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Toyota Camry Basic Maintenance Questions



  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,118
    It probably depends on the dealer -- ask them to show you an example. I wanted heated leather seats on a Mazda6 a couple of years back and they installed them for me at no extra cost. They were beautiful and matched the car's interior very nicely.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    google leather seat covers, if you are handy
  • gab5gab5 Posts: 3
    I recently took my 2003 Toyota Camry to the dealer to replace my left front headlight (dim light was burned out). As I was waiting the service bay attendent approached me with a filthy dirty air conditioning filter and recommended that I replace it along with the cabin filter. Not having the time, I did not have it replaced at this time, but will in the future. However, my question is this.

    Is this filter visible when the headlight bulb is being replaced? Where are these filters located?
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    The engine air filter is not visible, they had to take off the cover. If they had done this already, it would only take a minute more (once they had the new one in their hand) to replace it. The cabin air filter is behind the glove compartment, and only takes 2-3 minutes to change It is not visible either, but it is very easy to check and replace. Both can be changed very easily in 5 minutes total for both, once they get the parts from the parts department. You can see how to replace the cabin air filter in your owner's manual. You could do these yourself and save big $$$.
  • gab5gab5 Posts: 3
    Thanks, I was rather shocked that service bay attendant brought this to it was only a headlight that I wanted to make absolutely sure that some effort had to be done to look.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    Showing you the dirty engine air filter, and especially the dirty cabin air filter, is a common thing to do because the dealer makes easy, big money changing them.
  • I have a 2003 Camry. I am just hearing back from Boch Toyota (Mass.) on the "findings" from my 120K mile service. My check engine light has been on and their diagnostics are finding that my catalytic converter and the related sensor need to be replaced for $1,250 and they have found some defect in my right rear carrier subassembly that will require a $1,300 fix. In the last year, I have spent $4,500 on this car for various and sundry items like this one. Am I getting the run around? I like to keep my car in good shape, but I'm seriously considering ditching my relationship with this dealer over what feels like significant gold-plating of their service. What do you think?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,870
    I think you should get a second opinion from a good independent Japanese car repair shop, perhaps recommended by friends or AAA. There are always alternatives when repairing a fairly common car such as this one.

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  • I had the same issue with the Toyota/GM/Scion dealership in my area. I took my Scion XB into the dealer for the 60k service and they wanted to do $900 worth of work to include flushes of all fluids, front brakes, tire rotation and an oil change. They also tried to get me on the filter issue even though I change my own filters. I was told they were "dirty" when in fact I changed them 30 days earlier along with the oil and oil filter. I nixed the entire service and went to an independent import shop and paid $459 for the same services minus the filters and oil.

    They tried to pull the same game on a '95 Chevy Blazer that had a hesitation and bucking issue. Master fuel injector unit was the diagnosis at $1200. I balked and went to the import garage and asked them to look at it. Out the door price was $601 for the same work. I'd go with a reputable independent garage over the dealer any day.....
  • gshellgshell Posts: 4
    Is it ok to apply Nu Finish to the plastic lenses of headlights and tail lights? Will it cause discoloration over time...Thanks....G :)
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I wouldn't use regular wax on lamp lenses. Just clean with car soap and water (and a soft sponge or mitt).
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    I stopped changing my own oil about 5 years ago when I got tired to laying on the garage floor and finding places to take the used oil became difficult. Having paid $38 for my last oil change at the dealer, I am thinking about doing it myself again. I will not go to the "quickie" oil change places.

    For those who have changed the oil on the previous generation V6, can the oil filter be removed without removing the exhaust heat shield? And if so, how does one avoid contact with the hot metal? Since the filter opening is angled downward, I assume one can't add any oil to the filter before installing it. Any other tips would be appreciated.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I had a 4-cylinder in my former '07 Camry. The heat shield wasn't in the way, but the oil filter was angled downward. The latter meant you couldn't add fresh oil to the new filter before installing it.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    My '07 I-4 has the filter opeing pointing up, perfectly vertical, so you can and should add oil to the filter before installing it. Very easy to change the oil in this car.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    OOPS,,,meant to say former '97 Camry!

