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Toyota Camry Basic Maintenance Questions



  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    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?


    1,) "absolutely" accurate ... of course not. Reasonably good, yes

    2.) no, you have 1 sensor (the first sensor on bank 1), which the system is indicating is "probably" bad.

    3.) don't know as I do maintenance myself, but I would think maybe an hour of shoptime.

    4.) well if you are going to pay a shop to do the work, it is usually best if you allow them to buy the part and charge you for it. Otherwise they could claim that the part was defective, not of high quality, not the right part, not even needed, yada yada yada.

    5.) The engine computer uses all of the sensors, to adjust fuel mixture and timings of sparkplug firing. WIth a bad O2 sensor, the engine doesn't know exactly how much fuel to put into the cylinders, because it's not getting a good reading coming out of the cylinders and can't tell how well the mixture is burning. You run the risk of damaging your catalytic converter by dumping excess fuel into it, or burning engine valves if too lean. You don't need to drop everything to immediately fix it, but I wouldn't be driving it around for weeks or a lot of mileage.

    In your case it is the 'heater circuit' of the sensor. This circuit is used to heat up the O2 sensor when you initially start the car, before there is enough heat from the exhaust gases. If the sensor doesn't come up to temperature fast enough, it throws off that error code. So I suspect you have minimal risk once your vehicle is warmed up, but I'd get it fixed when reasonably do-able.

    Good luck
  • Okay guys,

    I called the Toyota dealer in Asheville and the service manager confirmed that my 2003 Camry 4 cylinder has a timing chain and she confirmed that the website was incorrect. I must say I'm a little surprised that the website is incorrect but then again Toyota has lots of cars and I guess it would be next to impossible to be totally correct each and every time on every model/year on a continual basis for a website.
  • stlpike07stlpike07 Posts: 218
    Thanks for the update.
  • The service manager said something that piqued my interest and so I looked at the engine ID number and it turns out that the 4 banger I have is the "2AZ-FE" engine with a timing chain and the Toyota website does state to change the timing belt on the "1MZ-FE" engine only which is the 6 cylinder engine. So, technically speaking the website is not incorrect, just a little vague.

    All the more reason to own a Toy!
  • The coolant the dealer sold me for both my 2002 Sienna and 2004 Camry says "Toyota Long Life Coolant". It is red.

    Is this the stuff that is supposed to work for 10 years or 100,000 miles in my Camry before replacing? It also appears to not be pre-mixed, becuase it talks about mixing on the bottle, but I guess that's not a given.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I'd check with someone knowledgeable at the dealership to make sure it's the real deal -- good for 100K miles. Also read the label carefully.

    The label should clearly indicate if it's full-strength or requires dilution with water. It sounds like you have the full-strength type.
  • thanks again 210delray.
  • asi12asi12 Posts: 46
    I have 2005 camry.

    How many air filters does this camry has?

    Is Cabin air filter is same as AC filter located behind the glove box?

    How often do I have to clean/replace the cabin and engine air filters?

    Now windshielf washer fluid and coolant fluid is at its low level. What kind of fluids should I add into that? toyota only fluids or any thing?

    For coolant do I have to mix it with water in 1:1 ratio and if yes then distill water from supermarket should be ok?

    What about windwasher fluid? Distill water should be fine?
  • :confuse: I have a 03 Camry LE. One time I forgot to turn my headlights off almost drained my battery. I looked at the manual it says the headlight will cut off itself after you lock the door for 30 seconds. I tried several times like press the lock key on the remote control twice, but it never worked. Is the cut off system failed on my car or I need to program it.

    Thanks for all the suggestions and advices
  • asi12asi12 Posts: 46
    Did you check where your head lights control is resting. Head light controls are on the direction control stick?

    In order to head light to switch off automatically after you lock the door, head light control should be at Auto.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    The "auto" feature didn't become standard in all Camry trim lines until 2005. I think something may be wrong with his 2003. If the switch is left in the "on" position, the lights should cut out after 30 seconds once the doors are locked. I believe if you press the lock button twice, the lights will go out immediately.
  • asi12asi12 Posts: 46
    I had 2001 camry in the past and I never had to manually switch off headlights. Headlight always switched off when doors are locked. Double click lights are off instantly and one click lights are off after few seconds. Check the headlight controls there might be other option other than auto. If I remember correctly there was one option which has just " - " sign. Check this one.
  • I recently took my 99 Camry to the local Tiresplus to patch my right front tire. The mechanic I've worked w/ before was fired and I had to work w/ a guy I didn't know

    He called me an hour later w/ a list of things that he said they noticed as a result of their policy to check all aspects of the car. Reasonable poicy, but the mechanic stipulated that the following items should be replaced/done to the 99 Camry w/ 80K miles:

    - new battery
    - transmission flush
    - fuel system tune
    - clean lube and adjust brakes

    All this for $350 (plus $25 for the patch). I checked my owner's manual and didn't find any of these suggestions. Also, the previous mechanic didn't mention any of this when I brought the car in for its 75K check up. Am I being taken for a ride here?

    Many thanks, Mark
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Seems like a ride to me, as he has identified generic things.

