Toyota Camry Maintenance



  • xcarnutxcarnut Member Posts: 81
    I read many of the messages above about 60k maintenance, and so far no one has wrote/read the owners manual recommendation. Does anyone have one with their '96 V6 ? If so, what is the 60k maintenance recommendation ? Is the timing belt replacement on the list. ?
    On '99 Avalon V6 the timing belt is listed to replace 90k in the owners manual. My experience with timing belts are: On my Supra the timing belt teeth wore out just shy of the 60k miles but I drove it to work and then home and to dealer next day. On the corolla with belt it snapped around 94k while merging and accelerating to over 55mph. Neither engines were damaged. Corolla with chain never replaced till it went to graveyard.
  • camryfancamryfan Member Posts: 17
    Experts out there, please help. I did something stupid. My gas tank door remote did not work so I had to force to open the door and broke the little plastic thing. Dealer said we need to replace the whole part and the part fee is $177 something. This is a '97 Camry only less than 30k miles but out of warranty already. Anybody has any ideas? Is there a alternative way to repair? Or are there other places other than dealer who can do the job? Thanks in advance.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I've always wondered why the car builders bother with the stupid remote gas door releases in the first place.

    A gas thief would simply stick a screwdriver into the opening and, in less than a second, break the latch!

    Not only did he steal the gas but now the car is damaged!

    Why not just have the door open without a "lock"?

    Long ago, a cop told me the dumbest thing a person could do was lock their glove box. A person looting through your car would assume you had valuables in the glovebox if it was locked and would break it open. Makes sense.

    Of course I don't keep anything af value in it anyway.
  • edwardh5edwardh5 Member Posts: 130
    Try a junk yard
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Has anyone ever had this done??? It appears to be good for life and it is simply transmission fluid but wonder if it should ever be changed. I can find nothing in owner's manual or service manual about changing it.
  • wilcoxwilcox Member Posts: 582
    Never tried it on any car...
  • loyolaloyola Member Posts: 26
    I have a 92 Camry V6 with 135,000 i. I did the power steering fluid change out of curiosity and it did make a difference, especially on the fan which works via a hydraulic switch using the power steering fluid.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Okay, engine has 130,000 miles runs great. Last few months it has used coolant, very minimal, maybe 4 ounces every week or two. I have ordered new radiator caps (it has two) but this AM noticed slight white smoke fro 15 seconds at start up and then gone. Is it possible the head gasket is letting some coolant seep into the cylinders at shut down only. If all the time I would be sucking up much more coolant. Seems to be more of a problem on cold nights or during a cold spell?

  • jptjpt Member Posts: 7
    I had to change the thermostat on my 1990 Camry 4 cylinder. I drained the water out of the radiator and hoses using the drain plug on the bottom of the radiator. Does anyone know how to get the rest of the water out of the block? I assume there is another drain plug somewhere but can't find it. Thanks!
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    I have the Service Manual which has a picture of where the plugs are, I still cannot find it!!!
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    I thought I found the right plug on my '97 Camry 4-cylinder. It's a small hex bolt on the front of the block (facing the radiator) toward the driver's side of the car.

    I found out the hard way that I was wrong when I forgot to replace the plug and started the car. A gusher of oil spewed out of the opening, making a mess of the engine compartment and the cement floor of my garage! In probably only a minute or so of running, the entire oil capacity was emptied out.

    Well, so far the engine seems ok. And to get rid of the old antifreeze in the block, just circulate plain water through your engine and radiator (keeping the radiator cap off), repeatedly draining and refilling till the drained fluid is almost colorless.
  • wilcoxwilcox Member Posts: 582
    what you would define as pure maintenance, but it is highly related.

    To enhance the exterior of our bluish-green 96 LE V6, I ordered some chrome molding that installs around the perimeter of the wheel wells.

    The internet order arrived at the house about 6 days after the order.

    The installation is a tad difficult (especially having the mud flaps) but can be done with a drill, screwdriver, and some c-clamp assistance.

    The shape of the molding may differ ever so slightly from the wheel wells (for any number of reasons). Two of the pieces fit perfectly, one was a hair off, and one of them was a booger.

    If you ever try to do something like this, be very careful not to put too much tension on the clamps, as they may tend to bend the chrome piece. Use cloth inbetween the clamp and the chrome to prevent scratching.
    Also you may have to use some spacers between the molding and the body which you will have to make yourself.

    The Results? The results are great on the eyes! The chrome pieces really enhance the appearance of these cars. And I like the way they lined the edges that touch the paint with the strips of black vinyl.

