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2007 Toyota Camry Problems and Repairs



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Most new cars that have automatics use a coastdown fuel cut technique to enhance FE. during coastdown periods the engine is starved of fuel via EFI shutoff but forced to not stall via compression braking.

    You may have the wrong dipstick (used car) and the oil change is being metered as it is put into the engine rather than the use of the dipstick.
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    I hope you were pulling the dipstick out, wiping it off, and putting it back in again; before pulling it out to read the level. This can only be done when the motor is not running. When the motor runs; it will throw oil all over the dipstick; which makes it impossible to read the oil level on the stick until after the motor is shut off and the dipstick is wiped off and inserted and removed one more time. Also; the vehicle must be on level ground when the oil level is checked; or the oil level indication can be grossly inaccurate.

    There are two different level marks on the dipstick. The lower one is the point at where it will take a quart of oil added to bring the oil level up to the upper (full) mark. Some people run a car with the oil level at the low mark; where it is a quart below full. This is potentially damaging to the motor; because the oil temperature will increase significantly and compromise lubrication when there is less than the full amount of oil in the motor.

    Please excuse me if this information is all stuff you already know; I have no idea of how much you know or don't know; and the points you brought up could have come from an improper understanding of basic issues; so I needed to say this.

    The motor in your car takes about 5 quarts of oil to fill it to the "full" line after the oil has all been drained out. After the motor has been filled with fresh oil; the level will look over full before the motor is started and run for the first time; because it will take about 1/2 quart of that oil to fill the oil filter. The oil level will subsequently be about 1/2 quart lower; when it is checked after the first time it runs. The level should be at the "full" mark after the engine has been run and shut off following the first time it is filled.

    The dipstick does not extend all the way to the bottom of the sump; so when the oil level is at the very bottom of the dipstick; it is about 2 quarts low, so there would still be about 3 quarts remaining in the motor at that point.

    If the oil level is more than 1/2 quart above the full mark, when it is checked properly and the car is on level ground; then too much oil has been put into the motor. This can lead to damage to oil seals and gaskets. It can also cause excess oil to be pumped into the combustion chamber; which can foul spark plugs and damage the catalytic converter. Some ignorant employees at oil change places may deliberately put too much oil into an engine; on the belief that it will increase the distance the car can be driven before the motor will need additional oil added. But a motor in good condition will often be able to run the full distance between oil changes without needing oil added. Still, sometimes an engine will consume some oil between changes; so it is always a good practice to check the oil level at least once a month.

    Please also be aware that there are two dipsticks on this car. One is for the engine oil level; and the other is for the automatic transmission fluid level. Sometimes people will check the level on the wrong dipstick. The transmission fluid level on many vehicles will normally read above the full mark when the motor is not running.

    If your car's oil level really is more than 1/2 quart above the full mark; then enough oil should be drained out to bring the level down to the full mark. This is done by unscrewing the ENGINE oil drain plug (NOT the transmission oil drain plug), and letting some oil drain into a catch pan. When it appears that the desired quantity of oil has come out; quickly put the drain plug back in place, tighten it securely, and recheck the oil level by wiping, reinserting, and re-reading the level on the dipstick. THIS PROCEDURE CAN POTENTIALLY LEAD TO MAJOR ENGINE DAMAGE; IF THE SEALING WASHER FALLS OFF THE DRAIN PLUG WHEN IT IS REMOVED AND IT IS NOT NOTICED. IF AN INEXPERIENCED PERSON SCREWS THE DRAIN PLUG BACK INTO THE OIL PAN WHEN IT IS NOT LINED UP STRAIGHT WITH THE PAN THREADS; THIS CAN STRIP THE THREADS IN EITHER THE PAN OR DRAIN PLUG; AND THAT CAN LEAD TO THE DRAIN PLUG FALLING OUT WHILE THE CAR IS GOING DOWN THE ROAD. THIS WILL CAUSE A TOTAL LOSS OF ENGINE OIL; WHICH USUALLY DESTROYS THE MOTOR.

    So please do not attempt to drain oil yourself; if you do not have the experience or proper tools to do it safely. Instead; take it to a gas station or repair shop. If it really is way over full; I would not take it back to the place which changed your oil without making sure the problem will not be repeated. This may require talking to the owner; and advising them that an employee is not following the proper procedure for checking oil level. If the mechanic or the owner gives you any static; contact the local consumer protection agency, bureau of automotive repair, or district attorney; and file a complaint against the shop. A letter to the editor of the local newspaper will sometimes get good results in these situations. If it is a Toyota dealership which did this; by all means contact the regional Toyota Customer Service office. They need to know about this.

