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Toyota Camry Basic Maintenance Questions



  • I know that you can find this in the owner's manual, but I think mine is packed in a box somewhere, and I can't find it...How do you get the "maintenance required" wording off of you console after you have the oil changed? I have always taken my car to a toyota dealership, and they take care of it, this time I took it somewhere else, and when the mileage was up for the oil change, I can't figure out how to get the message off the console...any help?

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,320
    turn off light?

    Does this help? Google is a wonderful thing. You can find most of your answers to questions this way in my experience.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Posts: 934
    I am thinking I should check this since its likely due to be changed and I am not do at the dealer for 3 months. Is this something I can do. Where the heck is the air filter anyway? What does a new one cost and should I stick with the Toyota brand or pick something up at AutoZone. As far as skill level goes, I CAN replace the pollen filter with no problems!
  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Posts: 934
    In addition to need instruction on changing an air filter on a 2002 Camry, I need to know how to change the light bulb in my gear shift. Anyone?
  • paulcudlippaulcudlip Posts: 33
    Just found out that my front brakes are worn down to 30% and both rotors need to be replaced on my 1999 Camry LE. I was quoted a price of $435.00 by the dealer which includes the kit, brake pads, calipers and rotors. Does this sound reasonable? My 1999 Camry LE only has 28K on the odometer and is driven only short distances around town since I have two other cars which I utilize. I prefer only genuine Toyota OEM parts.

    Does this price sound reasonable for two hours parts and labor.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    If your front pads are only worn to 30%, why do you need to replace the rotors and calipers?

    Rotors would need to be replaced under two situations. You let the pads wear down to the metal and ground into the rotor (which you don't have because you are at 30%), or if the rotor got warped from excessive hard stopping and overheating the brakes. You'd feel the brakes pulsate while coming to a stop if that is the case.

    Replacing only the front brake pads is a simple job. It's about a $20-30 dollar job, if you do it yourself.

    The whole job does not seem reasonable for a vehicle with such low mileage.
  • paulcudlippaulcudlip Posts: 33
    Yes, I was told that the rotors were warped and they do pulsate while I am coming to a stop. Most of my mileage is stop and go mileage around town. My other question is can the rotors be ground down?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Sometimes they can be cut, depending on how far out of true they are....but they can't take too much off or they get below the minimum allowable thickness of the rotor.

    However, it's usually not worth it since the cost of replacements are so reasonable, and it's soo much quicker to just put a replacement on.

    So sounds like it you have warped the rotors, that you'll need rotors and pads. You shouldn't need calipers.
  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Posts: 934
    I had my 2002 front brakes changed at our tire shop maybe 9 months ago. Our Toyota dealer wanted to the rotors as well. The tire shop saw no need for it and did a regular $99 brake job. Recently I did start to experience some pulsating. The tire shop found some high spots on the rotor and ground them for another $99. I guess I could have had them replaced by Toyota 9 months ago, then again I am only out $200 at this point and ot $435.
  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Posts: 934
    the little light the lights up what gear you are in! I figured the air filter myself!
  • dchen2003dchen2003 Posts: 34
    I own a 03 camry. There is nothing wrong with my battery, and the battery life indicator is always green. My question is if the indicator is green I don't have to worry about battery failure, or even if it's green there is a potential of battery failure?
  • djm2djm2 Posts: 712
    Hi dchen2003:
    Batteries at best only last about three,(3), years. Yes it is possible for them to live a little longer, but I do not think that I would depend on a four year old battery on a cold winter's night. In your case, I would have the battery "load tested by the dealer"! Also have both the starting and the charging system tested for proper operation. An old battery might be "ok" in the warm weather, but not "ok" when the first cold hits the area. If you are going to replace the battery, ALWAYS replace the battery with the same "quality" or a "better quality battery" than came with the vehicle when it was "new". A cheap battery is exactly that, ---- "A CHEAP BATTERY"!
    Best regards. ---- Dwayne :shades: ;) :)
  • dchen2003dchen2003 Posts: 34
    Thank you very much for the suggestion. I will go to Advance Auto Parts to have my battery checked. I heard somebody say it is a free service.
  • rsetlurrsetlur Posts: 10
    Owner manual states to change oil every 7500 miles or six months, for regular interval.

