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Toyota Camry 2006 and earlier



  • I was glad to see that the '03 Camry got three stars in the latest round of testing. Were there any changes made for '03? If not, the '02 results would seem to be an anomaly, but Toyota could have very well made some changes. In fact, lots of carmakers beef up their structures before the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crashes their cars. Even Toyota did this a couple months into selling the new 2001 RAV4s, and the 2002 Lexus IS 300s were re-engineered compared to 2001s. Different test, I know, but they may have done some mods to the 2003s. Does anyone know?

    I actually toured the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety two weeks ago. It was incredible, and they crashed a new Mini Cooper while I was there. The lady kept referring to Toyota and how they "strive for perfection." They had a 2002 Camry on display that had been crashed into the offset barrier at 40 MPH, and the front windshield wasn't even broken. They crashed a 2003 Corolla earlier in the week, and were retesting it the next week after Toyota made some changes. It looked like it did fine, but apparently they weren't happy with something. All of the results from the Institute's lastest round of testing will be available on December 10th.

    The cars that I saw on display (Mini, new Accord, A4, Corolla) did very well.
  • manamalmanamal Posts: 434
    What there any change to the car to account for the difference, or was the first test a fluke?
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    There are some that would prefer the Honda model which is: Here is the car. Take it or leave it. You have no options.

    Some prefer this, seemingly because they don't want to know what else they might be able to get. I agree that it can be frustrating when the exact configuration you want is not sitting at your dealer's lot with your name on it, but that doesn't mean it is a bad system. It allows Toyota to meet regional demands.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    No changes that I am aware of.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    minor changes...XLE now gets standard fog lights.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    No structural changes.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    There may be no structural changes that we're aware of, but there might be. It's very difficult to tell. Interestingly, the 2002 and 2003 side-impact crash test results for the rear passenger were very consistent, with measured pelvic and chest injury numbers being very consistent. It was only the front that showed a significant variation. That consistency makes the chance of an anomalous test lower (e.g. it's not because of an issue in vehicle positioning for the test).

    Thus, either there was an issue in the front dummy positioning in the test, or that there was indeed some kind of change made to the 2003's to help the front passenger.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Note that the new rating for the side crash test shows the Camry earning very close to four stars. For example, the TTI in the 2003 Camry is just one unit higher than the TTI for the 2003 Corolla front passenger (which earns 4 stars), and the Camry's pelvic measure is actully lower. Personally, I still feel that there was some kind of test peculiarity for the 2002, but I would indeed appreciate any kind of statement on the part of EITHER NHTSA OR TOYOTA (if structural changes have been made).

    carguy000- how were you able to tour the IIHS center? do they typically run tour groups, or was this some kind of special event? I want in! That would fun as hell! As a side note, I think that ever since that one Dateline NBC show aired in 1996 with the disatrous IIHS performance of the Previa minivan, Toyota has realized that SAFETY is a selling point.

  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Yes, I noticed that it's very close to 4-stars. Personally, I don't think the test was an anomaly, and I think Toyota did something to the 2003's. But I can't be sure and, like you, I'd love some truthful statements from someone.

    Regardless, I still think that the relatively new Camry should do better at side impacts. A number of older vehicles get a clean 4-stars (some closer to 5-stars) without side airbags.
  • #4588 megawattblues:

    Yes, '95 Camry wheels will fit a '97. All 1992 through 2001 Camry wheels are interchangeable. I think the 2002-03 wheels will also fit those models and vice versa, but I'm not positive.

    -Andrew L
  • c0kec0ke Posts: 44
    I know the shopping around can be frustrating but I thought the cars that showed up at the dealers were "preferenced" by the dealership prior to production. I guess the dealers though are influenced by the "marketing higher-ups".

    If you know exactly what you want you may be able to hook up with a salesman who will look through the "big book" (my terminology). That's how I got exactly the car I was looking for. He put my name on it and told me when it was scheduled for production from that listing. In fact there one with the moon roof the other w/o ... my choice.

    He put my name on it and called me when it was being pulled off the truck. I think it was about a three week wait 'til delivery. This was for an '02 back last year at a time when they only had three new demo Camrys on the lot.

    Some large dealerships I remember had their inventory online. I could have taken a couple hours drive for an immediate deal but then I felt I would be at a disadvantage if there was any bargaining.

    Oh yes, my request was for a specific minimum number of options on an LE V6 ... not a popular preference I suspect.

