Piston Slap: High Mileage, Low Maintenance Camaro?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap high mileage low maintenance camaro

Casey writes:

Hello Sajeev,

I have another question for you. My wife has wanted a Camaro and lately I have been thinking about surprising her with one for her birthday or maybe Christmas, so I have been searching the listings for a nice used example.

First thing I noticed is these cars sure seem to hold their value!

I found a Craigslist ad for a very nice looking, well optioned, 2011 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT with the RS package. “ALL scheduled service and maintenance has been performed by Chevrolet certified technicians,” the ad says and the price seems reasonable.

Then I see the kicker: the mileage is high for the year at 117,800. I know that a documented maintenance history is more important than mileage, so I wonder what impact higher mileage would have on a car like this? What problems could I run into sooner by buying a well maintained, high-mileage car?

Sajeev answers:

How funny. I bought my (then-eight-year-old) Lincoln Mark VIII with 117,xxx on the odometer, too, which was also fairly high mileage for a vehicle normally owned by “old people” who “only drive it to church on Sundays,” but I digress.

And it came with a few valuable service receipts! I’m a big fan of buying high mileage used cars with service records versus a low-mile example with no history — especially dealership records, as they document repairs with detail and note the condition of wear items in their automated reporting systems. Having more information about a used vehicle is never a bad thing!

So what problems will you run into sooner with a high mile, well-maintained machine? That really depends on how much you drive, and how you maintain it.

In theory, the transmission should be a concern, but that’s far more likely with trouble prone/bizarre gearboxes like the one-off Saturn CVT discussed here. And most engines easily surpass 250,000 miles with nothing more than good, fresh oil and regular tune-ups. I assume the Camaro’s powertrain is the same, unless you Hot Rod the thing.

It’s possible that lesser-known wear items such as power window motors, shocks and even floormats could see a shortened lifespan because they’ve already been cycled too many times, but that is far from probable. Perhaps the bias of my relatively trouble-free Mark VIII skews my opinion, but I have zero reservations owning a car like that Camaro.

Just do more homework on the Camaro Forums to see what you oughta keep an eye on.

[Image: Chevrolet]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Join the conversation
4 of 29 comments
  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Dec 23, 2015

    I've just returned from this rabbit hole. In the driveway is a 2010 CTS Performance Pkg with the HFV6-it's a nice engine. It appears the issues are as such... The engine is not forgiving of slack oil changes. Do not sludge it. The early runs had timing chain issues....I've seen a few teardowns, and each engine torn down has sludge in the passages. The tensioners have small passages, so if they clog, D'oH ! If you do the 5k change with syn you are OK. If you wait for 0% every time and complain about the price of syn, not for you. GM recalled the cars early on and reprogrammed the oil monitor for this reason with shorter intervals. The oil filter is tiny, compared to my BMW.... Supposedly they fixed the chains beginning the 2010 model year. There is a 120k extended warranty for some engines. My car was dealer serviced every 5-6k with Mob 1 oil changes, so I felt good about it.....the carfax showing religious oil changes sold the car. That, and the fact the car had 60 + days on the lot helped me do a good deal for this RWD (in my area, everything else is AWD....need it or NOT) car. Carfax cuts both ways !

    • See 1 previous
    • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Dec 26, 2015

      @gtem I saw some sludge in the intake tract when I changed the air filter. For 72k I wasn't stressed out but I cleaned it out and will keep an eye on it at the next oil change....if there is another puddle then I will look into a can. My driving habits involve "redline" so I'm not worried....the prior owner drove like an old guy so I can't assume anything in my hands...or feet...

  • Kmars2009 Kmars2009 on Dec 28, 2015

    I would trust a Mustang with that kind of mileage, any day before a Camaro. GM quality is just not great in the long term...be it mileage, or age.

  • Abrar Very easy and understanding explanation about brake paint
  • MaintenanceCosts We need cheaper batteries. This is a difficult proposition at $50k base/$60k as tested but would be pretty compelling at $40k base/$50k as tested.
  • Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
  • Fred The bigger issue is what happens to the other systems as demand dwindles? Will thet convert or will they just just shut down?
  • Roger hopkins Why do they all have to be 4 door??? Why not a "cab & a half" and a bit longer box. This is just another station wagon of the 21st century. Maybe they should put fake woodgrain on the side lol...