Built like a tank; extremely reliable and cheap to own
Timing belt broke at 250,000, never been changed before though.
Numerous oil leaks throughout my one long year of ownership.
Tie rod replaced at 280,000.
Transmission replaced at 271,000 (differential, which is attached to the trans, exploded due to lack of lubrication and destroyed the transmission!)
Complete tune up done at 280,000 (oil change, oil filter, air filter (Aftermarket air intake), spark plugs and wires, fuel injector cleaning, throttle body cleaning.)
An outstanding car that was manufactured to last.
I am 18, and this was my first and only car I have ever driven, and I would not like to drive anything else. My parents bought it new back in 1989, but were told it was used as a shuttle car for the dealer, and had about 1000 miles on it.
It was their daily driver for almost 14 years, until the engine started consuming oil due to high mileage. We finally had to break down and buy a newer car (a piece of crap lemon Saturn SL), but we still drive the Camry occasionally around town or as a backup car.
When I turned 16, I was given this car to drive, because it was cheap on gas and insurance. I acquired it with a little over 250,000 miles on it, and the only time that it has technically broke down on me is when the timing belt broke, (their fault for never replacing it!).
I religiously baby this car, and keep it nice and clean. I make sure that I regularly maintain it by sticking to the 5000 mile oil change intervals, and use good oil and filters. I clean the air filter every once in a while, and change the coolant and brake fluid every spring. These little maintenance procedures will ensure that the car will last forever.
As for problems, the stupid shop that serviced the transmission and differential, drained the trans and diff, but forgot to fill the differential with the proper lubricant, and therefore it burned up within a matter of months, and tore a hole in the transmission, which made a squealing noise when accelerating. We took it to a qualified transmission shop, and they said that the trans was beyond rebuild, and that they didn't make new transmissions for a car that old. I was devastated, and I thought that my days with my precious car were going to come to an end. To my surprise, the shop said that they could locate a used transmission from a local junkyard that came from a car of the same year, and would be relatively inexpensive. Since there was nothing to lose, I went ahead with that plan, and behold, the car drives perfectly again!
I make sure now to religiously check my trans and differential lube! I am planning to take it back to that shop soon to have the transmission fluid exchanged as part of regular maintenance (I've put about 20,000 miles on the "new" transmission).
Overall, a great car, great on gas, but stingy on performance. Just about every car on the road smokes the crap out of me at stop lights, and they are not even trying. Well, what do you expect from an engine that has almost 300,000 on it? Well, I plan to keep driving it as long as I can, and I look forward to it turning 300,000!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 11th March, 2011