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Toyota Camry Basic Maintenance Questions

andeeandee Posts: 2
edited March 2017 in Toyota
Has anyone changed their Solara. over to synthetic oil? I am thinking of doing this and was interested in what others might think of this.


  • dietmarsdietmars Posts: 2
    When I purchased my 2002 Camry XLE-4 the sales person suggested that I change the engine oil every 3000 miles. The manual says to change it every 5000 miles under normal driving conditions. Should I follow the maintenance cycle of the manual that was printed for the car or does anyone know of a good reason why the oil should be changed more frequently. I hope it was not just an overkill suggestion by the sales person because of Toyota's oil sludge problem on some of its engines. The engine in my Camry is the 2.4-liter DOHC, 16-valve VVT-i 4-cylinder type.
  • Does anyone have any information regarding the factory oil filter vs aftermarket filters? They look a little different and I was hoping to get some feedback for my 2002 camry. thanks.
  • Tried to replace plugs, on front of engine. One went ok , two went sour. Removed the ignition coil and the boot remained on the plug. Can't pull boot out. Talked to Toyota parts man,who asked the service tech. The service tech claims that the whole ignition coil needs replacement at a cost of $95.00 apiece. Thinks I'll look around junkyards to find some.
  • Hi,

    Does any one if camry requires special maintenance at 30k miles?. The manual says to replace the coolant in addition to regular oil and filter change. When I called the toyota dealership the service person recommended replacing coolant + transamission fuild + fuel canister + pcv value and whole lot of other things for $375 package. Is it really necessary or should I only go for oil, filter and collant replacement. I live in Michigan and do not tow anything.

    Thanks for your help
  • nw1997nw1997 Posts: 227

         Yes, at 30K you should do the following:
    1) Oil and Filter Change
    2) Transmission Oil Change
    3) PCV Valve
    4) Adjust all Belts
    5) All remaining filters
    6) If not Platinum Spark Plugs, change them (their Cheap).
    7) Coolant
    8) Check, maybe change tires
    9) Inspect suspension, Trans axles

         I would have to contact my personal mechanic for further details as to what else is normally changed at 30K.
  • I own an 04 SE 4 cylinder Camry. I'm about to change the oil for the first time. Can someone tell me where the oil filter is. Also is it difficult to change the oil on the new Camrys. Your help is appreciated.thanks.
  • I have a 2000 Solara V6 SLE.

    I am looking to change the fuel filter myself. I know where the filter is...but it looks quite impossible to get to it and change it.

    Has anyone changed the fuel filter themselves, and how did you go about doing it?

    Btw, for those looking to change your own oil, I HIGHLY recommend buying one of those valves to replace the nut on the oil drain. Makes changing the oil much faster, and less messy. There are several on the market, but I am using the SureDrain (I think that's what it's called - sold at Walmart). Has been working fine for 2-3 years now.
  • camryman5camryman5 Posts: 10
    I own a '02 4cyl Camry with 29k miles. I recently had to replace the engine. So, the engine is new, but the rest of the car has nearly 30k miles on it. Do I follow the maintenance schedule based on the odometer or the engine? If I do it based on the engine will I be neglecting other important items? Thanks.
  • bellabella Posts: 4
    Just wanted to revive a topic that was started before but I didn't see answered ... any consensus around whether the dealer recommended 3000 mi. or manufacturer recommended 5000 mi. service was preferred or ... practical? TIA
  • The fuel filter is connected to the stainless-steel fuel lines by 2 hex nuts. The threads on the S S fuel line are sometimes damaged during assembly. The hex nuts therefore cannot be easily open! One would have to exert a lot of torque on the hex nuts to overcome the bad threads' resistance.

    The shops have a special box wrench designed to prevent damages to the hex nuts as it is torqued.

    If you damage the fuel line, you cannot drive the car to the shop. It must be towed in, which may cost a few hundred dollars. If you fail to assemble the 2 hex nuts properly to the fuel line, you risk having fuel leaks in the engine compartment, which can be very dangerous.

    I took my '93 Camry with a factory fuel filter to a trusty mechanic and had it replaced for $20. Better yet, have it replace at a reputable dealer.

