2002-2006 Toyota Camry: Problems, pros and cons (2022)

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Updated: September 25, 2021

The 2002-2006 Toyota Camry is a spacious mid-size family sedan. The Toyota Camry Solara is a two-door version. The Camry has front-wheel drive and comes with a 4-cylinder or V6 engine.

2006 Toyota Camry interior.

The Toyota Camry is best known for its smooth and quiet ride.

The interior is roomy and comfortable with plenty of rear-seat space. The dashboard is simple with easy to use controls. The Camry holds its value well and can last very long with good care. Of course, there were some problems that used car buyers should be aware of.

(Video) I bought a 2002 Camry w 225000 Miles(Pros & Cons-not much Cons!)

Toyota Camry problems: Suspension problems like bad sway bar links and bushings, rear control arm bushings and rear strut mounts are fairly common. The repairs are not very expensive.

Oil leaks from the valve cover gasket(s) are often reported. The valve cover gasket replacement costs $80-$150 in a 4-cylinder engine and $200-$280 in a V6.

Several owners mentioned a leaking water pump. If a bad water pump is not replaced in time, a lack of coolant may cause the engine to overheat.

A front oxygen sensor (Air/fuel ratio sensor) fails often; the replacement is not very expensive.

Lack of power, hesitation and the "Check Engine" light with the code P0171 could be caused by a bad or contaminated mass air flow sensor or a cracked intake boot (snorkel).

2006 Toyota Camry (XV30).

Unstable idle and stalling (often after battery replacement) could be caused by carbon buildup inside the throttle body. Cleaning the throttle body might help with this type of problem.

(Video) 2002 - 2006 Toyota Camry How to fix Cylinder 1 problem / check engine light on

A faulty A/C clutch relay in the under-hood fuse box can cause the air conditioner to cut out intermittently with the A/C light flashing. Replacing the relay solves the problem in most cases. A Toyota dealer should have the part; it's not very expensive.

An alternator might need to be replaced at higher mileage. The symptom of a bad alternator is the battery-shaped warning light coming on while driving. Replacing an alternator costs from $350 to $520.

A failed catalytic converter will cause the code P0420. The Toyota original part is expensive, but cheaper aftermarket parts are available.

The code P0442 could be caused by a bad gas tank cap, although the EVAP system must be tested to confirm this.

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There have been reports about stripped threads for the head bolts in the 2.4L engine cylinder block; this repair is expensive, although the number of complaints about this issue is fairly small. Toyota issued a service bulletin describing the repair. Google 'Toyota bulletin T-SB-0015-11' to read more. Watch this great video from Eric O. explaining the repair.

(Video) 2002-2006 Toyota Camry Valve Cover Replacement

Consumer Reports rates the 2002-2006 Camry as 'recommended' with 'above average' reliability scores (as of Sept, 2021).
There have been a few recalls; check at the NHTSA website.

Toyota Camry 2.4-liter engine.

Powertrain: The base engine is the 2.4L 4-cylinder DOHC, model 2AZ-FE. This engine has been used in many Toyota vehicles, including the RAV4 and Highlander SUVs. The optional 3.0-liter 24-valve 1MZ-FE V6 is smooth and powerful. From 2004, the SE V6 trims were equipped with a 3.3-liter V6 (3MZ-FE).
A manual transmission is only available with a 4-cylinder engine.

Timing belt or chain: The 4-cylinder 2.4L engine has a maintenance-free timing chain. Both 3.0L V6 and 3.3L V6 engines have a timing belt that needs to be replaced at regular intervals, read more below.

Handling and ride: The Camry is a pleasure to drive, especially on the highway. The ride is very soft and smooth; road bumps are absorbed well by the suspension. The steering is light too. The 2.4L 4-cylinder engine is pretty quick off the line and provides enough power for everyday driving; the V6 is strong and smooth.

Fuel Economy: The Camry is among the class leaders in fuel economy. The 2005-2006 automatic 4-cylinder Camry gets 21/31 mpg. This means that with mostly highway driving, you can get up to 466 miles (670 km) to a tank; the fuel tank capacity is 18.5 gallons or 70 liters.

