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Toyota Camry Rattles



  • None of the fixes Toyota mentioned address the door pillar rattles, door rattles and myriad of dask creaks/rattles/vibrations. Don't be fooled. If we are to believe rattles are acceptable because Honda's rattle too then you might as well admit they are going down the path, perhaps gradually, of cheapening their cars...yet the prices are still several thousand more than the doemstics. This smells bad to me....

    SLUDGE ISSUE: This did not only effect those who did not get regular oil changes. In fact Toyota was giving folks with receipts a hard time if they were not TOYOTA RECEIPTS. I hope they fixed the problem.

    2002 SHARES MANY COMPONENTS OF LAST GENERATION understanding is my 4 cylinder was new engine. In fact the v4 is new in 2004. I still do not think you can count on this car being good long term since it was a total redesign....which already shows a cheapening in one area.
  • slov98slov98 Posts: 112
    I think I am the only one that doesn't know anything about the sludge issue. My father has a 94 camry, 120k miles running fine but oil is changed regularly around 4500k, was that the sludge problem? people not changing the oil?

    By the way his 94 camry v6 cost the same as my 2003 v6.

    The only complaint at this moment is the noise coming from the seat belt retractor on the driver side, I'm used to it now though, it's not very loud.
  • Yes, andrelaplume you are correct on your 4 cylinder engine being new to the Camry but that engine has been offered in the Highlander since it's inception. They also use it in the Solara and a version of that engine in the Tacoma pickup.
  • For $26.95cdn I will get my oil changed regularly at the dealership as well. I am a stickler when it comes to changing the oil because it is the single cheapest/best thing you can do for your car. There were reports that people with receipts still had the problem albeit none with receipts from Toyota dealerships. Toyota even took care of people who couldn't produce receipts.
  • nw1997nw1997 Posts: 227

    In regards to your posts, I agree with some of your comments but disagree with others. In this economy nearly every company is looking for ways to reduce costs and increase profits. Auto manufactures are not any different. I do have to state that I have been around vehicles since the age of six years old, so it would be hard to "fool" me. In regards to engine sludging, yes Toyota stepped up to the plate and admitted wrong, for them to be tough with those customers that did not have an original receipt, they were 100% correct. Many people do not get their oil changes on time just like slov98 mentioned. If I had to replace engines or correct issues I would want to ensure that these customers went to replicable auto shop (Toyota) to have the work done (oil changes). Lets face it, it is not difficult to slip someone a $20.00 bill and receive a book of blank receipts. So, for Toyota to be tough on that issue I would agree. If I may attempt to defend Toyota, we leased an RX300 and just returned it to the lease Co. During our lease we received a rude letter from the dealership stating that they will void my warranty due to me not changing my oil on time, (they were probably upset that I wasn't giving them the business). They were also brave enough to send a copy to Corporate Lexus in California in regards to me not changing my oil. After a few weeks later I received an official letter from Corporate Lexus stating that they stand behind every Lexus that they manufacture and that their engines are well built not to have engine sludging. In writing they also stated that they are so confident in their vehicles that they put in writing that they warrantyed their engine not to have any sludging for 8 years or 80,000 miles even if the consumer never changed the oil. After reading this letter, I was impressed, I have never heard a manufacturer ever making such a claim, neither Mercedes, Acura/Honda would put something in writing of that nature. So me being so intuitive took them up for the challenge. I did not change the oil on our 2000 RX300 for over 20,000 miles. We drove down to Florida on several occasions with temperatures over 110F and the A/C blasting. With the same oil we went to Canada on three different occasions with temperatures below -10F. I only utilized regular gas and I was getting 20.7 miles per gallon Combination Hwy/City on this AWD model, which is rated for 22 MPG HWY using super unleaded fuel. For reliability Toyota/Lexus makes a superb product compared to many other manufacturers in the industry. For a "perfect" vehicle I have not found any not even Toyota/Lexus, everyone cuts corners even the high end companies. I was pleased that at least Toyota is addressing the issues, hopefully it will resolve many of the creaks and rattling.

