New member, high mileage old Toyota review

Messages
15
Location
North Carolina
Just joined , hello everyone. My 2000 Camry 4cyl (5sfe motor) is sitting at 299,996 miles and I thought I'd just go over my last 12 years owning this car before it hits 300k. I guess a really late used car review! I bought this car in late 2008 with 75,000 miles from the original owner who strictly used it in town and they were selling it for a new Highlander . I wasn't specifically looking for a Camry or a Toyota for that matter but I really needed a car and this one fit the bill, it looked brand new. To summarize, this car has by far exceeded my wildest expectations on what an 8 year old white Camry could ever be. This car has seen me through a marriage, subsequent divorce, a child, many jobs, school, death of parent, different states. Oregon, Florida, Missouri... Back to North Carolina. There were times I could barely put gas in it and times I could afford to buy a new car. Fast forward, I still drive this car every day and pretty much everything still works and I still have ice cold a/c. The only time it left me stranded (in a parking lot) was when the harmonic balancer fell apart at around 200k, the same time I had the timing belt replaced with was original and surprisingly in decent shape according to the mechanic. In my opinion these were part of Toyota's overbuilt product period. Thanks everyone.. Glad to be here.
 
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Messages
4,039
Location
Chicago, IL
Cool story, welcome! We have an 01. It was moms car my 3 kids keep trying to kill it hit curbs in the winter, taking out wheels and bearings hit rebar on a parking lot BLOCK, taking g out the radiator and condensor. Drove it an hour with a stick thermostat, taking out the engine. I just keep fixing it
 

Jeff8820

Thread starter
Messages
15
Location
North Carolina
I had a new radiator installed due to the old one drying up and leaking, new valve cover gasket, breaks, tires, belts. The engine and transmission still perform great. The only part that seems to be noticably aging is the suspension. With its age and mileage I think I'm going to retire the old girl. If I could buy a new 2000 Camry, I'd be all over it! Oil changes rarely went over 6,000 miles, sometimes I treated it to synthetic, sometimes regular. It never seemed to make a difference. Oh and I'd roughly estimate 60-70% of the apx 220,000 I've driven it were interstate miles. That little 5-sfe motor is a trooper.
 
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Jeff8820

Thread starter
Messages
15
Location
North Carolina
Yes, drained and refilled about every 3 years, or 45k miles. Mostly Valvoline maxlife. Power steering fluid was also flushed with the same maxlife about 5 years ago.
 
Messages
1,403
Location
Beaverton, OR
Originally Posted by Jeff8820
I had a new radiator installed due to the old one drying up and leaking, new valve cover gasket, breaks, tires, belts. The engine and transmission still perform great. The only part that seems to be noticably aging is the suspension. With its age and mileage I think I'm going to retire the old girl. If I could buy a new 2000 Camry, I'd be all over it! Oil changes rarely went over 6,000 miles, sometimes I treated it to synthetic, sometimes regular. It never seemed to make a difference. Oh and I'd roughly estimate 60-70% of the apx 220,000 I've driven it were interstate miles. That little 5-sfe motor is a trooper.
Grats on such a long lasting Toyota. I work as a Service Advisor at a Toyota dealer and high mileage cars like yours are quite common, not so sure about their new stuff though. I suggest looking into KYB complete strut assemblies. We use these quite often to provide our guests with a quality lower cost option vs oem struts.
 

pbm

Messages
8,820
Location
New York
Originally Posted by Jeff8820
Yes, drained and refilled about every 3 years, or 45k miles. Mostly Valvoline maxlife. Power steering fluid was also flushed with the same maxlife about 5 years ago.
Can you imagine how much longer that A/T would have lasted if you used the OE fluid as many on this board recommend*...J/K. That era Camry were bulletproof. I know a guy who picked up one fairly cheap with about 100K and has over 200K now....great cars.. I have no doubt that my 2008 Corolla could make 300K if I still drove it a lot...but it has become a back-up car....another great Toyota model year... *I have used Toyota and Mobil 3309 exclusively in my Corolla because I bought a case of the latter after the first change of Toyota fluid ...but I have used Maxlife and Valvoline Import (blue container) in my Hyundai with great results....I'll probably use it next time in the Corolla.
 
