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Corolla Le 1998 Lifespan

By reneerose, February 24, 2014

I'm considering selling the above vehicle. I am the original owner and it has about 132,000 miles on it.

I have special considerations because I cannot paint the vehicle (severe clearcoat failure has occurred) due to my extreme chemical hypersensitivity to the auto body shop paint VOCs.... if I were to take my car into an auto body place for painting. I hate to part with my car, but because it looks extremely ugly and there are things that are "going to rot" slowly with it, I think I should upgrade. The car is almost 16 years old.

Should I have sold this car a long time ago?

A few months ago, I just replaced the front KY struts and got new Michelin Defender tires this year (because it was needed for safety and I didn't know what I want yet to do with the car). Almost $1000 altogehter (4 tires and struts).

I checked the Blue Book for it and in the condition that it is, I think it might fetch $1000? Am I being unrealistic about this?

The upholstery is going a little in the interior and a bit of it is hanging down from the ceiling near the top of the rear window, the left driver's side electric power window switch froze a couple times on me when I was rolling it up (is that a sign of electrical system failure for the power windows?). All the vinyl interior trim has shrunk and come off of the inside of the door frame, the upholstery in the ceiling is showing signs of holes and wear....

I probably won't be able to get another vehicle until around May.

But mainly wanted opinions about whether pricing this vehicle at $1000 is unrealistic. Thanks.

Damaged clear coat is not unusual, if the car has been garaged outdoors or you live in an area that see a lot of sun (Arizona, etc.). Sounds like this was the case, as the plastic and rubber bits have shrunk down. Might be able to buff out the clear coat damage instead of repainting the whole car. Clear coat is just regular paint without pigments in it. IMHO, when they switched over to water based finishes to reduce VOCs and environmental impact, the finishes haven't help up as well as they used to.

$1000 for a car in that condition - depends on your market. Something like that: 1998 Corolla, 132K miles, single owner, cosmetic damage, assuming mechanically sound otherwise - might fetch anywhere from $750 - $3000 - depending on the region. $1000-$1500 would be a fair price from a personal seller, like from yourself. Prices will be heavily influenced by the extent of the cosmetic damage to the car and what the going fuel prices are. I've seen cars that originally worth $1000 or so - easily double/triple in prices when gas was up and over $4/gallon back in 2011/2012.

Lifespan on the car - that is harder to estimate. With regular maintenance, these 8th gen Corollas are surprising reliable. Assuming that your car is not one of those that have the excessive oil consumption issue or EVAP problem. My 2002 is sitting on 205K miles, and I'd be shocked if I don't get another 100K out of it. Plan on handing that to my son in a couple of years.

Thanks Fish! The clearcoat damage is extensively on top, hood, and trunk of the car....the vinyl doorframe trim wore away on the passenger side front and back so I took some scissors and cut it free it was shrinking up so bad.

Wish I had photos. I took the car to a couple places., one gave me $7000 to repaint and another gave me $900. But again, because I'm highly sensitive to solvents VOC used in the painting of the car I can't do it.

It is a pretty mechanically sound car. Sounds like mine could probably go 70,000 more miles...I'm just worried rust will start eating away at it....I rubbed wax on all the afffected areas and I haven't been able to garage the car so the elements took their toll. I'm worried about the electrical system going, as the power window on the driver's side sort of got stuck halfway down, But when I turned the car off and sort of gave it a reset then the window was fine again...I wonder if that is a sign of an aging electrical system. What is the EVAP problem?

If the car sits outside all the time - you'll see things like the power windows sticking from time to time. Not a sign of bad electricals, more of a mechanical issue - likely the window regulator coating of grease has dried up. Causing the motor to work a lot harder than it should, by cycling the power - you've basically given the power motor time to cool off and power the window back up.

Just sounds like the car needs a little extra maintenance - not unusual for this situation. As for painting options - anything you can do to protect what is left of the paint will really help stretch out the paint's life.

As for the EVAP problem - that is the Evaporative emissions portion of the car. Covers components from the VSV (vacuum switching valves) from the airbox and throttlebody to the vapor canister, fuel tank venting, and all the valves, switches, and hoses attached to the system. All of this to prevent excessive amounts of gasoline vapor from escaping into the atmosphere.

In my opinion, Corolla ages due to actual age and storage conditions, rather than mileage. Driver instructors here use almost exclusively corollas and easily manage 600K km (375Kmiles) but in 3-4 years. My 99 Corolla approaches 400K km but has some rust at rear wheel wells. We are heavily exposed to salt here in Toronto.

Regarding OP's problem: sell or keep driving - it's entirely up to you. But of course where was no need for new expensive tires if you consider selling, there are some pretty good used ones around. And what could possibly be wrong with struts? I still have original ones.

the complete power window system has been shot...had to disarm the car because I couldn't operate the auto door locks anymore...anyone know what the ball park of costs are to fix the power doors locking system?

The car has been sitting in my garage for the last 6 months....I guess now I'm thinking of donating the thing as I'm not sure I want to spend the money to repaint it, fix the door locking system, and fix the inside torn upholstery and vinyl trim...

I guess I've answered my own question....I had gotten the new struts on just the front about 1 1/2 years ago because I had two mechanics (non dealers) tell me they thought the front struts were "gooey"...and the tires are about 1 1/2 years old too....I had had those put on because I couldn't make up my mind whether to keep the car and had wanted to keep myself safe driving long distances....

But I guess I should probably just donate relatives would only want it if I paid to fix the car up for them....and I've other things to spend money on right now....

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