  • Excellent post, and that is the reason people don't have a problem buying a Toyota/Lexus. The fact is Toyota is the standard by which other manufacturers go by.
  • 1) Re: The fact is Toyota is the standard by which other manufacturers go by....I sincerly hope we can still make this statement several years from now.

    2) Sludge: Toyota did not 'step up' it took quite a bit of prodding before they would even admit there was a problem. They did give folks a hard time who did not have oil change records...ok. However those with valid receipts from Jiffy Lube or other such places were (from what I have read) were also given a hard time. If Toyoa wants you to use their dealerships then they should make it part of the warranty requirements. Sure, in the end they stood behind their cars. We can debate the subject on and on...bottom line they came across with egg on their face on this one. Also what bewilders me is that if there created a fix or modification to prevent the sludge problem, why were all those old Toyotas NOT recalled.

    Anyway, to be honest if it were not for the new 4 cylinded in the 2002, I would not have taken a chance on the Camry as I was making a purchase right in the middle of the sludge fiasco.
  • Firstly, I know first hand about those quick lube places when I pulled out of one a few years back in my 1990 Sentra. I got not even a block away when my engine light came on. That's right, they got my oil change done in record time but forgot one miner detail, the #@ oil. Anyways, all of the Toyota dealers in my area have Express Lube where I can actually stay with the car and watch them do the oil change.

    As for the 3.0 liter V6, I have no problem with it being under the hood of my car. I am actually excited to see just how many miles I can put on it. Just talk to your local dealers' service department and they will tell you they get Camry's and Corolla's in all time with extremely high miles on them. I even had the pleasure of witnessing it for myself when I was getting my 1999 Camry serviced. There was a gentleman getting the oil changed on his 1994 LE V6 Camry and would you believe it, the odometer had just rolled over 600,000km. I asked him how much longer he planned on keeping the car and his response was, "I would love to get a new one but this thing just won't die". Now that's reliability!!!!!!
  • nw1997nw1997 Posts: 227

    Nice post. I have a relative that owns a 1984 Toyota Supra that he purchased used back in 1990. Would you believe he has over 750,000 miles on the odometer. Yes the engine knocks, the body is rotten nearly all over, (he lives in upstate New York). In his area they spread salt on the roads like it was for free. He has never had an accident due to poor traction, hence and it is a rear wheel drive. Never left him stranded. He never takes his cars to Jiffy Lube, he does the work himself and always uses Toyota oil and parts. Jiffy Lube is one of the last places I would take my vehicle, I would rather go to somewhere replicable, like SEARS or Walmart. Hey, if andrelaplume is not satisfied with the 02 Camry, I would make complaints in writing and follow up all the way. If not satisfied, sell the vehicle privately and buy something else, but he knows the "glitches" he has now, but he may not know the "glitches" that he may face when getting another vehicle. Engine sludging is like Honda's bad tranny's, which are still bad tranny's, just go to NHTSA site or

  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    No car is 100% perfect. Not even cars that costs 6 figure. Judging by the posts, it seems like the squeaks and rattles are the main problems dodging the re designed Camrys. Hey, I am not defending Toyota and they should try their best to rectify the problems but I would rather live with some squeaks and rattles than a bad engine or transmission. Squeaks and rattles won't leave you stranded on the side of the road. Bad engine and transmission will.
  • nw1997nw1997 Posts: 227
    I agree with you all the way!

  • buzzhdbuzzhd Posts: 39
    I also agree no car is 100 % perfect, none of rattles & squeak will strand your car, but engine and tranny will. However don't you think that disturbing noises make your suffer, annoying. I could hear loud noises coming all around me whenever the car bumps on the road, especially in the morning. This happened ever since I got this car back in late August. Sometimes I am just wondering I'd better pick a car with leather seat and that maybe better in terms of rattles & squeak, and at least those materials will be different. For spending around 24,000 for this 03 LE V6, am I going to expect those noises when the car is new?

    A friend of mine also got 03 LE V6 in 2002, he had same rattles & squeak, but a lot better than mine. He took it to the dealer twice, who didn't do what he expected them to do, instead they damaged the vanity mirror on the right side. Yes, they fixed some, but new comes up...

