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Older Camry Maintenance and Repair



  • My 1998 camry (149K) had the check engine light on. It shows the code PO446.. My mechanic said that it was a problem with the vent solenoid. He also said that the car may come under toyota's extended warranty for evaporative systems. I was wondering how to check if my car qualifies for this warranty.. and what could be other problems associated with PO446. Also the fuel economy lately has been very poor. Is this due to the same problem?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Your owners manual or warranty manual should call out what is covered, and for how long.
  • Do you have a warranty with Toyota -- or a third party? When I purchased my car new and they gave me the option, I understood that it would be with Toyota. Wrong. Dealerships make more money on the non-Toyota warranties. So, whichever is your case, just contact the 'company' listed on your warranty form. If' it's a '98, you must have low mileage??? I think my extended warranty is 6 years or 72K miles -- so my warranty ended on my 2002 just this month. Good luck. It's to your advantage to have it taken in and have a record with the mechanic about this problem. Sometime if it goes a month or two over the ext. warranty, the warranty would be honored. J.
  • My wifes 96 Camry Le with the 2.2L engine is overheating. The original problem was the radiator. Overheated and engine shut down. Towed to mechanic and replaced radiator. Been back to the shop several times-still overheating. Have replaced radiator, relay switch, and thermostat. Now the radiator won't hold fluid-just disappears?? I notice smoke from the engine bay and it kinda smells like exhaust fumes near the radiator. Anyone have any ideas? He thinks it's a cracked head or block, but not the head gasket?? How can I tell if he's being truthful, cause now he wants to change the entire engine? What about the water pump-never changed and he never mentioned it? I don't want to put any more money into the car, if it is truly the block or head. What should I do?

  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    If it's not leaking externally, then it's probably sucking the coolant into the intake manifold, turning it to steam, and sending it out your exhaust. You probably have white smoke (steam) coming out the exhaust.

    Could be bad gasket, or something cracked....but you can't tell till you take it apart.

    You don't say what kind of shape the vehicle is in other than this problem, but I wouldn't assume at all that you have to replace the engine.
  • This is an example of an misdiagnose

    The pump originally caused the engine to overheat. It also could have compromised the head gasket depending what you did when it overheated. He clearly missed the the problem.

    The radiator has no moving parts so unless its leaking there is nothing wrong with it. A clogged radiator will overheat at highway speeds if your fluid is always leaking. A leak lets air in and then it rust shut not allowing water to past through

    I would sue him for his incompetence. I would go to court and ask for compression readings in court. Why didnt he check to see if the fans come on when he changed the radiator. If the pump was good when it first overheated it would not overheat again A water pump slowly leaks water out the seal on its shaft, and can only be detected if you get under the car and look for a small trail of water coming from under the timing belt cover. If the overheat broke the pump too, he should have caught it then.He clearly missed the problem.

    Get a compression test at a lube place and document it. A compression test gives you the condition of the engine.

    When you get the compression results back it will show a clyinder with a 100PSI -125 PSI . It is a indicator of a leaking head gasket. The water is getting sucked out the exhaust while you drive, causing it to overheat every time your finish a 30- 40 mile trip. This should have been done on the first overheat. A car should not overheat again when you have the car in for the problem in the first place, He owes you a new engine if hes says its bad. Unless he can document the good compression readings on the original receipt.

    Also the radiator will produce small air bubbles from the bad cylinder if you remove the cap and look inside. Do it while its warming up or your gonna get a face full of hot scolding water.Tell us what the results are.Good Luck!
  • hi. i have a camry 1998 xle. the arm rests on the driver and passenger doors are out of shape. there is a gap around the window/door control unit. it looks ugly and i thought of replacing it. i don't think there's anyway to repair it because those arm rest are hard and i can't shape it back to its original. does anyone know where i can find this type of replacement? i tried to google "arm rest" for my car but nothing shows up. i'm not even sure what part is this called. thanks.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    look at a junk yard
  • I wasn't able to find a definition of "older Camry" so here goes . . .

    The brake hose on my 94 Camry burst. After I replaced it the fitting leaks where the steel line meets the hose. It's not cross threaded and once it began leaking I tightened it more than I felt comfortable with and it still leaks. I've not run into this before where the fitting screws in properly and the junction leaks.

