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I'm a grad student and have a 96 RAV4 - purchased it 6 years ago for $1500 with 160k miles on it, and it now has 230k miles on it.

Background on my car:
I have not had any major problems with the car but I got hit with a lot of needed repairs: shocks, struts, brakes, drums. I know a guy who did all of that for a really good deal, so I kept the car instead of searching for another car. I have done a radiator flush, and I am religious about taking it to get the oil changed every 3000-5000 miles. I use conventional oil and stick with the Toyota manual recommendations. I recently decided to switch to bosch oil filters, or mobil 1- I figure it's a few bucks more, but, it might give me a little extra life on my engine. I've been throwing in seafoam treatments in the gas tank, and might throw one in the oil before my next oil change and immediately after per recommendations. I live in the upper midwest where rust is king, and I suspect that rust will claim my RAV before engine failure does. It really seems to be the little engine that could.

I love my RAV4- and I don't think it has failed me yet. I am a bit concerned about the gunk that could be building up in the engine, because I didn't really pay attention to this stuff for the first 5 years of car ownership.

My question is: Is it reasonable for me to expect to get 300k+ miles out of my RAV before I hit any major problems and have to get rid of it? I have spent about 700-800 dollars on parts and labor when I got the laundry list of stuff done. Firestone tried to charge me 2k! Found a reliable guy who only charged me $200 to do the struts, shocks, brakes, - and I got to help him so I learned how to do it all. I took it back to firestone to have them check his work: they said it was "excellent" and they were shocked I could get it done for 10% of what they wanted. Uh, why are they charging that much then????
 

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The only thing I'd worry about is the buildup of Seafoam gunk in the engine. :egad:Stop wasting $$ on that stuff! Other than that I like your frugality.
I do agree, rust will be the winner. Check your front A-arms and other suspension components for rust damage. That's the most critical.
 

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The only thing I'd worry about is the buildup of Seafoam gunk in the engine. :egad:Stop wasting $$ on that stuff! Other than that I like your frugality.
I do agree, rust will be the winner. Check your front A-arms and other suspension components for rust damage. That's the most critical.

Really shot myself in the foot today. Had a guy who has done work for me - and done a good job- and ruined our relationship by being late to the appointment. Was set to pay him $50 to do the drums, shoes, and spring etc. He now wants 80$. Oh well. Might just find a difft guy.
 

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osu789 - great savings / spending $200 vs. $2,000.
I too spend my money wisely, on used purchases & the maintenance...my recent Jeep story below:
Now Oil Changes - look into new Pennzoil made from clean Natural gas base.
- WIX Platinum also makes AMSOIL oil filters...best $$ can buy



^^ Went 8,000 Km and my 2008 RAV4 Limited v6 had used oil with half of its honey colour.

I am a big fan of SeaFoam - my Stihl FS85 is 15 years old / starts every spring and we only have 10% ethanol gas here.
- pour a pint (8 oz) Seafoam into valve cover, half hour prior to oil change & let idle or stay running, until pulled onto lift
Used SeaFoam in a 350-v8, poured into S/S gas tank onto fresh gas / car was stored for 10 years & runs smooth now.

I tend to sell my non Toyota at 335,000 Km mark = 208,000 miles.
- this was a 89 Nissan Pathfinder / motors would go 350,000 miles but transmissions were weak
- also sold a 98 Nissan Maxima at similar miles, and sold private / flipped money into another private sale
Our Volvo v70 wagon, was a money pit ($4,500 front end rebuild) at 300,000 Km / had it 8 years and kept wagon one year to long...I got burned once !!
- end up selling for cost of last years repairs / and went to the 2008 RAV4 v6
Just because a motor will go 350,000 miles, doesn't mean something else costly will go.
^^ I always find the cream puff of a vehicle first and but it / sell the old vehicle later, off front lawn.
- my ROI is maximized & I don't buy junk, in a rush...patience is the Key / flip smart

My 2000 4Runner SR5, v6 / rust free door bottoms & tight factory seams.
- Wax-Oil Fluid Film is one of the best oil spray undercoatings / applied correctly, can get decades out of a used vehicle, driven in the salt belt


========================================================

Had my 1996 Jeep Cherokee (RWD Country Edition) safety checked today, and only needed upper/lower ball joints.