    I had my 92 Nissan Maxima before I bought the Camry. I didn't have that kind of rattles...
  • slov98slov98 Posts: 112
    if a rattle bothers you and you can 'reproduce' it at anytime, I think you should give your dealership a chance to fix it, drive with someone so they can hear it never know they may actually fix it, even if the odds are against it
  • ross24ross24 Posts: 5
    I too, wanted to get info. on what Toyota has done to fix problems reported on 2003 models (brake rotors, steering off-center). I tried calling Toyota in California (800) 331-4331 select Opt. #3, but they didn't seem very helpful.

    Rather than addressing refinements done to 2004 Camry models (to fix reported problems with 2003 models), the person I spoke with simply issued a blanket statement that all reported problems in 2003 models were probably fixed in 2004 models (uh-huh).

    When asked for any specific issue related to brakes or steering that was found in 2003, then addressed in 2004, they had none to cite. They wouldn't even acknowledge that the rattle issue was addressed at all. To make sure I got that right, I asked again.. and they said that whatever issues existed with 2003 Camry's probably still exist in 2004 models.

    Although, I'm looking at a 2004 Camry, it would be nice to get more of an assurance that Toyota has made an effort to get the 2004's right.
  • Hi all,
    I bought a 03 Camry SE V6 in May, and have close to 5000 miles on it. The car is great, no rattles at all. The only thing I don't like about the car is the low hanging exhaust pipe that all Gen. 5 Camrys have. I wonder why they make em that way? Any way I knew about that when I bought it.
  • canoe2canoe2 Posts: 128
    I noticed few gen 5 Camry's had really low hanging pipe. I checked on my car 2003, the pipe had moved up higher at least 3". So Toyota must have made the change(s) between 2002-2003.
  • junepugjunepug Posts: 161
    We purchased an American made 2002 Camry LE V6 in July of 2002 and have not experienced any rattles in over 12,000 miles. It is one of the most delightful cars to drive that we have ever had. The only car that I can honestly say was more comfortable was our 1973 Volvo 142 that we kept for 13 years.

    I must also add that I was so impressed by the Camry that I bought a 2003 V6 non LTD Highlander in Oct 2002. It is also a very quiet car with no rattles or problems.

    My only complaint is the bumpers. Just what is wrong with the old steel, chrome bumpers from the 60's and 70's? These new bumpers cost over 350 dollars to have repaired if a bad scratch is encountered. This seems to be true on all new autos, both foreign and domestic. Why must we be so stylish??
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    If you are in the market looking for a 2004 Camry, test drive it thoroughly. Drive it over different types of road surfaces- asphalt, concrete, smooth, rough etc and keep your ears peeled for unusual noises. The Toyota dealer in my town actually allows potential customer to keep the car overnight without a commitment to buy it. You are allowed to put 25 miles in the odometer. I think that's a great idea.
  • Had my car in for a variety of door area creaks/vibrations and rattles. All the door seals were again lubed but this time with a 3M paste. It seams the original lube actually caused the seals to stick after a while making some noises worse. For now a great many of rattles eminating from the door areas are gone. Will a re-lube be necesary...time will tell. I guess the dealer could re-lube at each oil change if necesary...perhaps the lube will last longer as it is suppose to penetrate the seals better. If you have not had your seals lubed, give it a does appear to make a big difference.

    Unfortunately, the vibration eminating from the radio area was not vibrating so they did not pull the face plating and mentioned in earlier posts. The tech said he had not heard of problems in this area but it seams common based on what I have seen on the board. It typically happens when it is hot outside...guess I should have stopped back at the dealer in summer but I waited until I was due for my next oil running back and forth to the dealer reminds me of the good ole' days with my Ford...running back and forth every other month...was hoping to have fewer trips with the Camry.

