1989 Toyota Tercel LX 1.6 litre 12 valve 3E from North America


My Grocery Getter


The engine block cracked due to an overheating, it was caused y my not watching the fluid levels of th car.

Other than that it is a perfect car.

General Comments:

I really like the way that the car handles and rides. It feels really solid and stable in tighter corners.

I would have rather had a manual transmission, although with the automatic the car is still fairly quick.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th August, 2005

1989 Toyota Tercel Coupe 1.8 from North America


Great investment, I think I got my money's worth


Have gone through 3 mufflers, 4 sets of tires, one starter, only 2 or 3 headlight bulbs, 3 batteries, one set of front disk pads and one set of rear drum shoes. Not bad for a car that I've owned for 16 years. Lifetime replacement on the mufflers.

There is some problem with the way water drains around the trunk, always wind up with some water in the spare tire cavity which now shows surface rust.

General Comments:

Regular oil changes with Mobil 1 used from 8,000 miles to 85,000 miles; presently use valveline oil for older vehicles - doesn't burn oil.

The car still has the original clutch and I have regularly towed small trailers with the car.

Always used seat covers, so the seats are still in great shape.

No accidents with the vehicle and I have never been stopped by police while driving it. Body has minor dings and scratches, but still looks good.

Bought studded snow tires for the car in '88 and only put them on when needed - 10 to 14 days a year in Oregon (including ski trips to Mt Hood) ; still using them.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th November, 2004

1989 Toyota Tercel DX 1.5 from North America


My car was very reliable for the 4 years that I owned it, and will be greatly missed.


My front oil gasket began to leak pretty bad.

General Comments:

This car was remarkably reliable.

It handled very well, and was very good at whipping in and out of traffic.

I found my car to be rather comfortable.

This car was also very fast when I needed it to be, and slowed down very quickly once my foot was off the gas pedal.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th August, 2004

1989 Toyota Tercel from North America


Great, dependable, economical, get-cha-where-yer-goin' vehicle!


Little to nothing has gone wrong in 14 years!

Gave it regular tune ups, oil changes and belt changes.

Muffler and battery have had to be replaced two or three time each. However, that is ALL that had to be replaced in 14 years!

General Comments:

I believe this is the best economical car there is! With routine maintenance it has been the most dependable vehicle I have ever seen.

The 1989 model looks more stylish than later models. I wish Toyota would make more like this.

The comfort level? Well, it's no Cadillac, but I bought it for dependability and economy and it has provided both!

People tease me about it's looks now. Granted, rust and "arthritis" (oil leaks and smoky engine) have set in, but I'm shooting for 300,000 miles in it while they're all shelling out monthly car notes!

Great car!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th July, 2004

1989 Toyota Tercel DX 1.5L from North America


Clickety Clack went the smokey little engine!


Water pumps galore! Have replaced it 3 times.

Loves CV joints dearly!

The 12 valve engine is noisy and not very fuel efficient for a car of this size.

Sounds like a food processor from the 70's.

General Comments:

This is my second Turd-cel my previous one also 1989 died of cancer, the body literally rotted to pieces. So I took it's heart out (the engine) and put it in my next Thirdcell, through some miracle this engine lasted 2 more years and finally died in the street at 265,000.Mercifully I only paid $400 for this car. My neighbour bought it for parts when it died for $100,so it was't a total constructive loss!

The gas mileage is horrible for a 4 cylinder car-it isn't much better than either of the 3 Toyota 4Runners I have owned.

These cars are OK if and only if you are mechanically inclined and have a spare car for parts!

A somewhat depressing car, but if you get one with standard transmission it is tolerable, the automatics must be real heaps!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th February, 2004

7th Aug 2008, 16:57

I have a 89' Tercel, stick.

Tore the catalytic converter off, replaced it with much bigger 2-3/4 inch exhaust with a resonator and performance muffler.

Tore off the air filter crap and put on a K&N air filter only.

If I max the air pressure in the tires, and just tuned up with stock dist. cap, neon blue high performance 8mm solid core spark plug wires with matched NGK spark plugs, high test gas, and drive 50mph, I'm getting 40mpg. If I drive normal 60mph going thru the gears, I'm getting 35 mpg,

Air in air out is how you get better mpg.

I did have to spend $895.00 fixing a dropped exhaust valve, that included new drive belt, alt belt, air conditioner belt. and labor. Great little car at 149000 miles; hope to double that.

8th Feb 2012, 17:01

Problem is, after you remove the cat, you may not be able to pass emissions, and with a custom exhaust, get ready to have a migraine on long trips.

You're better off grabbing a Weber carburetor for the extra hp and gas mileage.

9th Feb 2012, 09:23

Funny, I once had a brand new '89 Tercel, and I was getting well into the 40's on the highway with it.

20th Mar 2015, 08:05

I have an 83 Tercel with a 3ac engine. I put a brand new progressive carb on it and have lost about 50 miles to a tank on my fuel mileage. How do I correct this problem? Please advise robbie.ecke@yahoo.com