    My current Camrys ('04 and '05, both 4-cylinders) have the upright oil filter.
  • alex24alex24 Posts: 54
    Absolutely no need to replace your struts because of age and mileage, they are good till you feel a bouncing with no resistince, I have a 93 camry, 195000 miles on it,I just first time replace the struts because I felt the free bouncing, and now its fine. Alex
  • I was reading some earlier forums concerning the 90k service for the 2003 Camry. I have a quote from a Tireman shop in Toledo, OH to complete all filter changes (oil, cabin, cabin), 27 point inspection, coolant flush, and fuel induction service. They are quoting me $250. The local Toyota Dealership is quoting me $474.00. What is the difference between the services besides OEM parts and a Toyota certified technician? Also, is the fuel induction service really needed? Would I be smarter to get a Trans flush (had at 60k)? Any advice as to what the minimum services I should have completed would be appreciated. I plan on having the car for another 2-3 years so I don't want to go overboard. Thanks.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    is the fuel induction service really needed?

    If it's not in your manual (and it's not), it isn't needed. If the engine is running smoothly, it's just transferring money from your pocket to the dealer's.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    Yes, just follow your owner's manual. The only thing I would suggest is to use Toyota parts. Some of the aftermarket parts are not good. Don't do the fuel induction, and I would just drain and fill the tranny every 30k. Same with the coolant.
  • My 08 Solara 4 cyl. hardtop just turned 2k miles. I'm thinking of switching to synthetic oil this weekend. Has anyone noticed much difference in MPG after the switch to synthetic?
    Also the oil cap has 5W-20 or 0W-20 listed as viscosities. Any MPG or performance differences noticed between the 2?

    Thanks to all....
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,870
    Don't expect any significant change in gas mileage with synthetic oil. There is a slight increase but it's so small it's tough to measure. Mostly you gain a little by faster warm ups, maybe....1-2%? So 1-2% of 25 mpg---can you even measure that?

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  • ladyguamladyguam Posts: 2
    when i started my car, its just completely sounds like its bout to die out. what causes that? we also Replaced the EGR valve, and yet it remains the same
  • ladyguamladyguam Posts: 2
    changed out the egr valve (completely plugged). now car idles between barely running and normal...up/down/up/down/etc... even when attempting to accelerate....same condition, pulsing. changed vacuum lines...same thing. seems like fuel supply problem. please help?
  • 1-2% change--you're right it can't really be measured. I did change the oil out today at 2700 miles because I got the Penzoil Synthetic on sale. I run synthetics out of belief in the benefits vs. Dino oil. On my Sat. morning trek through Walmart for dog food I saw the 5 Qt. Penzoil Synthetics were on sale for $19. Then I drove over to Advanced Auto for a Purolator Pure-One filter for $5--so for under $25 I did the changeover.
  • will someone please tell me at what mileage i should replace the the automatic transmission fluid. i called 4 different dealers and recieved 4 different responses such as 30000 miles, 45000 miles, 60000 miles and 100000
    at the present time i have 50000 miles
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Well, there is no specified interval by Toyota. I think it's a good idea to do it somewhere between 35K and 50K miles. But I don't recommend a flush (it's pricey and it puts solvents in your transmission). I'd recommend just a drain and refill at this time, which means some of the old fluid remains in your transmission. If your dealer refuses to do this, take your car to a competent independent shop.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    Yes, just do a drain and fill at around 40, and then do again after another 40k.
  • No one ever tried to answer my question (#466, repeated in #477) about what the white translucent tank is under the battery of my 2004 4-cyl Camry. Looks just like a coolant recovery tank but that is over yonder on the passenger side. Dealer mechanic says that on a wet, rainy day it functions to collect moisture out of the air taken in by the vent on top of the engine so the water doesn't go into the cylinders.

    Anybody agree/disagree with this finding? I've asked two service writers then this really young mechanic. I haven/'t asked at the parts counter yet, Delray, your car must have this.
  • I have the same tank in my 2008. I have no idea what it is and tried to trace the input lines but it was getting dark and I closed the hood. I'll look it over again this weekend to try and prove/disprove the water collection theory.
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