    Good luck.
  • Thanks!

    I got 4 mtd. I-ZEN's coming from tire rack. As you are finalizing your on-line order, you are prompted to (once again) select the year & model that these tires are for.

    Apparently, my sloppy mouse-click over the drop-down menu selected '95 instead of '97. Didn't realize this 'til I got the confirming email, and tires & wheels had already shipped.

    > beads of sweat on forehead< DOH!

    I can relax now. Thanks again!
  • bdesaibdesai Posts: 24
    As a current owner of a '98 Camry (LE, 40K miles, AT) I feel that I can say this without insulting all you Toyota fans. While this Camry has remained mechanically problem free, just too many stupid little things have me totally p'd off.
    1. Drivers door does not close the way other doors do (from day one). It needs just a little extra push - I know, I know - picky, picky! Heck ya, I'll be picky and expect perfection. I thought Toyotas were only made after a lot of thought and with great detail in mind ?? Not so sure now!
    2. Both rear doors squeak. Granted we do not use these doors often, I have lubed/oiled them regularly.
    3. Rattle from the B pillar on driver’s side. Taken to the dealer multiple times and had some of the trim re-installed but this problem still continues.
    4. Passenger side door armrest trim cracking. I can't believe this.
    5. Driver side door trim that has the window switches is peeling paint. Again, I can't believe this crap.
    6. Hood does not prop up at all when lever pulled from inside the car. It will open without problems but at times it has been left open since
    it is easy to forget it is open since the hood seems perfectly aligned and no visual clue to remind that it is open.
    7. Ditto as above for the trunk. Both of these since day one and when taken to dealer they said, "Well, that’s the way it is".
    Bottom line for me:
    1. This model Camry is cheap, cheap, and cheap. Plastic quality is horrendous. Plastic trim pieces don't fit perfectly.
    2. The "attention to detail" factor is just plain missing.
    3. Seat fabric feels cheap esp. now after 4 years.
    4. I think Toyota seems to putting its good resources to Lexus and SUV products since they fetch a fat profit, and leaving the Camry’s and corollas to their inexperienced teams. While this makes immediate business sense, not taking care of its core and bread and butter products is going to come back someday and bite their [non-permissible content removed].
    5. '98 Camry: Very amateurish.
    6. I am done with you TOYOTA. When its time to buy a new car, I am going to HONDA. Asta La Vista, baby!!
  • Anyone out there have a electrical manual on a 1990 toyota camry.
    I am trying to install a new radio on the car but the snap in adaptor is missing. Looks like when they took the old radio instead of unhooking the adaptor they cut it right straight thru the wires.
    Now what I have is a bundle of wires not knowing where it goes.
    Where is a good manual to find that type of information on the radio wires?
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I would agree with you about that generation vehicle, though I have not had nearly the problems that you have had with yours. Also, some of your issues are weird- for example, the "peeling paint" on your window switch panel. To my knowledge, thats not painted plastic, its dyed. That said, our Japan assembled 2000 Camry has interior quality and materials on par with the best that GM offers. Thats not saying much. However, I feel that our 2002 is MUCH improved in this respect, and everything feels sturdy to the touch, and looks it. In fairness, you may want to give the redesign a chance- Toyota smartly "recontented" this car. As for Honda- you may be impressed with the gorgeous instrumentation of the new Accord (as was I).. but the switchgear (windows, climate control) feels cheaper than in previous versions, and compared to the new design Camry. Other plastics are still of high quality, though.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    I believe the Haynes manual has it.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    FYI- finally has pricing information for the 2003 Camry option packages, which are different from those of 2002.

    Any new V6 insider information? This was a hot topic about two weeks ago...

  • bdesaibdesai Posts: 24
    Thats what I thought about the window switch trim, that it is not coated with the color but that the whole plastic IS that color. Well, the color started to peel and under it is black colored plastic !!!!
    Don't get me wrong, the car is still way better than a lot of cars out there in its class. But I am still rather disappointed because it is BELOW my expectations. I feel that once upon a time Toyota put a lot of its resources in basic family cars. Now that the profit margins have gotten thinner in the this class of cars (due to too much competition) they just seem to have abandoned it. If they get the GM/Ford bug of concentrating on big profit vehicles only, they'll end up with the same fate.
  • tommyg12tommyg12 Posts: 158
    According to the "new" option packages on Cars Direct, the only way to get an SE/V6 with "factory" leather and a sunroof is to order the SE Navigation package. I find it strange that a sunroof is not part of the SE Premium package.