    Finally, We have had a few abnormally cold days the last few weeks. On two occasions I heard a horrible thumping type rattle from the passenger air vent area in the dash. It went away when the car warmed up. Of course it did not do it when the car was in, however the tech said he has seen a number of cases where the metal speaker frame bumps some platstic part in the dash creating a thump. He did not want to rip mine apart until he heard the noise. It will no doubt return as the temp drops. If you have a noise in this area, you may want to mention the speaker.
  • The cold weather and a variety of rattles that appear eminate from the dash where it meets the windshield are back now that it is getting cold. I think this is the same problem 'corrected' in early spring which required with removal of the cowl just under the wiper blades and a gasket replaced. Perhaps this 'fix' only works heading into warmer weather and not into colder weather. I am furious and I guess I'll need to schedule another visit with the dealer...This Camry is catching up to my Mystique in terms of irratating visits to the dealer. I had a fair summer with the car...biggest disturbance was the buzzing that eminated around the radio. Now I have that, this dash/windshield noise, a new noise that clatters up front on the passenger side and of course the normal door pillar rattles...

    Toyota.... Oh what a feeling!
  • Assuming it is true that they finally worked the bugs out of the 04s...they appear to still offer the dealer no solutions on the 02-03 rattle issues?
  • buzzhdbuzzhd Posts: 39
    when you go to the dealer for fixing the rattles & squeak will the dealer offer you a loaner? I can't work without a car? I am thinking of visiting the dealer this month while having oil change. BTW, the car rattles since I got it new, now 2500 miles on it, becomes even worse (maybe it's the weather).

  • rhdrocrhdroc Posts: 22
    I've also noticed that peculiar rattle that originates somewhere in the area where the inside dask meets the windowshield. Never noticed it when I test drove the car before the sale but that was back in early September when it was still quite warm in PA. It's not really that annoying to me but since it's the only rattle to show up so far, it does stand out somewhat!! On the other hand, this is a great car overall.
  • slov98slov98 Posts: 112
    I think there might be a fix for your situation,
    there is a technical service bulletin issued for creak/tick noise at base of windshield, might be worth a shot taking it to the dealer
  • this was the first rattle I got fixed. Actually the solution eliminated a myriad of rattles. After it was fixed I was only left with door pillar rattles and buzzing from around the radio. This was the one area the dealer appeared to know how to fix. It involved removing the plastic piece (cowl?) under the wiper blades that run the length of the windshield and then putting some sort of gasket or something underneath it. I noticed this all winter and had the fix performed going into spring. The tech even pressed here and there on the cowl (with me in the car) and you actually heard rattles that appeared to emenate from different parts of the dash. After the fix, the noises were gone. WHAT QUIET BLISS! It lasted thru the summer and into the fall. Ironically a new dash noise appeared this fall so I stopped by the dealer and rode with the same tech. Of course the noise did not occur. I told him as long as the windshield/dash rattles did not return my nerves would be fine. He said he did not think they would. Well, guess what? We had some real frigid temps the next week and the windshield/dash noises were back worse than ever! What I do not know is whether the noises will always be a part of the car in frigid weather or if the gasket just wore out again. I'll be returning to the tech for another try soon.

    I any event it is worth a trip and be sure to point out the cowl. You may even want to sit in the car and have a friend push here and there and see if you hear the noise in the car. If so you will then be able to demo the noise to the tech.

    By the way, WHAT YEAR IS YOUR CAR?
  • rhdrocrhdroc Posts: 22
    Mine is a 2003 V-6 LE. It has about 2500 miles on it thus far.
  • buzzhd, each dealer is different, i don't see my local toyota dealer doing that yet.
    but luxury division of toyota motor corp. does offer free loaner if you've scheduled it to have your vehicle serviced.
  • buzzhdbuzzhd Posts: 39
    so the answer is NO, that's suc*!
    till I buy the lexus? maybe in another five years...
    usually how long does it take to fix the rattles? a day or so?
  • varies by dealer...I am unsure a rattle fix would ever quallify for a loaner...would have to read the warranty...perhaps the Lexus warranty is better...I have found different dealers have their own ways of doing things.....When I owned my Merc, if I scheduled service...usually a week to 10 days in advance, they'd give me a loaner...not much help if it was an emergency as the they likely would not have a car. They did however offer a shuttle service to drop me at work and pick me up when my car was done. I do not think my Toyota dealer offers a loaner...though I have not asked. I know they used to only offer a one way shuttle but now offer a two way which is nice...not as a nice as a loaner but.....

