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Toyota Camry 2006 and earlier

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  • Well you can count me among the "I HATE TOYOTA" and their dealers club!!! After 37(loyal) years of owning Toyotas (first was a new '69 Corona) I've had it with them. Batteries keep die-ing on my '03 Camry XLE with 14 K miles and the dealer says there is nothing wrong with the electrical system, meanwhile the 3rd battery in one week is now dead! And oh by the way, "since you didn't buy the replacement battery from us we are going to charge you for the diagnostic time spent on the car even though it is under warranty", Huh !?!?! When I (loudly) insist that there is no way I'm paying for diagnostic check, service rep blurts out "you're a complainer. You complained about service when you filled out the Toyota Corp Customer Service card in December 2004!" He tells me that Toyota headquarters sent back my comments to the dealer and it is now on file!!!! (I said that I thought recommending new PCV valve after one year and 6K miles was sneaky since the owner's manual did not call for it and that the dealer's customer service rep did not return my calls.) So hey did any of you know Toyota Corp is doing this AND it would be held against you!. By the way I use the dealer - my car's oil/filter is changed by them every 3-4 months (even though I only drive about 6 K year! at the same dealer I bought it from...) My neighbor who services Audi / Porches advised me that there is definitely an electrical system problem such as Parasidic draw or short circuit which he has tested for. Now it is a question of tracking it down. I am in the process of contacting the Regional Toyota Service office, but don't hold out much hope. Keep you all posted. Needless to say the reputation that Toyota dealers are getting are well deserved! ! !. :lemon: :lemon: :lemon:
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,536
    The obvious retort for the dealer is "Why did you give me something that I had to complain about?"
  • I have the same car. I bought it new in 93. I can tell you exactly what it is: On the 93 camry, the hydrolic power steering valve has been known to go after 10 years or 150K miles. I too have had the same problem, but here's a few tips to fix it easily. The valve may not necessarily be broken, it is just worn. To make it easier on the power steering, try adding more air to the tires, and filling the power steering fluid to the top max line. On mine i put 37 PSI in each tire(i have firestones). Your tires may vary. If those few things don't solve the problem, then the only fix is to replace the valve.

    If you repair the valve yourself:

    The valve is located on the power steering rack/pinion control chamber/bar, located in the middle of the rack, under the car. the valve is connected to the top, on the end of the bar(right end if you are looking at the bar from the front). Before changing, MAKE SURE you drain the existing power steering fluid by removing the pressure adjustment screw with a wrench. After you've done that, remove the valve assembly on top of the bar. The valve is circular, looks a little like a fat spark plug. The valve is available from a Toyota dealer. Unscrew the valve after the lines have been removed. Remove the valve. Insert the new valve and rubber washer into the assembly. Tighten the valve to manufacturer specifications. It might say it in the manual. replace the lines, assembly screws, pressure/drain bolt, and refil the resivior. Start the engine and turn the steering wheel left and right to it's limits, 2 or 3 times to check for proper functioning. You should now have no lock-up of the steering wheel.
  • Any one have the TSB details on this...it relates to wind/door noise on the front door. Thanks!
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    You should also try asking in our Technical Service Bulletins discussion ... let us know what you hear.
  • vikeevikee Posts: 4
    Be careful when buying new just for the longevity and dependability. I've had my 2005 Camry to the dealership six times with less than 5K, this year. I finally went through arbitration for the # of repairs and found out that the warranty only covers conditions which "substantially impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle" and guess who defines those terms. I have a $20,000+ car which I'm terrified of driving. Toyota says it's not defective, just different. Good luck with your choice. VS
  • vikeevikee Posts: 4
    I've had a 95 and 96, both were far superior to the 2005, with no problems and both had over 90,000 miles. Only had basic suggested service to both. How many miles on the one you're looking at?
  • vikeevikee Posts: 4
    Let me tell you about newer Camrys, many are getting lots lower mileage than advertised. I'm getting around 24 with a 4 cylinder and I drive very conservatively. Also they are now using a new computer driven transmission which is driving a lot of people, including service technicians, crazy. Mine gives you whiplash, in fact we'd gotten so used to it that when we drove our daughter's new Altima my husband finally admitted that for a year now, he's thought I just couldn't drive very well. There are some real issues with the wire-free throttle, and Toyota is racking up a lot of customer complaints. Check Florida's Lemon Law website. Toyota has more pages than almost any other brand. It was a great company, but there are certainly better choices now. Good Luck. VS
  • vikeevikee Posts: 4
    Yes, I'm having some kind of problem which the dealership thought was the transmission, although they changed springs and tires for me before doing a solenoid. It vibrates noticiably from about 40-50 mph. The factory rep even stated that it vibrates, but that's normal and it's "different not defective". What it really is, is scary. I have issues with the whip lash throttle operation. My chiropractor loves it though, so it can't be all bad. Bummer to buy a new car and hate it. VS
  • Anyone have any info and specifics on this bulliten which relates to Wind noise / door fix on Camry's.
  • Just FYI - I have a 1985 Camry hitting over 210,000 miles. Passed the smog check with above average results, just got a new fuel pump and it still runs well. Now it is my extra car because I just bought a 2001 Camry LE w/9,580 miles, fully loaded, for only $9,500 - too good to pass up and boy does it drive smooth. Only thing is...I think I did the gas cap thing and the stupid engine light came on.
    Carol
  • phd86phd86 Posts: 110
    It's not just toyota dealers, its auto mechanics in general. The only difference is that you paid about 20K for a new car and it had a warranty on it. That actually makes it worse because there isn't much economic incentive to honor warranties generally and you expect there to be.