    I'm not real sure that I want the leather and side air bags installed as a regional. But then it gets more weird, to add heated seats you have to order the SE Premium or NAV package. So either way you look at it, to get an SE/V6 with leather, sunroof, and heated seats, you have to purchase the NAV package. Can someone else plug in a configuration and see if I have missed something. Thanks.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    So perhaps is not yet fully updated, I just encountered the problem you illustrated. You should be able to add the SE Premium Pkg and then the power moonroof as a stand alone option (at least according to the vehicle brochure viewable at It is true that heated seats require the SE Premium Pkg OR SE Nav Package. But it is not true that to get a moonroof and heated seats you MUST purchase the Nav Package.
  • tommyg12tommyg12 Posts: 158
    You are correct. I went to and the sunroof is listed as a separate option. So if one does not want nav, it looks like the best bet is the SE Premium with the sunroof and heated seats as individual options. Thanks.
  • I have owned 7 Toyotas over 18 years and agree that Toyotas build quality is not what it used to be. But, remember that Toyota has to perform a balancing act. They want to maintain good enough build quality to satisfy buyers but keep the price down so they're cost competive. The Toyota Motor Company has years of experience in building the most trouble free cars in the world with excellent build quality - Lexus. The new JD Power Dependability Survey states that a 1998 Lexus has few problems today than the average 1998 new car did when it was new. Lexus is on top in the survey and I believe it has been #1 almost every year the survey was done.
    Toyotas are mass market cars. I think Toyota is correct is concluding that mass market buyers are not willing to pay the several thousand dollar premium for Lexus like build quality. Toyota Motors believes that value and features are more important to the Toyota buyer than no rattles. They may have let build quality slip too much in the new Toyotas in this balancing act between build quality and price. If Toyota decides to increase build quality in response to the complaints about rattles, I'm confident that they can increase build quality to any level they wish to achieve.
  • vicheviche Posts: 30
    I'm thinking of buy a used 2002 Camry SE 4 cyl Automatic and I have a couple of questions for you experienced Camry owners:

    1. Does the 4 cyl require premium gas?

    2. Does the new lowered reliably score from Consumer Reports affect the the 2002 cars as well or are the 2003 being manufactured somewhere new?

    3. What things should I have my mechanic check out? Have their been any major reoccuring issues with this car that I should know about?

    4. Does the vent system have the ability to use either outside or re-circulated air?

    5. Do any of you know if the warranty on a new car transfers to the next owner (me)?

    Thank so much!!!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    1. no, you can use regular unleaded in the 4-cyl

    2. the new reliability score IS for the 2002, and comes because of numerous problems related to rattles, squeaks, and general unpleasantness of that sort. The 2003 MAY have many of the same problems, although Toyota made a very public announcement this week or last that it has resolved those problems for new cars. Whether it actually has or not remains to be seen. Make sure to test drive the car you intend to buy on rough pavemant if you go ahead, but be advised that many of the people reporting here have not had these problems appear until several weeks into ownership.

    3. Apart from that, there is nothing special that should be checked beyond the usual things you should check for any used car.

    4. Yes, you can use recirc or outside air for the HVAC. A/C runs automatically when you have the setting on defrost, or defrost/floor.

    5. The original transferrable warranty on the camry is 5 years from date of first use, and 60,000 miles for powertrain coverage. The bumper to bumper is 3 years/36,000 miles. It follows the car, so you will have it too, and you can have it serviced at any Toyota dealer in the U.S.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • I already paid thousands more for my Camry than a Taurus. I paid those $$ for better reliability and fit and finsh including NO RATTLES. If Toyota thinks I am going to pay more on top of that to get into a Lexus they are nuts. I strongly expect they will find out that if they do not nip this in the bud they will start to loose market share. Again, you are already paying more for the Toyota so you expect something more in return. It does not seem they learned their lesson from their little sludge issue does it?

    As far as correcting the 2003 rattles...this is hogwash, as stated in a prior post:

    1) The dealer's are unaware of any TSBs specifically tied to adjusting the 2002s door pillars or dashes.

    2) When I called and cited the press release, Toyota could offer no specifics on what was changed in 2003s or how something could be implemented so 2002 was built in April...the 03s came out soon after.

