2003 Toyota Camry LX from North America - Comments

17th Mar 2009, 21:15

I have a 2003 Camry which is in the shop right now. Initially, the service department said it was the head gasket and now they tell us the engine bolts are stripped and will cost a fortune. I just read somewhere that someone else had this same problem. I honestly think this should be a recall. I agree, they sure keep quiet about car defects. A year and a half ago we had another problem with my Camry. We have been loyal Toyota owners and currently own 3 Toyotas (a 2003 Camry, 2005 Corolla, 2007 Tundra) but now I'm having second thoughts about buying Toyota. I feel the company should help us out with the repair expense as my husband does not think this problem is normal wear and tear. Very frustrating, especially in these hard economic times.

3rd Sep 2009, 05:19

You are certainly not the only Toyota Camry owner to experience this problem with loose head bolts - numbers are growing. I have read that this design fault will affect 2002-2007 models. Check out: camryforums.com loose head bolts.

22nd Jan 2010, 00:06

Jignesh January 1/19/10. I have a 2003 Camry, which is in the shop right now. Initially, the service department said it was the head gasket, and now they tell us the engine bolts are stripped and will cost a fortune.

26th Jan 2010, 20:52

I am an owner of 2003 Toyota Camry. On Friday Jan. 22, I took my car in for a 150000 mile tuneup and a brake job. I mentioned to my mechanic that I smelled a slight burnt rubber smell.

After further inspection on his part, he discovered that coolant was leaking onto the exhaust pipe. We have now been informed that the head gasket is leaking and 2 of the 10 bolts cannot be properly tightened due to stripping. He is doing his utmost to keep me from having to replace the engine block over TWO BOLTS!

I now found out that prior to 2002, the material used was cast iron, now aluminum. I also found out that the intake manifold is made of hard plastic (my mechanic originally thought it was a crack in the manifold, which had also been a problem with the 2003). New replacement manifold have been redesigned, but still plastic.

I purchased a Toyota for its reputation of durability, longevity, and reliability. I don't want a constant car payment. I now entertain doubts concerning Toyota especially the more I am discovering. True in that the info on imports are not as easily accessible as those on domestics.

But then again as an average consumer, how would you know to ask for full disclosure on head gaskets and head bolts, and intake manifold, concerning materials and faulty engineering in 2003 on new models. Would they even have the statistics then?

3rd Feb 2010, 17:09

Welcome to the real world. Most people would have you believe that domestic vehicles are junk and imports are great. How wrong they are; all manufacturers produce good and bad cars, and a few lemons here and there. I would rather get a cheap domestic and have a few problems, rather than pay a fortune for a new or used import, and have it fall apart or fork out thousands on repairs.

4th Feb 2010, 09:35

Statistics are compiled by consumers that report their troubles on websites like "http://www.nhtsa.gov/" and "http://www.mycarstats.com/". These statistics eventually can lead to recalls or the issuance of service bulletins.

Go there and leave your mark.

25th Dec 2010, 11:55

I own a 2003 Camry and must have been lucky. It has 169,000 and got its first (front) brake job and transmission fluid change. No repairs other than rear suspension gaskets.

Mileage is 32 mpg overall.

Car is quiet, and all that I expected it to be and more.

Am afraid to trade it in on a new Camry.

10th Jan 2013, 15:14

I have the same problem with a 2003 blown head gasket. Please contact me if you can at sophiafayette@yahoo.com.

11th Jan 2013, 15:45

Commenter 11:55 sounds like a good driver and wise car owner. If you take good care of a vehicle, you shouldn't have any problems in 150,000 miles or more, even with less well-built imports. I can just hear all the clueless people who are brainwashed by unscrupulous dealers and shops screaming "you went 169,000 miles without a transmission fluid change!!". Well, if you bother to read many car owners manuals, you'll note that a lot of them clearly state that the transmissions NEVER require fluid changes.

I am also fairly certain that if 11:55 had taken his car to a shop for a brake inspection at 20,000 miles, he'd have been told he needed a brake job. Virtually all such shops will tell you you need a brake job, no matter how much wear is left on the pads.

14th Jan 2013, 09:43

Good shops will give you an exact percentage of disc brake pads remaining. There is typically an audible wear indicator that will warn you before you score the rotors. If you do not turn your sound system up too high, you will hear it in time. My shop does a print out on recommendations. I personally drive all late model domestics.

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