The check engine light has been coming on intermittently since the car was new. It was taken to the dealership each time and they replaced sensors two times. Other times the light came on and there were no diagnostic codes stored so they simply turned the check engine light off. Recently, now that the car is out of warranty, the light has come on and the car is missing badly with sulphur smelling exhaust. I paid to have the fuel tank removed and drained because the technician thought we got some bad fuel. That didn't eliminate the problem so they replaced the mass air flow sensor. This did not solve the problem so they had the car in the shop for 11 days and finally replaced an oxygen sensor located someplace near the catylitic converter. They said the sensor was pitted and covered with carbon. We drove the car for a week and it ran fine, then the check engine light came on again today. I don't know what to do now. Other than draining the fuel tank Toyota has warranted the sensors that were replaced under customer goodwill. The car has 20,000 miles on it.
One should always turn the car off when refueling- there are large signs posted at every gas station informing customers to do so. The sludge problem- which does not occur when customers maintain their cars regularly, including oil changes every 3750 miles, not 7500 miles- is not a TSB, or Technical Service Bulletin, it is a SPA, or Special Policy Adjustment, and no, it will not be checked for free. The customer must approve inspection first, and if sludge is detected and the customer can provide ample service records, then warranty will cover- if not, the customer is on his or her own to repair, reassemble, etc. A check engine light has no direct relationship to sludge unless the circumstance is very, I mean very severe. And lastly, discolored smoke from the tailpipe could mean several things, but again has no direct relationship to sludge. If white, it could be a coolant leak. If blue, it more than likely is valve stem seals. If it is a cold morning with lots of condensation, smoke is normal. Do not judge from smoke alone. Have a service professional at your dealer inspect if you suspect there may be problems, but beware of false information as provided above.
One more thing- oxygen sensors are not sludge detectors. There is no relationship. If you have a lazy oxygen sensor, your vehicle is either running to rich or too lean, meaning the engine is taking in either too much fuel or too little. In the former case, a rich air/fuel mixture will cause more smoke than normal from the tailpipe for obvious reasons. However, this is in no way related to sludge.
I purchased a 2002 Camry LE, automatic, in Nov 2002, Dec 2002 heard a knocking noise coming from front passenger side. Insulation was put in around glove box. March 2003,noise came back, plus creaking noise by driver's pillar and also passenger's pillar. Creaking noises coming from clock area. Return vehicle, dash removed and insulated. Following day, knocking noise appeared again and the rest of the creaking sounds were back. Return to dealer, sat there for six hours. (ME), they tighten the strut on passenger side. Creaking noise gone for 60 minutes and then it started up again. Also, have tape recording of creaking noise in the same area of the knocking noise on the front side passenger airbag and speaker area. Seeing Toyota Rep on Monday...
Toyota's owners manual for U.S. models says to change the oil every 5000 if you drive on dirt/dusty roads, tow heavy loads, or do frequent stops and starts in below freezing temperatures. All other driving conditions should change oil every 7500 miles. There is no mention of 3750 mile oil changes. Any oil related problems that happen when people are following the manual should be repaired by Toyota. As a matter of fact, if they can't tolerate the oil change intervals in the manual, Toyota should extend the warranty because most problems with infrequent, but regular oil changes is long term damage to the engine, when you are likely out of warranty.
I just bought a 2003 Camry Solara; a day and a half (and 150 miles) after I bought it, the check engine light came on. I immediately took it back to the dealer; they hooked it up to the diagnostic & said the code was an "evaporation code", and that probably one of the kids they have prepping new cars didn't put the gas cap on tight enough. They advised me to always make sure the gas cap was tight, and not to top off the gas tank when filling up. I said thanks, and went on my merry way.
After another 150 miles, the light came back on. Thinking it was still the same issue, I didn't take it back right away. Per the manual, if the light has come on because the gas cap is loose, "several trips" may be required for it to go off. After "several trips" the light was still on, so I decided another trip to the dealer was in order. On the way to the dealer, the engine became really loud, and I had trouble accelerating for a few seconds. This happened again a few miles down the road, just before I got to the dealer. I left the vehicle & after a few hours they called & told me that when they turned the car on, the light wasn't on (I don't believe this for a minute - it was on for a over a week), and asked if I had just gotten gas before bringing it in. I said I had gotten gas the night before; they then proceeded to tell me that the problem with the noise & problem accelerating occurred because I overfilled the gas tank. I responded that I had not, as I had been specifically advised not to. They said they cleaned the charcoal canister & lube tube, and the problem should be resolved. Again, I went on my somewhat merry way.
Another 150 miles... guess what happened - the light came back on. I took the car back in; this time they kept it overnight, and replaced the charcoal canister. I picked it up the next day, and went on my not so merry way. After driving 150 miles... the light did not back on... it took about 190 miles this time.
I am not feeling very merry right now. I'm trying to decide if my next call should be to the service manager at the dealer, or the Toyota Zone office.
I have owned a 1999 Toyota Camry LE which I bought new back in June, 1999. The only problem that I encountered were with the OEM General Tires on the car. Toyota replaced them with Michelins and haven't had a problem since! I have faithfully have followed the Toyota maintenance schedule with one exception. I have the oil changed every 3 months or 3000 miles. (Whatever comes first). I always use an OEM Toyota Oil filter as well as 5W30 oil at the dealership.
It is probably the best Toyota I have ever owned! (I have owned 6 since 1970).