What to look for when buying a used 2007-2011 Toyota Camry

Updated: May 11, 2020

2011 Toyota Camry
2011 Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry is a best-selling family sedan. The Camry Solara coupe was discontinued after the 2008 model year. The Camry is known for its smooth ride, and this generation is no exception. The interior is roomy and comfortable. Maintenance costs are fairly low. Overall, the Toyota Camry has been reliable, but some model years fared better. There are a few trouble spots to watch out for.

Reported problems: The moon roof glass may need to be adjusted if there is a rattle in the open position; there was a service bulletin (TSB) for the 2007 Camry on this issue.

2011 Toyota Camry Interior
Toyota Camry interior. Click for a larger photo

A failed ignition coil can cause misfiring, often intermittent. Replacing one ignition coil is not very expensive. If an ignition coil fails, it's recommended to replace all spark plugs if they are old. Normally, spark plugs need to be changed at 120,000 miles.
A failed strut can cause a clunking noise when driving over bumps, even though a strut may visually appear OK. Replacing a pair of struts costs $550-$750. The wheel alignment might need to be done after struts are replaced.
Warped rotors can cause the steering wheel to shake during braking at high speed. Bad rotors will need to be machined or replaced to repair the problem.
There have been reports about the water pump failing. Symptoms of a failing water pump include coolant leak around the drive belt area and abnormal noises from the water pump. Replacing a water pump in a 4-cylinder engine costs from $360 to $550.

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Overall, the 2007 model received many more complaints than other model years. Most complaints are about oil consumption in the 4-cylinder engine and things like a faulty driver's sun visor, "melted" dashboard in regions with hot climate and hesitation on acceleration in 4-cylinder models. Toyota issued the Warranty Enhancement Program ZE7 to address issues with excessive oil consumption in some 2007-2009 Camry models with the 2AZ engine. This forum has some information.
Another Warranty Enhancement Program – ZE1 was issued for the 2007-2011 Model Year Camry Hybrid Vehicles to extend warranty coverage for Brake Actuator Assembly and Skid Control ECU/Brake Pedal Stroke Sensor.
Check for recalls on the NHTSA website.

Engines: The 2007-2009 4-cylinder Camry comes with a 158-hp 2.4L DOHC motor (2AZ-FE) carried over from the previous generation. It's a pretty good motor, but there have been complaints about oil consumption. This means, check the oil level regularly and top up if needed.

2011 Toyota Camry engine
2011 Toyota Camry 2AR-FE engine.

For 2010, the Camry received a new 169-hp 2.5L 4-cylinder engine (2AR-FE). It's one of the best engines on the market.
The optional 268-hp 3.5L V6 (2GR-FE) is smooth and has plenty of power. It's reliable and can last long with good maintenance.

Timing belt or chain: Both 4-cylinder engines and the V6 have a timing chain; there is no timing belt.

Transmission: A manual transmission was only available in 4-cylinder models. The 2007-2009 4-cylinder Camry has a 5-speed automatic; the 2010-2011 4-cylinder Camry comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The V6 Camry has a 6-speed automatic.

Toyota Camry EPA fuel economy: mpg
L/100 km
2007-2009 4-cyl, manual 21/31 11.2/7.6
2007 4-cyl, auto 21/30 11.2/7.8
2008, 2009 4-cyl, auto 21/31 11.2/7.6
2010, 2011 4-cyl, manual 22/33 10.7/7.1
2010, 2011 4-cyl, auto 22/32 10.7/7.4
2007-2010 V6, auto 19/28 12.4/8.4
2011 V6, auto 20/29 11.8/8.1

Fuel Economy: The 4-cylinder Camry is good on gas and the V6 Camry is one of the most fuel efficient V6 sedans. With mostly highway driving, the 2010-2011 4-cylinder automatic Camry can drive up to 483 miles (777 km) on a 18.5-gallon (70 L) tank. See EPA fuel economy numbers in the table.

Handling and Ride: The Camry is easy to drive. It's responsive and smooth. The ride is soft; road imperfections are well absorbed by the suspension.