    : ^ )
  • bretfrazbretfraz Member Posts: 2,021
    Thought I'd add my 2 cents (times 3 topics which adds up to 6 cents, I guess):

    Coolant Loss - Classic case of head gasket failure. Reason why you're noticing it at AM startup is that as the engine gets hot, the gasket and cylinder head expand and close off the split/crack. It's only going to get worse so you'll have to bite the bullet and have it changed before it blows up.

    Flushing the Block - Don't know exactly how to do it on a 1990 Camry 2.2 but I used to knock out the freeze plugs. Another less violent way is to install a flush kit inline of the heater hoses and use water pressure to flush the block.

    Timing Belts - A few years ago I changed the belt on a friend's Toyota Corolla with a DOHC 16V engine that had mileage in the low 80's. About 1/3 of the teeth were missing or cracked badly. The entire belt had heat/stress cracks on the outside. When I put the new one on, the engine ran great - very strong for a 1.8L. I was amazed by what I felt was significant wear. I can only imagine the extent of damage to that motor if the timing belt had broken. IMHO, it's plain foolish to wait longer than the mfr's reccomendation for belt changes. Like someone in here said - Just Do It.
  • dc_sports_ruledc_sports_rule Member Posts: 134
    Next Thursday, I am taking our 1999 Camry LE in for the 7500 mile recommended service. According to the service guidelines, the following will be done: 1. Lube, Oil and Filter change. 2. Fuel System Service 3. 27 point inspection 4. Rotate TiresThe Price for this service is $90.95. Does this seem reasonable? I have had the tires rotated once already. In comments would be greatly appreciated.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    You do not need to have the fuel system service. This is purely a money maker for fuel injected systems. It is not even recommended anywhere in the owners manual at any mile interval. WILL NOT VOID ANY WARRANTY IF NOT PERFORMED! Probably the high pressure injector cleaning. As to the rotation, since tires are not covered under warranty this is up to you. Some argue to never rotate and replace two tires at a time. Entirely up to you. Just do the oil and filter if the 7,500 is within your normal oil change interval. I will bet the service guideline you are noting are the dealer's guidelines, not the one in the owner's manual (except for the oil change perhaps)
  • sdjiauwsdjiauw Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 LE V6 sedan with around 5000 miles.
    The problem is that when cold (i.e. temp gauge is pegged at 'C'), the transmission will not upshift from 2nd to 3rd until 2800-3000 rpm, regardless of throttle position. For example, if I maintain a steady speed such as 35 mph, it will stay stuck in 2nd at a high rpm for a few minutes. It shifts fine once either a) the first delayed 2-3 shift occurs or b) the engine warms up above the C mark on the gauge. If I just sit in the driveway and let it warm up for a few minutes, then it shifts fine also. Normally it shifts between all the gears between 2000-2400 rpm since I accelerate very gently.
    Is this a transmission problem, or just a "feature" of the ECT-i transmission?
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    It is built that way to keep the higher RPMs until the eniogne has warmed up. You can confirm this with the dealer if you wish!
  • jodar96jodar96 Member Posts: 400
    Does anyone have any idea how to clean the inside of the expansion tank. When the inside is not cleaned for so long, it gets that dirty antifreeze residue inside, and it is difficult to know how much coolant there is. I bought the car used, and the previous owner did not care to rinse the tank once a year to prevent this.

    I have cleaned it with hot soapy water, but the oily /slimy residue is still there. I also tried
    hot water and baking soda. That did not work either. the opening is too small to get a bottle brush in there.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    With the spray tube attached (which you can also bend) take the tank out and spray the inside deposits with the cleaner and they come off pretty quickly . Wash the tank out very very well with clean water and you are set. However, it is possible that over time the tank has turned a permanenet dark color and nothing may work. They are not that expensive and you can order a replacement.
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    I finally changed the brake fluid on my '97 Camry with ABS; thanks for your helpful advice a while back!

    It wasn't so hard; the main problem was getting a wrench around the rear bleeder bolts. The angle of the bolts causes the wrench to hit the inside surface of the brake drums.

    Unlike your neighbor's '97 Caravan which you said "was like pumping black coffee out," the old fluid in my Camry was somewhat more yellow than the nearly colorless new fluid. Of course, you can't see added moisture.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    I'll bet that's the #1 neglected service on any car. I could hear your pressure modulator breathing a sigh of relief all the way up here to the frozen North! :-)
  • jodar96jodar96 Member Posts: 400
    Thank you for your hint. I used carb/choke cleaner, and the oily deposit came right off. It took the whole $0.79 can to clean the tank!!! Toyota wanted $35 for the tank that included the bracket, the hose and the cap. Parts people are smart. You want one item, they sell you five other items that you don't need, and charge you for all of them.