Fuel Consumption
Toyota Camry sedan
EPA Fuel Economy:
mpg
city/hwy
L/100 km
city/hwy
2002-2006 2.4L manual 21/30 11.2/7.8
2002-2003 2.4L auto 21/29 11.2/8.1
2004 2.4L auto 20/29 11.8/8.1
2005-2006 2.4L auto 21/31 11.2/7.6
2002-2003 3.0L V6 auto 18/26 13.1/9.0
2004 3.0L V6 auto 18/27 13.1/8.7
2005-2006 3.0L V6 auto 18/26 13.1/9.0
2004-2006 SE 3.3L V6 auto 18/27 13.1/8.7

Pros: Good on gas (4-cylinder models), comfortable ride, roomy interior, spacious trunk, easy to maintain, resale value, above-average reliability.

(Video) Toyota Camry Modelos 2002 al 2006 Defectos, fallas y problemas comunes

Cons: Front seats lack lateral support, paint scratches easy, poor scores for side crash protection without side airbags, 2.4L engine issues.

Overall: The Camry is a natural choice if you are looking for a used family car. We recommend the V6 engine, considering some issues with the 2.4L motor. Of course, not all 2.4L engines had the problem with the stripped cylinder block threads and some have already been repaired. Here is the video of the Toyota Camry hitting 300,000 miles. Competitors include Honda Accord, Mazda 6, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu. The Accord has a firmer ride. Mazda 6 offers more sporty handling but is less roomy and has a wide turning radius. The Malibu is cheaper, but is not as reliable.

What to look for when buying a used Toyota Camry: If possible check service records; avoid cars that have been previously overheated. If the coolant level is low, it might be an indication of coolant leaks. If you are buying a used Camry with a 4-cylinder engine, it must be carefully inspected for coolant leaks at the back of the engine. If you notice a blue or white smoke from exhaust, even if it's just a small amount at a startup, the car should be avoided. When test driving a used Toyota Camry, there should be no noise when driving over bumps or rough roads. Read more tips: How to inspect a used car - illustrated guide. Have the car properly inspected by your mechanic before buying. If possible we would even advise to get the cooling system pressure test done in a repair shop. The most important question is: does the engine have a problem with stripped thread of the rear head bolts? If during an inspection, coolant leaks are found at the back of the 2.4L engine, avoid the car. Read also: What mileage is OK for a used car?

Related reviews:
Used Mazda 6 2003-2008 review
Used Honda Accord 2003-2007 review
Toyota Camry 2007-2011
Honda Accord 2008-2012 review
Toyota Corolla 1998-2008 review
Used Toyota Camry 1997-2001 review
Toyota Camry 2012-2017 review
Used Nissan Altima 2007-2012 review
Acura TL 2004-2008 review

Maintenance tips: Change your oil regularly; Toyota recommends using 5W-30 oil in both the 4-cylinder and V6 engines. Watch out for coolant leaks and keep the engine coolant topped up; overheating may result in very expensive repairs. Change the transmission fluid when it gets dirty. According to the 2006 Camry owner's manual, an engine air filter and a cabin filter need to be replaced at 30,000 miles. The cabin filter is located behind the glove box. The timing belt in the 3.0L and 3.3L V6 engines needs to be replaced every 90,000 miles. Expect to pay $300-$450 to replace the timing belt only, or $500-750 if you want to replace the water pump too.

Read also:
Why "Check Engine" light comes on?
Serpentine belt: When to replace

(Video) How to Toyota Camry car Stereo radio Removal Repair 2002 - 2006 replace cd tape

FAQs

What year Camry is most reliable? ›

Car shoppers who are looking for the most reliable Camry models might focus on the model years 2016, 2014 and 2006. The 2014 Camry received the highest Quality & Reliability score of all the models, however. Unfortunately, newer models beyond 2019 have not been scored by owners yet.

What year Camry has the least problems? ›

Here's The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Toyota Camry Are: The best Toyota Camry model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2017, 2016, 2013, 2006, and 2001. The worst model years of the Camry are 2018, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2003, and 2002.

Is Toyota Camry 2006 a good car? ›

The Toyota Camry is an excellent vehicle. It runs well, very reliable, comfortable, high quality, low maintenance, stylish, and a great value. The features are very nice and easy to access (not complicated and obvious).

How many miles can a 2006 Toyota Camry last? ›

You may also wonder how many miles can a Toyota Camry last? A survey from Consumer Reports has stated that, with proper care, the Toyota Camry can last more than 200,000 miles.

What are the best used Toyota Camry years? ›

Here are our top picks for the best Toyota Camry years. 7th Generation – Overall, the best bang for your buck is going to be model years 2013, 2014 and 2015. These are part of the 7th generation, and while there are lots of great options from 2012 to 2017, the '13, '14 and '15 are standouts.

