1993 Toyota Tercel DX 1.5 from North America


Made for a good time, but not for a long time


At about 200,000 Km (125,000 miles), the third cylinder started losing compression. It eventually became a "dead" cylinder. So my car was running on 3 cylinders instead of 4. It lost power, fuel consumption increased (but not by much) and it burned a little more oil. It kept going until I traded it in at 250,000 Km (155,000 miles)

General Comments:

This is a good, reliable and fuel efficient vehicle. Minimal maintenance is required for the first 8 years, after that, expect a sharp increase in dollars spent.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th September, 2004

1993 Toyota Tercel DX 1.5 SOHC from North America


Cheap, economical, and good at getting from point A to B


Someone overtightened one exhaust valve so I had to replace it.

I need to replace both front axles.

The water pump was replaced at 122000 miles.

The radiator started leaking at 139000 miles so I replaced it. Very easy to do.

General Comments:

The two seatbelt setup on the passenger side really stinks.

The engine is not all that powerful, but with the 5-speed manual it accelerates nicely.

The car had a vibration at about 70-75 mph, but ever since I put on some wider tires it cruises along at 80mph very well. (P165/70 R13 tires)

I've averaged about 30 miles per gallon and that includes a lot of city driving.

It is a good, reliable car. It has power steering (doesn't need it though), air conditioning, and cruise.

One thing I don't like is the fact that the steering wheel does not tilt. I've driven a lot of other cars and I love tilting the wheel how I want it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th October, 2003

1993 Toyota Tercel Base 1.5L 4cycl gas from North America


Easy to fix, handles great


The master clutch cylinder developed a recessed burr on the inside wall deteriorating the rubber gasket on the plunger. I rebuilt the cylinder with an available $20 kit, however, at the time I had not noticed the burr. Hence, after a few weeks the burr deteriorated the rebuild gasket. It's difficult to polish out a recessed burr, so I replaced the entire cylinder for $60. I also rebuilt the slave cylinder with a $10 rebuild kit just for a little insurance. It was fine and I could have left it alone.

General Comments:

I acquired this car free because it had a front end collision and someone wanted it out of their garage. Also, a bozo had taken out some frustration on it with a sledgehammer, busting out the windows and denting the roof and trunk.

The design of the car is genius. There are 2 crumple blocks on the front of the frame that absorb all impact. The frame never got damaged. I acquired all the replacement parts on Ebay and local salvage yards. I straightened the radiator support with hand tools, replaced the radiator and ac condenser all easily by hand. I knocked out the dents, filled the low spots, and replaced the hood, trunk, passenger fender, and all the glass easily without fancy tools. The windshield was a piece of cake!

At a local PPG paint supplier, I got the exact original color and painted the body panels. The car looks and drives like new. This car was totaled and I turned it into new for under $650 including the paint. The engine is bulletproof and perky. The car handles great. Make sure you get wide tires. I have R13 185/65 BF Goodrich's.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th September, 2003

1993 Toyota Tercel LX from North America


This car is a cancer


Oil pan disintegrated

Rust was present after first year owned. (Had to argue with dealership to repair.)

Gas cap door lever and trunk open lever seized with rust.

Muffler rusted out.

Gas smell prevalent in interior of car from early on.

Oil valve seized open and replaced (twice) as it was going through large amounts of oil.

Alternator replaced at 17500km

Low oil indicator light does not come on until almost completely devoid of oil.

Oil is (black) after only a few kilometers.

Lastly, one of the pistons is ruined hence copious amounts of black exhaust and it is going through a top up of oil ever two days.

General Comments:

I thought I could keep this car for a long time as I am very diligent in upkeep for it.

I was very frustrated at dragging this car into the garage ever couple of weeks.

I will unload this lemon and get a car of another make. For the record, Toyota Tercel's are NOT reliable. I am very disappointed with this make and model of car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th September, 2003

12th Apr 2004, 06:22

I had the same trouble with my 89 tercel. Everyone gets a LEMON once in a while. I have a 94 tercel I bought new. It has 240 000 km. on it. No problems so far.

12th Apr 2004, 09:11

It seems you got the worst Tercel ever made. Tercels are one of the most reliable cars ever made. In the 80's rust is usually what ended their life, but mine went for 300 000 km before someone slashed all four tires and I scrapped it rather than replacing them, the rust had made the car ridiculously ugly and noisy (air leaks). It did drive great until that day though.

13th Apr 2005, 08:44

It is apparent that if you let the oil level get low enough to have the light illuminate, you aren't keen on keep up, maybe the car is a lemon due to you. The alternator sounds fishy, I have a 93 tercel and have an amazing amount of miles. I'm at the point where I don't know if I will ever get a new car in the fear this one may run forever, it seems you are one of a kind or at least one of few. Problems are usually anything, but prevalent when it comes to tercels.