1994 Toyota Tercel 1.5 gasoline from North America


A car that deserves respect


Oil consumption. I was using about 1 qt. every week. Replaced valve stem seals myself in front of the house. Seals cost only $35. Also did the timing belt, $27 at the same time. Plus necessary tools, all together it cost me $100. Make sure the spark plugs will be replaced as well, as they are fouled by oil dripping from valves.

By the way, the seals were bad from the manufacturer. The seals on market now have been revised.

There is a knocking noise coming from front suspention at speeds around 30mp/h, I haven't checked it out yet.

Horn got stuck several 2 times, I will check maybe it is a rusty connection.

All this is minor (except for the valve seals), so I consider it a very reliable vehicle.

General Comments:

I use this car for work, where I average 3-7mp/h during the 14 hour workday (city marshal tow program, looking for scofflaws to be towed), so at such speeds the mileage is very low, but in reality if the average speed was about 30mp/h, the car would travel almost 400 miles each day! That is the wear and tear my car is receiving. It is very comfortable in front, back seat is cramped.

Acceleration is sluggish while entering highways, but will be adequate, if you start from 1 gear, switch to 2-nd at 30mp/h, and last 3-rd at 45mp/h (with automatic transmission).

I will recomend it to anyone who would be secure enough to drive a "girl car" that receives very little respect on the road. It is a great work car, reliable and quite strong.

I was hit in the back by 2000 Nissan Altima. My tercel had only a bent plate, while Altima owner had to replace grille, bumper cover and hood.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th February, 2003

11th Sep 2003, 14:51

I have the same kind of car I have the same problem with the seals, but the acceleration can be helped by using 93 octane gas and a can of octane booster once in a while.

9th Oct 2003, 19:17

This is the author of the original review. I agree, there is a big difference in weather 93 or 87 octane gasoline is used. The engine sounds much better with 93, and it seems that fuel economy is also better with 93. The suspention problem I mentioned in review turned out to be a bad wheel bearing. I am now up to 94 000 miles, and no other problems have been detected.

1994 Toyota Tercel from North America




Interior light didn't work almost from the start. Had it replaced a few times then gave up. It never really did work.

Dash lights on heating panel went at around 80k, never bothered replacing.

Started burning oil. By the end we were just about putting a liter of oil in at each fill up.

General Comments:

Great on gas. We really liked the rock solid reliability of this car. We did regular maintenance and it just ran and ran. Other than the burning oil problem this car was solid.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th May, 2002

1994 Toyota Tercel Base 1.5 SOHC Injected from North America


Don't buy one with more than 90,000 miles if reliability is on your list


At 106,000 miles the water pump locked up, had the pump and timing belt changed for $375.

Vinyl seats tearing continued to worsen, since purchase.

At 110,000 miles the passenger side rear wheel bearing became severely worn and needed replacing for $170.

As the car approached 130,000 miles, oil consumption rapidly increased to 1 quart per 1000 miles, with regular oil changes every 3000 miles.

At 145,000 miles, engine misfires at idle on #4 cylinder. Turns out an exhaust valve has burned open as a result of no valve clearance. Had the dealer replace burnt/bent valve and install new valve seals - $930!

Only 400 miles later, engine burns oil out of control, using 1 quart per 100 miles and fouling plugs out each day. Returned to the dealer claiming improper service of valve seals only to have them tell me "You need new pistons and rings" for another $2800. After contacted the same source they had used to price a re-manufactured engine, the technician on the phone told me the dealership should have seriously recommended new rings at the time the valve work was done. I originally took it to the dealership, thinking/hoping they are the experts on their own cars only to watch $930 go up in blue smoke. Since then I've ordered the crate engine and will do the installation myself, now being the only mechanic I can afford.

General Comments:

Overall, the car has been fairly reliable as compared to domestic vehicles. Yet being a Toyota, I'd expect better reliability over the long haul.

Gas mileage has averaged between 35 to 38.5 MPG right up to the last days of this engine.

Don't even consider having average adults ride in the back seat.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 18th February, 2001

25th May 2001, 04:31

Most of the problems you describe (water pump, timing belt, wheel bearing) are normal for any car with a high mileage. The timing belt is a regular maintenance item - it's supposed to be replaced every 60,000 miles. As for the burnt valve, that would never have happened if the valve clearances had been checked and adjusted every 25,000 miles like they're supposed to be.

1994 Toyota Tercel Base 1.5L single port injection from North America


The absolute most value for your money


Has begun to burn approximately 1 quart oil every 3000 miles.

General Comments:

No major problems. Car is amazingly well built. Car @ 210550 miles is still with all original factory parts minus belts and hoses.

No power-steering is a plus.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th February, 2001

4th Feb 2003, 04:00

I have a 94 Tercel, and at 60 000 miles it started to burn oil. I had to ad 1 qt. every week. I was told by repair shop I needed either new rings or new valve stem seals. I decided to try the seals first. So, I got the seals for about $35 from auto part store, bought a valve spring compressor, and carefully reading repair manual did the seal job myself in front of the house. It took me 3 days.

Make sure you replace the spark plugs as well, as the oil dripping from valves really fouls them.

I now have 80 000 miles, car runs great.