    Q is, I only drive 3000 miles every six months. Manual isn't clear on vehicles with less than 15,000 per year.
    Is the oil change governed by time passing or mileage, if you have low miles.

    As a corollary, this Q can be extended to other recommendations in the manual.

    Does the oil get worse by car just sitting in the garage, requiring a change every 6 months even though I barely put on 3000 at most ( no severe interval qualification.)

    Car is is a 99 V6 with 56,500
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    The short answer is that you have to have the maintenance done of the basis of time if your accumulated mileage is too low, so every 6 months for oil changes in your case.

    There are a few things that are strictly mileage-based, such as the spark plug and air filter change intervals.
  • djm2djm2 Posts: 712
    Good Morning Rsetlur:
    I own a 2007 V6 Toyota Camry that was purchased in January 2007. I tend to accumulate alot of mileage very quickly. This vehicle now has 10,000 + miles. To date it has had four (4) oil and filter changes. (One every 2,500 miles.) I don't care what the "owners manual" states about oil and filter changes, I change the oil and filter often! The reason is very simple, ---- "Oil and filters are cheap, ----engines are expensive"! In the past, Toyota engines had a problem with the production of "sludge"! Change the oil and filter often, and keep all the service receipts! --------- Best regards. --- Dwayne :shades: ;) :)
  • banditboybanditboy Posts: 54
    I see a lot of people do a tonne of oil changes and its always suprises me.Just to test this i ran the cheapest oil i could find in a oil cooled engine 1200cc motorcycle.It redline at 11,000 rpm and i rode the inline 4 in track days to 500 mile days in 110F days.Remember this 1 had no coolant just a little radiator for the oil.Anyway every 3k i tested the oil.At 15k the filter failure worred me and i changed the oil and filter. I 120k on this engine now and still will wheely at 90 miles ....I have tested this and now run my motorcycle which run at higher rpm at 10000-11000 generating more stress and heat 7500 miles on the cheapest oil i can find.

    Now day the oil and engine was so much better 7500 miles is nothing .
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I've said it before, but the sludge issue ended with the 2002 models, and I think the whole problem was blown way out of proportion. I had one of the alleged "sludger" engines in a '97 Camry and had ZERO problems with sludge even with 5K mile oil changes. I sold the car after 7 years and 111K miles only to upgrade to a 2004 Camry with side airbags.

    My mileage accumulation is lower now on this Camry, so I change every 6 months (about 4000 miles).

    If rsetlur still has a '99 Camry going strong after this long, it's not going to develop sludge.
  • masspectormasspector Posts: 509
    Kind of a late post but wanted to give my 2 cents. My MXV4's gave out about 40K. I thought that was not long tread life, especially for the price. I did some online research and settled on the Exalto's. They do not ride quite as good as the MXV4's but that may be just me. Others who ride in the car cannot tell the difference, and the Exalto's were a lot less expensive. For my short commutes they are fine.
  • masspectormasspector Posts: 509
    I have read through the posts here. I have the same dilemma. My maint book says one thing and the dealer is trying to sell me extra services at each oil change. I have 45K now on the car. I pretty much just follow the book. I have my oil and filter done every 5K as well as tire rotation and balance every 5K. I think I did the radiator service at 30K but not trans. I change the air and cabin filter myself.

    If I follow the above regimen and do what my book that came with the car says, is that OK? It seems most people agree that the dealer is just trying to make extra money. I reason that if it was critical maintanence that Toyota would have put it in the book, not a card at the dealership. Some may buy a Toyota and never go back to a dealer for service. How would they know what service to do? They would follow the book.
  • 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.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    If you were to quiz the dealer, they would eventually admit that this is an "optional" service, not required.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • 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: 712
    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: 76
    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.
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