    Car manufacturers make tons of money off their parts department. I work for a component supplier to Big three. Our cost for a canister type fuel filter is $2.28. At autopart store the same filter costs $11.00. Who knows how much dealer charges for the same item.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Your welcome. I had to replace the entire tank and hose etc because my tank began to crack due to old age. I purchased mine via Metro Toyota in MI via the internet. Believe it was around what you quoted. Normally their parts are much less then my local dealer.
    Glad the carb cleaner worked for you
  • edwardh5edwardh5 Member Posts: 130
    who sells discount Toy parts like a antenna mast for a 94 camry?
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Metro toyota in MI
    they have a web site but do a seach for metro toyota. Ask for Greg. Extremely knowledgeable about parts, more so than local dealer
  • dc_sports_ruledc_sports_rule Member Posts: 134
    I did check my manual and the only thing Toyota has listed is oil, filter and tire rotation. My dealership wants to charge me $90.95 for a 27 point inspection and my fuel injectors serviced. Well, I am going to show them the manual and tell them to do everything the manual lists. What a dealership---they must be masters of the rip-off.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    All dealerships have their own maintenance schedules which they all claim are necessary due to "Where you live". and that is why you need the service. Just money makers. Injectors may never ever need cleaning at least not in the first 100,000. I have 131,000 on my Camry, injectors never been touched..
  • wilcoxwilcox Member Posts: 582
    I notice Toyota Dealership sends out a mailing about once every 45 days to us. They have all these little special offers for service and there is always a little " * " or two attached (if you look close enough)...I hate doing business with them, but our battery is going on 55 months old and Walmart dosen't stock a battery for a Camry.

    Ford doesn't do this trick stuff on theirs...but Ford stays alot busier than Toyota...that's for sure!
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Sears, Autozone, Advanced Auto just make sure the cold cranking number on the new one is the same or higher on the replacement battery and you will be fine.

    I have a Delco in my Camry.
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    But the manual also says to service the car every 7500 miles, or 6 months, WHICHEVER COMES FIRST (severe service is 5000 miles or 4 months).

    Because your car is at least 1.5 years old, you should be considering at least the 1-year service, or even the 2-year service (30K miles).

    You don't need the fuel injection service, ever (unless there's a problem), but there are other items in the maintenance manual, like checking the brakes, that may be advisable. If you have an "honest" service manager, maybe he/she could tell you what should be done and what could be overlooked, depending on your driving conditions.
  • jptjpt Member Posts: 7
    Regarding draining the coolant system, I finally was able to ask my mechanic and he told me there is no drain plug on the block side of the system. To flush the system, they drain and refill the radiator, run the engine until the thermostat opens and then repeat the procedure until they think it's enough. I guess, with optimal mixing, you reduce to "old" coolant by 1/2 each time so if I do this process 5 times, I'm down to 1/32 old coolant. Thanks for all of your help.

    Ok, now for some new questions. (I'm delayed on some of these until the cumulative effect is getting to me.)

    My air conditioner fan only works on max and high. Medium and Low settings produce nothing. My recollection is that the Low setting went out first and then a long time later the Medium went out. My first guess is that the Fan relay is bad but I can't find where it is. Does anyone know and do you think this will fix my problem?

    Secondly, my interior light will not work when I open the door. I can turn the thing on using the "ON" position but the "DOOR" position won't work. For the record, the buzzer does come on when I open the door with the key in the ignition so that much of the circuit is ok. Any suggestions on this one?

    Thanks again for your help.
  • rdatardata Member Posts: 1
    I had this camry since new and always had dealer maintenance. Today I discovered my first problem. While driving forward the "R" (reverse)light stays on with the check engine in the dash board. Would anyone
    know what the coarse would be.
    I checked the manual and it recommended to tighten the fuel cap but that hasn't helped.
  • froto25froto25 Member Posts: 14
    I also looked in Walmart for a new battery and couldn't find one for Toyota. So, I went to Discount Auto Parts and they also didn't have one for Toyota. Fortunately, the guy at the back counter knew his stuff. He explained that the only reason that the batteries there wouldn't qualify for Toyotas was a missing built in green light that indicates how well the battery is charged. So, I bought a 72 month battery with better cold cranking amps (Part number: 24F-5) and installed it in my 98 v6 XLE Camry. Its been working great for 4 months thus far, and I saved a few bucks too. So, it really doesn't matter where you get your battery from if you don't care about the little green light charge indicator.
  • froto25froto25 Member Posts: 14
    NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 01V012000


    Manufacturer: TOYOTA MOTOR CO., LTD.