Interior: Inside the Camry is very roomy. The front seats are large and comfortable. The steering tilts and telescopes. Controls are easy to use. Rear seat space tops most of the competitors. The split rear seat folds in all but Camry SE and Hybrid, although the pass-through opening between to the trunk is rather small. The Camry XLE has a manually reclining rear seat with a center pass-through. The trunk is huge.

Lineup: The lineup consists of CE (not available in Canada), LE, SE and top-of-the-line XLE as well as Hybrid. The sporty SE offers 17-inch wheels and firmer suspension. The Camry Hybrid is the second best-selling hybrid car after the Prius and should not be ignored if you are looking for fuel economy. The 2008 Camry hybrid is rated at 33/34 mpg (7.1/6.9 L/100 km) city/highway.

Pros: Reliability, fuel economy, strong V6, smooth and quiet ride, spacious interior, comfortable seats, crash test ratings, large trunk.

Cons: Conservative styling, issues with oil consumption in earlier models, some interior materials could be better.

Similar cars:

Overall: Toyota's success is based on advancing in small steady steps; building on what worked in previous models. Mechanically, this generation Camry is not much different from the previous model, but it offers what it takes to be one of the best in its class. As of May 2020, Consumer Reports rates all model years of this generation Toyota Camry as "Recommended." The overall reliability is rated 'above average'. The 2010 and 2011 Camry have received less complaints and have a better 2.5L 4-cylinder engine. We talked to several people who had this model Camry and they were very happy with the vehicle. Competitors include Nissan Altima, Mazda 6, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion and, of course, Honda Accord. The more sporty Altima offers better city gas mileage thanks to its continuously variable transmission, but it's not as roomy. The Honda Accord provides a better road feel. The Mazda 6 handles very well, but lacks in fuel economy.

What to look for when buying a used Toyota Camry: Check used car history records to find out if the vehicle has had accidents reported in the past and if previous owners didn't skip on maintenance.
When inspecting a used Toyota Camry, watch out for leaking struts. Check for a low coolant level and coolant leaks. A low oil level might indicate that the engine consumes oil. Watch for any of the warning lights on the dash staying on after the engine is started. Thoroughly test all the electrical features. Check out the sun visors. During the test drive, see how the automatic transmission shifts. Lack of power or hesitation when accelerating from a stop was a common complaint for the 2007 4-cylinder Camry. Watch out for vibration and pedal pulsation during braking. Read more on How to inspect a used car - illustrated guide. Before buying a car, have it properly inspected by a mechanic.

Maintenance tips: Given the oil consumption issues, check the oil level regularly (see how) and top up as needed. Spark plugs need to be replaced at 120,000 miles or earlier. You can find the maintenance schedule in the Warranty and Maintenance Guide that you can download from the Toyota Owner's website. An engine air filter must be checked at every service and replaced if dirty. The serpentine belt will also need to be replaced when it shows signs of wear; read: How to maintain the engine. Keep an eye on the coolant level; it's visible in the coolant expansion bottle under the hood. The transmission fluid needs to be changed if dirty; it's best to use only the original Toyota transmission fluid from the dealer. Servicing brakes at least once a year will prevent issues with the brake calipers seizing. The car battery might need to be replaced or at least tested after 5 years. Covering the windshield with a sun shade when the vehicle is parked may prevent heat damage to the dash. We recommend having the vehicle suspension, brakes and other components inspected in a repair shop at least once a year to keep it safe.

Engine oil capacity: With oil filter change:
2.4L 4−cylinder (2AZ−FE) engine: 4.5 US qt. (4.3 liters). The recommended oil grade is 0W-20 (preferred) or 5W-20 oil.
2.5L 4-cylinder (2AR-FE) engine: 4.7 US qt. (4.4 liters). Oil grade: 0W-20
3.5L V6 (2GR-FE) engine: 6.4 US qt. (6.1 liters). SAE 5W−30 is the recommended oil grade. By Samarins.com Staff