How to Buy a Used Toyota Camry Solara

by Si Kingston

The Toyota Camry Solara (also known the Toyota Solara) was introduced in 1999 to compete with the Honda Accord coupe. The Solara came in either a coupe or convertible version but failed to gain in popularity and was discontinued in 2008. For this reason, consumers interested in a Solara must also be willing to purchase a used vehicle. Toyota Solaras are known for their quiet engines, smooth ride and spacious interior and trunk space.


Decide the year and trim model of interest. Between 1999 and 2003, Toyota sold the SE and SLE trim models. Between 2004 and 2008, Toyota introduced the second generation Solara, which included the convertible trim model, SE, SLE and sport sedan. Solaras come in either a 2.2L, 135hp V4 or a 3.0L, 192hp V6 engine. In 2002, the 2.4L, 157hp V4 was introduced. The Solara's front and rear end was also restyled in 2002. The manual transmission is not available in Solara V6 models after 2006.


Compare sources to purchase the Solara. The Solara can be purchased from private parties and used car dealerships. Private parties and car dealers selling Solaras may use online venues such as Craigslist, Ebay, AutoTrader, Yahoo! Autos or the online classified section of your local newspaper. Take note of the difference between the asking prices for Solaras of a certain year, trim model, condition and mileage. Dealers have a tendency to charge more than private sellers.


Conduct research as to the value of the vehicle. Before purchasing, get an idea of what the Toyota Solara is worth. Since Toyota Solara has many makes throughout a nine-year period, it is wise to get an idea of what each trim model is worth in the years of interest. For example, if you are interested in a 2008 Solara's SE trim model, find out about how much the retail or private party value is based on estimated or actual features, such as 150,000 miles on a V4 engine in good condition. Places to conduct value research include Kelley Blue Book, Edmund's and NADA.


Check out the vehicle and take it for a test drive. A Solara engine should be comparatively quiet like a Camry or Lexus and should handle smoothly. When checking out a vehicle, look for tale-tale signs of engine failure, such as white smoke and water coming from the tail pipe, which may be a sign of a blown head gasket. Also, make sure the temperature gauge remains steady and look for signs of owner abuse by taking into account the state of the interior and exterior. There was also a recall on the side airbag in the 2007 SE trim model and the rear suspension parts in the 2000 Solara trim models. Make sure the vehicle has had the part(s) replaced.


Negotiate for the Solara. Take into account how the vehicle handles, the condition of the engine, interior and exterior, options and mileage when determining if the vehicle is overvalued and if there is room for negotiation. According to Cars, the 2004 U.S. Census data reports that car owners put about 11,500 miles on a vehicle per year. It is reasonable to expect a 2006 Solara to have at least 46,000 miles on it. A buyer may want to negotiate the price down on, for example, a 2004 Solara that has a 150,000 miles whose asking price hasn't taken into account the higher mileage. If the interior is rough (e.g., torn leather) or the paint is scratched or faded on the exterior, these are also great negotiation points.


Purchase the Solara, but make sure to get a receipt for the purchase, especially from a private party. (A receipt may also be a title or bill of sale.) The title should be signed over to the buyer (if applicable), or a bill of sale should be provided. Registration and smog tests (if applicable) should also be current or the price should be adjusted accordingly.

About the Author

Si Kingston has been an online content contributor since 2004, with work appearing on websites such as MadeMan. She is a professional screenwriter and young-adult novelist and was awarded the Marion-Hood Boesworth Award for Young Fiction in 2008. Kingston holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.

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