    3) They could not site specifically any internal survey targeted at customers demonstrating that the Toyota community is feeling better about their rattles.

    I am not saying it is a bad car but I am no longer conviced it is as good as they would have you believe. Lets see how they stand by their product...I anxiously await word from dealer with a rattle fix solution for my door pillars and dash.

    Again, I know I have been pesemistic of late, but each time I see a positive spin on things it disapoints me. This is the same crap I use to hear about the American cars...people don't care if they rattle, if radio knobs fall off, if doors are long as it's cheap....well this is one dude who cared and payed extra for a car puported to be different. Perhaps it all relative, may be the above average Camry will now be average and the average Ford will drop to below average....
  • You raise a lot of issues, but the crux of your arguement seems to be that you paid "thousands more" for a Camry over a Taurus and you think that this price premium entitles you to a rattle free car. First, of all the idea of paying "thousands" more for a Camry is wrong. The Edmunds TMV price for a middle of the line Camry LE V6 auto is $20,809. I don't know which Taurus is comparable to this Camry, but the Edmunds TMV price for the entire Taurus line is $18,751 to $22,536. The midpoint of this price range is $20,643, exactly $273 cheaper than the Camry. And guess what, in a few years the Camry will be worth much more than the $273 price difference because Camry has excellent resale while Taurus has poor resale. So it seems to me that the Camry is the same price or cheaper than the Taurus considing initial price and resale. I know that the Edmunds TMV prices are realistic because 18 months ago I bought a Toyota for exactly the Edmunds TMV price. If you paid thousands more for a Camry, your situation has nothing to do with Camry reliability or Taurus reliability - you simply overpaid for your car.

    I'll make another attempt at saying what I said earlier, but hopefully clearer. Toyota is clearly capable of building the best quality cars in the world (Lexus), but they believe that the number of buyers willing to pay a premium of thousands of dollars for this build quality is limited. Instead, Toyota has chosen to remain competitive on price. However, I do believe that the rattles with the new Camrys shows that they may have comprimised a little too much on build quality. If you look at the results of quality surveys like JD Power, you will see that Lexus/Toyota have consistently been at the top of these surveys since the surveys began. To me this says that the Toyota Motor Corp knows exactly how to build cars with consistently high build quality. But, in the case of Toyota they decided to balance build quality with price. Personally, I would prefer a balance more in the direction of build quality. However, I think Toyota recently moved up to 3rd or 4th largest car builder in the world, so maybe Toyota is right and I am wrong.
  • Hello,

    My wife and I are the new owners of a 2003 LE, 4 cylinder, automatic. Option packages are ABS and airbags group. I have read through the old posts regarding the transmission "clunk" and have noted that it is only supposed to apply to the V6. Our car also has a strange noise when going from reverse to drive. It is louder than a "click" but probably not loud enough that I would call it a "clunk". Sequence of events follows:

    Start car
    Put in reverse. Doors automatically lock.
    Put into drive, passing through neutral.
    After you have gone 5 to 10 feet forward, there is a noise almost like a switch opening/closing.
    This happens with overdrive engaged or disengaged.

    Any ideas or comments? I wanted to have some information on hand before going to the dealer and being told this is "normal". Thanks.

  • I appreciate what you are saying and am not denying it. Note that at the time I purchased my Camry the Ford had $2500 in rebates....against a slightly inflated sticker. Furthermore, at year's end at least the Fords never sell anywhere near their sticker. So actually I did spend 2K more for the Camry. I don't dispute what you are saying about depreciation...those Ford rebates drove the price of low mileage 2001 Taurus program cars down to 15K! I almost got one but decided I had had enough down time in the garage and rattles. Furthermore the rattles I am experiencing as are others) are mostly in the likely poorly designed door pillars, or the way they are assembled. I would not be complaining about an occasional rattle here or there. These are fairly consistent. Lets hope for a TSB and then my Camry might feel like a Lexus.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    My experience with Edmund's TMV for Taurus when I bought mine was their TMV did not count rebates and the willingness of dealers to deal. My 2000 SES with 200 HP Duratec V-6 I bought for at least $1500 less than TMV (I paid $18,000 not including tax title and license transfer). Taurus MSRP prices have not risen but about $200-$300 since then. Two years later and at 20K miles, no squeaks, rattles, or problems of any sort. There are good alternatives out there.
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