Toyota Camry Years to Avoid: Crucial Model Updates for Smart Buyers

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Looking for a used car that’s dependable and won’t let you down? The Toyota Camry is a popular choice for its reputation of reliability and long-lasting performance.

However, not all Camry models are created equal. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a lemon that will leave you stranded on the side of the road.

Don’t let that happen to you. We’ve done the research and compiled a list of the Toyota Camry model years that have experienced the most issues.

Keep your eyes peeled for the 2007 Camry, as well as the years 2006, 2008, and 2002-2005. By avoiding these models, you’ll save yourself potential headaches and costly repairs in the future.

But fear not, there are plenty of reliable Toyota Camry models out there waiting for you.

Armed with this knowledge, you can confidently navigate the used car market and find the perfect Camry to meet your needs.

Toyota Camry Years to Avoid

Years to Avoid

First Generation

Luckily, there aren’t any major issues to report with the first generation Toyota Camry. Enjoy the nostalgia if you come across one of these classic models!

Second Generation

The second generation of the Camry mostly holds up well, but be cautious of potential electrical issues typical of vehicles from this era.

Third Generation

There’s no need to worry about the third generation Camry, as it has a reputation for being reliable and durable.

Fourth Generation

When it comes to the fourth generation (1997-2001) Toyota Camry, you might want to be a bit cautious with the 2001 model, which has some reliability ratings lower than other years, although still considered average.

Fifth Generation

The fifth generation (2002-2006) brought some mixed reliability reports, particularly for the 2002, 2003, and 2005 model years. While overall reliability scores aren’t terrible, owner complaints increased significantly for these models.

Sixth Generation

The sixth-generation Camry (2007-2011) is where you should pay the most attention, as this generation experienced the highest number of problems:

  • The 2007 model is on top of the years-to-avoid list, mainly due to its automatic transmission issues.
  • 2008, 2009, and 2010 models also have some issues with various components, though not as severe as 2007.

Seventh Generation

There’s some good news! Many later Camry models, including 2017, 2021, and 2022, show high reliability ratings. The only notable exception is the 2018 model year, which has a lower rating.

In summary, make sure to research specific model years from the fifth and sixth generations if you’re considering a Camry from those eras. However, there are Toyota Camry best years list to help you chose a creamy-full model.

Common Problems

In this section, you’ll find information on common problems related to the engine, transmission, brakes and suspension, and electrical and electronic issues.

Engine Problems

Several Camry model years have been known to experience engine problems, particularly involving excessive oil consumption.

For instance, the 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 models have exhibited excessive oil consumption, which can lead to costly engine repairs if not addressed promptly.

Also, check engine lights and issues with the V6 engine have been reported in some years.

Transmission Issues

The 2007 Toyota Camry stands out as a model year with transmission problems. Specifically, owners have complained about lagging acceleration and potential need for transmission replacement.

Keep an eye out for any transmission-related complaints when considering a used Camry, especially in the mentioned years.

Brakes and Suspension

While the Camry is generally known for its reliable brakes and suspension, there have been some reports of brake failure and suspension issues in certain model years.

For example, the 2007 and 2008 models received lower reliability ratings from Consumer Reports.

If you’re considering a used Camry, take the time to inspect the brakes and suspension for any signs of wear or damage as part of your decision-making process.

Electrical and Electronic Issues

Lastly, some Camry owners have encountered electrical and electronic issues in various years. Some common problems include navigation system failures and electronic glitches.

While these issues may not necessarily affect the car’s performance, they can be inconvenient and expensive to fix.

When determining which Camry years to avoid, keep these potential problem areas in mind.

By doing thorough research and understanding common issues, you can make a more informed decision and choose a Camry that offers the best reliability and overall value for your needs.

Reliability and Durability

The 2007 Toyota Camry tops the list of years to avoid due to its transmission problems.

Some owners have reported a lag during acceleration, potentially leading to premature replacement of the transmission.

Other model years to be cautious about include 2002, 2003, and 2005.

Despite receiving better overall reliability marks from Consumer Reports, these Camrys experienced a significant increase in owner complaints.