    On selecting a dealer or mechanic, here are some concepts:

    1. If it is under warranty, the first and last things that you say are "I need to bring the car in under warranty" and "I need for you to verify that the work is being covered under warranty" so you don't get charged. If any hesitation on this, go to another dealer, or report it to Toyota Corporation immediately. Don't feel obligated to go to the place you bought your car, especially if they have issues.

    2. If not under warranty, get a quote. If they won't give you a quote, go to another dealer. If they give you a ridiculous quote, go to another dealer. If you get two ridiculous quotes, go to a third dealer.

    3. Dealer case in point. I used to have the valve clearances checked on my car every 60K or so, in association with replacing the spark plugs and valve cover gasket. Other than removing the valve cover gasket and spark plugs, there is really no other labor other than to put a feeler gage between the 16 valves and write down the number. Occasionally, a shim would need to be swapped out, which required a couple special tools and an additional 5 minutes of labor.

    The labor cost for this is around 1.5 hours, or about $100. Recently, however, when I called 4 dealers (including two who had done the exact same work before), I got estimates ranging from $280 to $400 and 4 to 6 hours of labor. I got all sorts of complete crap talk about what needed to be removed and replaced, and how much time it took. Fact is, the car hasn't changed, and the difficulty in doing a valve clearance check hasn't changed either.

    What has changed is that mechanics either don't have a clue what they are doing, or think customers don't either, and, therefore, they will charge and replace whatever they see fit.

    4. Independent shops- Case in point. Earlier this week, I brought my car in to an independent shop for a clutch job, disgusted with dealer estimates of $700-900 for something that should cost $400-500. I don't do major repair work on my car, but one thing I do check is to see if there are any missing parts before, and after, a repair job. I also do minor maintenance.

    When I picked up my car, my clutch was fixed but I was told that there was an oil leak on the right side of the engine, and that the air intake hose had a split in it. Accordingly, I looked under the car to view this leak, and noted that two of five bolts to the center gravel shield were not secure (one completely gone, the second hanging from the frame).

    I told the shop owner, who told me the bolts were rusty, and I needed to obtain fasteners from a Toyota dealer, then return the car and leave it with him. I went to a Toyota dealer, who informed me that the bolts were secured to nuts welded into the interior of tubular frame components, and the only way to correct it was to remove the radiator, drill an access hole, and weld a nut to the inside.

    I then noticed that two additional bolts which held the catalytic convert and pipe assembly mount in place were not there at all.

    So I obtained the four missing bolts and went back to the clutch shop and told them what the Toyota dealer said. My expectations were not high, basically, I told them to "take a look" and if they could figure out some way of securing them, "I brought the correct bolts".

    I picked up the car about an hour ago. I asked if they had any ideas about what to do over stripped out nuts. Their response was: "you are wasting our time over a gravel guard". Mine was: "you told me to go over to Toyota and come back to you with the parts, and that is what I did". Then, they complained when I asked for the two new bolts back that they didn't install.

    Now, in my former life, I did do quite alot of auto work and I've seen rusted bolts as well. When I see a rusted bolt, I spray penetrating oil on it. But this clutch shop just grabs the air-wrench and lets it rip. I suspect many others do the same.

    I guess the lesson here is to "pre-soak" any slightly rusted parts before bringing a car for repair.

    On the bright side, the clutch is smooth as silk. Got what I paid for, I think. A discount clutch job.

