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Hi,

I'm a newbie with cars and am considering buying my first car - a 1984 Toyota Camry. I know the owner and can trust him with the maintenance. I'm a student and he's selling it for a price under my budget (1900$), plus it's got only 83,000 miles on it. So the deal kinda looks good to me.

However, thought I'd confirm and get some tips from the experts (especially those of you who're actually using a 1980s car as a daily ride). I only intend to take it to and from work (which is a ten min. ride from home).

Any suggestions on whether to go ahead with it? What problems am I supposed to expect with such an old car (I don't want to end up spending more on it for repairs than what I bought it for!)? Is it worth 1900$ or should I try to get the price down further?

Thanks!
 

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An 84 Camry with only 83K miles seems like a reasonable decision. Not sure if $1900 is a good deal but you can research used car pricing on websites such as edmunds.com. I have a 2004 Highlander with 120K miles on it and it has never been in the shop for anything other than oil changes, brake pads, etc. If possible, I would recommend talking to the mechanic your friend uses to see what he thinks about the car's condition. Would highly recommend you spend $50 bucks to take the car to an independent mechanic and have him look it over real good.

Pay attention to how the car looks cosmeticaly and whether or not all the stuff works (A/C, wipers, turn signals, windows, etc). If he has taken reasonable care of the car cosmetically and all the "bells & whistles" work, then chances are its mechanically sound. How are the tires -- a set of 4 tires installed is about $300 just for a cheap set. Check the coolant (antifreeze) reservoir to see if there is any evidence of oil getting into the coolant (white scummny stuff). If you see any scummy stuff it could be a bad head gasket -- major $$ to fix. Check the oil on the dipstick to see how it looks (should be somewhat opaque, not black), also take a whiff of it (should not smell burnt). If its an automatic then check the tranny dipstick as well. Again the fluid should be somewhat opaque (not a dark brown/red color), also take a whiff for a burnt smell. Drive the car on a rough/bumpy road to check out if there are any suspension problems.

With any car that old you are going to experience some issues along the way that need to be fixed, particularly if you are using it as your primary transportation. If you have the tools and the knowledge to fix some of the more minor issues yourself without taking it to a mechanic then OK. However if you have to take it to a mechanic to fix most of the issues then the $$ could add up quickly.

Good luck
 

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The one big deal on Toyota engines is replacing the serpentine belt at about 50,000 miles. This is often skipped, and a failure can lead to catastrophic engine damage. This can be a $500 to $800 endeavor at a shop, depending onb whether the water pump is replaced (a good idea). Also, the brake pads and discs are significant cost issues.

If you're mechanically able, the low-cost way to deal with the brakes is to replace the pads - usually two or three front sets for one rear set - and replace the discs every third pad replacement rather than having the discs ground every pad set. Just be sure you replace the pads before they get too thin sand overheat the discs; that will warp them and they must be ground or replaced immediately.

Similarly, if you're mechanically able, change the coolant and the brake fluid every year - a pressure bleeder really helps with the brakes and is cheap enough. I use Jiffy lube to change the oil for $45 every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, and change the TX and Diff lube every few years. Toyotas are well built and can last 200,000 to 300,000 miles reliable if these simple maintenance items are felt with regularly.

Robert
 

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What gives? SPAMbot?

Hi,

I'm a newbie with cars and am considering buying my first car - a 1984 Toyota Camry. I know the owner and can trust him with the maintenance. I'm a student and he's selling it for a price under my budget (1900$), plus it's got only 83,000 miles on it. So the deal kinda looks good to me.

However, thought I'd confirm and get some tips from the experts (especially those of you who're actually using a 1980s car as a daily ride). I only intend to take it to and from work (which is a ten min. ride from home).

Any suggestions on whether to go ahead with it? What problems am I supposed to expect with such an old car (I don't want to end up spending more on it for repairs than what I bought it for!)? Is it worth 1900$ or should I try to get the price down further?

Thanks!
Hmm. Same exact post as #597 here: http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/picture-room/13665-what-your-daily-driver-40.html including the user name and post count.
 

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Or just a double post? Perhaps the PO searched on a common theme, '80s used car' and 'DD', and was fishing in two ponds?
 

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For now I think we can assume it isn't spam. (they are usually very cryptic) It is a bit odd to ask about a Camry on an Alfa forum but he's rec'd some useful replies so good for all.

I look at older cars as Daily Drivers like this: if you buy a new car you will have to make payments to purchase/keep it. If you buy an older car you'll have to make payments to maintain it & keep it operational. If you buy well these 'payments' for maintenance will usually total up to less than new car payments.
 

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Yes, agree, a lot of good comments- I was one of them- yet not a single reply from the poster. Is it possible to post twice on this forum and show the same total post count in the upper right corner?
 

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Your post count should always be the same on all of your posts. All your posts reflect your total current number of posts.
 

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The problem with driving an old car is the lack of parts and the high cost of shop labor. I always tell people to buy the best condition car possible.
 

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My mom had one of those years back. She bought it brand new and drove it for many years. I don't know about the maintenance on her car since I had long moved out but I can tell you my dad and two brothers never really paid attention to their cars. I was the only motor head. She developed a problem in the engine when it just quit. A gaping hole on the side of the engine block. I remembering learning later it was a common problem with that engine. I would try and learn more about this before pulling the trigger. I recently bought my son his first car. A '97 Volvo 850. $1500-. Great car, very reliable cold AC Great in the snow.
 

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I wonder what happened to the original poster?

Anyway, my Dad took the opposite approach when I got my first car. He bought me a $300 Corvair. And a $600 set of Craftsman and Snap-on Tools. I learned a lot of auto mechanics from that car! Still have every tool, and a LOT more!

Robert
 

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Original poster lurking and reading I assume. Maybe also new to forums. Fora?
I'm new to this Alfa forum, so will post a new topic.
 

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what im confused about, is why someone who is new to cars, is browsing on an Alfa forum, asking about Toyota Camry's..

does any of this make sense to anyone else???

btw, the response from everyone should have been: GET AN ALFA!!!
 

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probably not advisable as your only car.
 
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