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. Notes: Beware of the NHTSA complaint data for the 2003 Camry. It is almost certainly misleading.

The problem with NHTSA data for the 2003 Camry is that for months on end, the news media repeatedly told the public that several Toyota models had an unintended acceleration defect, & to go to (the NHTSA's website) to file a complaint.

So, the NHTSA received a disproportionate number of complaints about Toyota unintended acceleration issues because of the national news media attention, to the point where their data is unreliable taken in context with any other vehicle that did not receive national news attention. typically receives more complaints per day about vehicles than the NHTSA does, but the news media did not repeatedly say "go to to report your Camry acceleration problems" like they did about the NHTSA -- so although we have less complaint data than the NHTSA for the 2003 Camry, our data for the Camry is a far more statistically accurate representation of the Camry's reliability than what the NHTSA data shows.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
115,816 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.

2003 Toyota Camry engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Toyota Camry Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #16

Dec 182013

Camry 4-cyl

  • 106,928 miles


This is to report a failure on engine model #2az-fe (effects 2002-2007 Camry, highlanders and rav4) due to stripped cylinder head bolts on the back side of the engine. There is at least one technical service bulletin issued by Toyota tsb2740 that relates to this recognized problem of steel cylinder head bolts stripping out of the aluminum engine, especially on the firewall or backside of the engine possibly due to a foam insulation piece to protect a plastic manifold part from heat. It is suggested that the foam piece allows a heat build up on the engine side. The costs to repair this problem was $2,131. And includes machining the warped head, new head gasket and bolts and a long thread insert set. I am very disappointed to learn that Toyota knew years ago of this design problem and issued a tsb; but did not recall for a solution before this led to metal failure and engine overheating. Many of these engines will fail after the warranty period of 60K has expired. If you have any suggestions as to remedies with Toyota Corp for this failure, I would appreciate knowing about it. I am glad to report this as I see that many, many engine failures have been caused by this basically unaddressed design problem. Thank you.

- Anacortes, WA, USA

problem #15

Nov 072013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Camry. The contact stated that the cylinder heads were fractured. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure was confirmed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage and VIN were unavailable.

- Fountain , CO, USA

problem #14

Jul 082010


  • 65,000 miles
I am the original owner. At 65,000 miles I noticed white smoke from the exhaust pipe on morning startup. Research led me to the engine head not being secured because of the stripped bolt problem. I started using a dip stick to measure the amount of coolant in my overflow bottle before morning startup. I physically mark the dip stick. The coolant loss is minimal so far. I now have 85,000 miles on the car. The question is: Do I dare take the car on the highway? apparently there is not enough money to be made for a law office to start a class action suit.

- Warren, NJ, USA

problem #13

Jul 292013

Camry 4-cyl

  • 112,000 miles


After ten years, my 2003 Camry engine light came on, my husband was on route 20 with the oil shot out, started smoking he had to make an emergency stop, the 511 emergency saw the smoke from far away which made them follow the smoke. My husband could have been killed. All of the oil and antifreeze emptied out in a matter of minutes. Two tows at $189 a piece and a diagnostic from the auto repair at $112.

- Acworth, GA, USA

problem #12

May 012013


  • miles
2002-2006 Toyota Camry & other models with 4 cylinder engines ( 2az) engines blown head gasket / stripped head bolt problem.

- Springfield, IL, USA

problem #11

Apr 222013


  • 120,000 miles
Vibrations in the intake manifold - vehicle became sluggish and noisy due to intake manifold issue -it is broken and has to be replaced.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #10

Dec 052012

Camry 4-cyl

  • 114,000 miles


I was slowing down to make a signaled left turn into a paking space at cvs pharmacy. As I braked and turned, the car lurched forward hitting a stacked stone pillar and came to a crashed stop. The air bag did not deploy and I had a scrape on my scalp from the sun visor.

- Acworth, GA, USA

problem #9

Jan 162013

Camry 4-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
We found coolant on our garage floor. We took the Camry to our Toyota dealer and was informed that cylinder head bolts were stripped and coolant was leaking out of the bolts. We were told that a used engine replacement was needed to correct the problem, and that Toyota would not cover any of the cost. Apparently, Toyota had issued service bulletins to their dealers about the problem some years before, but when I called Toyota's 1-800-331-4331 number I was informed that there were no recalls or warranty extensions for this problem. Based on what I found on the internet, this is a common problem with the 2003 Camry.