    Mfg. Campaign #: 01V012000

    Year: 1998

    Make: TOYOTA

    Model: CAMRY

    Potential Number of Units Affected: 53061

    Manufactured From: AUG 1997 To: NOV 2000

    Year of Recall: '01

    Type of Report: Vehicle


    Vehicle Description: Passenger vehicles built at the Kentucky plant. The accelerator cable housing could be deformed at the cruise control actuator-to-throttle body connection. The accelerator inner-cable could wear away and eventually break.

    This could allow the throttle to return to idle or remain in its most recent position regardless of accelerator pedal operation, increasing the risk of a crash.

    Dealers will replace the accelerator cable. Owner notification is expected to begin during February 2001. Owners who take their vehicles to an authorized dealer on an agreed upon service date and do not receive the free remedy within a reasonable time should contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331. Also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).

  • tkl2tkl2 Member Posts: 6
    jpt,armtdm and 210 delray. The coolamt drain plug for the camry 4 is in the middle of the engine block on the back side,toward the firewall.On my 01 camry 4 ,it is a small brass plug with a hole in it and a small tube off the side to attach a hose to.In the Haynes 97-99 camry shop repair manual,page 1-22,it is shown in photo 25.5a. Sorry for the late information.
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    Thanks for the tip about the coolant drain plug! I see it's conveniently located so it's visible only when the car is lifted.

    Unfortunately, I do my antifreeze changes with the car on the ground.
  • pnotarpnotar Member Posts: 5
    I have a '91 Camry with 146K miles. Recently, I noticed that, when placing my car in reverse, the car required acceleration to move. In explaining this fact to a transmission mechanic (whom I trust, since he was referred to my by my mechanic of over 20 years), he stated it had to do with the Overdrive feature of the trans.

    To make a long story short, the repair would run appx $1300-$2500. Other than this, the car is in good shape (confirmed by my mechanic), as I have performed regular maintenance.

    Just looking for some experienced opinions as to how long these cars go and if it is worth the expense.

    I have no problems keeping the car for another couple of years, as I am used to high mileage cars. I just want to make sure the car will last long enough to make the repair worth it.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    I have a 92 with 132,000 miles V6. As long as the engine is sound, not using more then a quart in 3,000-,4000 miles I think it is worth repairing. Compared to a newer car only a few months of payments are you have broken even on the repair not to mention lower insurance cost and personal property taxes. My 92, well I am wathcing a coolant issue which may be a head gasket as well as a couple of minor oil seepages. If either gets worse I will probably repair as the engine itself is using less then a quart of synthetic every 7,500 miles which is when I change it. If the tranny goes of course the car is basically worthless and either salvage it or repair it to get some money back. My 92 is worth about $3,500 a 91 less. Always a tough call!
  • bretfrazbretfraz Member Posts: 2,021
    One idea is to get one out of a wreck from a junkyard. There is plenty of the pre "Lexus look" Camry's around and finding a tranny should be easy. Obviously there are other issues to consider but it might be better than dumping $1300 into a $2000 car.

    Just an idea..........don't kill me...........
  • nygregnygreg Member Posts: 1,936
    Pnotar - I have a 4 cyl, auto, 92 Camry with 180K on it and going strong. Everything works like new! Doesn't burn any oil (dino). I would be interested in knowing why the overdrive is impacting you backing up. Trannies are my weak point. Thanks.

    Armtdm - A few months ago I noticed I was losing coolant slowly. Turns out my water pump was going. Didn't see the drips from the inspection hole since it is under the timing belt cover. Needed to change the timing belt anyway - $60 for pump. Six hours (taking my time and cleaning all the parts). How is the V6 with synthetic? You mention some leaks. I have a Sienna with 18K and contemplating going to syn. off topic :( Thanks.

  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    I had the water pump replaced with the belt at 120,000. Looks like oil and not coolant seeping. The coolant is strange, depends on the outside temp. If really cold (below 32 F, it will drop and never come back and if the car sits longer then 15 hours without starting the leve will also drop and never come back (obviously burning it) If you can run the engine every 12 hours or so the coolant level will never drop. So seems like the enine has to really cool off and the gasket has small cracks that permit or open up under colder temperatures. My theory!

