Print this page


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
104,550 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (5 reports)
  2. engine overhauled under warranty (1 reports)
1997 Toyota Camry engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 1997 Toyota Camry:

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

1997 Toyota Camry Owner Comments

problem #6

Oct 252022

Camry LE 2.2L In-Line 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 173,960 miles


click to see larger images

engine failure engine failure

I wanna preface this by saying I really love this stupid car, and I’ve paid a lot to get it running again. Good engines are getting rare, and good transmissions are even worse, and considering the engine failure took out the transmission too, it’s been an expensive and long repair process. There were probably signs the engine was failing, but I didn’t notice them or know what to look for. The oil pressure light never came on, and none of the mechanics I went to were able to diagnose the mysterious misfire the engine had, since the ignition system was good and it had compression and fuel. Most said it was probably the computer.

Later I talked to a mechanic that mentioned he had an almost identical car with an identical failure almost 10 years ago. So the 5S-FE engine misfires on cylinders 2 and 3 when the engine is about to die, for whatever reason. Anyway, due to the difficulty in finding parts and such, I was only able to find one person that would replace the engine and transmission, and it was mostly as a favor to me. In the future I don’t think repairing these poor things will really be viable, since it’s a total of $6000 for everything as it is, and that’s with a lot of fees cut out by my mechanic. The engine itself was $3K, and the transmission and other miscellaneous bits between them are another $3K combined. This repair has been a nightmare, and it really sucks, because the car ran beautifully for 4 years and 30K miles before the engine catastrophically failed.

- camithewitch, Houston, US

problem #5

Jun 042017

Camry 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,200 miles

This 4 cyl, 1997 Toyota Camry had only 69,112 miles on it when I bought it in February 2017 from an older couple who kept it garaged, only used it for local trips. Sold it because they can't drive anymore. Not a bit of rust on it. Had a mechanic look it over before buying, said it was in great condition.. Clean spark plugs, no sign of any problems. The couple bought it new & I have their maintenance records, oil changes were done regularly, never missed. I put new tires on it, new struts & had the oil changed.

Started using it 2/25/17. It's only been used sparingly because I work long hours, no opportunity to drive it much. On 6/4/17 I was on a very busy highway & heard a loud sound under the hood & the engine quit. Thank God I was in the lane next to the breakdown lane & managed to steer it in. Had to push it the rest of the way or risk getting hit. Could've been killed. Smoke was pouring out of the engine compartment, oil was everywhere. Looks like it threw a push rod, there's a hole in the motor. Unbelievable.

Supposedly Toyotas are dependable & last "forever". It shouldn't have happened. Finding a motor for a 97 will not be easy. If I find one I will have to pay the price of the motor & installation. There's no guarantee another motor won't do the same thing. If I can't find one I'm out the cost of the vehicle, tires, struts, etc. Not right.

- irish, Dighton, US

problem #4

May 082017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,000 miles

I have the worst luck with any car I purchase, so I purchased this used Toyota Camry thinking that; hey, Toyotas last for ever and nothing out lasts a Toyota. Yea, right. Well I purchased it on March 6 2017 and on May 8 2017 the motor blew.. Yes, when I say blew, I mean in pieces the whole side of the motor broke off in pieces.. It only had 133000 on it so I thought for Toyota that is great mileage. Well 3000 miles later I have no car to get to work or anywhere. I still owe over $3000.00 and the car dealership says too bad, sold as is.. did I purchase the only Toyota to not make it to 200000?

If you read this please say a prayer for me also. I am a 54 yr old widow of 9 years. I am helping raise two grandchildren and work in a hot factory every day to just make ends meet. With this recent problem and no extra money left to purchase another car I'm not sure which way to turn. Thanks to a great friend that has loaned me a car, I will be able to get to work to finish paying for a car I can't drive.

- Karen F., TROSPER, KY, US

problem #3

May 052004

Camry LE 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles


Camry had excessive oil consumption but did not know it. Only roughly one month after havign oil changed, as I was coming into a town for a work meeting with a client, the engine seized up. Luckily I had just enough speed to coast into a Toyota dealership at the bottom of the hill! Service department called after checking things out and said that oil was empty! I had just had oil changed approximately one month prior. Weird thing is that there were no signs of oil pools around car, nor smell of oil, smoke etc. No oil light ever went off either!

Camry was out of warranty and so I had to pay the $4-$5 thousand to get it replaced. New engine had about 20K miles on it when replaced. Here's kicker. Now that I've had this engine in the car for the last eight years, have noticed only minor oil consumption issues until yesterday (2/27/13). Oil light flickered on the way home from work and I knew immediately what the issue was. When I got home there was no oil registering on the dip stick. I had to add about 3 1/2 quarts of oil to get to the full line and so it was basically dry. Having seen others' similar experiences on here, I can only surmise that this was a known issue that Toyota attempted to ignore. I bought a sienna in 2006 and that will be the last Toyota I own.

I had seen some reports of known oil sludge issues with Toyota in some of my research into this, but nothing aproaching a recall or replacement offer from Toyota. Seems so strange that one incident of a stuck accelerator makes the news and gets all kinds of attention when multiple oil consumption/engine problems gets short shrift. I guess someone with this oil/engine problem will just need to get in a sensationalistic crash to call attention to it.

- Ray W., Davenport, IA, US

problem #2

Nov 062004

(reported on)

Camry LE

  • 86,000 miles

Defective valve lubricating system, engine failed for the second time at 86000 mi, was out of warranty. Dealership suggested a new or used engine at a cost of $3000 - $7000. The other older Camry which I gave to my daughter now has over 150000 mi with no serious problems.

- Darl W., Tulsa, OK, US

problem #1

Oct 242004

(reported on)

Camry LE

  • 50,000 miles

Defective valve lubricating system. First engine overhaul at 50000 mi was free. Happened again at 86000 mi, not covered under warranty.

- Darl W., Tulsa, OK, US

Not what you are looking for?