    For old is your battery (4-5 yrs?), and did they do a free battery/alternator check that autoparts stores would do to determine that you need a battery?

    adjust brakes???? front brakes which do the majority of braking are disc (which self adjust). Does your parking brake hold? or does that need adjusting?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Maybe the former mechanic was fired because he refused to sell unneeded services!

    I agree with kiawah: the battery can be tested for free at most large auto parts stores like Advance or AutoZone. Fuel system tune is a just a money-maker; unless the car is not running properly, do not bother. Transmission flushes are another big money-maker; sure the transmission should be drained and refilled periodically, but not every 15-30K miles as these places would have you believe.

    As for the brakes, the only adjustment needed is for the parking brakes. You can tell if you have to pull up on the center lever a long way for the brakes to hold on a hill with the gearshift in neutral. (I believe the owner's manual may give the number of "clicks" when the brake is adjusted properly).
  • djm2djm2 Posts: 712
    Hi mscheuer:
    I would never take my vehicle to these kinds of service operations. Just check the "net" and you will see why! I take my vehicles to the dealer. I make it a point to develop a professional relationship with one service advisor, and the service manager. They understand what I want and expect in terms of service. I have all my service done by the selling dealer. I even purchase my tires at the dealership. Should something go wrong, I am not caught between a tire store, and the car dealer. The dealer installed and balanced the tires, and they performed the alignment. It something is not right, it is their problem!!!!! In terms of oil and filter changes, it is their oil, their filter and their mechanic doing the service. If something is not done right, and the engine fails, it is Toyota's problem! My warranty is safe!
    Best regards. ---- Dwyane :shades: ;) :confuse: :)
  • Thank you for the help, I tried again to press the lock button on the remote control twice, but still had no luck.
    I look at the headlight control stick, there are a few options. 1. Off 2. Daytime Running Light (DRL) 3. On. Am I suppose to put the switch at DRL? I will give this option a try, it it still doesn't work I may need to go to the dealership.

    Thank You for All the Responses
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    "DRL" (daytime running lights) should always be the default position when you don't need low-beam headlights. In this position, only the DRLs are illuminated when the car is running. As soon as you shut off the ignition, the DRLs should go off.

    If you have the switch in the "on" position, all lights, including the headlights, parking lights, and taillights, will be illuminated. Once the car is shut down and locked twice with the remote, all these lights should go out.
  • golfnut5golfnut5 Posts: 202
    I have a 2008 TCH and want to know how to remove the wiper blade assembly from the wiper arm.. I am used to the type that you pinch a tab and pull the assembly down from the hook on the arm. The 2008 Camry looks a little different than what I am used to. I want to put winter wiper blades on. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    It's basically the same procedure as you've described, except you pull UP on a hinged tab just in front of the hook. The tab is on the side of the blade facing you from the outside of the car, so it's easy to do. Ask for further details if you can't figure it out -- it's kind of hard to fully explain without a photo. Also, there may be a diagram in the owner's manual.
  • golfnut5golfnut5 Posts: 202

    Thanks for information. What you described is what it looks like would have to be done, but thought I would ask first.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Great, glad to be of assistance!
  • jperezjperez Posts: 2
    Can you please email a copy of the picture of the tensioner. I am trying to replace the belt on a 02 2.4 litter engine and can seem to see how to losen the tension on the old belt.

  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    The service manual doesn't have a real good picture with a wrench to show how to relieve the tension, so here's one from a Corolla. The Camry tensioner (although there a couple differen versions) is a little different from this picture in that the spring position is downward between the other two big pulleys, but the arm & spring concept is the same.

    Most tensioner arms have some have a wrench point, which will either accept a 3/8" or 1/2" square drive (that a breaker bar, or rachet would fit), or a molded in bolt head (that you could put a socket or closed end wrench on). I prefer using a breaker bar as opposed to rachet, so you have control in both directions. You don't want the tensioner to snap back when you take the belt off, relax it gently.

    2004 Corolla Tensioner
  • jperezjperez Posts: 2
    Thanks. now I see what it looks like. I will try again this weekend.
  • I was wondering if anyone knew the mileage necessary for this oil change in the auto tranny of the 2007? It's frustrating to call a few different dealerships and everyone tells you something different. Some have said before 30,000 - some have said 60,000 - some have said it needs a full flush, and some didn't. The last place I called I talked to two different advisers on different days and one told me every 60,000 and the other told me that oil shouldn't be touched until 100,000 miles and that it's supposed to be a long lasting type like the coolant. Anyone know exactly who's telling the truth?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    If you read the Scheduled Maintenance Guide, which is a blue supplement you received with the owners will find that replacing the transmission fluid is not a required change. It needs to be inspected periodically to make sure the right level and color, and if there is a problem then replaced.

    So following the guide would be a good idea.
  • I would suggest use non-synthetic oil. The reason is that the synthetic, and non form a kind of gel (bond) after a number of uses, which can cause a gunk bulid up and clog your oil pump. PS... Toyota has had a number of recalls on the V6 3.0L engine without the use synthetic... 5w-30 works just fine save your money....
  • 5000, trust the manufacturer...
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    I think the manual recommends 30K miles or 30 months. I changed mine at 20 months (only 15K miles) because it was filthy. Looked at it yesterday (only 8K miles since new) and it was pretty dirty again. I vacuumed out all the seeds and crud and put it back in. Not sure how quickly it turns gray.
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