1983 Toyota Tercel SR5 1.3L 3A-C from North America


This is the best car I've ever had!!!


The horn didn't work when I purchased the car at 200,000 miles.

The ignition and starter needed to be replaced soon after purchase. Both were easily replaced.

The clutch went out at around 250,000.

General Comments:

My mom purchased her 1983 Tercel with over 200,000 miles. It was very reliable and easy to fix and maintain. She loved it so much she bought one for me as my first car when I was 16 (yes, same model and year).

I gave my car to a friend when I upgraded mine, but the upgrade didn't last long. I want my old Tercel back! It just wouldn't die no matter what you did to it.

It also won't get stolen no matter what you do (including leaving in a busy parking lot for several hours with the windows rolled down, doors unlocked and keys in the ignition... oops).

This car handles great in bad weather and is very reliable. If you take good care of this car, it will take good care of you.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th July, 2005

1983 Toyota Tercel 4 door hatchback 3A-C (1.4L 4 cylinder carburrated electronic ignit from North America


If you can find one that has not been neglected and has no rust, buy it


Body Rust, Body Rust, Body Rust (hole in trunk letting exhaust into the passenger compartment -- led to de-registration, but repaired & re-registered)

Hole in brake line -- was near enough to brake hose that it could be cut out.

Rotten brake hoses ($30CDN/4 to replace)

Hole in radiator.

Crooked alternator mount caused: several broken alternator belts, blown radiator hoses, poor charging/low battery power.

Consumables consumed: Had to replace Tires, Brake pads, shoes, rotors, drums, and rear wheel bearings (bearing race attached to rear drums)

The final straw (all at once) : alternator, water pump, radiator, radiator hoses all ruined, probable cracked block.

General Comments:

This car had been passed around my family for 16 years before I got it.

It had been used as a rescue car for a battered women's shelter, driven across Canada (and back) 3 times, taken our family on vacation (pulling a 2000lb tent trailer) several times, and more recently used as a "winter beater" in Alberta for 7 years.

I am told that the older tercels are known for their die-hard mechanicals and for their body rust. This car was a prime example of both. Had it not been neglected and abused for 7 years on salty Alberta roads, it would probably still be running today.

The tercel is simple enough that almost everything can be repaired by an inexperienced layperson armed only with the "Chilton's Import Car Repair Manual 1980-1987" and a few tools. The only repairs I was not able to do myself were to the brake lines, and seating the rear wheel bearing races.

All parts I required were available over the counter at "Canadian Tire", most as both OEM and generic.

The car was light enough that one person could push start it if it had a dead battery (I leave the lights on far too often).

Performance was responsive, but not stellar.

The back seat was uncomfortable, but not more so than any other early 1980's small car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th March, 2005

1983 Toyota Tercel DLX Wagon 1.5 from North America


Unbelievable bargain for the 8 grand I paid 20 years ago!


The usual replacement of rack and pinon steering, CV boots not the joints.. alternators galore (Auto zone ones are not too good) starters (again Auto Zone ones are not too good), A/C compressor of course this was MY fault as I over tightened the belt..argh..various little emissions parts, but not too bad... mostly since she turned over 200K miles. Oh yeah the radiator.

General Comments:

The best car I have had since my 1966 Beetle which I ran to 300K miles with NO maintaince..I was young and stupid admittedly. I suffered through Fords and an awful Audi in between the years.

Very reliable and easy to fix. I have personally maintained it since day one. If I could not fix her then Toyota did.

The only problems began when I could no longer afford to buy Toyota brand products for the car.. I ran into money problems after a major illness.. and began buying aftermarket stuff that would not hold up.. especially the belts!

I still get 22 miles to the gallon with an automatic transmission in the high Colorado mountains with the gas pedal to the floor to make it up to 11,500+feet which I think is amazing for this old a car.

The body just began to rust which I will attend too with my next pay check.. again doing it myself.

I cannot recommend this car enough. I have people offering me REAL money for my car monthly, but will not sell it until SHE decides to die.

Honestly tho if you find a one owner who has religiously changed the oil and attended to the LOW maintenance requirements over the years.. then offer them high book value for the car.. you won't be disappointed!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th June, 2004