Used Buyer’s Guide: Toyota MR2

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Engine: The biggest problem is the pre-catalyst in the exhaust manifold perishing and the possibility of the resulting debris entering the engine. The first signs are the lambda probe warning light and any change in oil consumption. Refurbished cars have overhauled piston rings, but the problem persists.

Exhaust: The pre-cat may have been removed or a de-cat exhaust manifold fitted, but as long as the main catalyst is in place it should pass the MOT test.

Steering: The front steering knuckle (where the column joins the rack) wears, causing notched action and less self-centering. The power steering brush pack fails. Rear track adjuster bolts can seize and break, taking expensive Toyota-only adjuster arms with them.

Brakes: Rear calipers and cables seize. The cables are a five hour job to replace as the fuel tank has to come out.

Frame: It’s generally pretty solid, but the rear subframe rots, often going unnoticed behind a plastic cover.

Suspension: The shock absorbers can fail, but since the car is so light, the springs hide it. The bushes wear out; replace them with polyurethane parts.

Interior: If there is moisture behind the seats, check that the drains on the back of the cowl are clear. Make sure any hardtop has a mounting kit.

Wheels: Aluminum is known to pit and corrode more easily than other alloys. This not only makes the wheels scruffy, but also weakens them. If they appear corroded, plan for a refurbishment or a replacement set.

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