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Even reliable cars have bad model years where maintenance issues are more prevalent than others. And though Toyota is a reliable brand, some of its most popular vehicles have seen some flawed years. Take, for instance, the perennially best-selling Toyota Camry. Avoid these three model years from the same generation if you want a good used Camry.

The 2007 Toyota Camry is the worst of the worst

Worst Toyota Camry model years
2007–2009 (sixth-generation)Toyota Camry XLE | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Toyota rolled out an attractive refresh with the sixth-generation 2007 Camry. The sleek exterior styling was popular among consumers, but critics found it fairly unspectacular. At the time, it faced stiff competition from the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Subaru Legacy, and others. So, the automaker spruced up the Camry for the 2007 model year.

It offered a hybrid powertrain option and a standard 2.4-liter and 3.5-liter V6 engine (the latter replacing earlier 3.0-liter and 3.3-liter options). The interior was more modern, with more storage and better tech. But it wasn’t without flaws. 

CarComplaints lists a whopping 1,020 owner complaints for the 2007 Toyota Camry. More than half of those complaints concern engine problems. Digging deeper, we see the most reported engine complaint was excessive oil consumption. It typically occurred around 95,000 miles and cost an average of $2,420 to fix. Owners noted this issue often required a piston assembly replacement or an engine rebuild.

Burning oil was the next most common engine complaint. Occurring at around 111,950 miles and costing an average of $2,170 to fix, this problem most often stemmed from drivers failing to replace the oil in their cars regularly. However, sometimes failing engines were the culprit.

The next most common gripe involved the interior. Almost 90 complaints concerned melting dashboards. This issue cropped up around 100,000 miles and cost $540 to fix on average. (Toyota eventually issued a safety recall for these dashboards due to glare.)

The sheer number of complaints about this model is a major red flag. In fact, the 2007 Camry is widely considered the worst model year.

The 2008 Toyota Camry is not good either

Toyota didn’t change the 2008 Camry significantly despite all the previous model’s issues. However, the 2008 Camry has far fewer complaints on Unfortunately, it has the dubious distinction of having the most expensive repair issue listed for the model. Excessive oil consumption remained an issue with the 2008 model; the problem typically occurred a little later (around 107,350 miles) and cost $2,720 on average to fix. That’s higher than the average price to fix the 2007 Camry’s oil consumption problem, which doesn’t bode well for prospective used Camry owners.

The next most common complaint concerns visibility, a safety issue registered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Nearly 200 2008 Camry owners noted the sun visor flopped down, obstructing their view. In at least one case, the visor’s sudden fall resulted in an accident in which the Camry was totaled.

2008 Camry owners also have noted issues with the car’s speed control, adaptive cruise control, and engine problems unrelated to oil. But by far, most complaints involve excessive oil consumption, resulting in burning oil, engine failure, check engine warning lights, and other symptoms.

And the 2009 Camry is not much better

Unfortunately, Toyota still hadn’t fixed the engine problem the following model year. 2009 Camry owners reported numerous criticisms on about excessive oil consumption. However, these issues seemed less severe, as the average repair cost was $1,230. Typically, owners began noticing this problem at around 96,600 miles.

2009 Camry owners also registered complaints about the interior. Specifically, they noted the same issue as 2007 model owners: The dashboard melted into a shiny goop. Although doesn’t show data about average repair costs, there were fewer gripes about this issue.

Although that issue is an understandable source of frustration, excessive oil consumption is much more severe. And given the time between the release of these model years and the present day, it would likely be challenging to find a 2007 to 2009 Toyota Camry with fewer than 100,000 miles on it. That’s about the number of miles many owners began to experience these engine problems.

So if you’re looking for a used Camry, avoid those three model years. Otherwise, you could find yourself with an unreliable, unsafe car.


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