    5. Petty ripoffs - like PCV valves, air filters, etc. That's really petty and I can't figure out why some shops even try it.

    I do appreciate it if they tell me there's an inch of wiggle in a wheel and the bearing needs to be replaced.
  • bildowbildow Posts: 100
    I saw your problem on gas mileage my 05 camry 4 banger gets about 23-25 in town and 31 on the highway. I have 8500 miles in 3 months being a sales man and I have made some changes to the car. I am now using mobil one synthetic oil 5-30 weight oil and should pick up 1-2 mpg. I was told it takes about 4to 6,000 miles to break in the engine and then your gas mileage might go up a little?????. Remember we drive at 70mph on the open road and I think the mileage test are done at 60mph so maybe this is accounting for a lower mpg. Either way you have the worlds best automobile.
  • guillguill Posts: 94
    Just thought I'd volunteer an opinion that differs from some of the recent replies you've received.

    I also previously owned a 3rd generation (92-96) Camry. My Camry was a 92 and it was absolutely a fantastic car. Was it better than my 05? Hard to say now as I sold the 92 over 8 years ago and don't quite trust my dated perceptions of this car. Though I would tend to say that from what I remember, the 92 was probably a bit more of a substantial/quality car.

    Of importance to note is that the 3rd generation Camry was produced when Toyota was hitting a home run with their new Lexus line of autos. Auto magazines were singing praises about Toyota and the superb quality and reliability of their vehicles. Around 96-97 Toyota executives admitted that they got caught up in the accolades and actually stated they thought they went too far with injecting quality into every vehicle in their lineup. A quote from the article (to the best of my memory), "we were making a Tercel like it was a Lexus, obviously a Tercel doesn't have to be up to that standard."

    Also remember that the late 80s/early 90s was the pinnacle of the Quality movement in Japan. Thus I do believe that Toyota, and all Japanese cars, have diminished in quality ... only minimally though.

    When comparing Toyota to any domestic or European auto manufacturer, Toyota still comes out on top.

    Keep in mind also, that any complaints of poor quality in Toyotas are magnified by the fact that so few complaints are heard. When Toyotas do suffer from a chronic problem it makes the news. But you can be certain that domestic autos have more than their share of chronic defects ... but since this is more common with domestic autos no one makes such a big deal about it.

    I imagine there are a lot of complaints on the Florida website ... when I purchase a Toyota I expect it to last forever. However if I bought a domestic auto, say a Dodge, then I wouldn't be nearly as surprised if it manifested major problems.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    "Around 96-97 Toyota executives admitted that they got caught up in the accolades and actually stated they thought they went too far with injecting quality into every vehicle in their lineup."

    Assuming you recall the quote correctly, I think what was meant referred to the level of luxury, not quality as defined by reliability. Every manufacturer strives for 100% reliability as measured in repairs per 100 vehicles.

    The design differences between a Camry XLE and a Lexus ES330 relate to specifications of the materials and switchgear. In the Lexus, the leather is a little softer, the plastics a little more luxurious looking, the switches somewhat smoother. I'm sure the head quality executive at Toyota expects both of them to be trouble-free, i.e., equally reliable.
  • petlpetl Posts: 610
    My memory is not what it use to be. However, to best of my recollection, it was the then president of Toyota (1994-95) who stated that the Camry should not be a luxury vehicle. There was never a mention of reliability. In 1995, the Camry had lost some "luxury" features that made it feel like a more expensive car. I think I have some of the information at work. lmacmil's observations are pretty acurate. It might be a little off topic, but the outgoing president of Honda stated a couple years ago that Honda had lost its vision or direction. He said that they were trying too hard to compete with Toyota. President's say the "darndest" things.
  • guillguill Posts: 94
    I agree I think the intent of the message from Toyota's executives was more oriented towards quality vice reliability. I specifically remember a line in the article about the ashtray in the Tercel, and how they were trying to make the ashtray the best in the world when it didn't need to be.
    Quality can be defined in a number of ways ...

    2 a : degree of excellence : GRADE b : superiority in kind

    For the intent of the article I believe the above definition taken from Merriam-Webster most closely fits.

    I also clearly remember when the 4th generation Camry came out many in the automotive circles spoke of how the new model had suffered from "decontenting".

    Keeping all this in mind, I still believe that the Camry represents one of the best choices for a mid-size car. I do believe it isn't quite up to the standards of the 92-96 generation Camry, but when compared to the competition it still beats most of them in terms of reliability and quality.

