2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid - ruined engine after changed water pump and other parts

My son had his car towed to a new mechanic after a light signal showed on his dashboard. He was told he had to replace the wAter pump, belt, coolant, and tensioner for $700.00. After installing my son went to pick up his vehicle. When he got there and paid they then told him his engine was ruined due to the water pump putting water in the engine and it over heating. Can this be true? The car never clacked before them doing the work. Shouldn’t a ruined engine have been determined before doing all that work? Is it right to have us pay for this work?

Yeah that is very shakey there if it was running ok before . And yes they should have not replaced anything if they determined the motor was shot . You or your son may have to lawyer up for that one . If it wasnt a Toyota dealer then my guess they had no idea what they were doing on a hybrid car . If the car did indeed overheat then it is possible it could have ruined it but the other work should not have been done .


If a light came on the dash, it is likely that the car was overheated before it went in for service. That is most likely when the engine damage occurred. I would agree that this likely could be determined before the repair but not in all cases. If you are considering having another engine installed, you might see if they will apply the labor already done towards the engine replacement job.

There are no warning lights telling someone to replace a water pump, so that leads to the inevitable question of… which warning light “showed” on his dashboard.

It was most likely the high temperature warning light that started glowing, and unless the engine was shut-down immediately, the OP’s son likely caused severe damage to the engine by continuing to drive it for… a few miles… or more.

There is the remote possibility they did not know the engine was kaput until starting it after the cooling system repairs.

The water pump is supposed to put water into the engine. That’s what it does. I expect this is a mis-communication between the shop and you and your son. Usually what happens is the water pump seal fails and begins to leak coolant, and you’ll see a little puddle under the car in the morning. If the puddle isn’t noticed or is just gnored eventually the leak worsens and enough coolant leaks out of the cooling system & the engine seriously overheats. At first the only symptom might be the dash coolant temp gauge is going higher than it normally does, or isn’t holding steady like it normally does. But eventually there’s some sort of warning light and possibly an audio alarm. The problem is that if that point is reached the engine’s internals may already be seriously damaged. I expect that’s what has happened.

It might not be possible to determine the extent of the engine damage, if any, until the water pump is replaced and the engine tested under running conditions. Again, I expect that’s the case here.

Yes, you should pay for the parts and labor. Shop’s can’t work for free and stay in business. But they’ll probably offer you a discount if you use them to install another engine, if they think that’s a viable option.

fyi, coolant should be replaced periodically (every 2-5 years depending on what the manufacturer recommends) and the coolant level should be checked every few weeks.

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