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View Full Version : 2005 Toyota Corolla CE. 4,860 miles.



pl8ster
December 29th, 2014, 06:04 AM
Probably mentioned this previously, but we inherited a 2005 Corolla that has 4,860 miles on the odometer; it has spent most of the past seven years slumbering in garages. We inherited it from my mother-in-law (it belonged to her father) for my soon-to-be-licensed son to drive, and said mother-in-law had her mechanic 'go over it' before handing it over to us. The car seems to be none the worse for non-wear, aside from the rodent nests we found in the airbox and cabin air filter (which seem like something a mechanic would have found, knowing that the car had been sitting for extended periods of time, but whatever).

So the car runs and drives well enough, but I don't know that the mechanic actually replaced anything aside from the engine oil. The tires are original but show no signs of cracking at all. My mother-in-law says that the full tank of gas is the same gas that was in it when it was parked in 2007 or so :erm:

I'm going to try to get in touch with the mechanic to see exactly what work he did on the car, but I'm basically wondering if there are things we should replace 'just because' or issues we should be on the lookout for down the road. The engine does seem to feel a little flat and buzzy in the upper rev ranges - I haven't exactly been redlining it, just something I've noticed. It does seem better after vacuuming out the airbox and replacing the filter, but the gas would probably benefit from some octane booster after all this time. And it could also just be that the standard Corolla engine from 2005 is never going to sing like the one in the TSX :D

Interesting aside: the car has roll-up windows, but A/C and a six-disc in-dash CD changer...

Yw-slayer
December 29th, 2014, 07:14 AM
That's impressively low mileage for an American car of that age. I'm sure the tryes are shot, though.

TheBenior
December 29th, 2014, 08:17 AM
In all fairness, the tires were probably hard as rocks to begin with. ;)

thesameguy
December 29th, 2014, 09:02 AM
I'd be suspect of anything made of rubber - tires, belts (including the timing belt), and hoses. All the filters should be replaced (oil, air, fuel) and probably all the fluids (ESPECIALLY the brake fluid and coolant), I wouldn't do much driving on it til filters and fluids have been replaced, and then I'd watch the rubber parts like a hawk. They may not show signs of wear until they've been used for a little bit - hoses will get soft, belts and tires will crack. Personally I think it would be worth doing the timing belt pre-emptively as they are typically rated for mileage or time replacement, and nine years is a long time.

Random
December 29th, 2014, 09:10 AM
^^ what he said.

Kchrpm
December 29th, 2014, 10:48 AM
Make him fix it himself, LEARN HIM GOOD.

pl8ster
December 29th, 2014, 01:48 PM
Let's just say I didn't vacuum up the rodent nests :up:

Godson
December 29th, 2014, 02:48 PM
I'll echo tsg on all points.

pl8ster
December 30th, 2014, 11:07 AM
The timing belt thing is exactly the feedback I was looking for, thanks. Really interested to hear what the mechanic did besides change the oil/filter...

Godson
December 30th, 2014, 12:30 PM
If he doesn't do the other stuff....find a new mechanic.

pl8ster
December 31st, 2014, 07:13 AM
He's not *my* mechanic...my mother-in-law takes her car to him.

neanderthal
December 31st, 2014, 06:30 PM
With that low an odometer reading, most mechanics would be loath to say you need to spend $2000 on this car for upkeep.

Lets face it, most people would think the mechanic was trying to rip you off.

I reckon only the oil was changed.

Godson
January 1st, 2015, 08:53 AM
But that is poor service, because when the belt snaps and the engine is busted, where do you think that discussion is going to go?

neanderthal
January 1st, 2015, 10:47 AM
I'm not in disagreement.

I'm simply pointing out that most people will think a mechanic is trying to cheat them when the mechanic says they should get $2000 of work done to an engine with only 7000 miles. There's no argument if we can agree on this fundamental point.

A good mechanic would explain that the rubber components age and deteriorate, whether they are used or not, and recommend changing them.

I've tried to sell tires to people who had tires that were 10 or more years old. "But it's been sitting in the garage for the last twelve years, and my dad put new tires on it before he had his stroke, so how can you say we need to replace tires that are still obviously unused?"

That is the reaction most people have.

Godson
January 1st, 2015, 11:24 AM
I'm not in disagreement.

I'm simply pointing out that most people will think a mechanic is trying to cheat them when the mechanic says they should get $2000 of work done to an engine with only 7000 miles. There's no argument if we can agree on this fundamental point.

A good mechanic would explain that the rubber components age and deteriorate, whether they are used or not, and recommend changing them.

I've tried to sell tires to people who had tires that were 10 or more years old. "But it's been sitting in the garage for the last twelve years, and my dad put new tires on it before he had his stroke, so how can you say we need to replace tires that are still obviously unused?"

That is the reaction most people have.


Totally in agreement. In which case the tech should do as you and so few others do, teach.

neanderthal
January 1st, 2015, 12:43 PM
75% of people walk before you can even get to that. The ones who stay have a look of incredulity on their faces and only a few grudgingly come to accept what you say.

That's my experience.

Godson
January 1st, 2015, 01:27 PM
As I have learned in since I have started Nursing, it is all in the delivery. Start with the education from the minute they walk in the front door.

neanderthal
January 1st, 2015, 04:29 PM
You'll soon learn that some want to hear the doctor say exactly the same thing you said. Ask me how I know.

