Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
112,745 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.

2002 Toyota Camry engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Toyota Camry:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Toyota Camry Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #34

Jan 202016


  • 61,000 miles


The exhaust manifold on my 2002 Toyota Camry with 2.4L cracked. It seems to be a common problem on these cars. My Camry only had a little over 60,000 miles when it happened. Other Toyota cars have been recalled for the same problems.

- Jupiter, FL, USA

problem #33

Jan 282016


  • 12,700 miles
Took the car to good year change a bunch of parts. Aftet that took the car to get the oil changed. On the 01/27/2016 check engine light is now on the the vehicle. I sent you are report last week as well. I need your intervention. Please stop Toyota from ripping consumer off. It now states that the gas cap is off and or loose. This is not the case.

- Bloomfield, CT, USA

problem #32

Nov 012015


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Camry. While operating the vehicle, smoke appeared coming from the exhaust pipe. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the head gasket had blown due to the head gasket bolt stripping from the engine block. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 140,000.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #31

Nov 052014


  • 140,000 miles


Stripped head bolts.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #30

Dec 172015


  • 135,000 miles
Sudden unintend acceleration at slow speed--on December 17, 2015, when pulling slowly into a garage and nearly stopped, the car suddenly surged forward raming the car into the garage interior wall. This resulted in "totaling the car" and damage to the garage and property in the garage. This is the second time that this sudden unintend acceleration occurred with this 2002 Camry. It also occurred on January 20, 2010 with a different driver (my wife) who had her foot on the brake when pulling into a parking spot. The car suddenly surged forward about three car lengths causing damage to the underside of the vehicle. We filed a complaint with NHTSA on January 30, 2010 (seenhtsa id number 10303355). For the 2010 incidence the car was towed to a Toyota dealer where repairs where made. When we picked up our car from the Toyota dealer, we noted that none of the repair items on the invoice mentioned accelerations problems. Several days later after complaining to the Toyota service manager, he agreed to perform a "courtesy inspection of accelerator pedal assembley for any possible binding sticking slow return or abnormal performance." No problems were noted. The service manager said the vehicle was safe to drive. In both incidences the surges were quick, unintended, and at very slow speeds. The incidences involved two different drivers.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #29

Nov 022015


  • miles
2002 Toyota Camry. Consumer writes in regards to engine and valve head gasket failure due to poor design in the head bolt attachment. The consumer requested Toyota replace the engine before a failure occurred. Toyota declined to assist the consumer.

- American Canyon, CA, USA

problem #28

Oct 142015


  • 119,900 miles


I had an accident with my Toyota while my husband was driving on a city street and I was sitting beside him. We hit a car when it stopped suddenly. The seat belt and air bags did not protect me. My head strongly hit the windshield.

- Springfield, IL, USA

problem #27

Sep 122015


  • 112,000 miles
Husband was driving home from playing golf on the highway. As he headed North up the hill, he pressed the gas. The car promptly jerked then completely shut down/ceized. Husband immediately looked at the temperature gauge, which read normal, as well as the gas gauge (full). As he stepped from the car to pop the hood, he could smell smoke. In opening the hood, there was a small flame that within 1-2 minutes, completely engulfed the engine/hood. Husband immediately called the fire department, as the car continued to grow in flames which spread to a brush fire. Husband was not injured and there were no other persons involved in this accident (non-collision). Both the fire department and state trooper arrived to the scene and took a full report and inspection of the accident. All parties agreed this was the result of a vehicle malfunction, as cars do not nor should they just catch fire! the car was completely destroyed and was towed.

