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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 7
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,965 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Toyota Camry engine problems

engine problem

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1998 Toyota Camry Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #32

Apr 302010


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 1998 Toyota Camry. There was an oil leak inside of the oil filter. The vehicle was taken to an oil change facility where the oil filter was not installed incorrectly and caused oil to leak and damaged the engine. While driving 50 mph the engine over heated and stalled. The vehicle was towed to a different local mechanic. The second mechanic also informed him that an oil leak along with a damaged filter caused the vehicle to stall. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and current mileages were 110,000.

- Winterville, GA, USA

problem #31

May 132010

Camry 6-cyl

  • 161,000 miles
On May 13, 2010 approx 9:15 pm while driving a 1998 Toyota Camry le V6, car stalled/malfunctioned while being pulled over by chp which caused rear end collision spin out and 2 other car accidents, I have proof (video, photos, receipts, and service history) the car's throttle position sensor, idle speed control valve and or other systems caused the accident. Updated IVOQ 08/17/10 updated IVOQ 10/06/10 updated IVOQ 11/17/10 it was determined the throttle position sensor was faulty and needed to be replaced. Also, the outer door handle was replaced. Updated 01/12/11

- Chino, CA, USA

problem #30

Aug 132009


  • 119,181 miles
The balance shaft hit the oil pan and made a hole in the engine and the oil spread all over the engine that led to lot of smoke from the engine.

- Elgin, IL, USA

problem #29

Aug 202007

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 172,095 miles


My daughter has 2 1998 Toyota Camry both have had massive engine block failure by the front motor mount, one resulted in a fire under the hood. Her first Camry I helped her buy it used about 1 1/2 years ago (this car was actually titled in my name) and approximately 6 months ago while driving at highway speed the engine block came apart by the front motor mount spraying oil all over the engine compartment, which proceeded to catch on fire, luckily no one was hurt and the fire was contained under the hood. There was parts of the engine block, and bolts and oil scattered on the highway. That Camry was not repairable. We found her another 1998 Camry about two months ago and this one she bought all on her own and it is titled in her name. Well a couple of days ago her new 1998 Camry had massive engine block failure at the front motor mount in the same location as the other Camry. There was no fire involved on this one. The police were called to both scenes, and the fire dept. Was called on the first incident. This form does not have input for 2 vehicles. The second 1998 Camry in my daughters name. We do still have possession of both vehicles and in the same condition as the day they stopped working.

- Coal Valley, IL, USA

problem #28

Oct 232006

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving 60 mph on the highway, the engine blew. Smoke came out of the engine compartment as the vehicle was driven off to the side of the highway. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, where the inspection determined a lifter rod had fractured and blown out the bottom of the engine casing. The service dealer and manufacturer were notified.

- Parma, OH, USA

problem #27

Nov 202006

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Blue smoke come from tail pipe after car sit for a few days and the front right strut or something on that side rattle. The date is when I first heard the noise but the previous owner heard the noise a year or two after purchase, she had the struts changed and the noise is still there.

- Lagrange Ga, GA, USA

problem #26

Sep 022005

Camry 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles


The consumer received a letter from the manufacturer in May 2000 stating that his 1998 Camry had the potential of oil gelling or sludging. The letter also explained that this problem could be diagnosed by the presence of blue smoke or excessive oil consumption. The consumer vehicle didn't exhibit any signs of a problem when the letter was received. Eventually the consumer started noticing smoke coming out of the tailpipe on startup and took the vehicle to the dealer. The letter was presented to the service manager. The dealer refused to diagnose the problem without the consumer paying a fee. The consumer refused to pay and the problem was never diagnose or fixed. The consumer contacted the manufacturer but they also stated that he had to pay the dealer for the diagnostic test.

- Fort Lewis, WA, USA

problem #25

Nov 052003

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles
I brought my 98 Camry into Toyota city in mamaroneck, NY on 11/6/03 because of blue smoke that was coming out of the tail pipe. Seals were replaced but there was still leaking of oil. On 6/2/04 the Camry has more repairs done with gaskets and seals replaced but still there was oil leaking. I brought the car back to have the leak checked and I am always told there is no leak. I have smoke coming into the car from the engine area and put a quart of oil in every week.