    If the coils on your Camry are going bad; the check engine light will come on. There will then be a trouble code stored in the vehicle's computer. This code can be retrieved and read by a shop or parts store that has a code scanner. Auto Zone used to do this for free.

    If your check engine light is not on, the coils are probably good.

    If the engine speed drops suddenly when you let off the gas pedal; but it does not stall; this may be normal. But if it stalls; the engine may be in poor mechanical condition. Having the cylinder compression tested (in ALL the cylinders) and compared to Toyota's minimum allowable specifications for this year and model vehicle (not just some mechanic's guess about that figure) will tell you whether the motor can be tuned properly. If it is in good mechanical condition, it may need new spark plugs, or a new fuel filter, a throttle body cleaning and idle air control valve cleaning; or new oxygen sensors.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    One of the advantages of DBW is that no idle air valve is required.
  • thetxstangthetxstang Posts: 28
    What a great, detailed post. Thank you.

  • canccanc Posts: 715
    edited May 2011
    As promised, here's an update on my oil burning situation. I went for my oil change yesterday and the dealership is aware that I'm burning 1 litre of oil (1 quart) of oil every 5000 miles. It's not bad, but it's not great either, and I was then given the ol' line, "Toyota says it's normal", and that, given these results, Toyota wouldn't do anything.

    What bugs me are the following:
    -I'm dumping a litre of oil now, and my car has 45000 miles; what will it be like when it has 100000 miles? Will I be dumping two litres or more?
    -I bought this car mainly for reliability; if the engine is burning oil, will it leave me stranded somewhere?

    I'll be talking to the dealer owner on Monday and see if anything can be done. I'm also wondering if I should contact the district manager as well. I went on the NHTSA site to complain but the site is for US owners (I'm in Canada).

    If the owner won't do anything either, I guess I'll switch my service intervals from 5000 to 3500 miles, which is probably not a bad thing anyway, but I just hate the thought of that, especially when my former car was a 2000 Toyota Corolla, that had 100000 miles when I sold it, and never burned any oil under 5000 mile oil change intervals.

    Wish I had better news to tell you... this may very well be my last Toyota.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited March 2010
    40 ounces of oil consumption in 5000 miles should not be considered a problem. But you should make sure the correct dipstick is in your car. Wrong dipstick and the engine may be being overfilled resulting in frothing of the oil due to contact with the crankshaft/components.

    How do you know, what procedure are YOU using, to determine the oil consumption...?

    Additionally if you're having the dealer do the oil changes the oil going into the engine maybe externally metered, dipstick not used. Check the dipstick later and...
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    You know; after reading your most recent post, I finally see what you are so concerned about. And, if you are willing to seriously consider the experience of a career mechanic and diagnostic specialist who has evaluated and serviced thousands of cars since the early 1960's; I can assure you that your concerns are unjustified.

    Your previous experience with the Corolla is actually very unusual. MOST cars consume a measurable amount of oil between changes. The typical normal oil consumption of a car in good mechanical condition varies between a quart of oil every 7500 miles; to a quart every 3000 miles. Well designed Japanese cars which consume oil at this rate usually do not experience increased oil consumption or any other signs of mechanical degradation until they have reached well over 150,000 miles; and often not until 250,000 miles. It is only when a car starts off consuming a quart every 2500 miles or less, that the consumption rate escalates before 100,000 miles. So your engine really is in great shape; especially for a Camry V-6.

    European prestige cars like Jaguars and Mercedes often consume oil at a quart every 1500 to 2500 miles; and nobody even blinks an eye at it. But those motors are designed and constructed differently than yours.

    The rate of oil consumption is greatly affected by engine design; and engine design has recently been heavily influenced by emission control regulations. The V-6 block in the Camry has far more mass and surface area; and consequently more thermal inertia than the smaller inline 4 cylinder Corolla. In order to optimize the Camry V-6's fuel economy and minimize emissions; the recent Camry engine blocks had to be redesigned to warm up more quickly after a cold start. The Corolla did not have this issue; because it has a smaller, thinner, more compact engine block; which is more thermally stable than the V-6 block.

