How Reliable Is The Toyota Camry?

Mark: Hi, this is Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, we’re talking cars. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well Mark.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about the Toyota Camry first thing, how reliable is the Toyota Camry?

Bernie: Overall I’d say it’s a pretty good car. There are a few issue through the years, the Camry has been around for a long time and overall I’d say it’s a very good car.

Mark: So Toyota has a pretty good reputation for reliability and I trust that Camry is pretty much the same?

Bernie: Yeah they are. There’s a few, we’ll go through a few different model years. There’s been a number of generations of Camry, I started trying to figure it out and it’s probably like six or eight, cars been around since the early 1980’s and it’s change a lot. They used to be a very narrow type of vehicle, they’ve gone to a wider body vehicle, I’d say generally always reliable for the era they’re in. When you compare a 1980’s car you have to kind of compare to whatever other 1980’s models were around, not to modern standards. They’re really good vehicles overall. Some interesting issues that I can remember from some of the earlier Camry’s which was carbon buildup in the engine. So you get these cars where they wouldn’t go up a hill, like when you get to the top of a steep hill, all of a sudden the car couldn’t accelerate any more. Problem was actually really simple. It was carbon buildup on the valves of the engine. This is kind of like a beginning of an issue that you know for decades now we’ve done fuel injection cleanings and combustion chamber services to eliminate that problem but what would happen is that intake valves would get covered in carbon deposits and the fuel injectors will be injecting fuel and will all getting soaked and absorbed into the carbon and so as the engine is going up the hill, it wasn’t getting enough fuel. So it’s kind of an interesting issue but something that I remember from the older Camry’s. Also the older Camry’s you get transmission problems as well, but these are so far in the past. I can’t remember the last time I saw those 80’s generation Camry’s. Camry is one of those cars, it’s a good practical car and once it’s lived it’s lifespan, people just send them to the trash can so to speak.

Mark: So how about the later ones, how are they?

Bernie: The later ones are good, I mean they’ve got progressively better. There is an issue with Camry on around the 2007 model year. A lot of excess oil consumption, a lot to complaints around that, so with Toyotas, what I’ve found and I’ve said this many times before you really have to change your engine oil on a regular basis. Now I’m not blaming necessarily bad maintenance, but because there are some obviously engineering defects but really with the Toyota, you’ve got to change your oil every five to eight thousand kilometres depending what kind of oil you use, what’s in there, but really change it early. It’s the best thing you can do for a Toyota. But definitely around the ’07 model year, a lot of companies of excessive oil consumption. So that’s not a great thing, so something to look out for if you’re purchasing a used Camry from a decade ago.

Mark: So one of the things that we mentioned a lot is timing belts and I guess do all Camry’s have timing belts and how often do they need replacement?

Bernie: So Camry has used timing belts through the years for quite a while, they use it right into the 2000 model year on the V6 engines, generally the interval on them is around 160,000 kilometres but in the earlier models the interval was more around 96,000 kilometres or 60,000 miles. So you just need to know which year and model it is to find out when the timing belt interval is. But the 4 cylinders have not used a timing belt in a long time all the newer sixes are all chain driven, so you don’t need to worry. But the best thing to do is, you can look up the information or call a mechanic you trust and get the information.

Mark: So in the late 2000’s, Toyota had the sudden acceleration issue, non-issue blown up kind of thing, were Camry’s one of the affected models?

Bernie: They were. Camry’s were one of the models, I was doing a little research before we got on this hangout, and around the late 2000’s when the recall starting coming out with sudden acceleration issues. Camry is definitely one of them, I think there’s about 5 million vehicles affected. It was a big recall. To put things into perspective, a lot of the problems were just floor mats sticking on the accelerator pedals, that was part of the issue. We see that in a lot of customers cars when people come in with complaints of things and the car doesn’t go fast enough because a floor mat stuck underneath the gas pedal or, you really have to be careful, you have to watch our for your floor mats are positioned on your car, not just Toyota but any car. Anyways, the recall dealt with floor mats and then they actually redid the accelerator pedal because their did seem to be some issues with the accelerator pedal and they did some reprogramming with the vehicle in order that if you, it’s an electronic reprogramming but if you push the brake on the vehicle and you had a foot on the accelerator at the same time, it would actually cut the engine power which is interesting because I notice that when we go to diagnose modern vehicles. A lot of older techniques we would use, sometimes would be to put the right foot on the gas pedal and accelerate and put the brake on and we would use this technique for certain things and I noticed on a lot of newer cars you can’t do that. The moment you put the brake on the car, the engine won’t run anymore. It’s kind of frustrating for a mechanic to do a diagnostic when you’re limited to certain things, the computer limits you but that’s one of the safety features they put in. It’s good idea because obviously if your car is having run away acceleration, you want to be able to stop it.

Mark: So overall, it sounds like this is a pretty good car.

Bernie: Yeah, I like Camry’s, I mean there are a few years with a few issues like I said with the oil consumption so you to to watch that but overall they’ve been throughout the years very reliable, it’s kind of to me a large Corolla, maybe not quite as reliable as a Corolla, but pretty close.

Mark: So there you go. If you’re looking for service for your Toyota Camry in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112, you must book ahead, they’re busy or check out their website Thanks a lot Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark