Should I buy a used 2011 Camry that had the radiator and water pump replaced to pass inspection?


I found a used 2011 Toyota Camry with 145,000 miles being sold for $xxxx + dealer fee ;). It is a 1 owner car and the Carfax shows consistent vehicle service and maintenance records throughout ownership (38 records). This includes various parts replacements and consistent oil changes. The local mechanic I took it to said there were no stored codes.

It is being sold by a Toyota dealership and most of the routine maintenance visits (2012- present) were taken care of at that same dealership’s service center. The dealership said that to pass inspection they had to replace the radiator and water pump, along with brakes, tires and a few other smaller items.

I’m a little concerned now that there may be engine damage. They mentioned there was a minor leak in the water pump when asked. After researching further, I need to call back and ask about the reason for the radiator replacement, as it would appear this is even more concerning.

This is a rough used car market and I’ve been looking for a car for or my teen for some time now. I thought given the long service history, 1 owner, and it being a 2011 Camry (not 2007 or 2009) that I’d be in the clear.

What are your thoughts? I’d love some guidance in the next day or two so I can make a decision quickly.

Thank you.

If you get it checked by an independent mechanic and the compression is good I would consider it.


A water pump and rad replacement at this age is no big issue and it seems to have been caught early. Any used car is a guess, but this one seems to be far more transparent than most. Go for it.


I also think this might be a decent purchase . Things do wear out or break and it has new tires and brakes . ( by the way thanks for spelling brakes correctly ) .

Also you might do what I do , I never tell anyone what I paid for a vehicle because someone will allways say you paid too much .


If you’re willing to spend almost $10k on a ten year old car with 150k miles, I have a wonderful bridge for sale in Brooklyn for you.

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See , I said someone will say you paid too much. :wink:


Agree there is only three people who know what I paid the person I bought it from me and the wife and sometimes she doesn’t know.

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just a thought. you could lease a vehicle and not have to worry about it breaking down. I would rather own a vehicle, but this is a crazy time in the used car market.

OP said he was getting it for his teenager so I don’t know if the kid could be put on a lease.

I thought you were saving that bridge for me.

We’ll have a bidding war!

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Dam I thought I was first in line. :roll_eyes:

I leased a vehicle for my daughter when she was going to college. she would be 100"s of miles away and wanted her to have something reliable. I leased it under my name with her as a cosigner to help her build credit.

That was just my thoughts as I have never leased anything but as you have done it you know more than me.

Lease, needed a dependable car for wife to do a 2 hour drive to visit her mother, paid 10k in lease payments, bought it out for 17.9, not that I am selling or suggesting it as an investment, but was offered 27k by a dealer

Thanks, all. We aren’t interested in leasing. I’ll continue to welcome thoughts on whether to purchase, however.

I replace a dozen radiators each year based on inspection during maintenance, the cars towed in and driven without coolant are usually beyond repair. I believe you are looking at a trade-in that had all the necessary parts replaced, nothing to worry about.

Considering the cost of properly reconditioning a used car; tires, brakes, radiator etc. used car prices can be higher than some people expect.

Below are common sights.

Radiator leak observed during maintenance;

Water pump leak during the warranty period;

I owned a 2011 Toyota Sienna that I sold to our son back in the fall of 2017. While I owned the Sienna, I replaced the water pump at 90,000. Our son hit a coyote on the highway. He got off the road and immediately shut off the engine. The repair included a new radiator. The Sienna now has over180,000 miles on the odometer. He just completed s 6500 mile road trip in 8 days. The Sienna used no oil. His only repair on the trip was a new headlight bulb which took him 10 minutes to replace.
If the 2011 Camry checks out o.k. by an independent shop, it should be o.k. My experience with Toyotas had been good. We have a 2003:4Runner we purchased new and also a 2017 Sienna. Our experience with Toyotas has shown them to be reliable.

Just an article the other day, not sure which media, but prices are nuts now. Regardless of the price a radiator and pump is almost routine for replacement. They wear out just like everything else. If you are worried about it being over-heated, I believe the only way a mechanic could tell would be with a compression test and then checking oil usage. Mechanics may have other ways like using a borescope on the cylinders or something, I dunno.

No one really knows the story behind that car. The dealer provided a story but is it the truth? Flip a coin.

I know that if it were me I would run a vacuum check (5 minutes at most) and follow that up with a dry/wet compression test if there was even one hint of an issue with the vacuum gauge test.

Last thing you want is to complete the deal and discover that the engine is now an oil burner; which could be true with or without any overheating involved.

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