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Max to invest in an old car?

1641 Views 15 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  honda2nrracing
This is my first car, a 92 camry, 330,000kms. It has rust but nothing too big, some dents here and there but not noticeable from far, the hood is f'd up, like really f'd up, was left open and it jumped back when was driving on freeway.. :eek:: so it has big dent in middle. Since I got this I always wanted to do something crazy to it but never got to because "no use putting $ into a dying car"... i guess I should just drive this until it dies out on me?

If you owned this, what would you do to it, how much would you spend max? Remember, it's all stock, nothing done to it except a fancy little useless air filter I installed. Again the only reason I want to invest little here and there is so I can learn to do stuff on my own instead of relying on mechanics all the time.
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Perfect type car to learn on!

Start with the basic stuff-oil change with a good filter, transmission fluid change, spark plugs (proper platinum type), fuel filter[toughest one to do]
what i do is if it costs more than a car payment every month for about a year then its time to get a new car.
that sounds like good advice ^ lol

bring it back to the tune up then start fixing things before they break.
Check out what the payment and insurance would be on a rig new enough not to need any real work for the next few years (say, < 7 yrs old Toyota). That's your max parts and labor budget. Typically, if you do your own labor, you can do a lot of work for the price of even a cheap car payment, but you have to decide if you want to spend the time at it -- when you're first learning your way around your rig, it'll take you half a day to do work that an experienced mechanic would do in an hour. If you need the rig as daily transportation, that can be a problem, since a more complex procedure (such as a timing belt change) can take multiple days. For a rig as old as a '92, I'd plan on sinking around $1000-$1500 over the course of a year to change out the hoses, gaskets, seals, belts, water pump, plugs, plug wires, and fluids in order to make the rig somewhat reliable (that's assuming pulling the valve cover didn't show a huge amount of sludge and a compression check seemed OK). Not sure if I'd spend the time and treasure if the rest of the car (interior, exterior, or suspension) was in bad shape...there are enough well-cared-for older rigs whose engine & drivetrains just need some TLC that I wouldn't spend much time on a complete beater. Each to their own, 'tho.
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Find nearby pull-your-own-parts boneyards that have good prices. Visit them every few months when you are driving nearby for something else. You'll soon find a car with the same color in good condition.

A few of the yards in the San Francisco area have half price weekends. Hoods, doors and fenders are $44 each, dropping to $22 -- at that price you'll find that you are willing to replace every damaged panel when you find the right donor car. (Only the roof and rear quarter panels can't be unbolted and replaced.)
i got a 94 camry and well new to the car world so i use it to play around. learned so far how to do oil change transmission oil.. great car to learn on..

like you i think to myself what is to much. for me ive worked it out that only one big thing ah month. no more than 400 ah month to spend. if i want something more well got to leave it alone for one month so then next month i can do 800 and do what i want..

hope that helped.
I would just do basic maintenance. I wouldn't spend money to make it "nice".
I would just do basic maintenance. I wouldn't spend money to make it "nice".
+1. Spend the money to make it run good, unless running good leads to replacing engine and trans. If it's basic tune-up or some underneath stuff, that will provide some good learning.

You really have to decide around your budget. If you have to sink in too much money that it prevents you from putting away for your next car, I would limit my investment to "keeping it running".
I would just do basic maintenance. I wouldn't spend money to make it "nice".
Good approach, and good practice. If you don't mind the occasional downtime, keep the fluids (oil, trans fluid and coolant, and, to a lesser extent -- PS fluid, diffy fluid, and brake fluid) changed out on schedule, and fix anything else as needed to keep 'er running, and you can keep 'er happy for a good long time. Just take the time when you change the oil to nose around and look for anything leaking that didn't used to.
what i do is if it costs more than a car payment every month for about a year then its time to get a new car.
Yeah, that sounds about right; I was gonna say something similar:

Max to invest in an old car? Less than the cost of a new car, lol
what i do is if it costs more than a car payment every month for about a year then its time to get a new car.
If I put $200/month into my car for parts(ex: not counting gas or insurance) it would be damn near museum quality...
I put about a total of 1400 on my car. I dont think I'm going to spend anymore money on it except if minor repairs are needed.
I probably would not put more than $1000 or so into mine but I bought as a "work beater". All I use it for is 40 mile daily hwy commuter.

I paid $1500 for it from a friend and put about $300 into it right off the bat.

I've wasted thousands over the years messing around with cars and bikes so I understand the "love affair" angle but putting $5000 into a 15 year old car is insane IMHO.
ive seen this aprotch DONT TOUTCH IT the more you get in playing around with a old car the more that old plastic pice breaks or you clean the grease off oil leaks out you go to take apart somthing and you end up breaking off every bolt head you change brake pads now you need new lines and while your under there you see how all the rubber is rotted

if it burns oil like ALOT just keep adding dont bother changeing it who says a oil filter isnt good for 9k leave the plugs in and drive till it DIES
Yeah i fully agree with most everyone on this... Ive bough a lot of older cars to play with, It just gets worse, unless you have a solid car that you got cheap(which you dont) I wouldnt mess with it much.
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