9 Most Common Toyota Camry Problems (Explained)

The Toyota Camry is a reliable and fuel-efficient sedan known for its comfortable ride and practical features.

While the Toyota Camry is generally reliable, like any vehicle, it may encounter occasional mechanical issues.

We’ll cover the most common ones in this article…

1. Melting Dashboard

A very common problem for the Camry is related to the melting and degradation of the dashboard, particularly in models from the 6th Generation around 2006-2011.

The dashboards are prone to becoming sticky, shiny, and reflective, causing glare on windshields.

This issue creates visibility problems for drivers and is considered a safety hazard.

“Dashboard is sticky when cold and hot, we have done our best to keep it clean but I have had enough it was hot and my kid leaned on it and it was super hot and the material literally got stuck to her arm and the back of her shirt.” – NHTSA.gov

Solution

In brief, Toyota is providing complimentary dashboard replacements for 2006-2011 model Camry at its dealerships worldwide. This offer remains valid for a period of 10 years from the date of purchase of your 2006-2011 model Camry.

They will only consider replacing it if the dashboard exhibits signs of melting, stickiness, hardness, or squishiness caused by weather conditions, as these models used inexpensive materials of lower quality.

If you are experiencing similar problems with your Camry, you can contact Toyota customer service, report the issue, and inquire about any potential solutions or recalls.

Alternatively, you can purchase a dashboard cover and either fit it yourself or ask a trained professional to fit it for you.

2. Brake Pedal Difficult to Depress

A common problem of early 8th Generation Toyota Camrys from 2018-2019 is that the brake pedal is difficult to depress due to vacuum pump failure.

In a braking system, a vacuum pump assists in creating the necessary vacuum for power brakes, enhancing braking efficiency.

Multiple complaints mention difficulties in depressing the brake pedal, sometimes accompanied by warning lights and messages related to low braking power.

Additionally, a yellow triangle is often displayed with a warning of “Potential of Low Brakes – Get to A Safe Stop”

“Approaching stop sign getting off freeway and brake pedal was hard to depress and brakes slow to work, pulled emergency brake to stop vehicle just in time.” – NHTSA.gov

Solution

A recall was issued to address the sudden loss of braking power.

Dealers will address the issue by repairing or replacing the vacuum pump as necessary, and this service will be provided free of charge.

Run a VIN check on your vehicle to see if you have been affected.

3. Battery Issues

A common electrical problem reported by 2020-2021 Toyota Camry owners involves issues with the car’s 12V battery. Numerous complaints mention dead batteries thus requiring jump-starts.

Some owners report the battery discharging even when the car is not in use for a short period.

“Went to get in my car to leave and it had no power. Called Toyota Care to get a jump they came out and gave me a jump and it started right up. Drove it around a bit and parked it. Went out to start it again 4 hours later and the battery was completely dead again.” – NHTSA.gov

“This is the second time I have this complaint. After 1 to 3 days that the car is not driven the battery goes dead.” – NHTSA.gov

Solution

There’s a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) that addresses the potential battery issue. The problem is attributed to the Data Communication Module (DCM) not shutting down when the engine is off. The suggested remedy is a software update, which is expected to resolve the issue.

Some owners have reported that dealerships have attempted solutions, such as software updates and battery replacements, but the problem persists.

Related: 21 Best & Worst Toyota Camry Years (With Facts & Stats)

4. Foul Smell When Turning On AC

A common issue reported by 2012-2017 Toyota Camry owners involves a foul smell emanating from the air conditioning system, often described as resembling a wet dog, a black Sharpie marker, dirty socks, or a moldy odor.

The problem seems to occur when the A/C is turned on, especially after the car has been sitting for a while.

Numerous drivers have complained about this unpleasant smell, and some have experienced it consistently despite attempts to address it.

Owners have visited dealerships seeking solutions, but responses vary.

“So I have the foul smell which started at 3k miles! I just upgraded from my 2007 to the 2012. I was so happy with my old car, now I am just pissed. My dealer is going to run the A/C cleaner at no charge for my first oil change. This is a band-aid for this problem and I am sure it will be back.” – NHTSA.gov

Solution

Some dealerships have acknowledged the issue and attempted to mitigate it by using disinfecting solutions or recommending procedures like turning the A/C to fresh air mode before turning off the engine.

However, these attempts often provide only temporary relief, and the problem tends to return.

On March 14, 2023, a Florida jury cleared Toyota in a class action lawsuit for this exact problem.

The legal case asserted flaws in the heating and cooling vents, yet Toyota effectively contended that the systems operated as intended, and the jury determined no concealment of purported defects.

5. Excessive Oil Consumption

A huge problem that plagued the 2007 and 2008 Toyota Camry’s is related to excessive oil consumption. Multiple owners have reported that their Camrys experience a significant loss of engine oil between oil changes, requiring them to add oil frequently.

Owners have stated that this issue led to engine problems, including knocking sounds, stalling, performance issues and, in extreme cases, engine failure.

The issue is primarily attributed to a design flaw in the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine.

While the specific cause may vary, some reports and technical service bulletins (TSBs) suggest that the problem could be linked to piston ring wear or other internal engine components.

