Should I Buy a Used Chevrolet Camaro?

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

Vehicle Overview

In 2009 Chevrolet resurrected the Camaro nameplate. Using a mix of retro inspired style and futuristic design elements, the reborn Camaro commanded road presence and has become a sales success.

In its short lifetime, Chevrolet’s fifth-generation muscle car has been equipped with five different engines and a sixth is on its way.

Base Camaros were powered by GM’s LTT 3.6-liter V6 that was listed at 304 hp in 2010, but rerated to 314 hp in 2011 even though no mechanical changes were made. For 2012 and 2013 this engine was update and replaced by the LFX 3.6-liter V6 that makes 323 hp. All SS models come equipped with a V8 engine, a 400 hp L99 unit in automatic Camaros and a 426 hp LS3 V8 in manual transmission Camaros. The ZL1 Camaro receives the 6.2-liter LSA supercharged V8 good for 580 hp.

Except for colors and the reshuffling of option packages, not much has changed with the fifth generation Camaro over its first four years other than the addition of a rear view camera in 2012.

Trims and Packages

In 2010, the Camaro coupe was available in LS, 1LT, 2LT, 1SS, and 2SS trim levels. In 2011, a convertible model was added, available in 1LT, 2LT, 1SS and 2SS trim levels. 2012 saw the introduction of the higher performance ZL1 model and a 45th Anniversary Special Edition. 2013 added the track-focused 1LE package.

Top 3 Reasons to Buy

  • Performance – Not a big surprise that a high powered sports car would be loved for its performance. 400+ hp from a V8 can be addictive.
  • Style – The Camaro has always been about style and the new one does not disappoint. Owners love the fact that this modern day muscle car looks like nothing else on the road.
  • Bang for the Buck – It’s hard to beat the Camaro’s style and performance and its relatively low price point. Used cars get only more affordable.

Top 3 Problem Areas

  • Sputtering and/or Stalling Engine – there have been several complaints filed with the NHTSA about Camaros stalling and sputtering at low speeds. However, there appears to be a lack of complaints regarding this issue in owner forums online.
  • Paint – this great thread lists all issues and quibbles current owners have with the fifth generation Camaro. One problem that keeps coming in the thread is paint quality. Many find it and the clear coat are too susceptible to damage.
  • Stretched Timing Chain – This is an issue that has affected the 3.6-liter V6 in many GM applications, including some Camaros. Although it is far less prevalent in this car, it has happened.

Before You Buy

As always, make sure all recalls have been done. The Camaro is relatively recall free and only has one recall for 2010, 2012 and 2013 models. Since these are performance cars, check to see if the car has been modified at any point during its life and/or spent time on a racetrack. Both of these can be potential red flags for new owners. Finally, check the cars service records to ensure maintenance has been done, especially with the 3.6-liter V6.

Best Bang for Your Buck

The Camaro is a performance car and therefore a gently used 2010 or 2011 V8 SS model is the one to grab. The Camaro has been remarkably reliable and not changed that much since 2010. Unlike many first year cars, the 2010 models seem to lack teething issues. If your budget is a little larger, a 2012 Camaro ZL1 is in a league of its own.

Recall and Crash Test Database

2010 Chevrolet Camaro NHTSA Recall Database

2011 Chevrolet Camaro NHTSA Recall Database

2012 Chevrolet Camaro NHTSA Recall Database

2013 Chevrolet Camaro NHTSA Recall Database

2010-2013 Chevrolet Camaro NHTSA Crash Test Results

Looking for more information? Visit our Camaro Forum

Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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2 of 3 comments
  • Worldbfree4me Worldbfree4me on May 20, 2014

    I really liked the looks of this car back in 2007 (Transformers) but now it's a little dated for my taste. The Mustang with the 5.0 Coyote V8 or Challenger SRT would be my choice if I were considering a lightly used "Musle Car!"

  • Barrie1 Barrie1 on May 22, 2014

    I would buy the new one with the V8 engine and standard tranny so I could look in the rearview mirror and see the Mustangs and Dodges behind me.