- Mamaroneck, NY, USA

problem #24

Jan 152004

(reported on)


  • miles
Water pump burst and had to be replaced. In addition, consumer was awaiting a replacement part for the passenger side seat belt mechanism. Cc copy to NHTSA

- Canton, MA, USA

problem #23

Jun 062004

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,600 miles
Owner driving vehicle, came to a stop, began to accelerate, engine blew a rod through the front of the engine block. Vehicle caught fire and burnt beyond recognition within 15 minutes. Vehicle investigation followed because the car was under warranty, build up of sludge from engine oil. Company declined to fulfill warranty obligation because of the age and mileage on the car.

- Athens, OH, USA

problem #22

Aug 122004


  • miles


On a cold start, the idle air control valve failed. The car was taking to the dealer where the part was replaced. Old part not available.

- Santa Monica, CA, USA

problem #21

Feb 102004

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving my car, it turned off with no warning. I could not turn the car back on as I tried, the engine light went on. I notified the dealer. The dealer informed me that my engine had seized. My car is a 98 camary with 75000 miles which was purchased from the dealer and has had all service checkups from the dealer. The dealer informed me that it would cost me 4700 dollars to replace the engine and my warranty was up in July of 2003. I am wondering what is going on with Toyota. My family has had six Toyota since 1988. This car and our last Toyota camary have been horrible. The 2000 needed a brand new transmission and now this. In addition to this when I called the dealer they told me to purchase another car as if it was just that easy. I am a single mother who brought a Toyota because of the supposed dependablity. I guess I was wrong.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #20

Dec 182003

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles
The engine in my 1998 Toyota Camry threw a rod (#4) through the engine block. There were no warning signs, like abnormal engine noise or loss of power, before this catastrophic failure. The vehicle has 67000 miles and has had the oil changed within the manufacturer's recommended guidelines. Also, the 45000 mile maintenance was performed at the Toyota dealership. The local Toyota management said that I did not posses sufficient maintenance records to support them paying for the replacement engine. I had the receipts from the oil changes. Toyota corporation told me that they are not responsible for cars over 60000 miles. My complaint with the manufacturer is pending review.

- Liberty, SC, USA

problem #19

Nov 252003

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles
While exiting interstate 75S, 5-year-old Toyota Camry made strange engine noises and later began smoking heavily. After smoke cleared, there was a hole in the engine. Mechanic said that could be engine oil sludge problem and/or "thrown rod." Dealer completed 5-year-maintenance check on 8/28/03.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #18

Nov 222003


  • miles
The "check engine" light turns on and off randomly. I replaced gas cap and no help.

- Troy, MI, USA

problem #17

Aug 092003

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles
The engine blew in my 1998 Toyota Camry. It had 12300 mileage and was well maintained with no prewarnings that there was any engine trouble. I had received a letter from Toyota corporation months prior to the incident, warning of oil sludging/gelling problems with this car model. The letter stated that all repair costs would be covered for damages caused by oil sludging/gelling. The Toyota mechanics informed me that the engine appeared clean - no oil sludging. But, they did not know why the engine blew. They informed me that the oil might have been low. However, I had just had an oil change performed two months prior to the incident and was not informed of an oil leak, nor did my oil indicator light ever come on. Even though they couldn't explain what caused the engine to blow, they would not cover any costs of repair.

- New Tripoli, PA, USA

problem #16

May 202003

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles
Experienced a text book case of what has become known as the "Toyota sludge engine" problem. Contacted Toyota about spa program who referred me to the local dealer. He said unless I have documentation for an oil change every 3000 miles (manual says 7500) that Toyota would not provide any financial assistance. Said that I did not "have a leg to stand on" and I was "screwed." Once repairs are done and paid for I plan to submit a claim with all papers to Toyota.

- Scottdale, GA, USA

problem #15

Apr 202003


  • 76,000 miles
The vehicle stalled without warning.

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #14

Feb 032003

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles
'98 Toyota Camry--oil light came on. Within 2-3 miles I was able to pull into a service station and as I did so the engine suddenly began knocking. When towed to a Toyota dealer he said the engine was gone out (ruined). This vehicle had had oil changed every 3000-5000 miles. Dealer claimed this my engine had no signs of the well-known oil sludge problem common with this engine. I've since learned this engine had so many problems that it is no longer being used. What recourse is there for what appears to be a faulty design engine? my wrecker driver's father's '98 Toyota Camry's engine went out after only 2000! miles.

- Lagrange, KY, USA

problem #13

Jan 262003

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving, smoke started coming out from under the hood. After pulling over to the side of the road and turning off the engine, within 5-8 minutes the engine burst into flames. The car was a total loss. The insurance company did not determine the cause of this incident, although obvious potential causes, such as recent service to the engine, were ruled out (there had been no recent service).

- East Meadow, NY, USA

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