1988 Toyota Camry LE 2.0 from North America


Built like a tank; extremely reliable and cheap to own


Timing belt broke at 250,000, never been changed before though.

Numerous oil leaks throughout my one long year of ownership.

Tie rod replaced at 280,000.

Transmission replaced at 271,000 (differential, which is attached to the trans, exploded due to lack of lubrication and destroyed the transmission!)

Complete tune up done at 280,000 (oil change, oil filter, air filter (Aftermarket air intake), spark plugs and wires, fuel injector cleaning, throttle body cleaning.)

General Comments:

An outstanding car that was manufactured to last.

I am 18, and this was my first and only car I have ever driven, and I would not like to drive anything else. My parents bought it new back in 1989, but were told it was used as a shuttle car for the dealer, and had about 1000 miles on it.

It was their daily driver for almost 14 years, until the engine started consuming oil due to high mileage. We finally had to break down and buy a newer car (a piece of crap lemon Saturn SL), but we still drive the Camry occasionally around town or as a backup car.

When I turned 16, I was given this car to drive, because it was cheap on gas and insurance. I acquired it with a little over 250,000 miles on it, and the only time that it has technically broke down on me is when the timing belt broke, (their fault for never replacing it!).

I religiously baby this car, and keep it nice and clean. I make sure that I regularly maintain it by sticking to the 5000 mile oil change intervals, and use good oil and filters. I clean the air filter every once in a while, and change the coolant and brake fluid every spring. These little maintenance procedures will ensure that the car will last forever.

As for problems, the stupid shop that serviced the transmission and differential, drained the trans and diff, but forgot to fill the differential with the proper lubricant, and therefore it burned up within a matter of months, and tore a hole in the transmission, which made a squealing noise when accelerating. We took it to a qualified transmission shop, and they said that the trans was beyond rebuild, and that they didn't make new transmissions for a car that old. I was devastated, and I thought that my days with my precious car were going to come to an end. To my surprise, the shop said that they could locate a used transmission from a local junkyard that came from a car of the same year, and would be relatively inexpensive. Since there was nothing to lose, I went ahead with that plan, and behold, the car drives perfectly again!

I make sure now to religiously check my trans and differential lube! I am planning to take it back to that shop soon to have the transmission fluid exchanged as part of regular maintenance (I've put about 20,000 miles on the "new" transmission).

Overall, a great car, great on gas, but stingy on performance. Just about every car on the road smokes the crap out of me at stop lights, and they are not even trying. Well, what do you expect from an engine that has almost 300,000 on it? Well, I plan to keep driving it as long as I can, and I look forward to it turning 300,000!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th March, 2011

1988 Toyota Camry DLX 2.0 from North America


A piece of history in my driveway


Oil leak.

Replaced the O rings.

General Comments:

A friend got in it the first day I drove it this past May (2010). He said it was a "quirky car". I liked the handle. It suits it.

The car's original owner was a single woman who gave it up to go into an assisted living facility at 92 years old. She said, "it was the best car I ever owned". My original intention was to make it a gift to a nephew. However, he turned it down. He wanted a truck! So, I decided to keep it.

It has gotten a new timing belt, water pump, O rings, part of the exhaust, fan belts, radiator flush, new tires and front struts. It was driving like new before I fixed it, and now it seems like it will be good for another 22 years!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 29th October, 2010

30th Oct 2010, 21:14

Great review. I am glad this car remains in caring hands.

1st Nov 2010, 18:59

"My original intention was to make it a gift to a nephew. However, he turned it down. He wanted a truck!"

Wow. What was he thinking?

23rd Aug 2011, 20:33

This is a follow up to my original review. Replaced the brakes. The rocker panels were rusted. Used some stainless steel for kitchen counter tops as a replacement. Looks and runs great. Getting 23 MPG overall. The car is a blast to drive!