Toyota Camry Problems
RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Toyota Camry based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.
If the vehicle will not crank over, the most common problem is the starter, which tend to fail at about 100,00-125,000 miles. Sometimes it is only the starter solenoid contacts, but often the complete starter (including solenoid) needs to be replaced.
The valve cover gaskets have a tendency to leak oil, especially the one near the firewall.
The rear light wiring harness can break where it attaches to the trunk hinge. As a result, the reverse lights or the shift indicator may not work and the rear bulb fault indicator may stay on constantly. The harness can be repaired and does not have to be replaced.
The pickup coil inside the distributor can fail and cause a no-start condition. There have also been some failures of the radio noise suppressors inside the distributor which can short out. It is recommended to replace the whole distributor with a complete genuine Toyota distributor if any of its components fail.
At higher mileages, an anti-lock brake system wheel speed sensor may wear out and illuminate the ABS warning light. It is recommended to replace the sensor with a factory part and be sure to clean all rust and debris from the mounting area because the mounting distance is critical. Failure to do so may result in the new sensor setting false trouble codes. Be sure to check the condition and runout of the front wheel bearings on the 2WD and 4WD vehicles and the CV joints on the 4WD vehicles since worn wheel bearings and/or CV joints can cause the ABS trigger rings to rub against the ABS sensors and damage them.
Debris can get into the idle air control valve. This will restrict the air flow into the engine, causing idle speed and/or stalling when cold. The valve can be cleaned or replaced to correct this concern.
The head gasket may fail due to a defect in manufacturing of the cylinder block.
On this vehicle, the head bolts are known to pull the threads out of the engine block, allowing the head to slightly lift, and causing head gasket failure. Symptoms may include:
- White smoke from exhaust
- Rough running conditions and/or inability to start or idle
- White or cream colored oil on dipstick
- Check engine light
- OBD Trouble Codes P2181, P0300
When the head gasket fails, the bolt holes for the head bolts must be repaired before the cylinder head can be remounted.
This issue is not always preventable, but to help avoid it, never run the engine if the engine temperature is ever above the normal range.
On vehicles with a manual transmission, worn shift bushings can cause the transmission to pop out of gear, especially when coasting down in 1st or 2nd gear. Replacing all the shift linkage bushings is pretty straight forward and not expensive and will commonly correct this concern.
Sludge can build up in the engine because Toyota did not recommend frequent enough oil changes. Lexus will sometimes offer a discount on cleaning the engine if necessary. Owners who changed their oil every 3,000 miles did not experience these problems. This sludge build up can lead to excessive oil consumption.
The VVT-i oil line is known to burst. This is a very large leak which covers the ground, engine, and undercarriage.
If the oil line ruptures while driving, the low engine oil message and engine oil pressure warnings will illuminate. Continued use after these warnings will result in complete engine failure due to oil starvation.
The line is known to be defective, and a revised part has been issued by Toyota, however, this revised part is known for the same issue.
To repair the issue, the line must be replaced, and the engine bay and undercarriage must be cleaned thoroughly.
The Toyota Camry with the 3.0L V6 engine has a known issue with the valves that if left unchecked, will cause burned valves and engine performance issues.
The engine ‘breathes’ through valves that are pushed open by the camshaft, and closed by springs. When valves are closed, they seal against a valve seat. In this vehicle, the valve seat is too soft, so after the valve contacts it thousands of times, it becomes crushed. Once it is crushed, the valve can no longer make a proper seal, and the valves erode due to extreme temperature (burnt valve).
Symptoms related to this issue:
- Rough idle
- Backfiring through exhaust or intake
- Illumination of the check engine light
- OBD Trouble Codes P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304
- Loss of power
- Engine Stalling
To repair the burnt valves, the cylinder head must be removed and rebuilt, which is a costly internal engine repair, however, this issue can be prevented through inspection and adjustment of valve clearances every 40,000 miles.
At 125,000-150,000 miles, the Brake Master Cylinder may need replacing. When replacing the master cylinder, it is critical to adjust the brake pedal to master cylinder pushrod clearance or the brakes can drag and overheat.