Conventional wisdom would have you believe that buying a Camry — any year Camry — would be a good bet, but our friends at CarComplaints.com have fielded scores of engine issues on certain years of the popular sedan. Find out what years to avoid.
The Toyota Camry is currently in its 11th generation, starting out as the “Celica Camry” way back in 1979, but really began to hit its stride with the V10-era Camry which launched in 1982. That was the model that Toyota began to import here in great numbers, to the point that they opened a factory in Georgetown, Kentucky in 1988 to build the next generation car.
Through the years, the Toyota Camry has been synonymous with quality, but there are definitely better years that others, and particular years that can be problematic.
According to the CarComplaints.com database, most years of the Camry provide faithful service with complaints numbering in the double digits, which is remarkable considering the number of Camrys Toyota sells every year.
A Safe Bet: 2014 Toyota Camry
The current generation Camry — since 2011 — seems to have been providing trouble-free service for a lot of people. Selling at a rate of more than 30,000 a month, the CarComplaints.com database only lists a maximum of 90 complaints for any year of the current generation.
Consider Carefully: 2002 Toyota Camry
It’s rare to see a Camry record triple digits’ worth of complaints, but the 2002 Camry had engine issues that caused concern among owners.
The largest number of complaints were centered on stripped head bolts, which cost an average of $2,887 to fix. The average mileage of those cars looks insanely high, at more than 638,000 miles, but the bulk of the complaints are in 100,000 miles. There’s one owner that claims 16 million miles that’s throwing off the average, so take that into consideration. 2002 Camrys are long in the tooth at best, and you’d be hard-pressed to find one now with fewer than 100,000 miles.
Consider Another Car: 2007 to 2009 Toyota Camry 4-Cylinder
The problems reported by owners are really centered around excessive oil consumption in the 2AZ-FE four-cylinder engine. That engine served the Camry in the years between 2002 and 2011, but the major issues seem to have appeared in the 2007, 2008 and 2009 model years.
Owners in the CarComplaints.com database confirm that they’ve seen oil consumption of one quart every 1,200 miles. The issue can start after just 45,000 miles, but most owners identify the issue between 60,000 and 75,000 miles. Toyota issued Technical Service Bulletin #0094-11 in August of 2011 but never recalled the car. In January of 2015, Toyota North America issued an extended warranty notification (ZE7) to help alleviate the issue.
185 complaints in the 2007 model year were related to the oil consumption issue. Of those, 24 complaints required a replacement engine.
While the 2007 model year has — by far — the largest number of complaints, it’s the severity and cost of the complaints in the 2008 model year that make that Camry the one to avoid, according to CarComplaints.com.
That year, the oil consumption issue was again a major concern, accounting for more complaints than all the other issues recorded by Camry owners combined. The cost of those issues makes the 2008 Toyota Camry particularly problematic. The typical repair cost to fix the oil consumption problem was a staggering $4,333, for an engine teardown to have the rings and pistons replaced.
Have a Toyota Camry of your own? Add your own complaints to CarComplaints.com’s database. Get started here.
(Thanks to CarComplaints.com for the images and the data)