Looking at a 2000 Camry Solara

Well, the decision has been made to get rid of the 2002 Saturn SL. I bought it in '07 with 75,000 miles on it and it’s been nothing but problems from the word go. It’s been through two clutches, one flywheel, four tie rod ends, multiple wheel bearings, a snapped jack shaft, a ball joint, a master cylinder, water pump, a complete emissions system, two mufflers, two sets of plugs (in less than a year no less), and now it’s exhibiting major trans problems, a malfunctioning throttle position sensor and of course the oil consumption has accelerated to over a quart a week. This car has been in the garage at least 10 times. My previous '97 Escort didn’t have half the problems the Saturn did. I’ve decided that I’ve had enough.
I am looking at a 2000 Toyota Camry Solara with 75,000 miles and I am looking at taking it off a wholesale lot. What it needs to be inspect able is brake lines, fuel lines and an anti sway bar link. I am going to have my mechanic go over it just to make sure it doesn’t need anything else. I know about Toyota’s reputation for reliability, but are there any potential trouble spots I should be aware of? Thank you in advance.

That’s a lot of ‘needs’, sounds like it might be a poorly-maintained car. I’d keep looking.

+1 to texases’ comments.

The first thing to verify (only through hard-copy documentation–DO NOT take anyone’s verbal assurance!) is whether the timing belt has ever been replaced.

If it hasn’t been replaced, it is approximately 5 years overdue for this service. While, to the best of my knowledge, neither the 4-cylinder nor the 6-cylinder engines (you failed to tell us which one!) for the Solara are “interference design” engines, the fact remains that, when that timing belt snaps, you will be stranded. If it happens at high speed, in the middle of a bunch of 18-wheelers, you could have a very bad outcome to this lack of maintenance.

And, if the previous owner(s) skipped the replacement of the timing belt, you can be pretty sure that they never changed the brake fluid (most likely why the brake lines need to be replaced!), and never changed the trans fluid. Ergo–a badly-maintained time bomb that is waiting to explode in your wallet.

If you do decide to buy this car, make sure that the water pump, the crank seals, the serpentine belt, and all belt tensioners are replaced along with the timing belt. Depending on where you live, you should budget up to $700 for this maintenance. Throw in the other things that you know about, plus the other things that will inevitably crop-up in the next 6-12 months, and you should have an additional repair budget of at least $2,000-$3,000 set aside.

Yes, Toyotas are noted for their reliability, but any badly-maintained car will be an unreliable financial burden after 13 years. No make of car–including Toyota–is reliable unless it has received good maintenance.

I will take all this into account when making my decision here… I am going to ask for any and all documentation of maintenance (if any)… It is a 4-cylinder… I did go over it yesterday, but I am not a mechanic… The body looked really solid… No rust that I could see in the wheel wells, undercarriage or trunk… It “looks” good, but looks are deceiving and the dealership will have it looking its best… What you have told me DOES make me nervous though… The problem is that I can’t afford much else… They also have a 2003 (4-cylinder) Honda Accord with 215,333 miles on it that needs a complete brake job that’s about $1,000 less and a 2001 Mustang drop top (V6) with 82,374 for $7,000 that also needs work to be inspect able (nice, but not practical in the winter and a little out of my range). Also a 2003 Ford Focus with 71,202 on the odo, but this one is stickered (I would still have my mechanic look at it anyway) for around $6,600… I’m going to look at maintenance records on all (if any are available)… Keep looking?

Just spotted a '04 Honda civic with 142,000 miles for around $4,000. Unknown what it needs… I’m just in a position where I need something now and I am pretty desperate.

The sway bar link is a very minor concern, however if it needs brake lines and fuel lines it may have been submerged. It’s very young for that kind of corrosion. You want to get this checked out really, really carefully, and specifically ask to have it checked for evidence of flood damage.

Those lines concern me.

TSMB - same here, if lines are bad, lots of other things could be bad, too.

I’ve decided I’m going to back away from this one… I asked the dealer for the carfax or any service records and the reply was that the carfax would only tell me if had been in an accident (which I know is a bunch of hooey) and then said that they don’t have any service records anyhow which I translated to mean “Not very well maintenanced”… So, yeah… I’m not touching this one.


I do all my own work on my cars. Therefore, there are no repair orders for my cars. Doesn’t mean my cars are bad.

I agree; no records does not necessarily mean a bad car.

From your posting ID, if you have a rig like that you could probably trade it for a new Lexus… :slight_smile:

If the car needs brake lines I would say it has been exposed to too much winter salt. By the way I have a White 2000 Camry hardtop 4-cyl. with 100K in virtually pristine condition. I have owned it since 2003. I have recently purchased a Acura RL would let the Toyota go for $7K. I have all service records and all maitenance has been done on time or before. You will not believe the condition of this car.

I did have a thorough look at the body, and I didn’t see any rust issues whatsoever on the underside. I also failed to take into account they may have done the servicing themselves. I did take it for a drive around the parking lot (couldn’t take it out where it is not inspected) and it seemed ok, but around the parking lot isn’t a true test. Oh, what to do, what to do.

Stratman, you’re shopping wisely. Sincere best in your quest.

@Stratman67 don’t even consider buying a car that you can’t drive on the streets and on the freeway. Too risky

@dapqam Sell your car on Craigslist

This site is NOT here for you to make money

Actually you may want to rethink selling vehicles on Craigslist. Tragic story here locally, young family man posted a 2007 Dodge 3500 pickup for sale on kijiji.( basically Craigslist but in Canada). Two gentleman took the truck for a test drive and the owner went along for the ride. Owner never seen again, his burned remains were found a week later. He left behind a young wife and a 2yr old daughter. Thankfully, one suspect already apprehended, but the cops are still hunting for at least one more assailant. I know this will make me rethink how I handle local transactions.



Yes, that is a tragic story.

But the point is that this website is NOT here for people to advertise their stuff for sale.



I’m looking at the CR used car book. It says there was a redesign of the Camry Solara in 1999. 2004 started a new design cycle. The 2000 posts very good reliability marks, much better than the 99. The weak spots for the 2000 are the brakes and exhaust, those systems post just average reliability. The other systems post better than average. The predicted overall reliability is much better than average. There’s a not about the ride being a little stiff, so be sure to take it for a good test drive, make sure it is not too stiff of a ride for your tastes.

Well… I can’t take it for a test drive where it’s not inspected… Unfortunately due to my financial situation I can’t afford much more than that… I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place here… I’m getting the VIN from their website and running it through carfax myself… If it hasn’t been through a flood (which by law they have to mention), I may just have to plug my nose, get the car, have it towed to my mechanics garage (free towing at least) and pray to God that it doesn’t have anything more majorly wrong with it.