T Nation

Any Toyota Tercel or Altima Drivers?

GF is looking for a used car. At this point reliability is the #1 concern.

Found a couple on craigslist

'93 Toyota Tercel , I don’t know anything about Tercels, but being a Toyota I would think it’s rather reliable.
only 80k miles too

'97 Nissan Altima 119k miles

both are the same price

The Altima is probably a higher overall quality car, but I would think the Tercel with it’s mileage and being a Toyota would be a good buy.

any input?

Does the Tercel look like a round jellybean or are the bodylines more straight? Reason I ask is because the older, rounder looking ones were sometimes oil burners. The valve seals would start leaking and need replacement. The newer ones didn’t have such problems. If it’s a manual tranny, have someone take a look at the clutch master cylinder to make sure it isn’t leaking.

Don’t know jack about Nissans.

I’d say it’s more of the jellybean shape. Thanks for the heads up.

The valve seals should be easy as it will smoke upon start up.
I’ve known cars to do that and it’s usually not a big deal since it’s on start up, or are you talking about a good deal of oil burning?

Correct, when the valve seals start leaking it will only be while the engine is still cold. However, if left long enough they’ll leak all the time.

I have a '98 Altima with almost 200k miles and it runs great. No money has been spent on it besides maintenance and the bright pink paint job.

Dang, too bad she’s not looking for a newer Altima. I’ve got a black 2005 3.5 SE I’m selling.

Overall, the Toyos are rated better than the Nissans, but when you start talking about that age of a vehicle, a lot of factors weigh in. It’s going to be a trade off, with the '93 only having 80k and the '97 having 119. I think I’d be more concerned with one, everything is 15+ years old, versus the Nissan at 11. You’d end up replacing a lot of small wear parts (dry rotting rubber, like brake lines) on one sooner over the other. Both will require maintenance, but I’d think the Toyo would need more, just by virtue of the age.