    Here are pictures of the fitting/junction

    Anybody have suggestions/explanations/ideas?
  • I have a 1996 Toyota Camry that has gone through 3 alternators in the past 5 years. Each time it fails under load. Once it starts to fail, I can get it to work temporarily If I shed some of the load (shut off AC or defroster). I have replaced the battery. I have tried new and used alternators, and always get a heavy duty type. I haven't been able to find the cause, any sugestions?

  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Sounds like you have blown one of the diodes. Are you doing any jump starting of other vehicles off of this car?

    I have found over the years, that the "only" time I have failed alternators is after I've used the vehicle to jump other vehicles. On vehicles that I've never used for jumping, they never had a problem.

    I've stopped carrying jumper cables and being so outwardly helpful to others, and if I have a problem with one of my vehicles around the house here, I only use a battery charger instead of a jump. I've not had a failure since.

    The other thing to check, is to make sure all of your electrical connections are free from corrosion, and tight. Look for corrosion up inside the main cables, peel back the insulation a little to check that you don't have corrosion up inside the cables.
  • Where do I find the Turn signal flasher Relay on my 1999 Camry?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Inside the car, drivers side kickpanel on the left.
  • I am having a hard time locating it. Do I have to remove the lower part of the dashborard where the tilt down coin drawer is? I removed the coin drawer and can see the fuse box but I can not seem to find the turn signal relay
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Not at the dash, behind the kickpanel.

    Put your left foot on the floor, move it to the left...... and it will hit the kick panel on the side.
  • rod20rod20 Posts: 14
    diodes should be ok as they are usually within the alternator and you have changed alterators,although all the alts used could have been faulty,get your alt checked at an auto electrical shop they will be able to test it for faults (if its charging and if your diodes are ok,bearings )failing that i would be checking all your earths starting at the battery first sometimes they look ok but are not 9
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,006
    Did your turn signal suddenly stop working? We just had that problem on my daughter's '99 Camry. All other electrical lights, including the brake light, are working just fine. Do you know what the problem is?
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Normally could be the flasher, or could be a bulb. Could also be the turn signal switch, but that becomes less likely.

    You have to look very closely at the dual filament bulbs. What can happen is one of the filaments burns out and breaks, and then lays across the other filament, causing weird problems. Look closely at the intensity of the bulb brightness, to make sure the correct filament is being lit.
  • Yes they just stopped flashing. It was just fixed by replacing the turn signal relay
  • Glad to see someone can share the success. I never hear the results from all are efforts.
  • I have a 2000 Camry. Has a rattle under the dash and the brake light comes on in cold mornings, but otherwise fine. My last tuneup was at 68,758 miles, in March 2007. I am now at 85,000 as of today, 10/3/08. Changed the tranny and coolant fluids in Jan 2008. My mileage is terrific. Do I need a tuneup at 85K, or should I wait? If I wait, for how long?

    Thank you.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Your owners manual, tells you what maintenance needs to be done on what mileage basis.

    When you say 'tune up', do you mean oil change? You certainly shouldn't be doing engine tuneups on 15K mile intervals.

    Did you get anybody to check out your brakes?
  • Hi. The manual did not say "tune up" it just makes suggestions about things to check every 5,000 miles or so. I don't know the last time my brakes were looked at, have not changed my air filter since 68,758.

    How frequent should the tuneup be?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Do you have an owners manual? Usually in the glove compartment..............

    Can send one softcopy, if need be.
  • Yes, I do. I will doublecheck it, but all I saw were the 5,000 mile recommendations.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    With the owners manual, should be a document called scheduled maintenance guide.

    It also has the maintenance to be done, at different mileage marks, (like 80K, 100K, etc)
  • Thank you for the offer to send a manual along. I am having a heck of a time figuring out when to have the car looked over (exhaust, air filter, brakes) versus needing to do an overall tuneup. I appreciate any advice.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Do you know how to access your Edmunds Carspace email?

    I will send you the file to

    Go to Edmunds Home, then their is a link up at the top right to carspace. Click the link, and go to your mailbox.
  • Kiawah, I have an Owner's Manual. It is in front of me. Can you advise on when to schedule a maintenance check? The manual does not say what to do.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Go check your carspace email, i sent you a manual which will lay it out much simpler for you.
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