    One consequence of the Camry V-6 block redesign is that the piston to cylinder wall clearance changes far more as the block expands during warm up than the Corolla block does. So the Camry pistons will be relatively looser fitting while the motor is cold; and that leads to somewhat greater oil consumption. In this particular situation; there have been complaints from some Camry owners about audible "piston slap" during warm up. My experience has been that the amount of piston slap is very much related to the lubricating quality of the motor oil being used. There is one particular oil formula which dramatically reduces piston slap and oil consumption. I have seen the results in my own highly modified Chrysler V-8; and in stock Camry V-6s (both of which have relatively loose piston to wall clearances). This oil reduces engine wear and improves performance and fuel economy; by better lubrication and sealing of the pistons and rings. It is produced by Mobil in a full synthetic formula; and is found in ONLY ONE of the many viscosities they sell. This product is Mobil 1 full synthetic in 0W-40 weight. This particular viscosity was originally designed for European high performance engines; namely Porsche, Jaguar, and Mercedes. But it was then found to be far superior to the diluted "energy conserving" oils which are currently sold in the US. So knowledgable car owners are now using it here in all sorts of cars.

    But even if you stay with the oil you now use; as long as you don't change or mix oil brands (which is a surprisingly destructive practice; despite the oil manufacturers' propaganda to the contrary); your Camry will last well over 150,000 miles with no significant increase in oil consumption.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706

    Well founded and well stated.
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    The oil change is done by the dealer, who then tops it off at the line. They've been meticulous in doing this, and the dipstick is the correct one used.
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    Dear Zaken,

    Thank you for your very informative post--I learned a great deal from you taking the time to write your reply. Just FYI, however, I have the 4-cylinder Camry. Does that make any difference? I have noticed that my 4-cyl 2.4 (Camry) warms up much, much faster than my 1.8 L in my Corolla ever did. What do you know about the 2.4L?

    My Corolla did, in fact, burn a bit of oil, but it was within what I'd consider "normal", and normal for me is a quarter of a litre or so within 5000 miles, and not a whole litre.

    I believe the dealership did put 5W-20 back in it as per recommended OEM reqs, but I've been wondering if I should perhaps put some Mobil 1 in there next time, and stick with that; my dealership essentially told me that this wasn't necessary, and that I'd be throwing my money out the window if I did that, but I'm wondering if synthetic oil would provide more protection for my engine than anything else out there. Your thoughts?
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    edited May 2011
    This post is a precision from my last post, and is largely directed to Zaken; I wrote:

    I'm wondering if synthetic oil would provide more protection for my engine than anything else out there. Your thoughts?

    I wanted to say if 5W-20 Mobil 1 would help, other than the 0W-40 Mobil 1 you suggested, since the 0W-40 is not recommended by Toyota and would therefore void my warranty.
  • tony108tony108 Posts: 16

    I would just like to share my experience with our 2007 camry 2.4 4 cyl. When it was around 32k it started making a slight noise when not fully warmed up (piston slap type of noise). I tried lots of types of oil, mobil 1 synthetic 5w-20 and 5w-30, pennzoil 5w-20, mobil 1 0w-30, and even castrol 5w-20 and 5w30. It usually burns around 1qt. of oil every 5k miles. Recently, I tried the new pennzoil ultra 5w-30 and the sound every start-up disappeared. I don't know the consumption yet, I'm thinking that it has something to do with the european formula theory because that's what ferrari uses?
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    Hmmm that's very interesting. Please keep us updated here to see if the oil fixed the oil consumption problem.
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    I would not expect the use of ANY multigrade oil in these viscosity ranges to void your warranty. There just isn't enough viscosity difference to cause problems. If the dealership told you that Mobil 1 0W-40 would void your warranty; I would ask the regional Toyota Customer Service Center to confirm that IN WRITING. Dealership employees are known to mouth off about things they really don't know, in order to promote their own products; or in order to project an image of confidence and authority.

    Here's a description of Mobil 1's 0W-40 in an Amazon listing:

    Product Description
    Mobil 1 0W-40 exceeding industry standards and the major leading builder requirements is the cornerstone of the performance reserve that lets Mobil 1 0W-40 keep performing well after conventional oils cannot. Mobil 1 0W-40 provides the widest range of protection -- providing the extreme cold start protection of an 0W grade and the high temperature protection of an SAE 40 grade. Mobil 1 0W-40 meets key industry and car builder specifications for: Mercedes MB 229.5, BMW Longlife 01, Porsche Approval List 2002, VW 502.00/505.00/503.01, GM-LL-A-025 (gasoline), GM-LL-B-025 (diesel), ACEA A3, B3/B4 and API SM/CF. Mobil 1's viscosity is recommended by many European car builders, its wide range providing unsurpassed levels of protection and an overall smooth driving experience. Mobil 1 0W-40 keeps engines starting in Arctic-extreme cold, and it cleans deposits, sludge and varnish often formed in high temperature operating conditions. If you want total engine protection, excellent fuel economy and a product recommended for applications under warranty, you want Mobil 1. The world's leading synthetic motor oil, it features a proprietary SuperSyn anti-wear technology that provides performance beyond conventional motor oils. Technology that allows Mobil 1 to exceed the toughest standards of Japanese, European and U.S. car builders -- and to provide exceptional protection against engine wear, under normal or even the most extreme conditions.

