2004 Toyota Camry from North America - Comments

2nd Aug 2007, 05:36

Toyota Camry had a serious sludge problem; that's why they extended their engine warranty on models from late 9x and early 0x. But I thought this was fixed on 04 models. It's no point in saving money on those $1/quart motor-oil specials; it'll just ruin your engine in the long run; sludging is just one problem.

2nd Aug 2007, 12:25

I have never followed mfrs. oil recommendations too long in my opinion... I go every 3,000 miles or 4 months. Still I had import issues and now own domestics.

2nd Aug 2007, 20:52

15:45; I didn't say that it was an isolated issue. Neither is a fault on Toyota's part. Look at how many hundreds of thousands of old Toyota cars are on the road running perfectly. If a relative few of them have sludge in the engine, I'm inclined to believe that it is from extremely poor or nonexistent maintenance.

I know for a fact that sludge in an engine also can come from using certain types of oil I won't mention. For example, I use only Mobil 1 full synthetic oil. If you do this, from when the car is new, you can take the engine apart (you'll likely never have to) and it will look practically new after 150,00 miles. Clean as clean can be.

If you use another type of oil I have in mind, and take the engine apart at 75,000, it will be full of what looks like tar almost every time, unless you run the hell out of the car every day and keep it burned out.

Toyota has such a great reputation that people think that you can just abuse them and nothing will happen. Almost true; in fact, sometimes true, but they are still just a machine, and machines that don't get maintained will break.

I know plenty of Toyota owners; I make it a point to talk to them about their cars, as I am kind of a Toyota 'fanatic', if you want to call it that, and I've never heard anything about any sludge problem from anyone that uses decent oil and changes it regularly. If it was actually a defect, every car built the same way would have the same problem. It's not a manufacturer defect, it's poor maintenance.

3rd Aug 2007, 05:12

Re 20:52: every engine has a sludge inclination meaning that it has the ability to produce sludge if the conditions are right. The key ingredient is of course the motor oil:

1. Motor oil has a varying degree of chemical stability. Cheap oil will start to break down right away, some part of it will vaporize and some start to form heavier substances that in the end will become sludge.

2. Driving style. Hard driving and smaller trips when the engine never reaches operational temp breaks down the oil.

3. Internal factors in the engine. Some engines runs hotter and is harder on the motor oil.

4. Malfunction. If oil ventilation is clogged or broken sludge forms faster.

5. Mileage and change interval

I'd say about every sludge problem can be fixed by using high grade synthetic oil and keeping your car maintained.

Side note: I used to own a Concorde equipped with the 2.7 which is the sludge#1 engine. I drive hard, fast and I live in the south most of the year. These should be ideal conditions for sludging. But I kept that engine clean as a kitchen sink using high grade oil. Never any problem.

3rd Aug 2007, 08:14

Mobil 1 is kind of expensive to have to use on an economy car. I had a 1977 Celica GT and I never see them on the highway... yet see millions of domestics. I guess they all rusted out or wore out?

3rd Aug 2007, 22:28

To everyone saying that the Toyota sludge problem is due to lack of maintenance, for that argument to be true, you would have to be also be saying that only Toyota owners do not maintain their cars, while owners of all other cars makes/models without sludge maintain them flawlessly.

Anybody who does not have their head in the sand logically knows that the general maintenance habits of car owners for all brands are, statistically speaking, essentially the same. A generally even percentage of a representative sampling of owners for all brands maintain their cars very well, while essentially the same percent maintain them very poorly, and the remainder (arguably the majority) fall somewhere in between. Yet it is only Toyota that is having a wide-spread sludge problem.

Statistically, that indicates there is a design problem with the Toyota engines. If this was not the case, then why did Toyota extend their warranties on several late model vehicles expressly for sludge related reasons?

These are the facts, albeit they might be out of place in the midst of all the the hype on the Toyota section of this site.

4th Aug 2007, 01:10

Ah, see now we've finally gotten to the core of all this. You admit you're a Toyota 'fanatic'. My question is WHY??? Isn't that like being a microwave fanatic or a battery fanatic? There is NOTHING SPECIAL about a Toyota! They're boring, reliable (until recently) and just appliances! Anyone who is a car enthusiast or actually cares about driving simply doesn't buy a Toyota.

As much as I would never buy a European car because of reliability/cost issues, those are drivers cars. The perfect compromise is American because they are cheaper than Euro cars, mainly reliable and loads of fun to drive! But since you admit you're a fanatic anyway, it wouldn't matter how great an American car was you would continue to say it's junk.

4th Aug 2007, 06:24

When I had company cars (free) I was that way as well. I buy new cars every couple years import/domestic now never get that way anymore.

4th Aug 2007, 13:06

22:28 Your deductive reasoning there makes no sense for plenty of reasons.

First off, let's say that this sludge problem IS a Toyota design flaw. So what!? They STILL have WAYYY fewer problems than anyone else. And when Toyota does actually have a problem, they deal with it quickly and properly, unlike Chevy, Ford, or Dodge.

Fine with me; call it's Toyota's fault. Nobody's perfect; they're just far closer to it than any other make.

And, by the way, other manufacturers DO have sludge problems, as well as historically having countless other ones that Toyota has never had. Just for laughs, I like to Google search 'Ford fires', 'Dodge transmissions', and 'Chevy headgasket' problems. Any one of those searches will present a mountain of defects that Toyota has never had and never will.

I'll keep driving them until someone makes something better; no one has yet.

4th Aug 2007, 13:13

01:10- Yeah, I'm a Toyota 'fan', fanatic, whatever you want to call it. You ask why? You said it yourself; I like my toaster and my microwave for the same reason I like my Tacoma: it does what it's supposed to every day, never breaks, and never needs repaired. How hard is that to understand.

I guess if I wanted the 'excitement' you speak of, I'd take a gamble and buy a Ford or Chevy. That's excitement, wondering: will it catch fire?... will the transmission last past 90,000?... will the engine fall apart at 130,000?... will they even be in business in 5 years? Too exciting for me. I'll stick with my Toyota's.

If you want to see what excitement in a vehicle really is, I'll take you off-roading in the Tacoma. Bring a change of shorts.