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Used Toyota Camry

Avoid the Top 5 Most Expensive Repairs

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Published on 1/5/2017

Summary

  • Learn what the most expensive repairs for used Toyota Camrys are, so you can keep them at bay.
  • When Camry shopping or selling you can check that these conditions are not imminent.
  • Tips and warning signs for investigating each of these repairs.

Introduction

The Toyota Camry is the most searched for Toyota sedan in the U.S., over the last twelve years.

For current Camry owners, you can use this list to be proactive in preventing these repairs. For buyers and sellers, this list will help to focus your evaluation of the health of the prospective Camry. For the non-mechanically savvy this can be an overwhelming task (read: 100 point evaluation checklists and countless instructional videos).

Our bare bones advice is the following – check into as many of those details as you can, but absolutely make sure the following 5 major repairs are NOT needed on your Camry[1].

The Heavy Hitters

Using data from carinorder.com, we have compiled a list of the most expensive repair estimates for Toyota Camrys, based on the amount of labor necessary[2]. These have been further sub-divided by year and engine type.

We have also included common warning signs for these repairs, which one can use as a starting point for detection. Or you can specifically ask your mechanic how he or she checked on these during their checkup[3].

Click on a box below to open/close the desired section:

1997-2001 Toyota Camry, 4-Cylinder
Used Toyota Camry: Graph #1
Figure 1: Top 5 Most Expensive Repairs for 1997-2001 Toyota Camrys, 4-Cylinder (Total Cost Shown)

Below are some common warning signs for these repairs:

Clutch

  • Burning smell
  • Soft or “spongy” clutch
  • Difficulty or grinding while shifting gears
  • Clutch pedal that seems to stick to the floor

Cylinder Head Gasket

  • White smoke coming from the exhaust pipe, after the car has fully warmed up (running for about 5 minutes)
  • White milky oil when you check the engine oil level via the dipstick
  • Engine coolant leaking from under the vehicle
  • An engine that overheats during operation

Torque Converter

  • An engine that overheats during operation
  • Loss of acceleration
  • Intermittent shuddering of vehicle, around 35-40mph
  • Gear slippage or difficulty shifting

Oil Pump

  • Engine oil warning light is on (indicating low oil pressure)
  • Unusual noise or clatter coming from the engine during operation
  • Elevated engine temperature (keep an eye on the temperature gauge)
  • Be wary of a car which has not had regular oil changes (always ask for those service records!)

Timing Belt

  • Difficulty for the engine to start up
  • Rough idling
  • Engine misfires
  • Poor engine operation (sluggish or low power)
  • Noises coming from the engine (ticking, rattling, whirring, or whining)

2002-2006 Toyota Camry, 4-Cylinder
Used Toyota Camry: Graph #2
Figure 2: Top 5 Most Expensive Repairs for 2002-2006 Toyota Camrys, 4-Cylinder (Total Cost Shown)

Below are some common warning signs for these repairs:

Clutch

  • Burning smell
  • Soft or “spongy” clutch
  • Difficulty or grinding while shifting gears
  • Clutch pedal that seems to stick to the floor

Torque Converter

  • An engine that overheats during operation
  • Loss of acceleration
  • Intermittent shuddering of vehicle, around 35-40mph
  • Gear slippage or difficulty shifting

Cylinder Head Gasket

  • White smoke coming from the exhaust pipe, after the car has fully warmed up (running for about 5 minutes)
  • White milky oil when you check the engine oil level via the dipstick
  • Engine coolant leaking from under the vehicle
  • An engine that overheats during operation

Oil Pump

  • Engine oil warning light is on (indicating low oil pressure)
  • Unusual noise or clatter coming from the engine during operation
  • Elevated engine temperature (keep an eye on the temperature gauge)
  • Be wary of a car which has not had regular oil changes (always ask for those service records!)

Timing Chain

  • Noises (rattling, whirring, or whining) coming from the engine, especially when idling
  • Rough idling
  • Engine misfiring
  • Poor engine operation (sluggish or low power)
  • Fear the car which has not had regular oil changes

2007-2011 Toyota Camry, 4-Cylinder
Used Toyota Camry: Graph #3
Figure 3: Top 5 Most Expensive Repairs for 2007-2011 Toyota Camrys, 4-Cylinder (Total Cost Shown)

Below are some common warning signs for these repairs:

Below are some common warning signs for these repairs:

Torque Converter

  • An engine that overheats during operation
  • Loss of acceleration
  • Intermittent shuddering of vehicle, around 35-40mph
  • Gear slippage or difficulty shifting

Cylinder Head Gasket

  • White smoke coming from the exhaust pipe, after the car has fully warmed up (running for about 5 minutes)
  • White milky oil when you check the engine oil level via the dipstick
  • Engine coolant leaking from under the vehicle
  • An engine that overheats during operation

Clutch

  • Burning smell
  • Soft or “spongy” clutch
  • Difficulty or grinding while shifting gears
  • Clutch pedal that seems to stick to the floor

Oil Pump

  • Engine oil warning light is on (indicating low oil pressure)
  • Unusual noise or clatter coming from the engine during operation
  • Elevated engine temperature (keep an eye on the temperature gauge)
  • Be wary of a car which has not had regular oil changes (always ask for those service records!)

