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Toyota Camry 2006 and earlier



  • Two questions (I have a 2003 V-6 XLE):

    My owner's manual suggests 91 (or higher) octane gas for "improved vehicle performance," even though it says 87 octane is acceptable. Is there a consensus that 91 or higher is the best way to go? Is it only to get better performance, or will it help the engine last longer?

    On oil changes -- between my salesperson, the dealership, the owner's manual, and the maintenance guide, I'm seeing four possiblities for oil-change intervals -- 3,000, 3,500, 5,000, or 7,500, i.e.:

    1. A flyer from the dealer has a boldface warning that says, "Performing oil change services every 3,000 miles will eliminate a condition know as 'oil gelling' or 'oil sludge.' These conditions cause severe engine damage and are not covered under the manufacturer's warranty."

    2. My salesperson recommended 3,500 miles.

    3. The owner's manual says 7,500 miles for what I think are my driving conditions.

    4. If I'm wrong about the "repeated trips of less than five miles in temperatures below freezing" condition, then it would drop back to 5,000 miles, says the maintenance guide.

    Anyone have a recommendation? BTW -- I read the lengthy posts last summer about the oil gell situation.

    At this point, I'm inclined to buy 91 or higher octane gas and change the oil every 3,000 miles. But if anyone has a rationale for this much cost and frequent service being unnecessary, I would love to hear what you have decided on, and why.

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Our dealership recommends servicing at a 3750 mile interval which is BS, IMO. You should follow your maintenance guide, which provides guidelines that outline when a 5000 mile interval can be used and when a 7500 mile interval can be used. Because I, personally, am rather risk averse, we follow the 5000 mile interval changes for our 2K2 Camry, which is about to break the 20,000 mile mark in just 13 months.

  • xbbusterxbbuster Posts: 145
    My Camry is an '02 LE V6 with a build date of July '02. As far as oil changes, I've always changed oil in my cars myself. I'm retired and have the time, especially after watching the kid at the Toyota dealer do an oil change on a customer's car in less than ten minutes. The oil was still draining when he put the plug back in.
    Five quarts of Valvoline and a Toyota filter cost less than $13. And I change oil between 2500 and 3000 miles. I've tried premium gas on a trip and regular on the way back and didn't notice any difference in performance or MPG. Except for the "clunk" in the morning and the outside thermometer taking twenty minutes to give an accurate reading, the car is fine.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    First, any dealership that sends out a flier like austinman received should be shot. In fact, if Toyota got wind of that, they would probably pay a visit to the numbskull that wrote it.

    Second, I am conservative when discussing oil changes. I don't believe technology exempts us from 3000 mile oil changes. In fact, I think it is even more necessary than before due to higher compression engines and crummy fuel that we are forced to use. I don't care what the manual says, you will extend engine life by changing every 3000 miles. If you want to follow the manual, follow the 5000 mile interval program even if you don't think you fall into the "severe" driving category.
  • A couple of things to add to cliffy's post. First, the writer of that flyer should be shot. The vehicles that were involved with the controversy (lots of arguments about truth or not), have nothing to do with the 2002 and 2003 models.

    I, too, am conservative about oil changes. $15 - $20 for an oil change is VERY inexpensive insurance for your car. It will not EVER hurt your vehicle to change the oil more frequently, but CAN adversely affect it if not done frequently enough. Honestly, I have mine done between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. The way that I decide is I look at the oil on my dipstick at 3,000 miles and if it has ANY discoloration or if it is running a bit lower than I like, I have it done then. If it is still clear and near full, then I wait until 5,000 miles.

    Using the 7,500 mile interval just doesn't make alot of sense in terms of just the cost versus the risks. Also, part of what the determining facors are are cold, and/or dusty or construction type environments. At least here, it's either Winter or Construction time, so going with anything longer than 5,000 does not make any sense even if you're following the manufacturer's specs.

