Toyota Tercel Repair and Maintenance

A guide to problems, costs, maintenance and repair for your Toyota Tercel

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Toyota Tercel Problems

Driveability Concerns Due to Throttle Position Sensor Out of Adjustment

The Throttle Position Sensor can get out of adjustment due to wear in the throttle body or due to carbon build up. This will cause the idle timing to advance more than 30 degrees which will cause very high HC and NOx emissions. Conversely, the Throttle Position Sensors can wear out and not properly advance the timing which causes a lack of power and poor fuel economy.

Rough Idle and Backfiring Engine with Check Engine Light

The Toyota Tercel has a known issue with the valves that if left unchecked, will cause burned valves and engine performance issues. 

The engine ‘breathes’ through valves that are pushed open by the camshaft, and closed by springs. When valves are closed, they seal against a valve seat. In this vehicle, the valve seat is too soft, so after the valve contacts it thousands of times, it becomes crushed. Once it is crushed, the valve can no longer make a proper seal, and the valves erode due to extreme temperature (burnt valve).

Symptoms related to this issue:

To repair the burnt valves, the cylinder head must be removed and rebuilt, which is a costly internal engine repair, however, this issue can be prevented through inspection and adjustment of valve clearances every 40,000 miles.

Rattling noise from timing belt tensioner at higher mileages
The timing belt tensioners may make a rattling noise at a higher mileages. This is due to the adjustment being at its limit. Our technicians tell us that range of the adjuster may be lengthened by elongating the slot where the spring attaches by 2-3 mm to remedy this problem.

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Toyota Tercel Questions

why do you not list 1984 since that is the model Tercel I am in need of help? (2 answers)

I damaged the driver side front hood, fender, headlight assembly and axle. The driver side front wheel is pushed back-the sub frame may be damaged. Where can I find these parts?

On dash board my o/d light says off...is that okay? Is that why the car doesn't (1 answer)

Is the o/d light suppose to be on but says it's off?

Got thermostat replaced. Now engine runs quite a bit warmer than before. Is this normal, will it hurt my engine? (3 answers)

It always for the past 23 yrs ran cool with the heat indicator needle near C. Never over heated until last week. With new thermostat, engine heat indicator needle runs consistently just below 1/2 way. This is quite a bit warmer than usual. Is it normal for a new thermostat to be this much differe...

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Toyota Tercel Recalls

Recall 92V111000
THERE CAN BE INTERFERENCE WITH THE HEADLAMP HOUSING IF HEADLAMP BULBS ARE REPLACED WITH ANY BRAND OTHER THAN KOITO BRAND BULBS.

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Toyota Tercel Reviews

I have been using since 2009 to date almost four years but changed only battery,refill gas.Toyota Tercel 1996.
I bought this car in 2004, had it for four years; only reason for that is because a friend of mine really wanted to buy it, and I needed the money anyway. Best car I ever had; over 400 miles on one tank of gas, only routine maintenance; nothing too bad. Would love to have it again if I am Stateside!
Purchased my Tercel with 82,000 miles on it...Just rolled it over to 337,000 miles with nothing but very basic and limted manitance. At 325K I had to replace the first rotor and a windshield washer pump. Been a great little car!

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