My engine just blew on my 1997 Toyota Camry for the exact same reason. Where did you find your information?
Two of my friends bought late model used Camry's because of the "MYTH" that Toyota was reliable. Both of them fell apart in less than a year. Where do people get these insane ideas that the Japanese build better cars?? The two Japanese cars our family had were the most unreliable cars we ever had. We drive Ford and GM now.
My dad bought his Camry in April 2002. We've had no problems with the car, and we're at 150000 miles. Even Toyota has they're share of lemons, even GM or Ford, all be it Ford and GM seem to have more lemons than do Toyota and Honda.
Or, who knows -- they probably have just as many, judging by all the previous comments.
I bought a 1997 Nissan Altima GXE today, for my first car, since most reviews on here were positive. Awesome value for the money so far -- love the power!
I have a 2003 SE Camry and have not had a problem with it. 2.4 L V4 I have even started an extended oil drain interval last year at this time (Oct 2005) and now just drained the oil. I put 20,107 miles on those 4 quarts of synthetic oil. Just changed the filter at 12,500 miles and added 1 quart to make up for what I took out with filter and runs great. Don’t get me wrong I checked the oil level at least once a week to make sure I had the proper amount.
I like Chevy, but when I bought this car I seemed to have fallen in love with it. It just seems to be more solid the GM products. The car is quieter, steer’s better, drives smoother, and I get better gas mileage. Not saying that Toyota can’t have problems because when you have so many cars on the road (such as the Camry) you will undoubtably have some issues with some. I am seriously looking into a Tacoma down the road. Heard positive things about them.
We bought a 2003 Camry 4 door 4 cylinder new. At 15,000 miles power steering fluid began to leak from 3 different points in the steering assembly. Toyota replaced the entire assembly and gave us a loaner car at no cost.
At 21,000 miles the catalytic converter was replaced due to a bad egg smell. This took 3 trips to the dealer before they were convinced of the problem (they argued that bad gas was the problem). No loaner this time. This problem has since appeared in a TSB, and Toyota now knows of this problem.
I never took the car back to any dealer as I maintain it myself.
Life was good until 3 days ago (August 2008, 76,000 miles) when the car stalled with no warning at a light in a major intersection. The alternator died (part cost $175) along with the 5 year old battery ($59 - Costco). OK. This problem happens to cars.
But it never happened to the 5 Honda's I've owned that had far more mileage than this Camry (my wife selected).
This site, along with comments on Carcomplaints.com, and my experience with this car, have convinced me to get rid of it. I'm convinced, along with my wife (finally) that Toyotas are not built as well as Hondas.
Having owned a Honda that was even worse than your Camry, I've switched to domestics. They're more reliable, have a much better warranty and offer a bit more than the " basic appliance" feel of Honda and Toyota. None of our domestics has ever had ANY problems. We won't be buying any imports from now on.
I have a 2003 Camry LE. Bought it used at 47K miles and now have a 114K. I am not sure if the battery id dying or if it is the alternator. The battery has had to be jumped on two separate occasions over the last 2 1/2 days. Took the car to Auto Zone. They tested the battery, it appears to be OK. However, the alternator appears to be OK as well. Is it possible the belts are the problem? Any suggestions on which one of the potential scenarios may be? I would hate to buy a new battery and lose the charge after a few days if the problem is ultimately the alternator.
It is possible you have a current drain on the battery from some electrical source that is not shutting off as it should, or a short that is pulling power from your battery. Check to be sure all your accessory lights, such as the glove box light, under-hood light, trunk light, etc. are turning off (if your car has these). I've encountered these kinds of issues before. I had one vehicle that would drain the battery over a two-week period and I NEVER found the cause of it. I just made it a point never to allow it to sit without being started for more than three or four days.
I doubt that your belt is slipping, as that is normally accompanied by a very easily heard squeal in most cases, as well as a burning odor. I suspect it is just a weak battery that is not holding a charge. If it is out of warranty or over three years old, I'd just get another inexpensive battery. I've found that Wal-Mart batteries last just as long (usually LONGER) than much more expensive batteries. My $39 Wal-Mart batteries usually easily last 4 years.
For one, most alternators come with an internal voltage regulator. When you replace one, you replace both.
If your battery is dying, and the alternator checks out OK, it's most likely that the battery is at fault, especially if it's over three years old.
The warranty on the battery is a direct result of the time it takes for the acid to eat through a terminal connector. It is a known rate and mfrs. base their warranties on that.
If your battery fails early, ask yourself if you've been using tap water to top it off or distilled water as is recommended. That will kill a battery early.
Otherwise, a good electrical man can find the drain from a short. I emphasize the word 'good'. Lots of mechanics are just mindless parts swappers. Find the good one and feed him with your business so that he'll be there for you when you need him.
Although I own new GM's, my questions are much different.
How far does this individual drive is my first question? Import batteries are notoriously small and more designed for starting and mostly basic accessories. If this is a city or short start/stop commuter, it's likely the charge never reaches 100% and battery stratification occurs. The battery is weakened can still start but likely will fail early. Take a look under the hood and note how small many of these batteries really are. They have to fit in a tight compartment. Some European imports do have larger batteries however. I always bought the biggest replacement batteries that would fit in my domestics. I did not have that capability in my imports... yet had heated seats, lots of accessories in them.
I have 2 deep discharge batteries in my boat. A marine battery can suffer deep discharges and are taxed heavily with electronics. And I buy big batteries and switch off. Get far offshore and you can appreciate their importance.
The other question is many vehicles have maintenance free batteries and you can test the battery or look for a green indicator only. Maybe simple good driving basics of keeping the battery up or not parking long periods with accessories, parking lights, doors open, radios etc. on for long stretches with the engine off can help as well on many tiny import batteries.
A small battery is severely challenged to start as well as run many modern accessories. If you have few (bare bones import no power windows, moonroofs etc) you may have better battery life to a point. I think if you drive small cars, small batteries mainly short distances you are going to go through batteries as a common routine expense.