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Toyota Camry Rattles



  • 'Camrys are built better than other vehicles'...they better be, that is why I bought one. Unfortunately Toyota decided to build a car of lesser quality in the current least in so far as how the pieces are assmebled. There are enogh entries in this forum (and on the net) to justify this is not an abberation. Consumer Reports also noted this. Does this mean over all the Camry is still not better than anything out there...not necesarily but they walk a fine line. I remember when Iococa (Chrysler) said words to the effect that Americans would rather have cars with rattles and radio knobs that fall off than pay a premium price. Well I am paying a premium price for my Camry and the day I hear any words from Toyota to the effect of 'we have some rattles but still beat the best' or 'these lower cost fasteners keep the price down' is the day my Camry gets a FOR SALE sign in the window. It will be interesting to see where Toyota is 5 years from now....hope they own up and fix these issues...don't laugh Hyndai and Kia are catching up!
  • probably because quite honestly there was nowhere for them to go but up. I have to laugh when I here people try and compare the Ford Taurus to the Camry especially when the facts are overwhelming that the Camry is much better long term than the Taurus. It doesn't get much better than the Camry or Accord long term for a family sedan, without paying a $10,000 premium.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    On my 2000 Taurus SES Duratec at 29K miles and still no rattles. Paid several thousands less than an equivalent V-6 Camry as well. Note CR now rates Camry and Taurus in the "average" reliability range as well.
  • ever since I got this new car, I could hear annoying sound from driver side up in my left ear, dashboard close to steering wheel and passenger side as well. It even became disturbing when a truck passed by a vibration sound or sounds like a broken speaker could be heard. I don't know why Toyota made such a junky car. Everybody says Camry has a great tracking record of being reliable or durable (don't know about that yet). But not any more, they try to sell you a cheaper car with cheaper material in an attempt to gain sales leader in this competitive market. Rattle & squeak happened when I got less than 100 miles on meter. Right now it's 860 miles...
    Of course you would say take it to the dealer, hey, by taking it to the dealer you have to make an appointment first, then leave the car over there for a day or so, which means I have nothing to drive. Can I get a loaner?

    Who say 10 year/100,000 miles is good?
  • I think that is great that you say you don't have any abnormal noises in your vehicle but please don't try and compare the Taurus to the Camry by saying that both vehicles now have an average rating and that they both must be equal. Again, lets look at the long term facts of both vehicles and I'm sure you will be able to tell the difference between the two. In the last eight years the Camry has only one half black mark on it for the suspension for the 1997 model year. Now lets have a look at the Taurus. 9 out of the 14 categories have black marks against the Taurus. That is why I pay several thousand more for my Camry. The only way that I would even consider buying a Taurus was if they threw in a much longer warranty at no charge, but then I would be giving up the superior refinement of the drivetrain.
  • I will concur (sludge issue aside) that ***pre-2002*** Camry's had an overall much better reliability record than the domestics and the Taurus in general. You do pay a premium up front for this of course. If you wanted to buy a car and keep it a ** long ** time AND minimize trips to the dealer then the Camry was the way to go. If your goal was to keep the car 3 years or less and did not mind a trip to the dealer for a covered repair every now and then, you likely could likely have saved $$$ by opting for the Taurus. If your keeping the car 4-5 years one might argue that it is a wash since more was paid for up front for the Camry but the Taurus by years 4 -5 will start costing you $$$ in repairs. After year 5, the Camry becomes the better bet….

    I like to keep my cars 5+ years and I also wanted to get away from the constant trips to dealer I had experienced with my older (and initially cheaper) Ford. This is why I spent more for the 2002 Camry. Sadly, the Camry has not entirely lived up to its past reputation, at least in the squeaks and rattles arena. My dealer actually cited examples where they use fewer fasteners to hold the car together. If, to keep costs down, they are cheating the car in this arena, who is to say they are not cut corners mechanically as well. In early 2002 I gave Toyota the (earned) benefit of the doubt based on it prior reputation that the new generation would be fully up to par. It has not lived up to my expectations. Also, Toyota fails to acknowledge the problem (I gave them a pass on the sludge issue since I figured they never had a screw up before thus no experience handling one). Case in point: Towards the end of the 2002 year Toyota issued a press release on the rattles/creak issues to head off the knock in Consumer Reports. They stated dealers had fixes for all the rattles and had re-designed the 2003s. Untrue. My dealer has only a few known fixes for creak and rattle issues and most of them they figured out themselves. Furthermore I called Toyota and they could not even cite one design change in the 2003s. Meanwhile my car continues to experience intermittent creaks/rattles/vibrations, sometimes a new one will crop up, other times I get a return engagement from one that had not been around for a while. I attribute this behavior to an over all cheapened design rather than a lack of insulation here or there. In other words they cut corners to keep costs down. If they did it in one area, how do I know they did not cheat another as well. Only time will tell….

