2003 Toyota Camry Problems
RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 2003 Toyota Camry as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.Refine by vehicle
Cars equipped with an automatic transmission might experience a hesitation when accelerating. Revised software for the on board computer is available which may correct this problem. Software revisions are commonly most helpful on newer vehicles. once the mileage builds up a worn component could cause similar problems. Whenever major transmission work in performed, the transmission software should be updated as necessary.
One or more motor mounts may wear out on cars with high mileage. This will put extra stress on the other mounts, and the faulty mount(s) should be replaced.
At higher mileages, (125,000-150,000) the automatic transmission may not shift correctly. This can be caused by the throttle position sensor being out of adjustment or a shift solenoid needing to be replaced. Typically the transmission does not need to be completely overhauled.
The Check Engine Light may illuminate with code P0770 and/or P0773 stored. This would indicate a fault with the 3-way lock-up solenoid which could be defective and may need replacement.
The power steering pump and power steering hoses tend to develop leaks, particularly in the V6 models.
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.
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.
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 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.
As the size of the Camry vehicle gets ever larger, there is a tendency to warp the front rotors. This will be felt as a shudder in the steering wheel when braking. The front rotors can be remachined, if there is sufficient material left, otherwise the front rotors will need to be replaced. It is recommended to use factory quality rotors because cheap quality rotors warp very easily and tend to squeak and squeal.
The EGR System tends to get restricted or blocked with carbon after 100,000- 125,000 miles which will cause an emissions test failure for NOX. If the EGR system is equipped with an EGR temperature sensor it will trigger a Check Engine Light for improper EGR flow. The repair is to clean out the EGR passages and the EGR Temperature sensor. Our technicians tell this repair is pretty straight forward and takes about 1-1.5 hours. It is also wise to verify the EGR system components i.e. the Transducer, EGR Valve and VSV Solenoid at this time.