- Maryville, TN, USA

problem #8

Dec 282012

Camry 4-cyl

  • 173,000 miles
In November 2012, I was told by my the dealer that there was a leak in my water pump in my 2003 Toyota Camry. I got a second opinion and I was told that my water pump had a slow leak and that I should get it repaired. In December 2012, my car ran hot and was smoking really bad. Dealer stated that my I needed a new engine. I asked what was the issue and they stated that my head gaskets were blown. I asked the dealer could they repair the head gaskets and the answer was I needed a new engine. Got a second opinion who then told me that I had stripped head bolts and car could be repaired. Had car repaired and the car is running fine 173,000. I started doing research on the internet and literally I found hundreds of people with this same issue. I proceeded to call Toyota (twice) and the second call did admit that there was a service bulletin issued in Nov 2011 alerting the dealers how to repair the stripped head bolts. I could not believe how many people were having this issue and the fact that this is a defect in the construction of the 2.4 engine for the 2003 Toyota Camry. Toyota will not acknowledge that there was a major defect with this years Camry. And what is further more disheartening is that the representative at Toyota said that I should expect to make repairs on my car with the type of mileage I have. And I do agree but I should be able to get more without the defect. Is there any way I can get Toyota to acknowledge the defect by filing this claim and in addition to the other claims on this website.

- Mableton, GA, USA

problem #7

Oct 042012

Camry 4-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
It was an unusually cold day for October and I was driving my son to school with my three year old daughter in her car seat when the heat would not work. Only cold air came out of the vents. The windows were fogged up and would not defrost. I then noticed that the temperature gage was in the red zone. It kept climbing up and down. I could not see out of the windshield at all and had to pull over for safety reasons. Thank god I was not on the highway as usual, but on a local road. I stopped and I wiped off the windshield and windows manually. This was a terrifying ordeal. The next morning I took the Camry to the cooper tire garage here in findlay. After inspection I was told that the head gasket pulled out of the block and that it was because it was an aluminum block. They are not made out of steel anymore. Previous to this incident, I experienced absolutely no symptoms that my Toyota's engine was going to malfunction. My Camry's engine is shot. I contacted Toyota customer service center and was told there is nothing they could help me with. I was actually crying when I spoke with the representative. I have been a proud owner of two Camry. My daughter drives a 1995 Camry that is still running very well and my mother is driving a 1999 Camry that she has had no engine issues with. Apparently, this is a newer model defect. My Camry has been paid off since November of 2011. I was looking forward to having another 100,000 miles of use out of it. The reputation that Toyota Camry's have states that if I regularly maintain my Camry I should have that opportunity. I now have the urge to warn all Camry drivers to be aware that they could very well experience engine failure with no symptoms at all and even if they regularly maintain their Camry. This is an extremely dangerous issue. My Camry still looks and did run like new.

- Findlay, OH, USA

problem #6

Sep 062011


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Camry. The contact stated that the temperature gauge warning lamp illuminated. The contact mentioned that after inspecting the vehicle, she noticed that all of the coolant fluid had leaked out of the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The mechanic diagnosed that the bolts became detached from the engine base. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 80,000 and the current mileage was 86,000.

- Glendale , CA, USA

problem #5

Nov 242011


  • 130,000 miles
Intake manifold noise. Documented problem. No recall available.

- Wheatridge, CO, USA

problem #4

Sep 012012


  • 135,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Camry. The contact stated that while making a left or right turn there was a noise coming from under the hood. Also, the contact mentioned that the vehicle was leaking coolant fluid. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who inspected the failure and stated that the engine head bolt strips itself causing the coolant to leak out and blew the head gasket. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 135,000.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #3

Jan 012012

Camry 4-cyl

  • 136,000 miles
Car smokes during start up. Started last winter. Research indicates stripped head bolts. Pull and clean the plugs about once a month due to fouling. Waiting for it to blow. Will not take it out of town or the highway.

- Sparks, NV, USA

problem #2

Apr 062012


  • 139,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Camry. While parked, the check engine light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostics where the technician replaced two oxygen sensors. After the repair the check engine light illuminated intermittently and the contact noticed that the interior lights, radio and the mileage on the instrument panel continued to illuminate after the key was removed from the ignition. The contact replaced the battery but the failure continued. On another occasion while driving approximately 10 mph the vehicle stalled without warning. There were no further repairs performed to the vehicle. The approximate failure mileage was 139,000.

- Mclean, VA, USA

problem #1

May 012012

Camry 4-cyl

  • miles
I have a 2003 Toyota Camry 4cyl car with 150,000 miles, that has a coolant leak from the back of the engine next to the intake manifold after replace most of the cooling system such as fan, thermostat trying to correct the problem on further inspection and research, it was revealed that the leak is coming from the head gasket area, due to stripped out block/headbolt, as a clear sign of manufacturer defect indicated and substantiated by the amount of similar cases found on internet forums such as: it seems car makers will not do the right thing unless they are forced to and this is why I am trying to do my part to invoke a vehicle recall for this design failure, by a company claiming to put costumers first, but instead ignores so many of us the first chance they get. Consumers need help with this issue with Toyota; please help us. The best fix so far reported is purchasing another Toyota 4cyl motor with the same flawed engineering and Toyota wants no part of being responsible for their short coming., this is absolutely the most disappointing experience with them and to know there are so many instances of the same problem and yet this company refuses to do the right and responsible action and issue a recall to fix their failure. Any and all the assistance in this matter is needed.

- Deleon Springs, FL, USA

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