or whenever she is ready to drive. I don't know how reliable an EV is now. It might be better if I wait until I have the first car. What do you think? I really appreciate the collective wisdom.
Corollas are terrific cars. I would personally be okay driving the 2003. The reasoning is that I’m an experienced driver. For new drivers, not only are they new drivers, but their lives revolve around the school, where hundreds of other new drivers are learning through trial and error. :). So I’d be fine with the 2003, even if I wouldn’t give one to my kid.

But for new cars, a new Corolla is a great choice. Big enough, roomy enough, economical, reliable, and just an outstanding car for the money. There are lots of other great choices as well, obviously.
NMBob
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by NMBob »

it doesn't look like there is any tax break for a new corolla hybrid as opposed to say the 2021 Rav 4 plug in hybrid or say a chrysler pacifica which both get the 7500 tax break.

https://fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxevb.shtml

skipping the hybrid /ev issue, just looking at suvs recently, seemed like a used Honda CR-v "certified "from a honda dealer comes with a good chunk of warranty and lots of safety features in the not top tier model. adaptive cruise control and forward collision mitigation braking, lane departure warning etc
quantAndHold
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by quantAndHold »

I have a 2005 Mazda with low miles so I get ya’.

If someone presented this list to me, I would get a second opinion. If the second person agreed, I’d take it to Carmax and see what they would give me for it. Depending on the number Carmax gave me, I’d either sell it or just drive it until it was ready for the junkyard.

I might do the serpentine belt, though, especially if it was something I could do myself. I don’t know how hard it is on a Corolla, but the price makes me think that I could probably figure it out from a YouTube video.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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Watty
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Watty »

If the you daughter will be getting the car then an electric car might not be a good choice since when she moves to a dorm or apartment she may not have easy access to a charging station.
Newlife wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 6:27 pm I am thinking of buying a Corolla or Corolla Hybrid now and get it to my daughter next year or whenever she is ready to drive.
With as few miles as you drive the hybrid would likely not be worth the extra cost.

I have a 2018 Corolla LE that I bought new and I am very happy with it and it has been OK for road trips, at least in the front seat. It is not fancy but it would likely feel like significant step up from a 2003 Corolla.

One thing that can be confusing is that the Corolla IM (renamed to Corolla Hatchback) is a totally different car than the regular Corolla so keep that in mind when you are doing your research.

There would be tradoffs but you might also look at the Hyundai Elantra. It comes with a longer warranty and the full warranty would last most of the way through college if your daughter goes to college. The 10 year powertrain warranty would last her well into her 20s. I have heard good things about Hyundai but their quality may be a bit lower than Toyota.

Here is a post that I did about my online car buying experience a few years ago that you might find helpful. This is the third new car that I have bought like that.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=239526&p=3746230
jlawrence01
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by jlawrence01 »

Newlife wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:57 pm

Questions
1. Should I repair the car? The repair price is more than the car's value. The mechanic told me that Corolla can be driven by 300,000 miles. Will I have more repairs coming up? Is it worthwhile to repair the car?
2. Should I just fix the alternator now? I need a car before I buy one. Then sell the car after I get a new one.
3. Rear struts conditions are fair but recommended to replace them along with front structs for even rides. Is this a fair recommendation?

I am the first owner of the car. My husband purchased it. He died one year ago so it is sad to let go of the car. However, I don't think he would want me to spend more money if it is not worthwhile. I appreciate your suggestions/ideas.

Newlife

My 2007 Toyota Corolla has 160k miles on it after this weekend. Since I have moved to Tucson from Chicago, I use a Toyota dealership and the same service rep all the time. Whenever he recommends a repair, he will let me know if there is a serious safety issue which will be repaired that day, whether a repair can wait for another 5000 miles, and he lets me know the status of my brake pads, tires and battery.

Three years ago, he had a child and I had to use another service rep and I received a laundry list of things that could be done. I looked at the guy and just asked him what was essential and nothing was. So i paid for the oil change and that was it.

I am NOT going to get into the usual foolish Boglehead argument that "you could save a ton of money replacing own engine, transmission, and the like." I do not have the equipment nor the interest. The place I take it does a great job and they are no more than 10% more expensive than the local shops on some repairs and a lot less on others.

OP, I would recommend that you ask your friends for their recommendations. Unless the engine or transmission is bad or their is massive rust damage, I would try to pare down the costs and repair the car.
inbox788
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by inbox788 »

1moreyr wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 7:25 am Lots of good information above.

