Toyota Camry: The Most Annoying Problem You Should Know About

It’s assumed that vehicles need regular maintenance to stay in working order. But, what if your car needs maintenance all the time? This is something owners of the Toyota Camry and other Toyota owners have been finding with cars that have excessive oil consumption. 

What the problem is

Toyota Camry models on display at a car dealership in California
Toyota Camry models | Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Certain Toyota models, both Camrys and other models primarily from 2006 through 2011, have been going through as much as a quart of oil in 1,200 miles. Some owners reported the “oil pressure” light comes on sooner than expected. In addition, Toyota dealers told people that burning oil is normal and not a problem. They also denied warranty coverage on some engine repairs.

Toyota’s response

Toyota did issue an internal technical service bulletin (TBS) on August 11, 2011, which read: “Some 2006–2011 model year vehicles equipped with the 2AZ-FE engine may exhibit engine oil consumption. The piston assembly has been changed to minimize oil consumption.” In addition, “P030# (cylinder # misfire detected) DTC may also be set as a result of oil consumption.”

The TBS was not a recall, and it said repairs should be covered by the standard Toyota Powertrain Warranty of 60 months or 60,000 miles. However, the vehicle would first need to pass a test. The dealer would mark the oil level on the dipstick, have the owner drive 1,200 miles, and recheck the oil level. If more than a quart of oil had been used, the repairs would be covered by the warranty. Vehicles no longer under warranty or ones that didn’t pass the test were out of luck, and owners would have to cover the cost of repairs.

Which cars have excessive oil consumption, where owners submit vehicle issues, shows how many Toyota vehicles were affected. The biggest problems were for the Camry, Corolla (2009), the Matrix (2009), the RAV4 (2006–2008), the Solara (2007–2008), and some Scion vehicles (the 2007–2009 Scion tC and 2008–2009 Scion xB). For the Toyota Camry, both the HV Hybrid (2007–2011) and the standard Camry (2007–2009) were affected.

For the Camry HV, Car Complaints shows that problems began right away in 2007, the first model year it was available. That year has the most overall complaints. It actually had more brake problems than engine problems for 2007 model year, but excessive oil consumption was the most reported engine issue. For 2008, interior accessory problems were the most reported, but the oil consumption issues continued. Just as many owners reported excessive oil consumption issues for the 2009 Camry HV, and the problem was still reported in 2010 but by many fewer people.

For the standard Toyota Camry, Car Complaints shows 284 people reporting excessive oil consumption as the No. 1 problem on the 2007 Camry. Engine problems, and specifically excessive oil consumption, are the top issue also for the 2008, 2009, and 2010 model years. For the 2009 Toyota Camry, people reported the issue appearing at around 95,700 miles and costing an average of $1,400 to repair.

Class action lawsuit

Since the oil consumption could lead to engine failure, owners filed a class action lawsuit against Toyota. In addition to the danger, owners experienced higher costs and decreased vehicle value. The lawsuit charged that Toyota had been aware of the issues since 2008 but didn’t notify owners.

The lawsuit suggested that the engine had a defective design or manufacturing, and it pointed to the pistons and piston ring assemblies plus the oil control ring groove and patin drain holes as the source of the issues with oil consumption. Ultimately, the lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed in 2015.

For buyers of newer Toyota Camry models, there’s good news. The problem seems to have been eliminated, and lots of people are happy with their Toyota vehicles.