Timing Chain

  • Noises (rattling, whirring, or whining) coming from the engine, especially when idling
  • Rough idling
  • Engine misfiring
  • Poor engine operation (sluggish or low power)
  • Fear the car which has not had regular oil changes

1997-2001 Toyota Camry, 6-Cylinder
Used Toyota Camry: Graph #4
Figure 4: Top 5 Most Expensive Repairs for 1997-2001 Toyota Camrys, 6-Cylinder (Total Cost Shown)

Below are some common warning signs for these repairs:

Clutch

  • Burning smell
  • Soft or “spongy” clutch
  • Difficulty or grinding while shifting gears
  • Clutch pedal that seems to stick to the floor

Torque Converter

  • An engine that overheats during operation
  • Loss of acceleration
  • Intermittent shuddering of vehicle, around 35-40mph
  • Gear slippage or difficulty shifting

Cylinder Head Gasket

  • White smoke coming from the exhaust pipe, after the car has fully warmed up (running for about 5 minutes)
  • White milky oil when you check the engine oil level via the dipstick
  • Engine coolant leaking from under the vehicle
  • An engine that overheats during operation

Oil Pump

  • Engine oil warning light is on (indicating low oil pressure)
  • Unusual noise or clatter coming from the engine during operation
  • Elevated engine temperature (keep an eye on the temperature gauge)
  • Be wary of a car which has not had regular oil changes (always ask for those service records!)

Water Pump

  • Leaking coolant which will pool under the engine
  • Low coolant levels
  • Engine that overheats
  • Squealing, whining, or buzzing from drive belt

2002-2006 Toyota Camry, 6-Cylinder
Used Toyota Camry: Graph #5
Figure 5: Top 5 Most Expensive Repairs for 2002-2006 Toyota Camrys, 6-Cylinder (Total Cost Shown)

Below are some common warning signs for these repairs:

Clutch

  • Burning smell
  • Soft or “spongy” clutch
  • Difficulty or grinding while shifting gears
  • Clutch pedal that seems to stick to the floor

Torque Converter

  • An engine that overheats during operation
  • Loss of acceleration
  • Intermittent shuddering of vehicle, around 35-40mph
  • Gear slippage or difficulty shifting

Oil Pump

  • Engine oil warning light is on (indicating low oil pressure)
  • Unusual noise or clatter coming from the engine during operation
  • Elevated engine temperature (keep an eye on the temperature gauge)
  • Be wary of a car which has not had regular oil changes (always ask for those service records!)

Cylinder Head Gasket

  • White smoke coming from the exhaust pipe, after the car has fully warmed up (running for about 5 minutes)
  • White milky oil when you check the engine oil level via the dipstick
  • Engine coolant leaking from under the vehicle
  • An engine that overheats during operation

Water Pump

  • Leaking coolant which will pool under the engine
  • Low coolant levels
  • Engine that overheats
  • Squealing, whining, or buzzing from drive belt

2007-2011 Toyota Camry, 6-Cylinder
Used Toyota Camry: Graph #6
Figure 6: Top 5 Most Expensive Repairs for 2007-2011 Toyota Camrys, 6-Cylinder (Total Cost Shown)

Below are some common warning signs for these repairs:

Cylinder Head Gasket

  • White smoke coming from the exhaust pipe, after the car has fully warmed up (running for about 5 minutes)
  • White milky oil when you check the engine oil level via the dipstick
  • Engine coolant leaking from under the vehicle
  • An engine that overheats during operation

Water Pump

  • Leaking coolant which will pool under the engine
  • Low coolant levels
  • Engine that overheats
  • Squealing, whining, or buzzing from drive belt

Torque Converter

  • An engine that overheats during operation
  • Loss of acceleration
  • Intermittent shuddering of vehicle, around 35-40mph
  • Gear slippage or difficulty shifting

Timing Chains

  • Noises (rattling, whirring, or whining) coming from the engine, especially when idling
  • Rough idling
  • Engine misfiring
  • Poor engine operation (sluggish or low power)
  • Fear the car which has not had regular oil changes

Clutch

  • Burning smell
  • Soft or “spongy” clutch
  • Difficulty or grinding while shifting gears
  • Clutch pedal that seems to stick to the floor

Conclusion

We have shown you what the five most expensive repairs for Toyota Camrys are, as well as some warning signs for detecting them. Making certain that these areas are not in jeopardy should be a top priority for Camry owners and prospective owners alike.


If you have any questions or comments about this article, please see our contact page for numerous ways to get in touch with us.

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Footnotes:

  1. Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that we are not recommending you only check on these five repairs. Taking a test drive is always a necessity when buying a used car. If you are not car savvy or mechanically inclined to evaluate the health of the car, bring it to an independent mechanic for a thorough check. The small cost of that checkup can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars if it prevents you from buying a used car with serious mechanical problems.
  2. All data used in this article comes from the carinorder.com repair estimate database. The total repair cost is what is shown in all Figures– since that is a combination of labor and part cost, this value can fluctuate over time.
  3. The list of common signs for these repairs is not exhaustive. More detailed resources can be found on the Internet, for each of these repairs.