So, if you are considering purchasing a Camry from these years, make sure to thoroughly research and inspect the car beforehand.

In terms of durability features, a dependable car typically has low mileage and well-maintained power steering, ignition coil, and other components. When purchasing a Camry, keep an eye out for the following:

  • Low mileage: Lower mileage generally means less wear and tear on the vehicle.
  • Horsepower: A car with adequate horsepower will perform better on the road and maintain its power over time.
  • Power steering: Check for any leaks or noises in the power steering system, as this can directly impact the car’s handling and control.
  • Ignition coil: Ensure the ignition coil is in good working condition, as a faulty coil can lead to reduced fuel efficiency and potential engine damage.

As you search for the perfect Camry, remember that Toyota is known for building durable and reliable cars, so finding the right vehicle with the proper maintenance can provide you with long-lasting performance.

Recalls and Consumer Reports

Based on the information found, it’s a good idea to steer clear of 2006, 2007, and 2008 Toyota Camrys, as these midsize sedans received a 4 out of 5 reliability verdict from Consumer Reports.

Although Toyota Camrys are known for their reliability, there are a few years to avoid, especially if you’re looking for an affordable model.

For instance, the 2007 Toyota Camry faced issues such as musty smells emanating from the AC system.

When it comes to the best years for Toyota Camry, it’s important to consider not just the looks but also fuel economy and customer satisfaction.

Comparing 2009, 2004, and 2021 Camrys, the 2021 Toyota Camry seems to be a top-selling family sedan, with a feature-packed interior.

The current generation has had its share of problems and recalls, it may be worth considering for a balance of sleek looks and fuel efficiency.

Here’s a quick summary of some issues with different year models:

  • 2007 Toyota Camry: Musty smell from the AC system
  • 2008 Toyota Camry: Similar issues as the 2007 model
  • 2009 Toyota Camry: Some drivability and build quality concerns
  • 2021 Toyota Camry: Plagued with problems and recalls but offers sleek looks and improved fuel economy

Toyota Camry Competitors

Honda Accord

When looking for an alternative to Toyota Camry, a common option you will come across is the Honda Accord.

Similar to the Camry, the Accord provides a comfortable ride, generous cabin space, and excellent fuel efficiency.

However, some key differences set them apart. Accord is often praised for its athletic performance and easy-to-use infotainment system.

Two problems you might face with Honda Accord include the reported oil dilution in their turbocharged models and transmission problems in certain older models (prior to 2012).

Chevrolet Malibu

Another competitor in the midsize sedan segment is the Chevrolet Malibu. The Malibu offers a smooth ride with a stylish exterior design. One significant advantage of owning a Malibu is the affordability when compared to the Camry.

Unfortunately, the Malibu is known for having a few transmission issues, primarily in the 2016 model year.

Additionally, the overall reliability scores of the Malibu tend to be lower than those of the Camry and its other competitors.

Ford Fusion

The Ford Fusion stands out due to its striking looks and advanced tech features. Its available all-wheel drive might be a deciding factor for you if you live in a region with harsh weather conditions.

Like some competitors, Ford Fusion does have some weak spots. The 2010-2016 models are notorious for their power steering problems, and certain years have transmission issues that can be costly to repair.

Nissan Altima

The Nissan Altima offers a comfortable, quiet ride and excellent fuel economy. But unlike the Toyota Camry, Altima is known for having innovative technologies like the ProPILOT Assist and VC-Turbo engine.

However, Nissan Altima has had its share of problems, notably with the continuously variable transmission (CVT) in previous years.

Additionally, older Altima models have been known to suffer from excessive oil consumption.

Hyundai Sonata

Lastly, the Hyundai Sonata might interest you with its sleek design and lower starting price than the Camry.

The Sonata offers a comfortable ride, spacious cabin, and a user-friendly infotainment system. Additionally, Hyundai’s warranty is one of the best in the industry.

Despite its benefits, the Sonata has had a few engine-related recalls, and transmission problems have been reported in the 2011 and 2012 model years.

In summary, while comparing alternatives to the Toyota Camry, consider the differences in design, performance, features, and reliability. Each of these competitors has its strengths and weaknesses.  needs.


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