“My car 2007 Camry le burns oil too much. There’s no oil leakage on the motor or ground, and it doesn’t smoke. I’ve changed the oil a month ago, but the oil pressure light comes on. How can it pass a smog check, and I’m scared my car will overheat due to the engine burns oil more than a quart in 1000 miles.” – NHTSA.gov

Solution

In many cases owners have reported having to have expensive repairs on the engine including replacing piston rings and other components.

Owners are frustrated with the fact that Toyota was aware of this problem, as indicated by Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) and extended warranties, but they feel that Toyota did not take sufficient action to address the issue.

6. Steering Problems

A commonly reported problem of the 2015 Toyota Camry is related to the car’s steering.

Common symptoms include issues such as:

  • Loose steering
  • Pulling to the right or left
  • Steering wheel vibrations
  • Difficulty controlling the vehicle
  • Unexpected steering malfunctions.

“Car pulls sharply to the right right after starting up and driving. If I turn off ignition and restart it will run properly. It occurs around 30 percent of the time.” – NHTSA.gov

Solution

Toyota issued a recall for certain 2015 Camry vehicles due to manufacturing-related damage to the electric power steering (EPS) electronic control unit (ECU). This damage may lead to the failure of the electric power steering system.

7. Torque Converter Problems

A very common problem reported by 2012 – 2015 Camry owners relates to problems with the transmission, specifically the torque converter.

A torque converter is a vital part of automatic transmissions, transferring power from the engine to the wheels.

Multiple incidents describe issues such as:

  • Shuddering
  • Vibrations
  • Acceleration issues
  • Hesitation

“Toyota diagnosed torque converter needs to be replaced. There’s a recall on torque converter for 2012, 2013, & 2014 of my make & model however they do not include my VIN in this recall. I’m requesting it should be included in the recall because it falls under my year, make & model.” – NHTSA.gov

“Car shudders at 45 mph which becomes whooshing sound at 55 mph. Took to dealer, who says it is problem with torque converter. They changed some computer settings which made the problem better, but it reappeared 2 weeks later.” – NHTSA.gov

Solution

The fix for the torque converter problems involves repairing the affected vehicles with a new torque converter, additional transmission pan magnets, and updated engine control software.

Toyota is implementing a Warranty Enhancement Program (ZE5) for certain 2012–2014 Camry models, extending coverage for U760E Torque Converter Shudder.

Approximately 984,000 vehicles are covered.

8. Excessive Wind Noise At Highway Speeds

A common complaint from owners and auto critics alike is that the Camry exhibits increased wind and road noise at high speeds. many of these complaints have been reported on 8th Gen models which started with the 2018 model.

The noise inside the cabin is most noticeable when traveling at speeds over 50 mph.

Frustrated owners have expressed dissatisfaction with the noise levels and, in some cases, are considering legal action or invoking lemon laws due to the persistence of the problem even after multiple visits to the dealership.

“My driver side window vibrates and slightly rattles as well when going over 70. They adjusted my door so it closes more tightly but didnt help too much with the wind noise. I am selling the car right away.” – ToyotaNation.com

“It’s a pretty common complaint on Camrys and other Toyotas from what I’ve read. And I’ve read plenty lol. My 2020 has it too. Starts around 50 and is pretty pronounced at 70mph.” – ToyotaNation.com

Related: 17 Best & Worst Toyota Camry Hybrid Years (Pictures & Stats)

Solution

Some owners have explored solutions such as repairing the black plastic trim on the driver door B pillar, adjusting the door for a tighter seal or experimenting with rubber weather strips, but these attempts have not proven universally successful. Other owners report accepting the issue and simply turning up the music louder.

9. Unintended Acceleration

Owners of Toyota Camrys have widely reported incidents of unintended acceleration. Reports for these problems date back as far as 1996 and are reported on models as recently as 2012.

Numerous reports detail frightening scenarios where drivers experienced sudden and uncontrollable acceleration.

“The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Camry. The contacted stated that while driving 5 mph and attempting to park, the vehicle began to accelerate independently. The vehicle crashed into a set of cement stairs. The vehicle was destroyed.” – NHTSA.gov

“when pulling slowly into a garage and nearly stopped, the car suddenly surged forward raming the car into the garage interior wall. This resulted in “totaling the car” and damage to the garage and property in the garage. “ – NHTSA.gov

“There was unexpected and unintended acceleration that resulted in hitting a house and causing a lot of damage.”

Solution

A number of acceleration issues on models from 2007 – 2010 Camry models have been linked to the removable floor mats.

The issue with the mats was that they could interfere with the accelerator pedal, causing it to get stuck in the full-open position.

A recall was issued to address the problem.

A separate recall was also issued to fix accelerator pedals that become stuck and lead to severe accidents. This recall also covered 2007-2010 Toyota Camrys.

Under specific conditions, the accelerator pedal may exhibit increased resistance, delayed return, or, in extreme cases, become partially stuck.

To be on the safe side, run a VIN check on your Camry to ensure it does not have any outstanding recalls.