If you can afford to put yourself and your daughter in newer cars, that's great. If I added it up right, it's about $2200 in total. you would be hard pressed to find a decent car for your daughter at that price. You know the maintenance history and reliability of the car so you can factor that in as well.

if the body is solid, Fix it up, get your daughter a AAA card and let her get a part time job. maintaining an older car builds character :happy
If you add the cost of repairs ($2200) to the $2000 or $3000 or more OP could sell the car AS IS, that's about $5k towards a newer car. Still, for more years and reliable transportation I'd probably look more around the $10k range and/or under 10 year/100k miles.

Best $10k car for me?
viewtopic.php?t=319379

https://www.businessinsider.com/10-best ... dan-9552-2
https://www.motorbiscuit.com/the-best-u ... r-reports/
https://www.caranddriver.com/research/a ... der-10000/
Tingting1013
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by Tingting1013 »

A new electric vehicle should be at the top of your shopping list.

California runs a “EV cash for clunkers” program and your Corolla is tailor made for it.

https://cleanvehiclerebate.org/eng/ev/i ... al-rebates

Scroll down to “Regional Vehicle Replacement Programs”

By scrapping your Corolla, you can get $9,500 or more toward a new EV. There is also a $7,500 federal tax credit, $1,500 Clean Fuel Rebate, and up to $4,500 from Clean Vehicle Rebate Project for buying a new EV.

When all is said and done, you could very well end up with a new $30k car for close to $10k.

DM me if you need help navigating all of these incentives.
chipperd
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by chipperd »

Newlife wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:57 pm Dear Bogleheads,

I would like to seek your help in making a decision, especially from those who know cars well. I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla with 136,000 miles. This is my only car. I was planning to buy a new car at the end of the year and give Corolla to my daughter early next year when she turns 16. However, I was told that I need to fix several items.

Now
Serpentine Belt, $81.16
Suspension Strut Complete Assembly R&R (Front, Both Sides), $553.78
Suspension Strut Complete Assembly R&R (Rear, Both Sides), $505.53
Stabilizer Bar Link Kit R&R (Both Sides), $132.13
Alternator R&R, $312.71

Future recommendations
Steering Rack and pinion: $795
Rear brakes: $200

Questions
1. Should I repair the car? The repair price is more than the car's value. The mechanic told me that Corolla can be driven by 300,000 miles. Will I have more repairs coming up? Is it worthwhile to repair the car?
2. Should I just fix the alternator now? I need a car before I buy one. Then sell the car after I get a new one.
3. Rear struts conditions are fair but recommended to replace them along with front structs for even rides. Is this a fair recommendation?

I am the first owner of the car. My husband purchased it. He died one year ago so it is sad to let go of the car. However, I don't think he would want me to spend more money if it is not worthwhile. I appreciate your suggestions/ideas.

Newlife
Since the mechanic seems to think the car is reliable, perhaps sell it to him/her and get yourself a solid 3-5 year old vehicle. An 18 year old vehicle has done it's job and it's time to let it go. Repairs won't stop at the list you posted (lots of rubber based parts in the suspension will need replacement soon as well) and the Corolla isn't on the list of the top 20 cars predicted to go for 300,000 miles. Not sure your part of the world, but in the northeast of the U.S., a relative just purchased a pristine, 2016 Subaru Forester with 42,000 miles for $16k.
"A portfolio is like a bar of soap, the more it's handled, the less there is." Dr. William Bernstein
iamlucky13
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by iamlucky13 »

Newlife wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:57 pm 1. Should I repair the car? The repair price is more than the car's value. The mechanic told me that Corolla can be driven by 300,000 miles. Will I have more repairs coming up? Is it worthwhile to repair the car?
The value of a car at this age is affected in part by the assumption that major maintenance and/or repairs will be needed soon. Cars that have had common major expenses resolved should be worth more than average. For this and other reasons, I don't like to compare the expected resale value to repair cost very closely when deciding whether to do repairs.

If you are going to sell it, you will very likely be better off financially by selling it in its current condition rather than spending the extra money on repairs.

If you are leaning towards keeping it and gifting it to a family member, go ahead and make necessary repairs.

Reading between the lines of what was recommended to you, it sounds like the front struts probably could be considered necessary. Based on mileage, it is fair to replace the rears, as well, but not critical. It is not clear to me anything else in that list is needed, but the serpentine belt is a reasonable one to add, since that failing would leave you calling for a tow truck, and is fairly cheap to replace pre-emptively.

I would generally not replace the alternator or stabilizer links without clarification why those are being recommended. A bad alternator can strand you, but I'm not sure how well issues can be predicted, and I just haven't seen alternator problems come up in the circle of family and friends I typically discuss car topics with. My gut sense is it is less likely to be an issue than the serpentine belt, and more expensive to do pre-emptively, so I'd prefer not to replace the alternator unless something is specifically wrong with it.