    PLEASE NOTE THE LAST SENTENCE. This oil could not exceed the toughest standards of Japanese car builders and also void their warranties!!!!

    What is probably going on here is twofold; 1> 0W-40 is not mentioned as a recommended oil in the North American Toyota owner's manuals; because of a POLITICAL ISSUE. But if this oil is not mentioned in owners manuals; that does NOT mean its use will void warranty coverage. This situation came about because, in their well meaning ignorance; the US Congress passed a federal law requiring all new car dealers to only use oils labeled "energy conserving" in every car they service. Energy conserving oil is produced by thinning out the oil so that it creates less friction. The effect of this modification is to improve gas mileage by typically less than 1 mile per gallon. But there is also a substantial downside to this trick; the downside is that it reduces the oil's protection against piston wear and increases the rate of oil consumption.

    Shortly after this legislation was introduced, and all new car dealers in the US were forced to use only this type of oil; Mazda RX-8 rotary engines began failing at abnormally low mileages (40,000-70,000 miles) in US service. At the same time; RX-8 rotaries in Canada and Europe were running well beyond 100,000 miles with no problems. The Canadian and European RX-8s were using the manufacturer's recommended 20W-50 oil viscosity; which had now become illegal for dealerships to use in the US.

    At this same time; Toyota owners began noticing and complaining of increased piston slap and oil consumption; particularly in Camry V-6s.

    As a result of this situation; knowledgable owners stopped having their oil changed by dealerships; and instead began having independent garages change their oil or changing it themselves; so they could continue using Mobil 1 in 0W-40.
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    edited May 2011
    I don't know how to thank you Zaken; I'll check out the availability of 0W-40 here.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    If I were as concerned about oil cosumption as you seem to be I wouldn't use anything other than "30" weight, 40 if it's available. FE will suffer slightly with a constant viscosity oil, but...
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    It is refreshing to find someone who is open minded enough to recognize sound advice when they see it. Any store that sells Mobil 1 can order 0W-40 from their distributor, if they don't already carry it. You can also buy it directly from a regional Mobil oil distributor in your area. But be sure to not use any other brand or viscosity. The post about Pennzoil european formula 5W-30 in their super synthetic grade sounds encouraging; but that oil would not have the high temperature protection or the low consumption rate of Mobil 1.
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    edited May 2011
    While I share your perspective on the exaggerated importance that he placed on the rate of oil consumption; old buddy: I'm going to have to disagree with your recommendation of a single grade oil. The reason that single viscosity oils have become essentially obsolete in modern vehicles is that the low temperature lubricating quality of a single grade oil is so inferior to that of multigrades that it actually shortens engine life!!! It is the ability of multigrade oil to flow into tight spaces during the critical first few minutes of engine operation that has been a major factor in enabling the consistently longer engine life which modern engines are now capable of. This is why the use of oils with zero or five weight cold viscosities have suddenly become so popular. Top lubrication engineers have explained that OVER 90% OF ALL ENGINE WEAR TAKES PLACE IN THE FIRST 5 MINUTES OF ENGINE OPERATION. As a corollary to this statement; they have also said that "If an engine could run at normal operating temperature from the moment it started; it would essentially last forever."

    Back in the days when I was working on British motorcycles; we always noted how much clattering mechanical noise Triumph 650 Bonneville engines produced. Here in California; the hotshoes always used SAE 50 oil in those motors; because they would blow up under hard driving if thinner oil was used. But one friend rebuilt his Bonneville; and then broke it in on 10W-30. And that motor sounded like a finely polished jewel. The owner then switched it over to SAE 50 when it was fully broken in; and it began clattering and sounding loose, just like all the other Bonnevilles.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    But I think you might agree that the higher, single viscosity, 30, or even 40 weight oil would definitely result in lowering the oil consumption.

