1996 Toyota Camry Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1996 Toyota Camry as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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31
Known Problems

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 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 rear Oxygen sensors are a critical element in fuel control (unlike other vehicles) and can cause an emissions test failure for high CO and HCs. The sensing element cracks and and reports an erroneous steady state lean condition which confuses the computer, which in turn makes the fuel mixture overly rich.

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.

The Evaporative system may have problems with the vapor canister releasing charcoal pellets that plug the vent valve. Typically a Code P0441, P0442 and P0446 will be set. The key code is the P0446 which is a vent valve electrical failure. The proper repair is to replace the entire canister with all the valves as a unit. This is located on top of the fuel tank and is expensive. Our Technicians tell us that for awhile Toyota was covering these problems, but this may have changed. It would not hurt to call the dealer if this problem occurs to see if Toyota is still helping with these repairs.

The timing belt tensioners may make a rattling noise at a higher mileages. This is due to the adjustment being at its limit. Our technicians tell us that range of the adjuster may be lengthened by elongating the slot where the spring attaches by 2-3 mm to remedy this problem.

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.

A loss of power on the freeway may due to an internally leaking fuel pulsation dampener. This commonly occurs on higher mileage vehicles.

The Throttle Position Sensor can get out of adjustment due to wear in the throttle body or due to carbon build up. This will cause the idle timing to advance more than 30 degrees which will cause very high HC and NOx emissions. Conversely, the Throttle Position Sensors can wear out and not properly advance the timing which causes a lack of power and poor fuel economy.

A rough idle and even an emissions inspection failure for high HC and CO can be caused by improperly adjusted valves. Also, exhaust valves may become to tight which can lead to valve failures. Our technicians tell us that regular valve adjustment inspections are a must.

We recommend flushing the brake fluid every 60,000 miles because the fluid can become dirty and may cause problems in the brake system such as premature failure of the master cylinder or wheel cylinders.

Over the time the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system may become plugged with debris, the oxygen sensor may also be getting slow or 'lazy' around this time. When servicing or cleaning  the EGR system, it is a good idea to replace the oxygen sensor because it works in tandem with the EGR system.

The head gaskets are prone to leaks in as little as 60,000 miles. When the head gasket is replaced, the knock sensor harness should be replaced as well, as it can be damaged by leaky head gaskets, resulting in a serious decrease in fuel efficiency or in long term engine damage.

It is important to regularly check the valve clearance as the exhaust valves may become too tight. This will lead to valve failures, which are expensive to repair.

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.