    As far as Kia and Hyndai improving but only because they 'had no where to go but up'....I say, true but look how fast they are improving. Again, I think Toyota should keep on their toes!

    Ok by now most of you think I am a paranoid worry wart. I admit, rattles aside, I like my Camry just fine but want my investment protected. I like folks thinking the Toyota is a notch above everyone else because it actually is. I do not like Toyota cheapening the car in any way, denying culpability and doing anything that diminishes the reputation of my investment. I sincerely hope in years 3-5 (if I can stomach the rattles) my car will remain mechanically worry free. I also hope Toyota makes some strides to head this rattle/creak issue now before their customer base starts to dwindle and they are forced to make further cost saving alterations. This can only lead to a quality diminishment change in the perception of Toyota.
  • I too have the same rattle noises from a 2002 Camry XLE coming from the back left and right sides of the car. Dealer has tried to fix it 8 or 9 time but it coming back at different area.

    I recommend a complain list of individual to voice our opinion to Toyato. I have already start to contact our local news channel to investigate. Dealer and Toyato may not notice one or two individual voices but I am sure we will get more attention if we let them know it's not a few. We are talking about hundreds. Please set me an email([email protected]) with subject "Toyato Camry Noise". Not sure if anyone has try this yet or not. Let me know if this is a good idea or not.
  • canoe2canoe2 Posts: 128
    Sorry to hear folks having rattles for 2002 Camry.
    As I understood, most of rattles had been correct for 2003 and later models. Always, there are many problems for first year model, check Honda Accord for rattles as well, not Camry alone.
  • I would think that our Camry's will be as reliable long term as the previous generation because alot of the mechanical components in this generation (02-03) are the same. As for the sludge issue, there was a minor change made to the engine in order to accomodate those people who didn't like getting a regular oil change I guess. The recommended oil change interval for our car now is every 8,000km which I think is a long time. Imagine there are people driving 20-40,000km before changing the oil. Those people deserve to have a sludge problem.

    As for the time frame analysis of the Toyota vs. Ford and which is the better deal, I think you are pretty accurate but also keep in mind the amount Ford depreciates vs Toyota.

    Also, I think it would be us the consumer who would benefit a great deal if Toyota were to "stay on their toes". That would be a good thing as the product could always be better.
  • nw1997nw1997 Posts: 227
    Hello Everyone,

         I was reading all the recent posts in regards to the Camry 02 and 03 rattles and body noises. We are awaiting delievery on our 04 Camry SE V6 and after reading the posts I was very concerned. I just got off the phone with Toyota in California (800) 331-4331 select Opt. #3, this is where you could find out about product refinement, technical questions, etc. They were very helpful in explaing to me what they have done to address the noise, rattles, etc in the Camry's. For the 04 models they have installed liquid filled engine mounts to reduce/damping engine vibrations. Second, they have installed damping steel and asphalt sheeting which is applied to the fire wall, center tunnel, rear wheel wells and flooring to keep out road and tire noise as well as engine noise. Third, they improved the chasis to be more of a ridgid body to reduce creaks and rattles over rough surfaces. Fourth, they added front and rear sub frame anti vibrations pads to reduce/isolate noise from entering the passanger cabin. Lastly, for the four cyclinder models they added engine and transaxle stiffner plates to reduce transaxle vibrations in the passanger cabins and for the six cyclinder models they have installed a two piece oil pan which serves a similar function as the four cyclinder models stiffner plates do. I do hope that this resolves a great deal, if not all the creaks and rattles in the Camry's. Like everyone else, we are not spending over $30,000.00 on a vehicle that has rattles, for that we would have bought a babie's rattle instead and save $29,999.00 :-). I have also heard and read of similar complaints on the new Accords, but when I contacted Honda they stated that they have done nothing to address these complaints for the 04 Accord models. If anyone is interested, look at the NHTSA web site and you will find about 75 complaints on the 03 Camry, but the 03 Accord complaints are well over 170. Thank you Toyota for the upgrades.