    All else be damned.

    But as the engines in my yard equipment, lawn/garden tractor,etc, wear and begin to use/burn more oil my practice is to use a higher fixed weight annual drain and refill.

    I have never done that with any car but then I have never had reason to worry about oil consumption.
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    Well, a mind is like a book; it works best when it's open. :)

    There's one thing that I still don't get--if this is "normal", then why are so many owners not experiencing this problem? After all, this is a mass produced engine, and so if it's a design issue, then we'd see it across the board, but the fact is that it's not widespread. I know that not all engines are exactly alike, but they're built under pretty tight tolerances these days; wouldn't it mean that mine missed the mark?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited May 2011
    "..mass produced...

    Random component tolerances, just must be within specific +/1 range.

    Yes, TIGHT individual component tolerances, overall tolerances may end up on theFAR of the bell curve.

    I4, number 1 piston is full plus weight tolerance, full minus diameter tolerance. Number 4 is full - weight tolerance, shall I go on?

    All the tolerances in your engine, just by pure happenstance, randomness, ended up in the wrong end of overall tolerances insofar as those that dictate oil consumpion.
  • rcallarcalla Posts: 1
    I've had the same problem twice-after they fail it comes back to normal-what did you find out the problem to be-Thanks rcalla
  • npolitenpolite Posts: 33
    Hi. Is this oil consumption a problem on particular Camry year models or is this with all of the current generation Camrys? We are planning on buying one soon (maybe today) and would like to know any known issues.

    I know that the current generation K engine has some people reporting engine oiconsumptionon as well.
  • npolitenpolite Posts: 33
    Also I was seeing complaints about premature tire wear on 2009 Camry's. is the issue with the tire itself or something overall with the design of the car?
  • luckysevenluckyseven Posts: 134
    edited May 2011
    Some Camrys come with Michellin and some with Bridgestone from the factory. OEM Bridgestone tires don't hold for more then 25K miles.
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    As far as I know, the oil burning issue is with the current Camry generation. I can't comment on the premature tire wear though, sorry.
  • ledzepplinledzepplin Posts: 41
    My 2007 camry had a leak that almost destroyed the car. Toyota refused to tow the car or pay for the repair. Before you buy check the TSB on the year you are buying and check to make sure that all recalls have been done on your car. My friend bought a Toyota only to find that he had to bring it back the next week to have recall work done by dealer. Be very, very careful.
  • luckysevenluckyseven Posts: 134
    edited May 2011
    Did you have oil leak? Where was it coming from? Nowdays almost every car owner goes through the recalls. Toyota tries to be extra careful now after it was dragged through all the mumbo jumbo with non-existing acceleration problem and prefers to issue a recall even if problem most likely will never develop. So issuing a recall Toyota shows that it wants to take care about an issue at no cost, don't see how this could be viewed as a negative.
    BTW Only small number of 2.4L 4cyl engines affected by the oil burning, most of the time problem is very mild. On my 2009 Camry I need to add 1/4 of a quart after 2000-2500 miles. It doesn't get worse with millage. 2.4L engine had been around for quite a while and proven to be extremely reliable. While I don't like adding oil to my almost 3 year old "new " car, I don't see how this is a major problem. As far as I know current Camrys use 2.7L 4cyl engine that doesn't have oil burning issues.
  • npolitenpolite Posts: 33
    Thanks luckyseven for your advice. The only one thing that I didn't like when I test drove the car was, when I held the steering wheel straight the car was actually pulling hard to the right. I understand that it will eventually go that way from crowning but I tell you that for the majority of the test drive (only 30 miles on the car), I was holding the steering wheel at a 5-10 degree angle to the left. The dealership said I could try another one today though but I don't know if I want to go through the song and dance again.
    From what I heard on other forums this is normal. I have been driving Hondas for 15 years and haven't had this issue (unless it was an alignment problem). If it is indeed normal, I can't understand how owners can tell when they have an alignment problem.
  • luckysevenluckyseven Posts: 134
    edited May 2011
    I don't believe this normal, my Camry doesn't pull to any side. While this could be happening because of the tire crowning, I'd first ask dealer to check wheel alignment to rule that out. Even fresh from the factory cars can have wheels misaligned due to shipping or god knows what issues. Ask to test drive few more similar model cars and choose one that can keep straight. Also ask dealer for a car with Michelin tires. Don't settle for anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, they should bend backwards before you sign a purchase agreement. Also don't buy any unneeded extras that finance department will try to push.
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