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Toyota Camry Basic Maintenance Questions



  • 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!
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    No, it shouldn't be drained only, because you'll only get about half of the coolant out (from the radiator drain). You don't have to remove the thermostat, just drain the radiator first, add a 1-pint container of flush solution and fill with plain water -- follow the instructions on the label. You have to fully warm the engine, allow to cool fully, then drain.

    Repeat with plain water until the drained fluid is almost colorless.

    One problem though might be obtaining full-strength Toyota coolant -- my recent experience is that it is sold premixed with 50% water. Because you can't get all the water out of the system, it will be hard to get it back to a 50/50 mix unless you can buy the full strength coolant.
  • After troubleshooting to find that the reason the driver's side power window does not work, I believe that I need to replace the power window motor. The motor is connected to the window mechanism, which is spring loaded. How do I separate the motor from the window mechanism to get the old one out and put the new one in? :confuse:
  • Thanks 210delray!

    I have heard some say that the flush solution can damage some parts of the cooling system. Is there any chance of that?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,320
    >flush solution can damage some parts of the cooling system

    If there's not a known reason from something in the cooling system needing flush chemicals to break it down and get it out, I wouldn't put chemicals into the coolant volume. You indicated, I believe, that you can't drain it all out of your car and that means some chemical is going to be left unless you find a way to force water through the whole system to purge all the chemical.

    I'd just refill with water. Run motor to mix. Drain. And repeat a couple times letting the motor cool some in between before refilling. Then put in coolant to specifications on the last fill. That would be my method for flushing.

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

  • Thanks 210delray,

    Since I posted my question I've been told that there is a 90,000 mile timing belt change and that was from a Toyota dealer! What gives???


  • stlpike07stlpike07 Posts: 218
    the 2003 Camry has a timing belt that needs to be changed.

    The 2007 Camry has a timing chain that doesn't need to be changed.
  • Thanks stlpike07,

    What is the recommended mileage that the timing belt be changed at? I have a 2003 Camry with a 4 cylinder engine.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    When the Camry was redesigned for the 2002 model year, it received a new 4-cylinder engine with a timing chain -- no maintenance is needed. (I have 2004 and 2005 Camry 4-cylinders.)

    The V6 engines were carried over, and these kept their timing belts. Not until the 2007 model year was the V6 replaced, and this new one has a chain as stlpike states.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I realize there's a difference of opinion, but I think using the "regular" flush solution (which may be labeled "super flush" depending on the brand), the chances of any damage are minimal if you drain and refill with plain water for a couple of cycles (fully warming the engine, allowing to cool, and draining) after using the flush.

    Do not use the heavy duty stuff which is for removing visible rust and scale.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    210delray is right - 2003 thru current Camrys have timing chains. The same 4 cylinder engine is being used.
  • Thanks 210delray and mcdawgg for the clarification.

    I also want to mention something that happened to me. I travel a lot for my job and one time I rented a 2007 Chevrolet Impala with flex fuel. Nice car...until it died on me on a deserted stretch of highway in New Mexico and the nearest town over 50 miles away!
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    You're welcome.

    Interesting on the Impala because we have a troll in the 2007 Camry "problems and repairs" board bragging about how wonderful the Impala is!

    Do you know what was wrong with the car? I assume you were able to phone the rental company for help.
  • Unfortunately I never called back to the rental company in Albuquerque to find out what went wrong with the Impala. Prior to dying the tire pressure warning light came on and about 20 miles later it shut completely down, there was a message saying it was shutting down but I was too busy trying to get it off the road so I wouldn't get run over by a passing 18 wheeler doing 90 MPH! After a few minutes I was able to restart the car but it would only go 5 MPH for about 2-3 minutes before dying again, and with the tire pressure warning light on. I was sure glad to see the rental company guys though, I finally made it back to ABQ around 3 AM but missed my flight to Atlanta so I had to spend an extra night in ABQ.

    When it happened I was able to phone the rental company when the car died, just barely though; I had one bar on my signal strength!

    It was around 8 PM when this happened on NM 550 between Cuba, NM and Albuquerque, NM. The rental company sent two cars out that night and gave one to me(Hyundai Elantra)to take back to Albuquerque and the two guys had to babysit the dead Impala until a wrecker truck could be found. It was a good idea for them to bring another car because it was cold that night. I left them on that dark lonely highway hours later glad to be in a Hyundai and not a Chevy Impala!!
  • stlpike07stlpike07 Posts: 218
    Okay. If that it true than I appologize for my previous post.

    I was told differently. I just checked Toyota's website and it says for the 2003 Camry that the timing belt should be replaced at 90,000 miles.

    I was told the 2007 I-4 is the first 4-cylinder engine with the timing chain......and that prior V-6's had the timing chain, but not the V-4's.
  • stlpike07stlpike07 Posts: 218

    Read my previous post about your timing belt. The Toyota website says to replace it around 90,000 miles.

    Another poster said you have a timing chain....I am not sure if that is correct. Your dealer can't lie to you about a timing belt or chain....they are two completely different things.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    This is getting silly. I have both a 2004 and a 2005 Camry, with 4-cylinder engines. Both have timing chains. This 2.4-liter 4-cylinder was introduced with the 2002 models, replacing the former 2.2-liter 4 with the timing belt (I had one of those too).

    The Toyota maintenance website makes no distinction between the 4-cyl. and the V6? Dealers? Well, the salesmen aren't necessarily going to know, but certainly the service manager should!
  • stlpike07stlpike07 Posts: 218
    Well, then the Toyota website is incorrect. When I input a 2003 Toyota Camry is says to change the timing belt at 90,000 miles......the website must be wrong. Like I said, a dealership would be able to tell you.
  • Thanks to all.

    I do appreciate the help and I'll call the service manager and see what that person says.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Please come back and let us know!!
  • kutrakutra Posts: 8

    I got the "Malfunction Indicator Light" (aka the Check Engine Light, I believe) on my 2000 Toyota Camry V6. So I took it to Autozone and the instrument showed 2 error codes. Both the error codes were the same:P0135 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1 Sensor 1).

    1. Are the error codes absolutely accurate in pinpointing the problem?
    2. Do the 2 error codes mean I have to change TWO oxygen sensors?
    3. If I buy the Bosch OEM part myself, how much would a mechanic typically charge to replace ONE or TWO O2 sensors?
    4. Anything I should be aware of when I talk to a mechanic?
    5. How serious is this problem? That is, how long can I continue to drive till I get it fixed?

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