Toyota Camry Model Years With the Most Problems

To get a better idea of which Toyota Camry has the most problems the fairest way is to compare models based on the number of vehicles sold in relation to the number of reported problems.

We’re using the Car Complaints PPMY index which means problems reported per thousand vehicles per Year.

For example, newer cars will have fewer complaints simply because they’ve been around for less time.

Based on this index, the most problematic years are:

  1. 2008 – 0.41 PPMY
  2. 2007, 2018 – 0.40 PPMY
  3. 2009, 2019 – 0.28 PPMY

And the least problematic years are:

  1. 2001 – 0.06 PPMY
  2. 2000, 2017 – 0.07 PPMY
  3. 2016 – 0.09 PPMY

Camry Model Years With the Most Problems

Model YearProblemsSales 
202234208,627
202156233,960
2020170275,433
2019354320,193
2018795401,910
2017162379,621
2016209331,384
2015333335,142
2014562425,650
2013350249,267
2012748467,292
2011729470,129
2010729304,254
20091,541399,935
20081,197195,054
20073,738581,028
2006518197,656
2005998406,091
2004979321,673
2003973390,691
20021,241433,112
2001413312,208
2000656396,646

Toyota Camry Reliability Compared to Similar Cars

Consumer Reports rankings detailed below are based on the model’s newest three years, the Toyota Camry is joint 2nd runner-up, with a relatively good score of 62/100.

Make & ModelConsumer Reports
Reliability Score
Hyundai Sonata64
Honda Accord62
Toyota Camry62
Chevrolet Malibu35

Source: Consumer Reports

Toyota Camry Pros and Cons

If you’re considering a Toyota Camry as your next car you might be wondering what its strengths and weaknesses are…

Pros

  1. Reliability: Strong track record.
  2. Fuel Efficiency: Especially in hybrids.
  3. Comfortable Ride: Smooth and pleasant.
  4. Safety Features: Advanced options available.
  5. Resale Value: Maintains good value.

Cons:

  1. Styling: Conservative design.
  2. Handling: Not the most sporty.
  3. Interior Quality: Competent but not luxurious.
  4. Limited Features: Base model lacks some.
  5. Transmission Feel: CVT may be less engaging.

Toyota Camry Used Value

We’ve taken a look at Car Gurus to gauge the resale value of a Toyota Camry, below are typical asking prices for each model year.

According to Car Edge, a Toyota Camry will depreciate 24% after 5 years and have a 5 year resale value of $26,474.

Note: Used model prices will vary depending on trim level.

Model YearMileage (Miles)Resale Price 
202323,794$24,326
202232,821$23,999
202147,996$21,498
202028,908$28,995
201916,646$22,689
201824,313$22,888
201734,419$19,988
201681,867$16,999
201550,265$17,390
201460,098$15,490
201351,210$15,490
201228,248$15,995
2011173,980$6,999
2010136,814$8,940

Source: Car Gurus

Related: Toyota Camry Alarm Going Off? (13 Causes & Solutions)

What Do Owners Like and Dislike About the Toyota Camry?

Based on owner feedback from the Kelley Blue Book site, here are what real-life owners love and hate about the Toyota Camry.

Likes

  1. Fuel economy
  2. Stylish
  3. Reliable
  4. Comfortable
  5. Easy to drive

Dislikes

  1. Lacks advanced driver assistance features
  2. Underpowered
  3. Basic standard tech
  4. Loud engine
  5. Ground clearance

Owners Reviews

“It’s a Toyota. The car itself has a nice ride, could have gone for the V6 but this is the wife’s car and not needed. Have not had it long enough to give an in-depth review yet, but from what I have observed from the ride… it looks like it is going to be another long term car…”

Source: Edmunds

“I purchased a 2023 XLE Camry and it does not disappoint! Comfortable, reliable, higher than expected gas mileage….LOVE IT!”

Source: Edmunds

“Great on gas and reliable. Drives great and low maintenance. Tires are solid the way I purchased the vehicle that had them from the manufacturer. All around it’s a pleasure driving it.”

Source: Kelley Blue Book

How Reliable Are Toyota Cars?

According to a recent report from Consumer Reports, Toyota are ranked the 3rd most reliable car manufacturer out of 28 brands, with a score of 71/100.

RankBrandScore
1Lexus76
2Mazda75
3Toyota71
4Infiniti69
5Buick66
6Honda66
7Subaru66
8Acura64
9Nissan63
10Mini60
11Hyundai56
12Chrysler54
13Porsche52
14Chevrolet48
15Audi47
16Cadillac47
17BMW45
18Ford44
19Kia43
20Volvo42
21Ram40
22GMC37
23Mercedes-Benz34
24Volkswagen31
25Genesis30
26Jeep26
27Tesla25
28Lincoln18

Source: Consumer Reports

Sources

https://www.consumerreports.org/cars/toyota/camry/

https://www.carcomplaints.com/Toyota/Camry/

https://www.carproblemzoo.com/toyota/camry/

https://www.kbb.com/toyota/camry/

https://www.edmunds.com/toyota/camry/

https://caredge.com/toyota/camry/depreciation

https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/l-Used-Toyota-Camry-d292

Author:

  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...