    Just my $.02

  • I drove around in my V6 XLE using regular unleaded gas (87 octane) until I noticed a slight pinging noise as I was climbing or accelerating hard. I spoke to the service people at my dealership and they told me to change my gas to premium. I have since been using 89 octane fuel (mid grade) and have noticed the pinging has disappeared. I haven't noticed a MPG change, just a change in the sound of my engine when it needs to work harder. As for oil changes, I drive alot on the freeway and I have been changing the oil around 4000 miles.
  • I got my 2002 Camry in Sept. It is a 4 cylinder SE, automatic with 16" wheels and it has abs. It has performed terribly the last few days on the snow and ice here in Mich. I was unable to get it up a small hill that a 6yr. old accord handled with ease. Does anyone else have similar problems? Any reccomendations? New tires? The car and tires only have 4500 miles.
  • You may want to look at the posts in the "winter and adverse driving" board. The tires on the Camry that come stock are all-season tires. Most "all season" tires are actually 3-season tires meaning they give adequate traction on dry pavement, wet pavement and some snow. The trouble with all-season tires is that they are harder compound and don't have the amount of traction available to snow-specific tires. For the best possible traction for snowy areas, you should use snow-specific tires in the winter and go back to your all-seasons for the other times of year.
  • steveb84steveb84 Posts: 187
    In the Chicago region, for part of the 02 model year, SE's were coming with High-Performance tires that are awful on snow and ice. I'm not sure if the Cincinnati Region had the same situation. You may want to check your window sticker to see which wheel and tire package you have, or stop back at the dealership and talk with them about it.
  • sbell4sbell4 Posts: 446
    SET has cash back AND the special APR on the 2003 Camry LE (model 2532) through January 2nd. Is the rest of the nation doing the same?
  • what kind of cash back? what is SET? what states are for cash back/apr?
  • Are there many of you that have an '03 Camry V6??

    My gripe is that I recently was shopping for a new car. I've always had V6 and just did not want a 4 cylinder. So I went to my local Toyota dealer wanting to test drive a V6 Camry, and all they had were 4 cyl. I did test drive a 4 cyl. but it just did not have "power" and the salesman checked to see when any V6's were to arrive and no one could answer that. Is there something wrong with the V6 Camry's?

    Needless to say, you know where I ended my shopping at.
  • I think they are waiting for the new v6
  • Wait for the 210 HP V6 6 speed auto with VVti coming in March 2003. This engine is from the current ES300 which will be replaced by 3.3l engine. Insider news.
  • Another reason for this is that the GREAT majority of Camry buyers only want/need the 4cyl engine. I don't know the actual numbers, but my guess would be somewhere to the tune of 90% of Camry's that are sold/built are 4cyl models.
  • Mobil 1 synthetic oil can be purchased for about $4.00 at most auto supply stores. 5 Quarts would be $20.00. A toyota filter is about $4.00. If you change your oil using both every 5000 miles you can be sure of a long trouble free engine.
  • ...for recent posts on oil changes and octane.

    Today I received a packet from Toyota Financial Services with certificates that cover the cost of my first three scheduled maintenances -- oil change, lub, fluid check, etc. This was part of my sales deal -- a nice perq. The cover letter tells me to use a 5,000-mile interval for this service. This is the fifth recommendation on service interval I've gotten from someone connected with Toyota since buying the car (see my post #4898).

    So, based on all that and the very welcome advice from alpha01, xbbuster, cliffy1, and toyotaken, it looks like a range from 3,000 to 5,000 is the most popular choice. I respect cliffy1's point of view and agree that money spent on regular maintenance will pay off in the long run. I think I'll take it in for the first service at 3,000 and see what my service manager says. I may wind up edging toward 4,000, but that will probably be tops with me.

    I wish I could get 91 octane gas. Pumps in my area are 87, 89, and 93, so I'm going with 93 for now.

    I read with interest about the problems with rattles some Camry owners are having, and the news release from Toyota saying their engineers have solved the problem. So far, my car is tight as a drum. That's a three-week perspective -- hope it holds true over the long run.

    One of the things I especially like about this car is its sense of roominess, at least relative to today's standards. I'm a middle-aged fellow who drove many cars that were average size in the 1960s and that would be absolute cruise ships by today's standards (a 1965 Pontiac Catalina, for example). Many of today's cars are just too small for me. So the Camry, while still small when compared with cars of my youth, does a nice job of maximizing its dimensions and giving me room to stretch out. Nice job, Toyota.
  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 853
    Congratulations on your new Camry. I have a solution for your octane problem. When you go to fill up, put in half of what you need with 93 octane and the other half use 89. There is nothing wrong with mixing the different types. I used to do that with my motorcycle when they still made leaded gas(low octane). I would use half no-lead premium and half regular leaded. Before I would fill up I would go inside and tell the salesclerk what I was doing. On some pumps you cannot get two different products without paying for the one first. Now, with pumps that take credit cards you can just make two transactions. It might sound like a little work but it is a viable solution.
  • Having just gone thru my first outing in the snow I just noticed my 2002 LE does not appear to have heated outside mirrors. I guess I took this for granted on my old Merc; the mirrors were defrosted anytime you switched to defrost mode. Is this an available Camry option...perhaps I missed the boat.

    Also, I did not get anti-lock brakes mostly because traction control was not available. Was or is this an option?
  • My Toyota Dealer couldn't provide what I wanted, not even a clue as to when they would arrive, and would not even offer to locate what I I went to my local Nissan Dealer. Nuff said.
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