What year Camry has engine problems? ›

Avoid these model years too

The 2009 Toyota Camry also has an alarming number of complaints, again related to engine troubles. CarComplaints.com says that although the 2007 model year has more overall complaints, 2009 owners report higher repair costs and serious problems occurring at lower mileage.

Which Toyota car lasts the longest? ›

“The Toyota Avalon is consistently at the top of its class for vehicle quality and reliability, which explains why people are keeping them for longer than ever,” said Brauer.

Which gen Camry is best? ›

6th-generation models come highly recommended by Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports also recommends all sixth-generation Toyota Camry models between 2007 and 2011. Three (2009, 2010, and 2011) received a 5/5 reliability rating. Meanwhile, the 2007 and 2008 models scored 4/5.

Which Toyota model is most reliable? ›

According to Consumer Reports, the most reliable 2021 Toyota models are the Prius, Corolla, Prius Prime, Camry, and 4Runner. These have all been ranked exceptionally highly for their robust comfort, ride quality, and smooth handling.

What year Camry not to buy? ›

The 2007 model is on the top of the list for Toyota Camry years to avoid, simply because it has the most problems. One of the most significant complaints, according to RepairPal, is issues with the automatic transmission.

Is buying a used Camry a good idea? ›

A reliable and affordable car, the Camry lasts a very long time and is a hot offering in the used market. Toyota Camry sits among the best cars any person could buy, whether it is new or used. Camry's are very much seen by many as a great first car and that's for a good reason.

Does the 2006 Toyota Camry have a timing belt or chain? ›

ModelYearBelt / Chain / Gear
Camry1990-2001Belt
2002-2020Chain
1990-2006Belt
2007-2020Chain
71 more rows

What is considered high mileage for a Toyota Camry? ›

The Toyota Camry is one of the most well-regarded midsize vehicles available, and its Toyota durability means that you can expect to get between 200,000 and 300,000 miles of use out of your Camry with proper vehicle maintenance.

How long do Toyota transmissions last? ›

Some transmissions can last just over 10,000 miles, while others will last over 200,000 miles. Generally though, regular vehicle maintenance is the number one factor effecting a transmission's lifespan, and good upkeep can help it last even longer.

Which is better a Camry or a Corolla? ›

2021 Toyota Corolla

Compare the 2021 Toyota Camry vs. Corolla at Toyota of Downtown LA, and take a quick look at some standout differences between these two options: The Toyota Camry has a higher starting price and comes with a larger standard engine, while the Toyota Corolla offers better fuel efficiency.

Which is better Accord or Camry? ›

2022 Honda Accord LX vs 2022 Toyota Camry LE

The Accord LX delivers greater passenger volume and cargo volume than the smaller Camry LE. Those riding up front will enjoy more headroom, legroom, and shoulder room. Rear-seat passengers also have more second-row legroom and shoulder room.

Which is more reliable Camry or Corolla? ›

Toyota Corolla reliability, dependability backs both sedans. They stand at the top of their class; J.D. Power gave the 2022 Toyota Corolla a "Great" quality and reliability score of 85 out of 1004 and handed the 2022 Toyota Camry a "Great" quality and reliability score of 84 out of 1005.

What years did Toyota have oil consumption problems? ›

The Toyota brand is known for reliability and dependability. However, reports have shown that some selected Toyota models manufactured from 2006 to 2011 were plagued with excessive engine oil consumption, consuming a quart of oil every 1,000 to 1,500 miles on average.

What year Toyota Camry has a recall? ›

Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC (SET) is recalling certain models interspersed through model years 2009 through 2013 as follows: model year 2009-2012 Tacoma, 4Runner, Camry, Camry Hybrid, Prius, and RAV4; model year 2009-2010 Avalon, FJ Cruiser, and Highlander Hybrid; model year 2010-2013 model year Corolla, Sienna ...

Which engine is best for Toyota Camry? ›

The 3.5L V6 is the best Toyota Camry engine you can get, period. It has been widely available in nearly every car, truck, and SUV made by the Toyota and Lexus since 2002, and still holds the “premium” title across the current Camry lineup, offered in just a handful of trims.

Can a Toyota last 20 years? ›

Some people remember their first Toyotas (and other vehicles of that era) can last for about 20 years and up to 500,000 miles. This is possible but not probable as the quality and durability of vehicles back then were a lot higher than it is today.

Why do old Toyotas last so long? ›

Toyota vehicles have exceptional longevity and some of the most reliable engines in the industry. This is due to the company's meticulous approach to design and production. The quality management systems ensure any defects are detected and eliminated before the vehicle is sold to the customer.