  • None of the fixes Toyota mentioned address the door pillar rattles, door rattles and myriad of dask creaks/rattles/vibrations. Don't be fooled. If we are to believe rattles are acceptable because Honda's rattle too then you might as well admit they are going down the path, perhaps gradually, of cheapening their cars...yet the prices are still several thousand more than the doemstics. This smells bad to me....

    SLUDGE ISSUE: This did not only effect those who did not get regular oil changes. In fact Toyota was giving folks with receipts a hard time if they were not TOYOTA RECEIPTS. I hope they fixed the problem.

    2002 SHARES MANY COMPONENTS OF LAST GENERATION understanding is my 4 cylinder was new engine. In fact the v4 is new in 2004. I still do not think you can count on this car being good long term since it was a total redesign....which already shows a cheapening in one area.
  • slov98slov98 Posts: 112
    I think I am the only one that doesn't know anything about the sludge issue. My father has a 94 camry, 120k miles running fine but oil is changed regularly around 4500k, was that the sludge problem? people not changing the oil?

    By the way his 94 camry v6 cost the same as my 2003 v6.

    The only complaint at this moment is the noise coming from the seat belt retractor on the driver side, I'm used to it now though, it's not very loud.
  • Yes, andrelaplume you are correct on your 4 cylinder engine being new to the Camry but that engine has been offered in the Highlander since it's inception. They also use it in the Solara and a version of that engine in the Tacoma pickup.
  • For $26.95cdn I will get my oil changed regularly at the dealership as well. I am a stickler when it comes to changing the oil because it is the single cheapest/best thing you can do for your car. There were reports that people with receipts still had the problem albeit none with receipts from Toyota dealerships. Toyota even took care of people who couldn't produce receipts.
  • nw1997nw1997 Posts: 227

    In regards to your posts, I agree with some of your comments but disagree with others. In this economy nearly every company is looking for ways to reduce costs and increase profits. Auto manufactures are not any different. I do have to state that I have been around vehicles since the age of six years old, so it would be hard to "fool" me. In regards to engine sludging, yes Toyota stepped up to the plate and admitted wrong, for them to be tough with those customers that did not have an original receipt, they were 100% correct. Many people do not get their oil changes on time just like slov98 mentioned. If I had to replace engines or correct issues I would want to ensure that these customers went to replicable auto shop (Toyota) to have the work done (oil changes). Lets face it, it is not difficult to slip someone a $20.00 bill and receive a book of blank receipts. So, for Toyota to be tough on that issue I would agree. If I may attempt to defend Toyota, we leased an RX300 and just returned it to the lease Co. During our lease we received a rude letter from the dealership stating that they will void my warranty due to me not changing my oil on time, (they were probably upset that I wasn't giving them the business). They were also brave enough to send a copy to Corporate Lexus in California in regards to me not changing my oil. After a few weeks later I received an official letter from Corporate Lexus stating that they stand behind every Lexus that they manufacture and that their engines are well built not to have engine sludging. In writing they also stated that they are so confident in their vehicles that they put in writing that they warrantyed their engine not to have any sludging for 8 years or 80,000 miles even if the consumer never changed the oil. After reading this letter, I was impressed, I have never heard a manufacturer ever making such a claim, neither Mercedes, Acura/Honda would put something in writing of that nature. So me being so intuitive took them up for the challenge. I did not change the oil on our 2000 RX300 for over 20,000 miles. We drove down to Florida on several occasions with temperatures over 110F and the A/C blasting. With the same oil we went to Canada on three different occasions with temperatures below -10F. I only utilized regular gas and I was getting 20.7 miles per gallon Combination Hwy/City on this AWD model, which is rated for 22 MPG HWY using super unleaded fuel. For reliability Toyota/Lexus makes a superb product compared to many other manufacturers in the industry. For a "perfect" vehicle I have not found any not even Toyota/Lexus, everyone cuts corners even the high end companies. I was pleased that at least Toyota is addressing the issues, hopefully it will resolve many of the creaks and rattling.

  • Excellent post, and that is the reason people don't have a problem buying a Toyota/Lexus. The fact is Toyota is the standard by which other manufacturers go by.
  • 1) Re: The fact is Toyota is the standard by which other manufacturers go by....I sincerly hope we can still make this statement several years from now.