    Fuel leaks can be deadly and are not something anyone should take any chances!
  • jono4jono4 Posts: 8
    3,000 miles. i drive 35,000 mi/yr; long, country miles which are easy on a motor. still change ea. 3,000.
    had a pontiac bonneville with 160,000 mi on it when the tranny died. changed oil ea. 3,000 mi.
    have a 1967 mercedes 250S sedan with a zillion miles on it. change oil on that a lot. old and tired, needs and deserves tlc.
    good luck
  • thought this would be an easy one for a dork like me, but guess not. so how do i change the plugs?
  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    Unless you have 100,000 miles or more on the car, they don't need to be changed. Read your manual.
  • New to Toyota, bought 1998 Camry for son. Runs great but malfunction indicator light just came on. I tightened gas cap and light still stayed on. Manual says to bring to dealer which I would like to avoid. Any ideas what to check? Also any good internet sites to buy OEM mats for a 1998?
  • i'm actually going by the manual (2001 camry le) which says to change them at 60,000. i'm at 65,000 right now. i thought they (the plugs) would be easily accesible. this is my first newer auto and all my others were simple to change. do i need to remove the the valve cover(?) to gain access to the plugs?
  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    Sorry about that, I thought they were using 100,000 mile plugs that year. No you don't need to pull the valve cover. Take a firm grip on the plug wire head (the part right next to the cover), not the wire and pull straight up firmly. You will need the correct size plug socket(deep well) and at least a 6 inch extension (12 inch would be better)along with a ratchet. It is a very close fit, so you won't be able to get in there with an extra thick cheap type. Don't over tighten them when you put in the new ones. Good luck.
  • thanks bud. i appreciate the advice. you know i was checking out the plug wire heads next to the valve cover, and you're right it is a very tight fit. i pulled on them before i came to this site for advice, but they seemed like they didn't want to budge and i was afraid of breaking something. i'll come back and let ya know how i fared. thanks again!
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 320
    I try to listen to the mechanics with radio shows on the weekends. All recommend that cars with 100K mile plugs should have the plugs loosened up at every 30-40k miles and retightened or else there is a very good possibility that the plugs will stay there for life. They have encountered enough owners that have come in for the 100K change and found the plugs impossible to remove or have customers come in with broken plugs, having tried to remove them at 100K by themselves.
  • alan_salan_s Posts: 362
    I had a 1998 Camry and it had exactly the same problem. It is caused by oxidation in the light bulb socket assembly. Not enough to prevent the bulb from working, but enough to fool the electronics into thinking that the bulb is out. Assuming that all the bulbs are OK, then remove the front left indicator assembly. Consult your owner manual which describes this procedure under light-bulb changes. The left was always my problem. I don't remember exactly, but you may have to remove the headlamp asembly first to remove the indicator assembly. They are very easy to remove, secured only by a couple of bolts and they clip together. Remove the indicator bulb and clean the terminals with a light sandpaper and make sure that the bulb socket is connecting securely in the housing. Reconnect, reassemble and your problem should go away for 6 - 8 months, but it will be back!
  • epondepond Posts: 13
    I drive a 4 cyl 2002 Toyota Camry XLE. I have not had one problem the 28 months I have driven it. In addition, I regularly change the oil and filter myself.

    However, just today I was cruising on the freeway and noticed on the bottom right of my instrument panel what looked like a check engine light. The manual says it's a "Engine Malfunction Lamp" and that I am suppose to take it to a Toyota Dealer for them to check it out.

    The light came on around 24,500 miles on the odometer. Is this just a reminder to get some upcoming 30,000 miles service done on the car, or could it actually be something serious?

    Thanks for the help in advance.

  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    No it is not a service light. You have a malfunction that may or may not be serious. You are under warranty, so take it to the dealer as soon as possible. My guest it will have something to do with your emissions system.
  • cam2003cam2003 Posts: 131
    Possible your gas cap not closed tightly.
  • scotttscottt Posts: 4
    You Camry has an OBDCII plug under the steering wheel. Go to Autozone and have them do a free plug-in diagnostic readout and tell you the code. If the resulting code(s) arenot readily defined, search for it (tehm) on the web. Usually, you will find the source that way and save money by begin able to either fix it or bring it to an non-dealer mechanic to fix for you.
  • epondepond Posts: 13
    Thanks for everybody's response to the malfunction indicator lamp.

    I was excited to hear it was possibly only the gas cap. Well, my father had just borrowed my car and out of the kindness of his heart re fueled my car. In doing so, he put the gas cap on, but didn't tighten it so it "clicked." So I eagerly tightened it so it "clicked" and started up the car.

    Unfortunately, the Malfunction Indicator Lamp stayed on. Bummer. Well, this morning, 2 days after tightening the gas cap, I planned on visiting a Toyota Dealership to see what's up. While driving, I noticed the Malfunction Indicator Lamp was no longer lit, it was out.