    Of course I bought the Camry to limit my trips to the dealer...who'd of thought I have just as many as the Merc.....bacause of all the rattle issues...
  • 02 and to a lesser extent the 03 Camrys have been somewhat rattle prone. My 03 Camry had two distinct rattle, coming from the two front doors. However, they just mysteriously disappeared about 3 months ago. I haven't taken my car to the dealer to fix it. I was just thinking whether the so call fix could actually make things worse in the long run
  • buzzhdbuzzhd Posts: 39
    it happens to mine too, sometimes it rattles so loud, sometimes it gets nothing. I just found out if I slam the door (passenger side)the rattle disappered. But after the door is opened, it comes back. However no mater what I do, the driver door always rattles, so does the dashboard...

    Camry sucks!
  • tpitpi Posts: 3
    I'm impressed with the overall engineering of the 04 Camry in regards to wind noise, fuel economy, isolation of engine, balance of rotating parts, handling/ride tradeoff, numerous other impressive achievements.

    I am surprised in light of these refined cars that attention to small plastic rattles and buzzes have not received more attention. The car is so library silent that if anything these noises are even more noticeable.

    My Camry is not bad in this regard, merely average. Over the last 25 years most of my new cars have needed some kind of lubricant sprayed onto plastic parts, or shims between parts in effort to control these little plastic creaks, buzzes, pops or rattles.

    Looking at the Camry I am amazed at what effort went into tuning out noise and vibration from the four cylinder engine. Items such as tuning chambers on the intake air ducting, special engine mounts, etc. Double door seals help quiet wind noise.

    I wish the same effort would go into getting plastic parts living next to each other without making noise. Perhaps some lubricant impregnated into the plastic? Softer plastic surfaces at points of contact? Gaskets or other interfaces?

    The automakers have been successful at eliminating much of the white noise from vehicles, but often a steady white noise isn't as annoying as creaky plastic. Lets hope some attention goes this way in the future.

    My '04 has a very light rubber/glass interface noise in the driver window which goes away if I lower the glass slightly. Other plastic areas of the dash may make a slight noise under some temp. conditions. No horror story, but surprising because the rest of the vehicle is so refined. Possibly the overall quiet of the car makes these little sounds even more noticeable.
  • jiaminjiamin Posts: 556
    I have some experience using duct tape as an interface between plastic parts on my 96 Maxima. Duct tape made all noise gone.
  • tpitpi Posts: 3
    I've used duct tape, little wads of paper towels, anything at hand to stuff between the noisy plastic parts. Once I stuffed a sock into a door panel where it was rattling against the door frame.

    Anyway on the '04, I started to work on the little noise at base of windshield. The offending part on my car is the plastic cowling under the wiper arms. It looks like Toyota attempted to fix issues here, with a rubber pad underneath the cowling where it contacts the metal stamping of the car body.

    The problem on my car was the plastic clips which hold the cowling (they aren't normally visible-they are under the plastic grille). The ones toward the center, about 4 inches to the center of brake cylinder, made a creaking noise when pushing down on the rubber hood pad attached to the cowling. I popped the clip up and put a thin film of wheel bearing grease on it. No more creaking when pushing on the hood seal, and no more noise when driving car.
  • canoe2canoe2 Posts: 128
    Did you remove the door panel or just remove the door handle to put insulation inside ?
  • tpitpi Posts: 3
    The door panel was on another car. The only two problems I've had with the camry is the driver window having a slight noise which sounds like rubber on glass. And the cowling under the wiper making a light popping sound at base of windshield.
  • If the rattles occur on any type of road surfaces. Mine only occurs if the road is bumpy or the texture of the asphalt is rough. On smooth roads I don't hear anything. Another thing, my rattles seem to have a mind of their own. Sometimes I might drive 200 miles on any type of road surfaces without hearing a single rattle. Other times it would start to rattle right after I put the car on D after exiting by driveway. Although for the last 4 months my car has been rattle free. Don't know whether the warm weather had something to do with it. Now that winter is coming I am just praying they dont come back.
  • Chalk up one more owner with rattle problems! I drive a 2003 XLE and have an annoying little plastic on plastic rattle in the driver door. Goes away when I press on the interior door handle. Dealer, of course, couldn't find anything. But the car's in the shop for another reason and they gave me an 03 Avalon as a loaner. It rattles much worse and much louder! Granted it's a less-than-cared-for loaner, but I'm looking forward to having the little rattle in my Camry back.
  • I had a rattle from passenger side (door) when driving over bumps (Camry SE 2003, Japan made). Thank's to posts in this group, I bought a can of silicon spray and treated door seals. Rattle is gone.
  • canoe2canoe2 Posts: 128
    Even I treated with silicon lubricant around the door gasket, there were still rattle which came from driver side door especially in cold weather.
    I opened front door panel yesterday, I believed there was a poor design / cost cutting how to join between top plastic piece and bottom piece together. By shaking the door panel, I could hear creak noise. I put all insulations where I could think it could make rattle.
    Have to wait a cold day to see if the fix works.
  • Ever rest your arm on the door's arm rest when the temp get down to 30 your arm lays on the rest a myriad of rattles are created.