    2) Sludge: Toyota did not 'step up' it took quite a bit of prodding before they would even admit there was a problem. They did give folks a hard time who did not have oil change records...ok. However those with valid receipts from Jiffy Lube or other such places were (from what I have read) were also given a hard time. If Toyoa wants you to use their dealerships then they should make it part of the warranty requirements. Sure, in the end they stood behind their cars. We can debate the subject on and on...bottom line they came across with egg on their face on this one. Also what bewilders me is that if there created a fix or modification to prevent the sludge problem, why were all those old Toyotas NOT recalled.

    Anyway, to be honest if it were not for the new 4 cylinded in the 2002, I would not have taken a chance on the Camry as I was making a purchase right in the middle of the sludge fiasco.
  • Firstly, I know first hand about those quick lube places when I pulled out of one a few years back in my 1990 Sentra. I got not even a block away when my engine light came on. That's right, they got my oil change done in record time but forgot one miner detail, the #@ oil. Anyways, all of the Toyota dealers in my area have Express Lube where I can actually stay with the car and watch them do the oil change.

    As for the 3.0 liter V6, I have no problem with it being under the hood of my car. I am actually excited to see just how many miles I can put on it. Just talk to your local dealers' service department and they will tell you they get Camry's and Corolla's in all time with extremely high miles on them. I even had the pleasure of witnessing it for myself when I was getting my 1999 Camry serviced. There was a gentleman getting the oil changed on his 1994 LE V6 Camry and would you believe it, the odometer had just rolled over 600,000km. I asked him how much longer he planned on keeping the car and his response was, "I would love to get a new one but this thing just won't die". Now that's reliability!!!!!!
  • nw1997nw1997 Posts: 227

    Nice post. I have a relative that owns a 1984 Toyota Supra that he purchased used back in 1990. Would you believe he has over 750,000 miles on the odometer. Yes the engine knocks, the body is rotten nearly all over, (he lives in upstate New York). In his area they spread salt on the roads like it was for free. He has never had an accident due to poor traction, hence and it is a rear wheel drive. Never left him stranded. He never takes his cars to Jiffy Lube, he does the work himself and always uses Toyota oil and parts. Jiffy Lube is one of the last places I would take my vehicle, I would rather go to somewhere replicable, like SEARS or Walmart. Hey, if andrelaplume is not satisfied with the 02 Camry, I would make complaints in writing and follow up all the way. If not satisfied, sell the vehicle privately and buy something else, but he knows the "glitches" he has now, but he may not know the "glitches" that he may face when getting another vehicle. Engine sludging is like Honda's bad tranny's, which are still bad tranny's, just go to NHTSA site or

  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    No car is 100% perfect. Not even cars that costs 6 figure. Judging by the posts, it seems like the squeaks and rattles are the main problems dodging the re designed Camrys. Hey, I am not defending Toyota and they should try their best to rectify the problems but I would rather live with some squeaks and rattles than a bad engine or transmission. Squeaks and rattles won't leave you stranded on the side of the road. Bad engine and transmission will.
  • nw1997nw1997 Posts: 227
    I agree with you all the way!

  • buzzhdbuzzhd Posts: 39
    I also agree no car is 100 % perfect, none of rattles & squeak will strand your car, but engine and tranny will. However don't you think that disturbing noises make your suffer, annoying. I could hear loud noises coming all around me whenever the car bumps on the road, especially in the morning. This happened ever since I got this car back in late August. Sometimes I am just wondering I'd better pick a car with leather seat and that maybe better in terms of rattles & squeak, and at least those materials will be different. For spending around 24,000 for this 03 LE V6, am I going to expect those noises when the car is new?

    A friend of mine also got 03 LE V6 in 2002, he had same rattles & squeak, but a lot better than mine. He took it to the dealer twice, who didn't do what he expected them to do, instead they damaged the vanity mirror on the right side. Yes, they fixed some, but new comes up...

    I had my 92 Nissan Maxima before I bought the Camry. I didn't have that kind of rattles...
  • slov98slov98 Posts: 112
    if a rattle bothers you and you can 'reproduce' it at anytime, I think you should give your dealership a chance to fix it, drive with someone so they can hear it never know they may actually fix it, even if the odds are against it
  • ross24ross24 Posts: 5
    I too, wanted to get info. on what Toyota has done to fix problems reported on 2003 models (brake rotors, steering off-center). I tried calling Toyota in California (800) 331-4331 select Opt. #3, but they didn't seem very helpful.