    I also believe that reports about it's perceived diminishing quality, while they may have a certain degree of truth to them (as evidenced by my previous points) ... the personal accounts are somewhat disporportunate to real-world statistics.

    This quote from another on-line forum is a perfect example of the point I attempted to make earlier.

    I am sick of reading people review this car (Tercel) as if it has the standards of an Acura Legend or Lexus ES300. This car is made specifically for someone who needs efficient transportation.

    Though this quote is about the Tercel, it applies equally to most Toyota models (with some exceptions like the Avalon which is a near-luxury car).
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I agree with Phd86's reply. You should try another dealer, hopefully one with a better reputation and attitude for service, to resolve the problem. The problem should be covered under warranty, regardless of whether you used aftermarket batteries.

    The survey you sent to Toyota Motor Corporation on your service experience is returned to the dealer with the intention that the dealer will treat their customers better in the future. So of course, "it's on file," and so is everyone else's, whether it's positive or negative. It's not supposed to be used to beat you over the head or treat you as if you have a criminal record. Sounds like a dealer to stay away from.

    Clearly, unless you've got a bad run of batteries, there's something causing the batteries to go dead so quickly. Similar to what your neighbor said, on my former 1990 Mercury Sable, there was a short circuit inside the alternator that was killing the battery overnight. I had to leave the negative cable disconnected until the cause was found, so I could start the car in the morning.
  • When I turned on Car Talk last Saturday, believe it or not the first question was from a lady with a 2004 V6 like mine who complained about the same problem. She said her creak sounded like a "duck". The brothers kidded her about calling and taking up time with a harmless problem. They attributed it to plastic parts rubbing together. They also said that if the noise was not constant (it goes away after it warms up) there was nothing to worry. As for the service dept. I think the manager should have said something to me after the 3rd time I had it greased to explain what was causing it and why it was not a problem. The service advisor said that he would talk to the mgr about it but I never heard anything from either of them. So service at this dealership is good but no cigar yet..
  • I have had the same 'rotten eggs' (fart) smell on my 03 Camry V6. From the beginning I have used Shell Vpower premium which is also what I put in my 4cyl 2001 Protege. Have only had the problem with the Camry, usually occurs after I have slowed down from speed. It was intermittent in the first year of driving but since then its been a rare occurrence. The dealership told me it was the gas too, but when I said my other car used the same gas they said it was a problem for cars after 2001 (convenient answer)
  • though I have no details, I believe a TSB exists...
  • How do I know if the transmission is failing on an older model Camry?
  • haefrhaefr Posts: 600
    C'mon, Joanie, give us some information to work with. We're not mindreaders. What's the car doing (or not doing), what year car, and what service history on the tranny?
  • guillguill Posts: 94
    edmund,

    The TSB covering the sulpher odor is:
    EG011R-04 MAY 05 Exhaust System - Objectionable Sulfur Dioxide Odors

    Information can be located at:
    http://www.alldata.com/recalls/index.html
  • my driver's seat will not return to 90 degrees but does go down fine...how do i get it fixed...its 99 camry
  • haefrhaefr Posts: 600
    Busted parts need to be replaced with unbusted parts. Try your nearest Toyota dealership's service department.
  • kenm6kenm6 Posts: 14
    1999 Camry XLE, 110000 miles. V6 loaded. I have experienced starting problems after the engine is warm or hot, the idle control normally at 700-800 rpm will not hold and the rpm's drop off to O rpm's and the engine stalls. This only occurs occasionally. I have had a mechanic check the error codes, but nothing is showing up as an error???
    It never stalled at cold start or one hour after engine shutoff.

    Has anyone had this same problem and do you know of a corrective action to this problem?
  • Thank you for the info. Looks like I'd have to pay to get this info online. But shouldn't the dealership have had something to tell me about this other than 'it's the gas'.
    I also see my creaking steering wheel problem listed too.
  • This experiment indicates that the interior of a black car may not be that much hotter than a white car:

    http://tom-morrow-land.com/tests/cartemp/index.htm

    Executive Summary:

    For those who just want to know the results of the test, I'll tell you. The glass temperature (which I assume to be a proxy for interior temperature) varied only 5 to 6 degrees between the black and white cars on average. So I conclude that the interior temperature only varied somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 to 6 degrees. The paint temperature, however, varied by about 55 degrees, which is ten times as much. So it is indeed true that black paint is much hotter than white paint, but the interior of the black car isn't that much warmer than the white car.
    Replies to this message:
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    I'll bet a car with a black interior is much hotter than one with a light interior, regardless of exterior color.
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