- UAP/NAPA was $24 & $25 each = $110.74 (cheap brand) and $92 & $90 each = $411.32 (premium brand)

Prime Choice Auto Parts, in Ottawa = $56.51 (full ball joint Kit - 2 uppers & 2 lowers), with 2 day free Shipping, in Canada.
- same kit shipped to States, priced at $24.21 US$
^^ This Florida imported vehicle, is currently up for Sale / so I didn't add the $5.00 charge, for life warranty.



IMO the rather cheap off-shore Ball Joints (sourced out of Ottawa-China made), are much better quality than UAP/NAPA White box junk, at less than 1/2 the $$.

- even Moog at $350/set more money is no longer worth, the extra premium / since their Ball Joints, are now Manufactured in China...they just lost my business

- I'm selling the Jeep, so a BJ warranty claim is not an issue / plus have a close friend, with 4 bay garage, for parts install & alignment rack, at a reasonable cost

CHEVROLET TAHOE 2005 - COMPLETE SET OF 4 BALL JOINTS - PAIR OF 2 UPPER AND 2 LOWER FRONT SUSPENSION KIT CK500-501
2 Upper and 2 Lower Ball Joints / Distributed by Prime Choice Auto Parts Factory Outlet Store

• Precision-machined, advanced technology, low-friction bearing designs for superior steering and handling. Case-hardened steel housing for improved strength and durability.
• Polyurethane boots for better resistance to cracking and splitting. Also seals ball joint from debris and contamination that contributes to premature ball joint failure.

• Anti-corrosion coating on ball joint provides protection from the harshest driving conditions.
• Direct fit for vehicle specific application on all makes and models.



Got the $56 Ball Joint Kit (4 pieces - uppers & lowers) installed, this week:
- 3.5 hours labor
Total Spend = $56 (parts) + $242 (labor) = $298 incl. HST

Got phone quote from Chrysler Dealership, for sh*ts & giggles:
- Labor is 6.0 hours, at $98/hour = $588
- Parts (4 pieces - uppers & lowers) = $600
Total = $1,356 (tax in)

^^ That's a difference of $1356 - $298 = $1,058 savings overall / $544 less in parts alone.
- very happy with Prime Choice cheap parts, out of Ottawa

All said & done...I had job done for 22% and got Jeep safety checked.

- pays to source good parts (cheap) & find a trusted mechanic
I don't have $1K to waste, on a minor vehicle repair.

 

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Really shot myself in the foot today. Had a guy who has done work for me - and done a good job- and ruined our relationship by being late to the appointment. Was set to pay him $50 to do the drums, shoes, and spring etc. He now wants 80$. Oh well. Might just find a difft guy.
It's one thing to be frugal, another to be CHEAP. Even $100 is inexpensive for that brake work. You know the dealer would be MUCH more. So go back and happily pay him the $80 with an apology. If he's good you'll have a good mechanic who WANTS to work on your RAV4.
If you keep looking for the cheapest guy you'll end up with the cheapest work. If that happens you may as well start figuring what the monthly payments would be on a new car.
 
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It's one thing to be frugal, another to be CHEAP. Even $100 is inexpensive for that brake work. You know the dealer would be MUCH more. So go back and happily pay him the $80 with an apology. If he's good you'll have a good mechanic who WANTS to work on your RAV4.
If you keep looking for the cheapest guy you'll end up with the cheapest work. If that happens you may as well start figuring what the monthly payments would be on a new car.
I actually think you're right. I should stick w the guy who did a good job - even if he wants $30 more. I got a guy who would do it for the initial price of $50; thing is - I should just go w the seasoned guy who did the good job. It's the right thing to do.

You probably have a well paying job. I'm a graduate student in healthcare and right now - it's very hard for me to pay for my car maintenance. Yep, I got a guy who had references, and did a stellar job (don't forget the car is a 1996). I had to spend time and work with him, it wasn't a drop it off and go situation - you get what you pay for.

I had the car checked up at Firestone afterwords to make sure that everything was done right (shocks, struts, front brakes, rear brakes/drums and shoes). I paid $60 and got the alignment done (not at a big box place, I read reviews and went to a good place). The car runs smoothly.

