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Buying an Older Camry

kearny1kearny1 Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Toyota
I know nothing about cars....Should I back away or proceed, I am cautious. Avail 1995 Camry le Sedan with 95,571 miles and new transmission. Car sells "as is" from local dealer. Have not yet seen any other service reports. Any advice will be graciously appreciated.


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    kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    Well there is risk in buying ANY used car, whether it is a 1995 or a 2005.

    Who knows your money situation, and how much they are asking, or what this car really looks like as viewed by a competent mechanic and a clean CARFAX.

    That's not many miles for a 13 year old car, so who knows what it's history is. Did they do the 100k major engine maintenance replacing timing belt and waterpump, and what proof of that being done? That's like a 500-800 maintenance job.
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    maibemaibe Member Posts: 2
    I just bought a 98 Camry V6 with 138k miles. I drove it. A little shakey at 60 miles an hour on the interstate. Dealer thinks it's the balance in the tires. It didn't pull right or left so I didn't think it was alignment. It didn't feel bumpy or squishy either. The engine looked pretty clean. oil looked clean.

    There is a spoiler (not sure if that's what it's called) on the trunk. Under one side where it is attached the paint has cracked off. Will that be something I can touch up myself?

    I'm feeling a lot of buyers remorse. My husband is upset because I bought a v6 with the gas ecomny issues right now and I thought it would get high 20's in the city and low to mid 30's on the highway.

    It rides really nice.

    I had read a lot of the reviews from other owners. I felt good when I bought it.

    I came home and started to read the forms and issues people have had and now I'm scared I have made a gross and semi expensive mistake.

    Does anyone have any words of comfort and advice for me?

    I am going to take the car to my mechanic and have him check it all out for me. I have to go 50-75 miles to the city to buy a car. They don't sell in the area that I live.

    I'm feeling so bad right now.

    Thanks, Maibe Jene
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    kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    Well should have had the mechanic check it BEFORE you bought. You'll just have to wait and see what he says, now.

    Vibrations at 60 are most likely caused by the tires out of balance, and re-balancing them will make the problem go away. However, the question is WHY did the tires get out of balance to begin with? When the vehicle is mis-aligned, or worn suspension parts, then the tires wear or scrub off rubber, causing them to go out of balance, causing the vibration. So if your mechanic finds something wrong with the front end suspension, that would most likely be the cause of the uneven tire wear, and going out of balance. If he checks it out and says everything is okay...they I'd just rebalance the tires and see what happens in the next 5-10K miles.

    Good luck.
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    maibemaibe Member Posts: 2
    Well... I got the car to my mechanic ... engine seems fine, no fluid leaks. New tires, alignment, front & rear struts, rear sway & control sway bushings. I'm into it for about 3k more than I planned to spend.

    Learning here is...

    Never, ever take teenage daughter to find a car.

    Never, ever even consider buying a car without access to a good, reliable, trustworthy mechanic to check it over.

    The car now seems to be solid, drives well. I don't think that the mileage is good enough. I haven't had a chance to take it down the mountain on a road trip.

    I will forever and always wish that I had stuck to my original plan to buy a 4 cylinder, manual transmission.

    Thanks for the support. A week after the fact, I'm just going to have to accept and get use to it.

    Later, Maibe Jene
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    antique_maggieantique_maggie Member Posts: 10
    I was driving home from work late tonight and passed one of those used car lots. Out in front a white '95 Camry 5spd manual caught my eye immediately, so I circled the block and pulled in to check it out. I'll give you the spec's I know of (without test driving yet of course) and PLEASE tell me if you think it's worth it.
    It has 201k on it, with a 2.2L 4 cy. engine. I walked around it, felt the tire treads (they seem pretty good) opened the door (GASP! IT WASN'T LOCKED?!) and sat in it, it did not smell of smoke, actually more like a hotel room (a clean one!). As it was dark I didn't see any clear rips, stains or holes in the seats. It looks like your basic Camry, no power mirrors or windows (which is fine, I'm not picky). I held in the clutch and shifted, everything worked smoothly with the shifter. The body itself is a little sun faded, and the pin striping is faded from age I suppose (no big deal) there were no major dents, dings or cracks anywhere. I didn't notice any fresh oil under the car. The dealer wants (I can't exactly recall) either 2495 or 2595 (I'm almost certain it was 25). Again, I have not started it up yet so I don't know how it runs, but thus far....does it seem ok? I've got an Astrovan that is TOTALLY eating up my budget on gas alone, and a waterpump so I'd REALLY (stress "REALLY") like to sell it off. Since it (the Camry) is 13 years old, does that price seem fair or if I was wanting to purchase, what would be a decent bargaining point? Someone help quick before it get's stolen out from under me! THANKS!
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    antique_maggieantique_maggie Member Posts: 10
    Ok...even though no one has replied yet... :(
    I test drove that '95 5spd today and here's how it runs....
    She shifts smooth, and the clutch doesn't lag. The brakes are touchy (meaning it doesn't take much to stop), I'll assume that's a good thing. The air is nice and cold, thank God! and she doesn't pull in either direction. I didn't notice any leaks after she ran, however, I was a little concerned with how fast it heated up. I was the first to drive it today, so the engine was cold. I drove it about 10 blocks or so and it was already warm (not in the red, but in the middle). Is that ok? Did the fact that it's about 85 outside have anything to do with that? No it did not over heat at all.
    The dealer tells me it was a one owner trade in to a toyota dealership, and he bought it off them. The timing belt was replaced around 180k....annnnd....that's about all I know.
    I do know my Hubby likes it because everything under the hood is easily accessible...well, the important stuff like the plugs, oil filter and such anyhow. The trunk was a pretty good size too! Of course, he had lawn chairs, and coolers in mind for our tailgate parties, and I had a stroller, playpen and toys in my mind for our 2 year old (*laughs, rolls eyes*). I hope it's a winner! I've got a quick decision to make, the dealer said he's had alot of people come by to look at it, and isn't sure how much longer it might last.....eeeks!
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    mcdawggmcdawgg Member Posts: 1,722
    You did not get a response because this should not be a new thread - the hosts will move it to an existing thread that people will be more likely to see.