    That's my story. I hope it doesn't come on again.
    Thanks for all the advice. Happy motoring.

  • cam2003cam2003 Posts: 131
    It would take several times of driving to clear off malfunction indicator lamp as stated in User's Manual.
  • xbbusterxbbuster Posts: 145
    Maintenance calls for trans service @ 30K on my '02 V6. Dealer wants $130 for a flush and fill. Why not just drain and replace fluid? What's the capacity if I just drain and fill myself. Flushing at 30K just sounds like a money maker for the service dept.
  • With electronic ignition and fuel injection, the cars require very little and very simple maintenance.

    I had a 89 Camry LE (250K) and 93 Camry LE (200K) and had no problem doing all preventive maintenance myself with no mechanic training and mimimum amount of tools. The cars all ran great with no problem.

    1. Changing engine oil and filter and transmission fluid to owners' manual schedule is very easy. Just buy a flat oil container to store the used oil and recyle it at the part stores. Use a steel tube to lengthen the wrench handles for extra torgue to open the tough oil lugs.

    2. Change front disk brake pads when the sensors start sqeaking. Toyota's OEM pads last longer on the rotors and will not make noise. I do much better brake jobs than any brake shops, spending much less time not having to wait around at the shop. Bleeding the brake fluid every 2 years should improve brake performance.

    3. Adjust the rear drum brake. Replacing the shoes is possible but the shoes hardly work and are rarely worn! It's much safer to buy the SE or XLE with 4 disk brakes to take full advantage of the ABS. Save a lot of time replacing pads too!

    4. There is no need to service the fuel injector unit. Every 20K miles, give the car a full tank of premium gas (Shell V power with 5 detergents etc...) with 1 bottle of injector cleaner. That should keep the injectors nice and clean, and the cold start sensor and mechanism to work properly.

    5. Replace the air filter to schedule to keep the fuel injector clean and fuel efficient.

    6. Replace the spark plugs on schedule. Use a small rubber hose to pick up the plugs from the wells. Do not use Platinum plugs for cars specified with resistor plugs, since that will stress and overheat the ingition coil and eventually burn it out.

    7. The rubber timing belt is inside the engine head. Most break at about 100K -120K miles. When they break, nothing bad happens to the engine since it's a non-interferent design (unlike Mitsubishi's design). The distributor rotor is gear to this belt and will stop turning and engine just stop running. Call a tow truck to a reliable shop for $150 replacement. It may make sense to replace the water pump at the same time.

    8. Buy a lifetime all-wheel aligment policy for about $200 at tire stores (firestone or Sears) to keep the wheels aligned. The car will run smoother, eat less gas and will not chew up tires.

    9. I prefer Michelin's all season tires since they are proved to last longer, ride smoother, wear evenly, leak far less air through the rims therefore I dont have to check pressure too often.

    10. US-built struts will probably wear out at about 100K. Replace them with Japanese gas struts and they should last a life time. Worn struts can induce instability and chew up tires which can cause extreme hazards, like spinning, skidding and roll over.
    11. The US-built plastic-top radiator will probably leak at about 100K miles. Flushing the radiator every 2 years should prebent premature corrosion. Check for water leaks under the car occasionally as overheating can crack the engine beyond repairs. A new radiator should cost around $200 part and labor. I replaced my own for far less by removing a few screws and hoses!

    12. If the car is misfiring, there is a chance that the spark plugs, spark plug cables or distributor rotor are worn. Replace them 1 at a time and check progress.

    13. Once a year, take the car to the self-service washing station, wrap the distributor cap in plastic to prevent it getting wet, spray the engine with degreasing fluid and hose it down. That should keep the engine nice, clean and shiny, which would point to any oil leaks or any worn belts ect...

    14. Spray some of the degreasing liquid in #13 on the rubber boots around the 2 axles and the rack and pinion assembly underneath the engine. That should keep the acids in the engine oil from cracking the rubber and letting dirt into the greased ball bearings etc... so you won't have to replace them.

    15. Check engine belts every year. Replace them when there are cracks on the underside.
  • I do my own oil changes on 1996 camry v6 LE. I'd only recommend toyota filtersas they're much better quality. don't chance it with any thing else.
  • 51505150 Posts: 9
    I like your 15 pointers. Good job.


    How long did your CV boots and engine belts last? Also how do I determine if I have resistor sparkplugs?


    (My camry: '99 LE V6 w/ 67k miles.)
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