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Toyota Camry Basic Maintenance Questions



  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Continue what you've been doing. Ignore the dealer's schedule.

    The only things extra that I recommend are draining and refilling the auto tranny fluid every 40 or 50K miles or so (not flushing it -- just drain and refill), plus changing out the brake fluid, say every 3 years and 40-50K miles.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    If you were to quiz the dealer, they would eventually admit that this is an "optional" service, not required.
  • dlc4dlc4 Posts: 1
    my parents 01 camry (117K miles) had the check engine light come on with no indication of any problem that they could sense. Brought it to the Toyota dealer and they got a P0300 error code for random misfire multiple cylinder. They cleared the light and said it was fixed but that if the indicator light went on again it would be $2220 to replace ECM injector (4) and plugs. Can someone translate that for me and tell me if the car will just die on them unexpectedly or if there is any preventative solution for less $$? Thanks-
  • djm2djm2 Posts: 705
    Good Morning 210delray
    Point of information! ---- The folowing vehicles had a major "engine sludge problem": ---- Audi 1997 - 2004, Chrysler 1998 - 2002, Dodge 1998 - 2002, Hyundai 1998 - 2204, Lexus 1997 - 2003, Toyota 1997 - 2003, Saab 1999 - 2003, VW 1997 -2004.
    Best regards. ----- Dwayne :shades: ;) :)
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Hi, I'm aware of the other vehicle sludge problems (except Hyundai), but I stand by what I said before: Toyota and Lexus were confined to 1997-2002 models and only on the 2.2-liter 4-cylinder and 3.0 V6 engines. With the other makes, it's only one engine (or engine family) involved (the 2.7-liter V6 in Chrysler/Dodge's case).

    I was involved in the heated Toyota sludge discussions back in 2000-02 on Edmunds, and it seemed the problem was limited in scope, mostly to those who stretched their oil change intervals, did a lot of short trip driving, and had their oil changed (supposedly) by "Iffy Lube" or "Joe's gas and go." A lot of the problems happened early on, within 20K miles or less.

    I had a 1997 Camry with the 2.2 4-cylinder, and I had NO sludge problems with 5K mile oil changes (done myself), and the car was fine when I sold it in '04 with 111K miles.

    And IMHO and no offense intended because it's your money and your decision, but I still think you're changing your oil way too often at 2500 miles, especially since I believe that works out to monthly or less in your case.
  • gunga64gunga64 Posts: 271
    A prior member posted this in 2003:

    I think it is time for you to change timing belt at 92000 miles. It's about $50 for part and 2 hrs labor. They asked $230 that is little to high except replacing water pump and other belt(s) as well including in the price.
    You could check condition of your timing belt by opening plastic cover for inspection.
    Make sure that you check their works after installing new belts. It happened to me that the belt for water pump was so tight caused water pump bearing failure after 4 months later. After they changed water pump, then the air conditioning bearing making noise ...

    Just thought I'd bring this topic up. I am contemplating having my timing belt done (camry 2001 4 cylinder 94,000 miles). But I fear the above happening. I had nothing but problems with a corolla I had after a timing belt change. In fact the harmonic balancer snapped months afterwards. It's almost like let the belt break on its own, as long as non-interference.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    It is non-interference, but do you want to risk getting stranded in the middle of nowhere? Or in the center lane of a crowded Interstate?

    I'd recommend finding a competent shop. Check the tightness of your drive belts before you go in for the work, and then afterward. (You may as well put on new ones.) If they seem excessively tight after running the engine for about 5 minutes, have the shop re-adjust them.
  • gunga64gunga64 Posts: 271
    Well nice to know they are non-interference.

    There was some discussion in here that the 2001 4 cylinder camry has a timing chain. I went to an on line parts shop and the 2001 has a belt.

    I checked the 2002 camrys and only the 4 cylinder engines had a chain the 6 cylinders had a belt.

    Can not find a competent shop, even if the shop is competent they hire out their services to low wage people or people that don't care.

    The only thing I can think of is going to the dealer and being very specific on telling the manager to check the torque on all the new belts himself. In fact I would like to see him check them (at least on the regular belts). But who knows if they would do that. I just hate having to put $250-$750 (250 for timing belt job 500 for all the other junk they want to do) into a properly running car only to get a components going bad because of improper torque. The shop never takes responsiblity.