    I would have a mechanic check it out, and specifically pull the valve cover and check to be sure the oil was changed regularly.

    How are the tires? How much pad left on brakes? Do they vibrate when braking from high speed? How are the other belts? Brake fluid, PS fluid, clutch fluid, coolant - are they old or fresh? Check for oil consumption, how is the exhaust?

    Check the price for this car here at Edmunds - I did and came up with about $2,300. If well maintained and it checks out good mechanically, I would not pay more than $2,300. If it needs stuff done, start deducting from $2,300.

    The mileage is a little high, but if it was well maintained it should go another 50-75k miles without too many problems. Bottom line - get it checked out.

    How do you know the timing belt was done? I am just suspicious of used car dealers.

    The temperature issue sounds fine. It will heat up quick on hot summer days, and as long is it stayed in the middle, it should be fine.

    Take it on the highway also to check for pulling, vibrations, etc. Check struts and CV joints - a car this old may need new.

    I see it is a manual so check the Clutch - check to be sure it is not slipping/chattering - ask me if you don't know how. This is also a bargaining point, because most people don't want a manual Camry, except for people like me that would pay more for stick.

    Good luck, let us know if you have any questions, and let us know what happens.
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    antique_maggieantique_maggie Member Posts: 10
    Yep, gotta ask how to check to see if the clutch slips or chatters. The car doesn't pull on the highway, the only vibration I can sense is when the air runs and is cycling. That isn't continuous though. To be honest it seems to handle bumps and the million-multitudes of potholes around here pretty good. My only complaint really is starting the car. This might just be my failure to adjust to the clutch yet, but it seems I have to push to the floor with more force than I think I should so I can start it. However, when I'm actually driving it, I can shift just fine. I did re adjust the seat and that seems to help. I called the dealer and tried to reason out a price for the car (I have $2k in hand) and he said he would part with it for $2200.
    One more question (I feel so anal...really I'm not finicky) I looked at the oil sticker in the window. It says to have the oil changed in July of '08 (duh...) or 205k. The odom. just turned over 201...but the car has been sitting on his lot since March. Should the oil be changed? This is probably a given (I'd say yes, it does need it) but I want to make sure. Do you recommend any particular oil or filter? I'm honestly wondering if I should keep taking it to a Toyota dealer to get work done or is it not worth it because of the age? It has only been serviced at Toyota since day one ( The original owners kept ALL records, that's so nice! :) ) I do have the funds to continue doing so, but is it worth it? I'm impressed at the mileage (I've never owned a car with anything more than 160k) and would want to get the most I can out of this car. Especially with gas prices being what they are!
    You've been a great help, thanks again!
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    mcdawggmcdawgg Member Posts: 1,722
    I see you bought it, so too late to check the clutch before purchase, but there are a few ways.

    Try putting it in 5th at 25mph and floor it, especially on an upgrade. The tach should barely start to go up slowly, tach should not rev up high quick. In other words, it should be completely connected, not slipping. Don't do this for long, just 5 seconds will tell you.

    Use Toyota filters and parts, but you can go to a good independent mechanic.

    The clutch start switch on all Toyota manuals does require you to press ALL the way to the floor. This idiot switch (on all makers' manuals) just prevents you from starting it in gear with the clutch released. You should be pressing all the way to the floor when shifting.

    Change oil every 6 months or 5 thousand miles, which ever is first. I prefer Castrol dino (not synthetic), I cannot remember which grade on this year, but whatever the manual or filler cap says.

    So you actually have all the original service records?
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