    Synthetic oil, used it on this car since 1,000 miles, changed at 7,500 miles since about 30,000 miles, sooner prior to that as I was gaining experience with synthetics. Seepage first occurred around 90,000 tightened the valve cover bolts and that stops those seepages. None have ever been leaks where drops appear on the pavement. Not sure if I have a seepage now around the belt seal could be coming from a head gasket or crankshaft seal. Could be coolant have to pay closer attention to what it looks like. Pretty minor though. Synthetics will seep oil but on cars switched early (yours would be early) may not occur or not until 100,000 and hard to say if you would not have had it anyway. On cars switched later in life my experience has been about a year after the switch you will see some seepage. Usually valve covers, oil pan gaskets. I use Amsoil, Mobil 1 great and use a premium filter, Pure One, Mobil 1, Amsoil/Hastings
  • wilcoxwilcox Member Posts: 582
    Checked the mileage on our V6 Camry. It is now 64,000 plus. Timing belt is ok, works fine.

    A co-worker has a '95 V6 with 89,000 miles on it. Original timing belt. Original battery!

    Person up the street has '95 V6 with 85,000 miles...still running the original timing belt...

    I'll be keeping my eyes on them....let you know more in a couple of months.
  • pnotarpnotar Member Posts: 5

    I don't know the specifics...that was the high level explanation that the transmission guy offered. He did state it is a common problem for Camrys with this feature. As I get more details, I will post.
  • no_negotiateno_negotiate Member Posts: 2
    Hi there,

    Well, I currently own a 95 Corolla DX and am planning for a used Camry, pre 1997, preferrebly a XLE V6. Before I sign on the dotted line, I will look into Carfax and other reports.

    Question: There is a 1993 Camry Le V6 with 75K and odd miles on the market now along with a 1996 V6XLE (which I am not interested 'cuz of cigarette odor in the car, otherwise this car looks great).

    Toyota tells me that they do NOT have the service information on their system and hence they cannot tell me about timing belt replacement and important stuff like that. They told me to talk to the original owner and then speak to their mechanic - this is out of question and cannot be done.

    Any advice or suggestions or comments??? Better yet, if you know anyone selling, let me know.


  • nygregnygreg Member Posts: 1,936
    No Negotiate - Usually there is a sticker that comes with the belt that is attached to the timing belt cover indicating when the belt was changed. Check for that. As for everything else???? Another big question is oil changes, etc and how the car was driven. Can't help you there.

    armtdm - thanks! Thinking Mobil 1 5W-30 with Pure One or toyota filter.

  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Great cars in the 92-95 era. Hard to tell on the timing belt as the cover blocks everything and mine have no stickers even though I changed at 60,000 and 120,000 but a local mechanic did it. You can see into oil filler hole a little, it should not be black or have any gunk in there and the cap should not be gunked up either. You can see the accessory belts so this may indicate condition of timing belt. Check what the coolant looks like in the overflow tank and pull the atuo tranny dipstick and look at the color and smell it. Pinkish clear and should not smell burnt!
  • rubicon52rubicon52 Member Posts: 191
    At 63,000 miles I switched to synthetic oil. Noticed an oil leak almost the next day. Not a big leak, just a few drops on the garage floor overnight. Not enough to see on the dipstick between oil changes. Apparently, one of the characteristics of synthetic oil is better penetration. Am a little concerned about the leaking oil because it is leaking on one of the CV joint boots. Not sure if this will degrade the boot.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Very strange to see seepage that soon after switching. In my experience it takes about a year for the synthetic oil to clean the varnish and gunk off the gasket areas before they begin to seep. Sure that some did not get into other areas during the change and is simply dripping off later!
  • fivespeedfivespeed Member Posts: 42
    This don't sound good. No sir, not good at all.

    It may be better idea not to put any synthetic stuff in at all. When that motor came from the factory it didn't have no fake oil in it.

    And, where does varnish and gunk go after being removed? If it go into the filter then it seems like oil will have to be changed more often. FWIW * If it ain't broke then don't fix it.

    Synthetic stuff costs alot too. Much more than regular oil. Many say there is not no proof that it works any better than petroleum oil. Toyota don't say anything about it. Is it just a "cult" thing? What's the big deal about syntheytic?

    Nobody wants to put something into their motor that will cause all it's joints to begin leaking oil all over the place. Leaks are awful.

    rubicon52 - IMO, you may want to switch back to regular oil, if it is not too late. I hope it was just some splash drips and not costly head gasket work. Good luck!
  • rubicon52rubicon52 Member Posts: 191
    When the leak started, I had the same thought - that it might be splashed oil dripping off. But, this has been a steady leak for several months. Guess I'll go back to regular oil. Only plan to put another 10K miles or so on the car before I sell it.
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