Maintenance costs on an old Corolla

Discussion in 'Toyota Corolla Maintenance' started by Corolla 2003, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. Corolla 2003

    Corolla 2003 New Member

    My first car was a 1994 Camry that I bought new and kept until 2003, at 158,000 miles. In the end the maintenance became too expensive, and anyway it felt like an old, unreliable car. The last time I took it in for maintenance, it needed repairs that would have cost $3,000, so I decided I needed a new car. I think 9 years and 158,000 miles was a good run.

    My second and current car is a 2003 Corolla, bought new. 14 years old with 135,000 miles. I know it's getting up there in years, but the mileage is well within a Corolla's normal lifespan, right? I was surprised to find that it seems to be nearing the end of its useful life.

    I take it in for scheduled maintenance every 15,000 miles. The last few times the bill has been in the $2,000 range. A lot, but still worth it to me. But this last time it was $3,300 (struts and control arms), and it would have been $4,200 if not for the discount for saved labor for doing them both at the same time.

    Is it normal to throw in the towel on a Corolla after only say 150,000 miles? I thought they were supposed to last much longer. While it still drives fine and feels like it has a lot of life left in it, if these maintenance costs continue, it's not worth keeping it around for much longer.
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  3. ToyBoy

    ToyBoy New Member

    I think your auto garage is screwing you over.
  4. CorollaTom

    CorollaTom New Member

    I also suspect the auto garage (or dealer) is overcharging or, at least, charging for non-essential work listed in scheduled maintenance that is merely checking items, such as fluid levels, you could have done that yourself.
    Since your Corolla is 14 years old with 135,000 miles (that's only 10,000 mile/year), I would think you have gotten you money worth so far - until you spent $3300 to replace your struts and control arms. Now it would be economically beneficial for you to drive the car for at least a couple of years more.

    A Corolla, or any Toyota, should easily reach 200,000 miles and beyond with attention to proper maintenance.
  5. Muhammad Ali Khan

    Muhammad Ali Khan New Member

    Are you sure you need those replacement parts when they changed it?
  6. beach bum

    beach bum New Member

    Most of the people who keep their cars for a long time can only do so economically if they learn how to do things for themselves. $3300 for struts and control arms? You could have done this yourself for a lot less. Years ago I needed mine changed so I bought a floor jack and a spring compressor and did the job myself with a factory manual as a tutor. I think the job cost less than $500.00 in parts and zero for labor.. I often wonder why people go back to the dealer once their warranty has expired. They charge the highest rate. Find a local guy with his own shop and screw the dealer. This factory trained technician crap is just that. Trust in the learning curve, and you will be shocked at how fast you become a competent shade tree mechanic.

    Only you can decide when it is no longer feasible for you to put money into it. My only rule is, structural rust junk it (safety issue).
    CorollaTom likes this.
  7. OP
    Corolla 2003

    Corolla 2003 New Member

    "A Corolla, or any Toyota, should easily reach 200,000 miles and beyond with attention to proper maintenance."

    Now what does that mean, exactly? Because any car can last forever if you put enough money into it. But can you keep it that long for lower cost than buying a new car after 100 or 150 thousand miles, if you don't make the repairs yourself? If the other poster is right that you can usually only do that if you learn to make repairs yourself, then I'll have to adjust my expectations.

    "I think your auto garage is screwing you over."

    This was the dealer, and maybe, but I haven't had any luck in finding a good independent shop. I've found shops that can't work on Japanese cars, or don't do brakes, or take a week to replace a mirror that they broke. And that ones who can get it done charge comparable prices to the dealer. I do have a lead now, a mechanic we met through a networking group, so I'll see if he's any different.

    "You could have done this yourself for a lot less."

    True, but that's true for anything. It's cheaper to build your own house, sew your own clothes, and be your own lawyer, but depending on your talents and interests, it might not be worth it. There's always a price to pay, even if it's not dollars out of pocket.
  8. Win

    Win New Member

    My 2004 Corolla CE car got to over 300,000 miles mostly through maintenance by Mo and the boys. You guys know who I mean right, I only used the dealer for recalls, free maintenance or diagnosis of problems, the boys did not have the answer to. I found a reliable location with a great manager and I have been going to them since 2004. Thank goodness the quality has remained constant. They do not overcharge or disrespect me by suggesting repairs that are not necessary. The other thing you need to do is keep track of repairs so that you know more about your car, what has been done and when than the repair shop. Unless your car is immobile you can always get a 2nd opinion when in doubt.
  9. CorollaTom

    CorollaTom New Member

    Agree exactly. I could not have said it better myself.
    And since the savings paid for the floor jack and other tools, the next time you use them your savings is even greater.

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