- Kennewick, WA, USA

problem #26

Sep 112015


  • 53,500 miles
02 Camry 2.4L 5 spd: Bought the car from a bay area Toyota dealer 2 yrs ago, Aug 2013. Car did have 36K miles on day of purchase and does have 53.5K on it when engine issue occurred. Used the car as a back up or weekend car. Work car is a 92 Camry 4 cyc with 279K (original motor). Decide to use 02 Camry for work and temp gauge went to hot, check coolant level and it was empty, although 2 days prior to the engine issue, my car's coolant was good. Added water to cooling system and noticed severe leak of water from the back of the engine. Spoke to two mechanics I usually go to and they did not even check the car, they already knew the problem. Decide to call a Toyota tech mechanic I know to check the car, he had informed me of stip head bolts, same issue the other two mechanic had mention to me. Did went to the dealer next day and inform of this issue, they recommend time sert which cost about $4500. They had also told me to call customer care, but I doubt customer care will be able to help me with this issue because I've seen people post online who had contact customer care re: This issue and did not do anything. Been a die hard Toyota guy, with this issue, been disappointed with Toyota's craftsmanship on the 2.4L engines.. in fact the Toyota tech I spoke to had mention this is common issue with this engine model and had also informed me the newer engine model, 2.5L has also a defect, piston ring issue which dealer had been replacing those engine. At this time there is no recall for this strip head bolt. I guess Toyota is waiting for some one to get hurt from this issue before they start act; such as car stalling in the middle of the freeway due to blow head gasket and getting hit by another motorist. I was just lucky enough to see my temperature gauge went to hot and was able to park the car to safety.

- Sacramento , CA, USA

problem #25

May 152015


  • 93,000 miles
Cylinder head bolts pulled out of the block causing catastrophic engine failure

- Concrete, WA, USA

problem #24

May 012015


  • 180,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Camry. The contact stated that while driving approximately 40 mph, the engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who diagnosed that the engine valve cover needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 180,000.

- Pasadena , CA, USA

problem #23

Jan 202015


  • 141,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Camry. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 60 mph, the temperature gauge started to fluctuate as hot air blew into the vehicle without warning. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, where it was diagnosed that the head gasket needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 141,000.

- Jenison, MI, USA

problem #22

Dec 122012

Camry 6-cyl

  • 47,000 miles
Defective valve cover gasket refer to Chrysler valve cover recall.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #21

Nov 192014

Camry 4-cyl

  • 112,000 miles
Cylinder head gasket leak, cylinder head bolts stripped. Coolant lost.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #20

Oct 312014


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Camry. The contact stated that exhaust smoke started to emit from the tail pipe. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that engine pressure was excessive causing the engine bolts to separate and the head gasket to fail. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 140,000.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #19

Nov 222013


  • 114,000 miles
Engine head bolts stripped causing antifreeze loss, head had to be resurfaced, new head gasket, and a special kit was need to re-thread the loose bolts repairs cost over $3000. Which is better than a new engine but repairs aren't guaranteed because this is a factory defect with this particular engine. Had I known this I wouldn't have purchased this particular make of car.

- Kelso, WA, USA

problem #18

Jul 142014

Camry 4-cyl

  • 108,105 miles
Coolant leak due to apparent stripped head bolts due to manufacturer defect.

- Walnut Creek, CA, USA

problem #17

Jun 202013


  • 100,000 miles
Began noticing gurgling/water sloshing noises at approximately 100K miles. Approximately one month later, car overheated. Noticed coolant was low, so had coolant refilled. Checked out by mechanic next day and was told that a stop-leak would fix problem. Completed this procedure at personal cost. Three days later, car overheated again. Took to different mechanic, and was advised to replace radiator. Replaced radiator at personal cost. Few days later, car overheated again. Took to four different mechanics and noticed coolant leaks. Was advised by all four mechanics that it was blown head gasket, that this was a common problem with this make/model, that replacing the engine would be safest solution. One mechanic also said that simply replacing head gasket might not work because the bolt threading in this particular model was known to be defective. Cannot afford $4000 to replace engine, especially if this same problem can possibly recur. Currently refilling coolant every other day.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #16

Oct 102012


  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Camry. The contact stated that while driving approximately 65 mph, the engine overheated as the temperature warning indicator. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis. The engine cylinder head blot was stripped and replaced with a new one however, the transmission failed. The vehicle was not repaired for the most recent failure. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 125,000.

- Daly City, CA, USA

problem #15

Jan 072014


  • miles
The coolant started leaking from behind the motor. My mechanic looked at it and said that the foam insulation was saturated with coolant and it was leaking from there, between the head and the cylinder. When I researched about it online in many Toyota forums, the common thing that I have come across is that there is a problem with the head bolts stripping and the coolant leaking from that area. My mechanic said that I either need a new engine or do a fix the stripped head bolts with a heli-coil or a time-sert. This is very disappointing with Toyota, that they are not acknowledging the defect with there 5th gen 4 cyl 2az-fe engines and are refusing to do anything about. The solution that they are giving is a very expensive one of getting a new engine for $5000. This needs to be addressed by Toyota or someone needs to make them take notice of this issue.

- Lagrange, IN, USA

Read the next 14 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?