1993 Toyota Tercel DX 1.5L 3E-E from North America


Why is it still running so well?


So, for the two years I've owned it, what has gone wrong?

- I had to replace the front shocks; only changed one of them, the other is still in my trunk, and it's been a year now.

- The clutch broke at 170 000km.

- I have changed the back suspension.

- Replaced the brakes twice; once when I bought it, and also last month.

General Comments:

This is the first car that I actually owned, and it's still running like a champ! I bought it for 650$ at 150 000km (~93 000 miles), and it was rust free, running well, except that I had to change the brakes.

Since then, I've had a lot of fun with her.

Since it has no power, you have to rev it to get some reaction, and there are not many 20 year old cars that could've survived all the beatings I gave to this car. It doesn't cost me much on gas, and on maintenance too.

For a first car, this thing is great! The whole engine is original, and it works just fine; it isn't burning oil at all! I just don't understand how the car made it through these two years.

I'll keep this car until it dies, and I hope it'll last forever! Tercels are a great car, cheap and reliable, and perfect for broke students, just like me!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th April, 2013

1993 Toyota Tercel Base from North America




These cars suffer from defective valve seals. Oil will mysteriously start vanishing, yet it doesn't blow smoke except for a blue puff upon cold starting. Requires an engine rebuild.

General Comments:

The 1993 is rough riding and uncomfortable, very noisy. However, it is a base model (mine was) so I accepted that. However, after meticulously maintaining mine & then finding out that at 60K I needed an engine rebuild, well I wasn't happy. Not to mention the fact that I complained to Toyota & they gave me a crummy $500.00 dealer credit if I wanted to have them to the rebuild. If you buy one of these dogs, be sure to get ready to replace/rebuild the motor.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th December, 2010

22nd Feb 2013, 19:17

I will never buy another Toyota again. Bought a 93 Tercel for my girlfriend, which had about 174k miles on it, and the engine blew up within a week. I will stick to my American cars. I know you import lovers will probably say something.

26th Feb 2013, 00:05

Was the timing belt ever changed?

1993 Toyota Tercel Std 1.5 5efe swap from North America


I will never stray from this car


Nothing has ever gone wrong with this car.

In fact it's the best damn car anyone could ever own.

General Comments:

I have been a fan of the Tercel since I was 17. My best friend had an 89 el31 boxy type. It was always reliable, and never once left us stranded.

The carbed 3ee engine had its test with the teens that drove it. Being ramped, e-brake slides, snow rally, mud back woods, rough roads.

The steering was ultimate. The car did what it was told to do with no engine failure.

That made me buy my 93 Tercel. The owner before me had not taken care of it, so I took it and swapped a 92 Toyota Paseo motor in it; DOHC 1.5 5efe. The old engine only had 82 hp, the upgraded engine had 100 hp, and it woke this car up.

Best daily driver I ever had, and still have to this day.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th October, 2009

1993 Toyota Tercel from North America


Most reliable car in the universe


Right tie iron (axle) and wheel bearings had to be replaced, along with the clutch.

General Comments:

I have gone off-roading, through floods, and driven it across country.

I originally bought this little car for $1,000. I had to put in approximately $1,000 for a new clutch, and had to have wheel bearings and tie iron replaced.

I have driven this car through the off-road areas of Big Bear, CA. I recently drove this little car (with 185,000 miles) from Southern California to Massachusetts, with absolutely no problems.

Also, I have driven this car through floods, and this car has been in a head-on collision. The radiator was bent, but the car is still going!

The car has 190,000 miles on it; I am just curious if I can get another 100,000 out of it. Saw a '93 tercel with 365,000 miles on it at the junk yard. Just don't know when this car's engine will stop running.

Toyota Tercel should be the new spokesperson for the Energizer Bunny! It keeps going, and going, and going!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd November, 2008

23rd Nov 2008, 22:11

My biggest regret regarding automobiles, in all my years of driving, was selling my '93 Tercel. I was 18 and wanted a four wheel drive. There is no other car that compares in durability and reliability; maybe an old Honda CRX or something. Possibly.

Long ago I posted a review about mine... I drove it to college. Beat it mercilessly, jumped it, off roaded in it. It was easy, if the mud was too deep or the rocks too big, just go faster and slide right over it. To this day, I have no comprehension as to how I didn't blow the engine up or tear off everything underneath the car. The wheels should have fallen off, the engine SHOULD have blown up. A four speed stick with no tachometer, which I over-revved (to put it mildly) ALL the time.

It never even went out of alignment, never burned a drop of oil (which I never once changed in 50,000 miles) and never even sputtered or ran rough.

My previous neighbor sold his son's '93 Tercel, identical to mine, with well over 300,000 miles on it and that car was not once in a garage. He put gas in it, changed oil, and drove it for 300,000+ miles. It was running fine when he sold it. It blew a little smoke on acceleration... (God forbid, it needed rings after being driven by a college kid for 325,000 miles...). I feel certain I'd still be driving mine.

I just can't say enough good things about this car. It was simple, extremely economical, (40 mpg+)...nearly indestructible. The best car offered by the best car maker in the world... Toyota.