What car brand lasts forever? ›

Longest-Lasting Car Brands
Longest-Lasting Car Brands to Reach 200,000 Miles- iSeeCars Study
1Toyota2.0%
2Honda1.6%
3Chevrolet1.5%
4Cadillac1.5%
5 more rows
28 Feb 2022

Which is a better car Honda or Toyota? ›

Toyota typically wins in reliability while Honda has stronger safety ratings according to Automotive News. Toyota and Honda often rank high in the annual Consumer Reports' Auto Reliability Survey, beating out other automakers such as Mazda, Ford, and Chevrolet.

Are Camrys better than civics? ›

For the 2022 Camry, advantages include base engine horsepower, hybrid efficiency, passenger space, a higher cargo capacity than the Civic Sedan, interior features and technologies, and complimentary maintenance.

Which Toyota car has least problems? ›

Toyota Prius. The Toyota Prius is a hybrid car. Hybrid cars have high expectations for efficiency and reliability, and the Toyota Prius has lived up to this standard.

Are older Toyotas reliable? ›

But that's simply because ever since the first models rolled out of Japan and into the United States in the 1950s, more than 70 years ago, Toyotas have been known for being low-maintenance, highly reliable vehicles that if properly cared for with regular oil changes and such will easily last for decades.

What are the most common Toyota problems? ›

7 Common Toyota Problems and How to Address Them
  • Brake Problems.
  • Suspension Issues.
  • Faulty Water Pumps.
  • Common Fuel Pump Failures.
  • Oil Sludge in Engines.
  • Forced Acceleration.
  • Poor Air Conditioning Conditions.

Is buying a Camry worth it? ›

Experts predict the 2021 Toyota Camry to remain one of the best-selling cars in America. While there are some other worthy midsize sedans to consider, the Camry's outstanding reliability and great passenger comfort make it hard to beat. Performance is also better than ever.

Is the Camry a good daily driver? ›

The standard, albeit humdrum, four-cylinder engine is economical and fine for daily driver duty. The hybrid version maximizes fuel economy, even if its acceleration is uneventful. That leaves the lusty 301-hp V-6 to pick up the pace, especially on the sport-tuned Camry TRD, which is actually entertaining to drive.

What should I know before buying a Toyota Camry? ›

The 5 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a 2022 Toyota Camry
  • Skip the base model Toyota Camry and go for the SE trim.
  • Make sure to include features like a heated steering wheel for cold climates.
  • Don't buy the Camry TRD thinking you're getting a sports sedan bargain.
12 Jan 2022

What are the pros and cons of a Toyota Camry? ›

To begin this guide on the Toyota Camry's pros and cons, let's start with the car's positive qualities.
  • Legendary Reliability. ...
  • Good Powertrain Selection. ...
  • Eye-Catching Style. ...
  • Excellent Fuel Economy. ...
  • Top Marks for Safety Features. ...
  • Noisy Cabin. ...
  • Smaller Trunk. ...
  • Not the Most Engaging Drive.
27 Jun 2022

Is Camry high maintenance? ›

A Toyota Camry will cost about $4,203 for maintenance and repairs during its first 10 years of service. This beats the industry average for popular sedan models by $2,893. There is also a 11.89% chance that a Camry will require a major repair during that time. This is 9.61% better than similar vehicles in this segment.

What is the engine life of Toyota Camry? ›

You are sure to be surprised by the age and history of some of these Camrys, as most of them will still run smoothly. With this being said, the lifespan of a Toyota Camry is between 200,000 and 300,000 miles depending on how well it is maintained.

Are Camry engines reliable? ›

The Toyota Camry Reliability Rating is 4.0 out of 5.0, which ranks it 3rd out of 24 for midsize cars.

How much does it cost to replace a timing chain for a 2006 Toyota Camry? ›

Replacing a timing chain will typically cost anywhere between $1,000 to $2,500 (parts and labor included.)

What happens when the timing belt breaks on a Toyota Camry? ›

Belt failure can cause extensive damage to the valves, pistons and other internal parts of the engine. The cost of changing the timing belt is a bargain when you consider the cost to replace the entire engine.

How much is it for a timing belt for 2006 Toyota Camry? ›

Shopping around to get a few quotes is your best bet to get the best deal, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $409 to $919 (including parts and labor).