Messages
38
Location
USA Virginia
Jeff8820, Welcome. Congrats on keeping the old girl going as a daily driver. It seems to me late '90's to early 2000's cars of so many makes seem to last and are uber reliable. Imagine the financial benefit you gained by keeping your Toyota on the road without ANY car payments for so many years! welcome
 
Messages
9,035
Location
Marshfield , MA
My daughter's '06 Corolla perished at 180K when totalled. No injuries. Inspired , we bought an '09 Camry. It ran well too.T-boned by a stop sign runner. We bought the 16 Camrys due to past performance. Oil and filters only so far. grin2
 
Messages
1,021
Location
Northern New York
I just did oil and checkups on a guys pair of 2007 SXEs One, 4 banger at 250 the v6 at 310. The 4 cyl looked like a 5 year old car while the 6 had the usual North country rust. It burns oil but runs like a champ so he lets his daughter drive it. One thing you need to watch with those old guys from rust country is the rear suspension mountings. This one had the mount for one of those ready to pull apart. Luckily I know a guy who will actually repair that sort of thing where no body shop would go near it. The trade in on a new Camray was $600 so he's just going to keep it for his bang around work car once the welder does his deed and junk it when the engine finally gives out. I guess the daughter gets the new one down the road. Those are great cars, Maby some of the last of them when you factor in all the gadgetry. I know full well our 18 and the daughters 19 XSEs aren't going to go anywhere near that far in miles or years.
 
Messages
290
Location
TX
Not unusual at all for a Toyota to go 200-300k and still look new and everything still works. In my extended family-71 Celica 250k (my first Toyota, bought it used in 72 ), several Celicas 83, 84, 85, 2000, 2005, 2001 Tacoma currently at 240k, 2001 seqouia, 87 Corrolla that hit 500k, 93 Lexus SC 400 still runs great but the AC just quit and the speedometer started reading slow. Some were totaled in crashes before they made high mileage, but no one was hurt too bad. Just amazing engineering and QC on most of them.
 
Messages
4,445
Location
Massachusetts
Originally Posted by Jeff8820
In my opinion these were part of Toyota's overbuilt product period. Thanks everyone.. Glad to be here.
Welcome to the forum! Definitely solid vehicles. My uncle just replaced his '03 Camry last Fall with 350K miles on it. We always thought it odd, as he was a VP for a large investment bank and financial services company in NYC and could have bought anything. He just kept driving it - which was wicked cool. He ended up buying a Subaru Forrester last Fall, as he retired and permanently relocated to his home in NH. The 'Subi dealer is down the road, which steered his decision from Toyota. It's funny you mentioned the overbuilt period for Toyota. My wife was getting her masters in marketing and did some papers on both Maersk and Toyota. Toyota quality did dip when their desire for production quantity exceeded quality control. It's interesting to see how management strategies impact a company's performance.
 
Messages
674
Location
Vancouver, BC Canada
I have 5 cars... older ones (I know, 'way too many). One is a '17 Mazda6 6mt. One is a '99 Canry CE 5mt. Camry is TOTALLY a stripper; no a/c, cruise, windows, locks. Truth is I like my Camry with it's 4 cyl the best of all my cars. The 5 speed manual / 4 cyl engine in this Camry is an overlooked gem of a combination. The build quality on the Camry is excellent. Mine is a made-in-Japan car and the body quality is excellent (though the sheet metal gauge is less than some... but 'way thicker than my "fragile" Mazda). The balance shafts in my Camry make it so smooth for a four and the S51 Aisin transaxle is very nicely executed.
 
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Jeff8820

Thread starter
Messages
15
Location
North Carolina
Yes indeed, this is longest I've gone without a car payment. I've had new Jeeps and while I loved those they cost me a lot once the warranty was up, and expensive drivetrain stuff, like a new transmission and transfer case. I've gotten the new car itch many times while owning this Camry and looked at my insurance and low repair costs through the years and just couldn't let her go, that and the fact it isn't worth anything on the market. I said once the a/c let's go I'll let her go, but that shows no signs of stopping, it uses no detectable amount of oil either. I feel the only thing a car payment will get me is modern safety. I have anti- lock brakes and two airbags. it's been bumped into twice , once in a parking lot, no note, And once by an airhead with no insurance, but no body rust and the underneath looks more like an 8 year old car, I think part of that is it never sits for more than a day.
 
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Jeff8820

Thread starter
Messages
15
Location
North Carolina
The Toyota mechanic who fixed the harmonic balancer at 200k laughed when I asked him if this car can cross into 200k+ with little trouble so I went ahead and had a new timing belt installed too. That was 100k miles ago as of today. When I do decide to replace her, I'm almost 99% surely going Toyota and starting the long haul over!
 
Messages
3,134
Location
Western S.C.
My mother bought a 2000 in late 1999. My sister-in-law inherited it after her 1996 Camry abruptly died, and still drives it. Around 140k now, I think.
 
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