    Since Toyota claims improvements on the 04s I am going to request that they replace my 02 window cowl with an improved 04 one. They known fix to the cowl was made a year ago but all the noise has returned. Get going fast enough an you hear all kinds of rattles that are in fact coming from outside the car where the cowl meets the window.

    I am also having them pull out my radio and insulate it better...I can not stand the vibrations it makes when going down the highway anymore. On the bright side, I got ride of those super quiet Continental tires (the ones that had only 15K miles on them that offered no traction what so ever) and now that I have a decent set of rubber on the car it is not nearly as quiet as before...safer thoug...I can still hear the rattles and vibrations though not as much...why I almost feel like I am back in my old Ford...except I paid thousands more for the Camry!
  • My dealer originally sprayed my door gaskets but the noise returned. They then encouraged me not to use the lube they were using (silicon) because it actually left a residue over time that made matters worse. They had some new sort of lube...not sure the name but ask your dealer to check. I have so many other cold weather rattles right now I can not tell if the door ones are their or not.
  • canoe2canoe2 Posts: 128
    Today I tried out the car with door panel fix. It was so quiet now, even I tried to run it over the most bumpy road.
  • buzzhdbuzzhd Posts: 39
    hi canoe2, any idea what's door panel fix? How to remove door panel? I got a lot of rattles in front driver side door, dashboard and front passenger side. Went to dealer twice for the fix, but they claimed it is the body roll and didn't hear a thing. Bast*d, it is so clear even the deaf can hear those rattles. They just don't want to bother fixing them.

    Saw ppl using silicon spray, any idea what kind of product? I can hear the rattles coming from the door inside and dashboard as well.
  • canoe2canoe2 Posts: 128
    You can start to study the pictures from High Lander how to remove door panel. It's similar to Camry except:
    a) Item 4: There is one screw under door handle black rubber pad which can be peeled up easily
    b)Item 6/7: There is little tricky to remove power door lock/window because it was held by a metal clip inside. Start to pull and press in from mid section of power panel. After removing power panel, there is one long screw inside to hold door panel.
    c)Item 8, a piece plastic to cover screw underneath
    d)Item 9: Do not remove the whole assembly until the whole door panel is free then the cables can be removed
    f)Item 10: There are two additional screws under door panel
    I will post the branch of lubricant and insulation were used later
  • buzzhdbuzzhd Posts: 39
    thanks for the detailed instructions. Happy holiday and long live Camry!
  • Spend 20K+ and have to rip apart the car yourself to get rid of rattles.....pathetic!

    Anyway, what rattle in particular was the above procedure to correct?
  • wainwain Posts: 479
    is that when they changed the car in 97/98 to make it easier and cheaper to manufacture that they caused the rattle problems.
    My 94 is trouble free as far as rattles. Odd they messed with what works.
    but then computer programers do that every year
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    Here is how the 02, 03 and 04 compare in terms of squeaks and rattles.

    02 - 4/10 (yikes)
    03 - 6/10 (better than 02 but nothing to brag about)
    04 - 9.7/10 (much much better than 02 and 03. Looks like Toyota finally paid attention).

  • Be patient, by years end the 04 will be 5/10. I have called and they can not site one specific part that is different between the model years. If they did I'd have that part repaced in mine if possible.
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