I can't set your priorities for level of safety versus cost, but I don't make my own decisions based simply on comparing videos of one of the worst crash test cases. I can say that data that IIHS publishes on accident fatality data do show lower risk in newer vehicles, but it is generally a moderate reduction. While traffic accidents are one of the leading risks to teens and young adults, that is mainly because they are an overall low risk demographic, so newer cars offer a modest reduction in risk of an already unlikely event (especially for a person who does not create for themselves the biggest risk factors associated with driving: substance abuse, speed, and distracted or fatigued driving).

My own perspective is based on the above, combined with the fact that in 2003, we all felt very comfortable driving 2003 model year cars, so I'm still very comfortable driving 2003 model year cars. I view the safety improvements in newer cars as an improvement opportunity to weigh against other spending priorities, rather than must-haves.
Watty wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 10:08 pmWhile some Corollas may go 300k miles, most don't and the ones that do are typically owned by someone who can do their own car repairs and enjoys working on cars.
I would bet that most Corollas which receive only the recommended maintenance and typical wear out replacements (brakes, shocks) last over 200,000 miles. 300,000 miles may be ambitious for most, but it doesn't need to last 300,000 miles to be worth keeping.

The bottom line is a Corolla with 136,000 miles and a known maintenance history should be viewed at low risk (although not zero risk) of major issues for quite a few additional years of use.

Note that there are some common items that I don't consider major issues, because they address items that commonly wear out and get replaced within the economic life of the vehicle and should not leave you unexpectedly stranded. That includes brakes and shocks or struts.
GG1273
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by GG1273 »

I've had Corolla's most of my adult life but generally, I'd get to 110,000 of my miles (150,000 total) and look for a newer one. I find the 4 to 5 year old ones to be negotiable and try to keep the mileage at 60K or less when shopping.

I finally traded my 2008 in 2019 for a Camry which I like too but if money was an issue, I'd have worked on getting a used Corolla.

Can use autotrader.com to look around, go to advanced search and set the priorities you want, mileage, year, miles from your house, price. Great tool and usually carries a much larger selection than other car sites. I tend to only use Dealers with at least a limited warranty included in the price.

Advanced search page https://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sal ... ced-search

In general, I tend to find that Hondas are more common on the site than Toyotas even though Toyota outsells them. A co-worker of mine needed to find something last winter and simply looked for her price range and got a good deal on a 6-year old Accord with just over 40,000 miles on it.

Best of luck...
iamlucky13
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Re: Repair or Replace 2003 Toyota Corolla

Post by iamlucky13 »

random_walker_77 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 10:21 pm Do also consider that cars have undergone large improvements in structural strength over the years, in no small part due to "tougher" IIHS crash tests. They added testing for side impacts and small overlap frontal impacts in 2003 and 2012. When cars perform poorly on such benchmarks, the next generation tends to get designed to do better.

Take a look at this short crash test video of a 1998 corolla vs a 2015 corolla. If money isn't an issue, I'd suggest putting your daughter in a used corolla (or camry, or minivan) from around 2015 or later.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xidhx_f-ouU
That video is fine for illustrating the general point that vehicle safety has improved over time.

However, a crash test of a 1998 Corolla is not very helpful for the specific question of whether or not to keep a 2003 Corolla, which was completely redesigned compared to the 1998 model year. I think it is worth emphasizing that crash safety was fairly rapidly evolving at that time due to the NHTSA giving their tests much more prominence via the recently introduced star ratings, and the IIHS having started their own crash testing program in 1995.

Also note that the linked video was an Australian test. I don't know if there were any other differences to the US model, but certainly the lack of airbags, standard on the US Corolla, was a significant one.

- The 1998 Corolla scored 4-star for front impacts and 3-star for side impacts from the US NHTSA.
- The 2003 Corolla scored 5-star for front impacts, and 4-star for side impacts.
- The 2015 Corolla scored 5-star for front driver and 4-star for front passenger impacts, and 5-star for side impacts. This is under a newer rating system that is more strict.

Overall, the 2003 model year crash worthiness is somewhere in between that of the 1998 and 2015, as one would expect.

The IIHS tests are separate, but I like that they publish a lot of information about each test, in addition to videos (although not always videos of the same test, eg: moderate vs small overlap).
- https://www.iihs.org/ratings/vehicle/To ... sedan/1998
- https://www.iihs.org/ratings/vehicle/To ... sedan/2003
- https://www.iihs.org/ratings/vehicle/To ... sedan/2015
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