    Rather than addressing refinements done to 2004 Camry models (to fix reported problems with 2003 models), the person I spoke with simply issued a blanket statement that all reported problems in 2003 models were probably fixed in 2004 models (uh-huh).

    When asked for any specific issue related to brakes or steering that was found in 2003, then addressed in 2004, they had none to cite. They wouldn't even acknowledge that the rattle issue was addressed at all. To make sure I got that right, I asked again.. and they said that whatever issues existed with 2003 Camry's probably still exist in 2004 models.

    Although, I'm looking at a 2004 Camry, it would be nice to get more of an assurance that Toyota has made an effort to get the 2004's right.
  • Hi all,
    I bought a 03 Camry SE V6 in May, and have close to 5000 miles on it. The car is great, no rattles at all. The only thing I don't like about the car is the low hanging exhaust pipe that all Gen. 5 Camrys have. I wonder why they make em that way? Any way I knew about that when I bought it.
  • canoe2canoe2 Posts: 128
    I noticed few gen 5 Camry's had really low hanging pipe. I checked on my car 2003, the pipe had moved up higher at least 3". So Toyota must have made the change(s) between 2002-2003.
  • junepugjunepug Posts: 161
    We purchased an American made 2002 Camry LE V6 in July of 2002 and have not experienced any rattles in over 12,000 miles. It is one of the most delightful cars to drive that we have ever had. The only car that I can honestly say was more comfortable was our 1973 Volvo 142 that we kept for 13 years.

    I must also add that I was so impressed by the Camry that I bought a 2003 V6 non LTD Highlander in Oct 2002. It is also a very quiet car with no rattles or problems.

    My only complaint is the bumpers. Just what is wrong with the old steel, chrome bumpers from the 60's and 70's? These new bumpers cost over 350 dollars to have repaired if a bad scratch is encountered. This seems to be true on all new autos, both foreign and domestic. Why must we be so stylish??
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    If you are in the market looking for a 2004 Camry, test drive it thoroughly. Drive it over different types of road surfaces- asphalt, concrete, smooth, rough etc and keep your ears peeled for unusual noises. The Toyota dealer in my town actually allows potential customer to keep the car overnight without a commitment to buy it. You are allowed to put 25 miles in the odometer. I think that's a great idea.
  • Had my car in for a variety of door area creaks/vibrations and rattles. All the door seals were again lubed but this time with a 3M paste. It seams the original lube actually caused the seals to stick after a while making some noises worse. For now a great many of rattles eminating from the door areas are gone. Will a re-lube be necesary...time will tell. I guess the dealer could re-lube at each oil change if necesary...perhaps the lube will last longer as it is suppose to penetrate the seals better. If you have not had your seals lubed, give it a does appear to make a big difference.

    Unfortunately, the vibration eminating from the radio area was not vibrating so they did not pull the face plating and mentioned in earlier posts. The tech said he had not heard of problems in this area but it seams common based on what I have seen on the board. It typically happens when it is hot outside...guess I should have stopped back at the dealer in summer but I waited until I was due for my next oil running back and forth to the dealer reminds me of the good ole' days with my Ford...running back and forth every other month...was hoping to have fewer trips with the Camry.

    Finally, We have had a few abnormally cold days the last few weeks. On two occasions I heard a horrible thumping type rattle from the passenger air vent area in the dash. It went away when the car warmed up. Of course it did not do it when the car was in, however the tech said he has seen a number of cases where the metal speaker frame bumps some platstic part in the dash creating a thump. He did not want to rip mine apart until he heard the noise. It will no doubt return as the temp drops. If you have a noise in this area, you may want to mention the speaker.
  • The cold weather and a variety of rattles that appear eminate from the dash where it meets the windshield are back now that it is getting cold. I think this is the same problem 'corrected' in early spring which required with removal of the cowl just under the wiper blades and a gasket replaced. Perhaps this 'fix' only works heading into warmer weather and not into colder weather. I am furious and I guess I'll need to schedule another visit with the dealer...This Camry is catching up to my Mystique in terms of irratating visits to the dealer. I had a fair summer with the car...biggest disturbance was the buzzing that eminated around the radio. Now I have that, this dash/windshield noise, a new noise that clatters up front on the passenger side and of course the normal door pillar rattles...

    Toyota.... Oh what a feeling!
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