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Toyota Corolla Judge: "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the Corolla stands accused of First-Degree Dullness, Styling Negligence, and Mediocrity With Intent to Bore?. How find you?" Jury Foreman: "You Honour, we find the accused guilty on all charges." Judge: "Ms. Corolla, you have been found guilty by a jury of your peers. Sentencing will take place after I have reviewed victim impact statements by those you have numbed." (Toyota)
Toyota Corolla Judge: "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the Corolla stands accused of First-Degree Dullness, Styling Negligence, and Mediocrity With Intent to Bore?. How find you?" Jury Foreman: "You Honour, we find the accused guilty on all charges." Judge: "Ms. Corolla, you have been found guilty by a jury of your peers. Sentencing will take place after I have reviewed victim impact statements by those you have numbed." (Toyota)

Rob's Garage

Does my car really need those expensive repairs? Add to ...

Hi Rob,

I'm still driving my 1998 corolla (223,000 km). It's seen 14 winters now. It runs well, and in the last two years I had about $3000 repairs done (tires, brakes, and new clutch).

My garage/dealership did an inspection and said I need about $4000 more repairs, namely brake/fuel lines, water pump and control arm. I haven't done this because I doubted it was necessary. I had Canadian Tire do an inspection and they thought it was OK.

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I've read brake and fuel lines should be replaced after 10 years, but I've heard of people getting by for 18 years with the same brake and fuel lines.

Do you think I'm living dangerously?

- 98 Corolla Guy.

Under most circumstances you are not flirting with your safety by not replacing your fuel and/or brake lines.

Notice that I wrote "most." To qualify, we need to consider those living in parts of Canada that get to experience copious amounts of road salt, or in today's lingo - road brine. If you live in such an area, you know that these substances wreak havoc on the metal bits of our cars and trucks. Anyone who doubts the effect this has on vehicles, just needs to look up car and truck sale prices. Many consumer sales publications devalue vehicles that have spent most of their lives in these extreme environments.

Back to your Corolla, 98. Although most fuel and brake lines are galvanized, they are still susceptible to rust. (In later years some manufacturers moved to plastic lines for fuel delivery.) This is due to scrapes and abrasions that happen over the lifetime of a vehicle. Fuel and brake lines should be inspected, and not simply once and not solely for rust. These pieces should be part of an ongoing inspection/maintenance program each time the vehicle is up on a hoist at the repair shop.

The fact that you are concerned is a good thing. Not knowing your location, let's assume the worst and consider your little car has spent considerable time in the east. Instantly your car becomes a candidate for a visit to your local shop, (and it sounds like you're loyal to one - another good thing). Have them inspect the lines - front to back. You may get lucky and find that much of your fuel lines will be plastic. The brake lines will be metal but the attachment points between the wheels and the chassis will be reinforced rubber and as such, are usually unaffected, so that part is a really good thing.

The not-so-good part is that if rust is found on a long run of the tubing, that entire section of fuel or brake line must be replaced.

To add a little perspective to your situation, on my 1962 Lincoln, sections of brake lines and all of the fuel line are original. This is the other end of the scale and is directly related to regional driving conditions.

So, Corolla guy, I suggest that for your piece of mind, take your pride and joy to your shop and have the tubing inspected and mention the comment made by Canadian Tire. As for the other suggested repairs, if the water pump is not leaking or you are not having any cooling system problems, it's unlikely that you require a new pump. As for the control arm, this usually is only replaced after snuggling up with a curb, an accident or rust (yet again).

Have the shop explain why they suggested these repairs. Have them show you exactly what they are talking about. My added advice would be to get a third opinion. Consensus is always a good thing 98, and many opinions are better than one, especially when applied to your set of wheels.

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