    That corolla that died on me after the timing belt has left a bad taste in my wallet for these places.
  • shand32783shand32783 Posts: 57
    A buddy has an 05 SE 4 Cyl with 31,000 miles. Does he need to do anything but get an oil change and maybe change out the air filters at this service time?

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    He should have the car's maintenance manual which has everything spelled out. Basically, change oil and filter, engine and cabin air filters, check and replenish fluid levels, rotate tires (including full-size spare), inspect brakes, check underbody of car for leaks, worn or loose parts, etc. So-called "special operating conditions" (severe service) has additional items.

    Spark plugs are good for 120K miles, original pink Toyota coolant for 105K miles.
  • donovarkdonovark Posts: 1
    I'll admit to start that I'm pretty clueless about cars, other than that it's important to change the oil regularly.

    I inherited a used 2000 Camry. The engine is 2.2 liters, 4 cylinders w/ electronic fuel injection.

    I am the third owner of the car. (My parents are the second) When my family bought the car, it had 37,500 miles. Today it has almost 70,000 and I'm wondering about routine maintenance.

    I have all the paperwork for any work done on the car since 2003 and it looks like basically, the repairs done have been minor things that broke (wipers, etc.) as well as
    - oil changes
    - tire alignment(3/06, 11/06)
    -tire rotation (3/06)
    - tire replacement (8/04)
    brake pad replacement (1/05)
    -strut replacement (11/06)
    and then when the accelerator was sticking once (5/05) - cleaned throttle, changed radiator hoses (curved and upper?), coolant drain/refill, belts (inc. serpentine belt)

    The car has been driven sparingly the last couple years, but I know it probably needs some routine maintenance. I have a huge list of things from my dealership's "maintenance guide," but I have no idea which things to do. All of them?

    Also, I haven't done the scheduled maintenance at the other mileage intervals (I got the car in late 2005), so should I go back and do those?

    Sorry, I know I'm clueless. I'd really appreciate some guidance. I get my work done at my local dealership, because Jiffy Lubes seem like a bad idea.

  • vtdanvtdan Posts: 1
    Between this website and the maintenance schedule log I've got solid advice on when to get just about everything serviced/replaced. However, haven't seen info on how often to replace the fuel filter?

    Also, though I've got the 105k coolant, it's sitting right at the low line. I live in a hot/humid climate. Should I be concerned?

    Vehicle is 2004 3.3L V6 with 45k carefree miles.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    From what I've read here, the fuel filter doesn't need regular changing. As for the coolant, some minor loss over time is normal. You should buy a gallon of the Toyota pink stuff at your dealer. It's a little pricey, but will last quite a while if you only top up now and then (use a funnel to avoid spills). It comes premixed with water for a 50/50 blend.
  • My 2004 Camry Scheduled Maintenace Guide says replace the coolant every 10 years or 100K miles.

    My 2002 Sienna Scheduled Maintenace Guide says replace the coolant every 2 years or 30K miles.

    Why such a big difference? Is the engine design different. The coolant is the same, isn't it(the pink stuff)?

    Is 100K miles too long to wait to change the Camry coolant?
  • What color is the coolant in each vehicle? If the coolant is green as it probably is in the Sienna, then it's old-style plain ordinary ethylglycol coolant and should be changed after 30K because it's worn out. This should not be expensive. If it's orange or pink as it indeed is in my 2004 Camry, then it's new long-life stuff and can go for 100K miles. Changing it costs more--you're paying for another 100K. It's hard to admit it but the car folks are making better stuff than they used to.
  • thanks metalibrarian.

    Both the Camry and the Sienna have pink/red looking coolant.

    Could it be that they were just being conservative in 2002, and didn't yet have confidence to increase the coolant change duration?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I had a '97 Camry and it used pink fluid but called for the 2-year/30K mile coolant changes.

    I believe this coolant was a different formulation (not extended life).

    Regarding the new coolant, I'm okay with 100K miles, but I personally wouldn't leave the stuff in for 10 years.
  • When the time comes to change the coolant, will draining be sufficient?

    Is there any value to having the thermostat removed and the system flushed?

    Is it worth the additional cost to have the dealer do a flush?
  • Hi,

    I bought my '03 Camry LE 4 cylinder at Carmax with 6000 miles and the maintenance guide was missing. I now have 74,000+ miles on the car.

    When do change the timing belt?


  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    You don't, because it has a timing chain!
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