Can a car last 500000 miles? ›

Depending on how well you treat your car, you could potentially reach over 500,000 miles. In fact, there's a driver whose car reached even more than that.

Can a Toyota go over 300000 miles? ›

And like the Corolla, the Camry offers the reliability and durability of Toyota. As such, the Toyota Camry can stay on the tarmac for over 300,000 miles. And with extra care, the car can comfortably drive forever.

How long does a Toyota Camry transmission last? ›

How Long Do the Transmissions Last? Your Toyota Camry transmission should last up to 100,000 miles or more. However, this depends on how often you maintain it.

At what mileage do transmissions fail? ›

Transmission Mileage

Automatic transmissions often fail between 80,000 and 150,000 miles. Manual transmissions can fail even sooner than that, especially when routine maintenance is neglected.

How much does it cost to replace a Toyota Camry transmission? ›

A Toyota Camry transmission replacement cost is typically between $5,130 and $5,528, but the exact amount you'll need to pay will depend on your location and the extent of the damage to the transmission.

Does Toyota recommend transmission fluid change? ›

Toyota recommends that vehicles featuring an automatic transmission have their fluid changed every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. Vehicles with manual transmissions should have their fluid changed every 30,000 to 60,000 miles.

What is the longest lasting Toyota Camry? ›

The Most Reliable Toyota Camry Years, According to Consumer Reports
  • 2005 Toyota Camry. 2005 Toyota Camry | Wikimedia Commons. The 2005 Camry is one of the best used cars under $5,000. ...
  • 2009-2011 Toyota Camry. 2011 Toyota Camry | Wikimedia Commons. ...
  • 2012-2017 Toyota Camry. A pair of 2017 Toyota Camry sedans | Toyota.
5 May 2022

What generation Camry is the best? ›

With a pocket-friendly price, nearly all models of the Toyota Camry are respectable. However, the 2013 to 2015 models are proven to be most reliable by statistics and user reviews.

Is Toyota Camry a reliable car? ›

The Toyota Camry is very reliable and ranks near the top when compared with other midsize cars on the market. They can last for 200,000 to 300,000 miles without too many issues as long as you take care to perform the proper maintenance on your car.

What car is most like the Toyota Camry? ›

The perky Honda Accord, the comfy Chevrolet Malibu, and the roomy Nissan Altima are just a few of the competitors you should check out if you want a midsize sedan that can compete with the Toyota Camry.

Is an old Camry reliable? ›

Old or new, the Camry is a reliable car. The common problems to avoid are based on collective information and would not affect all individual models. The same goes for the outstanding models since not all cars that fall under those models are great.

What year Camry is the fastest? ›

Let's cut to the chase, the 2022 Toyota Camry TRD is the fastest trim level in the lineup. It has a 3.5-liter V6 under the hood that pumps out 301 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. That beefy engine is not only a joy to drive every day, but it also gets the car up to a top speed of 135 mph, according to Car and Driver.

Which Toyota lasts the longest? ›

Top 15 Longest-Lasting Cars: Toyota Land Cruiser Earns the Top Spot
Longest-Lasting Cars, SUVs, and Trucks to Reach 200k Miles – iSeeCars Study
RankVehicle% of Cars Over 200k Miles
1Toyota Land Cruiser18.2%
2Toyota Sequoia14.2%
3Chevrolet Suburban6.6%
13 more rows
5 Mar 2022

Is Camry expensive to repair? ›

A Toyota Camry will cost about $4,203 for maintenance and repairs during its first 10 years of service. This beats the industry average for popular sedan models by $2,893. There is also a 11.89% chance that a Camry will require a major repair during that time.

Is Toyota Camry better than Toyota Corolla? ›

With Toyota Camry vs. Toyota Corolla reliability, dependability backs both sedans. They stand at the top of their class; J.D. Power gave the 2022 Toyota Corolla a "Great" quality and reliability score of 85 out of 1004 and handed the 2022 Toyota Camry a "Great" quality and reliability score of 84 out of 1005.

Should you buy a Toyota Camry? ›

Yes, the 2023 Toyota Camry is a good midsize car. Its base engine gets the job done, and the available V6 is peppy on the highway. Add in a cushioned ride with roomy seats and composed handling, plus an easy-to-use infotainment system, and the Camry is ideal for nearly any commute.

Videos

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2. Used Toyota Corolla (2002-2007) Reliability | Most Common Problems Faults and Issues
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3. How to Remove a Stereo Radio From a Toyota Camry 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 DIY
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4. 2003 Toyota Camry Mods Walk Around
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