I wish I could take your advice and "not be cheap". I don't have a choice. I made the choice to pursue this degree to help people, and make my living this way. I am responsible for that situation, but I'd just politely remind you that I am not rich, and I have VERY little disposable income. I'm trying to keep my car running on a shoe string budget; and I managed. My car running and passing checks by seasoned mechanics? Definitely. I'm not cutting corners on oil changes or filters, and I am concerned about the carb being clean of deposits/build up.

The beautiful thing about these pre computery cars is that a guy who has a skill set can make some extra cash on the side at home working on it. That's what I did. I actually talked to the worker at firestone (usually hate those big box places) but he said he would do all my work for $20 an hour - and I got his number so I can text him go to his garage and he can work on it. Who lost out on that deal? He makes more than firestone pays him for the same work; I make sure the work is done right with a check up and then pay him. You know who loses? Me. It takes a lot of effort to put in that much work just to get a deal like that. When you know a good mechanic, you pay for the convenience factor, and it is WORTH IT. You also pay to know that the guy will stand behind his work; ALSO WORTH IT. And you pay for the assurance he knows what he is doing: ALSO WORTH IT. I hedged my bets and tried to get around this only because I'm BROKE.

My biggest fear is that a gasket will blow after I poured hundreds of dollars into this car. That's up to luck. Re everyone else - remember if you ever need any physical rehabilitation, the person (like me) would have sacrificed a lot to do that work. It may not be perfect, but this is the situation I am in and I am trying to make the best of it.
 

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I thought the US is a rich country and a graduate student in healthcare can purchase a much better car then RAV4 1996. In the US new cars are cheaper then in Russia.
 

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Then, my Russian friend, you've seen too many episodes of Dallas!
Wow tell me about it? He should tell his friends in Russia that I am in 6 figure debt- at a rather high interest rate for student loans. Sorry to report - but yes- graduate students in healthcare are very often broke. I am one of them.
Side Note: Shout out for Democracy activists and LGBT activists in Russia who are being persecuted by TinPot Dictator Putin.

Update I will post the total I paid for PARTS, but I think it would have total out to $600-$700 or so. I ended up spending a grand total of $400 in LABOR for the following done:

- CV Axles (both driver and passenger sides)
- Alternator
- Rear Brake Drums, Springs, and Shoes
- Front brake shoes
- Struts
- Wheels Rotated
- Alignment (not at a big box shop totaled to $60)

To clean the gunk:
- Replaced oil and threw in 7 oz. of Seafoam
- Using Bosch Filters Only from now on - $5 on Amazon per filter - free shipping to my house
- 2 cans of Seafoam right in the tank and Premium Gas this one time (no ethanol in it!)

Next planned replacements:
- Timing belt
- Water pump
- Oil seals etc.
- Estimated cost by my mechanic: $200

Upcoming Project:
To scan the entire copy of the Chilton's 1996-2000 RAV4 Repair Manual. I bought it, and I want it for personal use electronically so I can access it at any time. Ask me about it if you want to ask. You know what I mean...
 

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The Russian law known in West media as the "anti-gay law" sounds as “On Protection of Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development” in that law non-traditional sexual relationships propaganda is stated as a class of harmful content
Right. Banning "propaganda", in other words censorship so no one sees gay people, with the idea that simply talking about gay people makes other people gay. Not only is that contrary to psychological facts; it also tells people they can't be who they are openly.

You said you don't know what LGBT activists want. I can tell you what they want: to be treated equally. That means you treat all citizens under the law equally: marriage too. Russia is a European country only on a technicality it's still a very backwards place with a very weak democratic process.

Like I said, I feel bad for the LGBT people being persecuted by the Russian government for simply being who they are; and being muzzled so they can't even identify who they are openly, and demand equality.
 

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HOLY CRAP!!!

Pleeeese close this!! :surprise
 

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Let's keep this on topic. If it does not have to do with the original topic then don't comment here.
OSU789 needs assistance not political crappola. One warning only.
 

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Let's keep this on topic. If it does not have to do with the original topic then don't comment here.
OSU789 needs assistance not political crappola. One warning only.
I agree- but I gotta say one thing: civil rights are not something I can be flexible about. I say that as an American, and fair minded person. I feel bad for people who can't be who they are and are persecuted simply for that. That said, I'll be sticking to the discussion on RAVs. :)

I STILL can't figure out that air flow problem, I am learning to just live with the CEL honestly. I changed everything: MAP, VSV Switch, Modulator, etc. :surprise
 
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