One of the supervisors now makes it a point to ask me what our policy is, whereupon I repeat what I had just said to the customer.

thesameguy
January 1st, 2015, 06:43 PM
Yeah, my old mechanic used to complain about that. It's a tough balance between winning the job and winning the customer and very often the two approaches aren't the same. People are pretty dumb and even when you take the opportunity to really invest in a person's problems it's unusual they'll retain any of the knowledge you impart. I sympathize with mechanics who stick to the at-hand facts and don't venture into the theory - eg, "this is broken" vs. "this is a potential future issue." A lot folks perceive the latter as salesmanship and don't want to hear it no matter the delivery.

Yw-slayer
January 2nd, 2015, 01:45 AM
I feel it. Sometimes there are real sharks, though e.g. "You really think that price is expensive for this graphics card??!!" (when I got a quote for exactly the same card from a shop 50m away for US$100+ less).

neanderthal
January 2nd, 2015, 07:07 PM
I trust my mechanic 100%. If he says I need anything I make it a point to get it changed out at some point.

But then again, he knows I do my own maintenance and don't need to take my car to him for oil changes, and that's mostly what he does. He only does Mercedes, and has a lift, so when he does my oil change he gives it a thorough once over. I've left my car there overnight for said oil change because he got some emergency "you've got to fix my car now" cases. He calls me, lets me know he has a situation and he knows, i'm going to tell him to take his time and simply tell me when to come and pick it up.

It's also a matter of me having been a mechanic before and knowing how it goes. And me deferring to someone who is obviously an expert in comparison to me. It's also the fact that I have been his customer for a dozen years or so and there is an element of trust in that relationship. I have some customers to whom i am now selling tires for their kids. It's a gratifying feeling to know that their custom is a direct result of my work. But really it's more about having a customer who is willing to listen and engage in the process, rather than come in saying "I need the cheapest tire in X size."

KillerB
January 3rd, 2015, 12:17 AM
Is that engine even an interference design? If not, snapping the timing belt will cause a breakdown but no actual damage.

thesameguy
January 3rd, 2015, 09:56 AM
I don't think anyone makes non-interference engines anymore.

However, in retrospect I am pretty sure that generation Corolla used the 1ZZ, which has a timing chain!

KillerB
January 3rd, 2015, 10:34 AM
All in all, I'd be selling this car. People pay ridiculous money for low mileage Hondas and Toyotas.

thesameguy
January 3rd, 2015, 12:07 PM
I would too. I'd buy a much shittier car that will learn a kid a lesson or two and pocket five grand. :)

Too bad there isn't an old Integra kicking around... :P

pl8ster
January 4th, 2015, 04:45 PM
Audible chuckle on the Integra comment. But this was my son's great-grandfather's car, and they were close (basically a surrogate grandfather who lived close by), and my mother-in-law gifted it to us, so no chance in hell of selling it.

As soon as my mother-in-law gets over her pneumonia, I'll start asking questions about the work that was done.

thesameguy
January 5th, 2015, 02:00 PM
Well, no harm in giving a kid a nice car. Maybe sneak out every once in a while and deflate a tire or stick a raccoon in it, just to similar an age-appropriate beater experience. :D

KillerB
January 13th, 2015, 05:20 PM
Yeah, giving a teenager a car whose only value in the world is the fact that it's pristine is just not right. But I get the sentimental value, so maybe he'll be good to it.

Is it at least a manual transmission?

21Kid
January 15th, 2015, 12:22 PM
:lol:

pl8ster
January 15th, 2015, 01:50 PM
Nope, automatic. And it's not pristine - it's got some scuffs and scratches where it was parked by feel in the garage during its original stint on the road. Going to experiment with some rubbing compound because it looks mostly like it's the paint from the garage frame. My body shop guy told me to wipe some lacquer thinner across it and then follow it immediately with a dry rag, but wouldn't rubbing compound be a safer bet?

21Kid
January 19th, 2015, 01:52 PM
That shit'll buff right out. :finger:

pl8ster
January 21st, 2015, 06:26 AM
I have a sinking feeling that the slight 'rattle' coming from the vent fan is actually a dead critter caught in there - wouldn't be a huge surprise, given the nest material we found in the engine and cabin air filters. I've seen plenty of pictures of that kind of carnage on the 'justrolledintotheshop' subreddit, but until I get a Chilton/Haynes manual (I don't anticipate doing enough work to warrant the $$/$$$ for a FSM), I won't know if it's a 'fun' weekend project with the kid, or a drop-off at the mechanic.

But the good news is that the new head unit did drastically improve the sound through the OEM speakers...so I've got that going for me, which is nice.

thesameguy
January 21st, 2015, 10:01 AM
You'd really need to look at the shop manual and get a sense of where the cabin fan is. If it's like, say, a MkIV VW it's a 20 minute operation to pull the fan. If it's more like a Saab 9000, plan on two weekends. :) Since none of this work is ever actually difficult or messy and you don't need the car this instant, I'd really consider taking on the project. It's a good lesson, good bonding time, and you can work on it at your leisure. Maybe also a good reason to order the real factory manual (ebay, even) and get familiar with reading it. :)

That said, where was the nest in the cabin filter? Before it or after it? If before it, and the filter itself wasn't perforated, how would an animal get in there?