really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,772 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

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2002 Toyota Camry Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

Mar 042010


  • 38,800 miles


We have a 2002 Toyota Camry with a 2.4 liter engine with a 38, 900 miles in the odometer. And on March 4, 2010 my wife came home from a the grocery store asked me to check the car because of the check engine light iis on. I drove the car for a test drive around our neighborhood for five minutes with the speed of 10 miles to 15 miles an hour. Before I came to the stop sign, the engine start racing, RPM is up the red line, I could hear the engine roar. I step on the brake hard, shift the gear hard into park and turn off the ignition. I was so lucky, I was driving in the right place and the right time with no traffic and kids playing on the street. If my wife would be driving at that moment especially she is an elderly like me, it could be big accident. It's a terrifying experience. I suggest that 2002 Camry should be included in the recall. Before somebody gets hurt. That same day I called Toyota dealership for service appointment.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #19

Nov 302002

Camry 6-cyl

  • 400 miles
My 2002 Toyota Camry V6 xle has had a problem with stuttering as though the transmission, engine or computer is not working properly. Four different Toyota dealerships have looked at the car and their only statement is that if the engine light doesn't come on, they can't diagnose the problem. A now independent, former Toyota mechanic did observe the problem and can't diagnose the problem with a computer. I was treated with arrogant denial by customer service at Toyota and they blackmarked me on their system-wide computer history. I did learn that one problem was a recall publication 3 months before I bought my car that said the computer needed reprogrammed. None of these dealerships knew this and Toyota's "roman" in customer service denied me any reimbursement about the reprogramming even though I was complaining about the engine stuttering or missing since about one month after new purchase to the present. This is the company denial and arrogance that the congress and investigators are coming up against. Toyota just won't accept that there is a problem with my car that has persisted since a month after November 2002 purchase. Now I get emails calling me "friend" from them wanting my business and service. I just want my car to run correctly and fear that my transmission, engine or computer program is a forerunner of the problems coming to light lately before congress.

- Richlands, VA, USA

problem #18

Apr 272006


  • 40,000 miles
On Thursday, April 27, 2006, my 2002 Toyota Camry had unintended acceleration at the sherton palo alto. When entering he parking lot, the car accelerated with engine racing and crashed through the parking lot barrier. The hotel graciously repaired the barrier at their expense. This incident has not been reported previously. This in the only incident to date. A second safety issue is the transmission "lurch" my car has. I tried to have it corrected by Toyota, but they refused, saying that it would be too costly for Toyota to fix the transmission problem. Went to mediation who agreed with Toyota. The problem continues.

- Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #17

Jan 012008


  • 75,000 miles


My 2002 Camry began "lurching" approx. 2 years ago. We have taken it for service 5 times, to no avail. We replaced spark plugs, a sensor and were told by one dealer that it was jumping from cylinder to cylinder, but they could not find the source of the problem. Two other visits to 2 separate dealers were unsuccessful in experiencing the problem during test drives. They even had a regional manager come and check it out. They said they have never seen this problem before and could not diagnose it. It happens inconsistently when cruising at lower speeds and again at higher speeds. Sometimes it is worse than others and then it goes days without happening. I am now concerned that it may be a safety issue connected to the gas pedal and would like to know what the problem is and have it corrected. I have also experienced issues when braking when going downhill on a bumpy surface. This has happened since I had the car. When I reported it to the dealer, they told me it was just the way the disc brakes work, but it was scary - feels like you don't have control over the car. We have been loyal Toyota owners for many years due to their history of quality, reliable cars, but have concerns now. Please let me know what can be done to help us with these issues. Thank you. Approx. Incident dates below are not accurate. It has been an ongoing problem for 2 or 3 years.

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #16

Jan 072009


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Camry. The contact was driving approximately 10 mph on normal road conditions when the vehicle stalled as he proceeded to a traffic signal. The vehicle restarted within twenty minutes and resumed normal operation. The failure occurred once a week. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing. The technician was unable to duplicate the failure. The vehicle has not been repaired. The VIN was unavailable. The failure was 50,000.

- Plainview , NY, USA

problem #15

Dec 282009


  • 98,740 miles
Wife driving 2002 Camry for smock inspection. I am following behind. Camry stalls - engine just dies. Steering is locked. Wife stopped and tried to restart. After ~2mins, car restarted. Continued ~2 miles and engine dies again, steering again locks. Wife able to start again. After car starts, vsc and trac off lights are now on. Took car to Toyota dealer next day. A skid control computer is down per Toyota. Toyota unable to duplicate engine dying, but admit faulty computer could be cause. Skid control computer costs $1453 to replace + $xxx for labor. I have read this is a common issue for 2002 Toyota so am filing a complaint. Why has Toyota not recalled/fixed this yet" if this occurred on freeway, steering wheel lockup at 55+ mph? are they crazy"

- San Ramon, CA, USA

problem #14

Aug 232008


  • 60,500 miles


2002 Toyota Camry, engine stall/low idle problem at 60K miles, no codes on obd replaced spark plugs, coil pack, fuel injection service but still same problem, no error code on diagnostics.

- Manroeville, PA, USA

problem #13

Jun 222009


  • 60 miles
2002 Toyota Camry has foul odor coming from HVAC vents. Dealer has removed fan enclosure in engine and cleaned out and added disinfectant. Odor remains a problem.

- Cresskill, NJ, USA

problem #12

May 262007


  • 200,000 miles
Oil sludge build up resulting in potential for engine seizure and fire.

- Newport, NH, USA

problem #11

Apr 012009


  • 136,000 miles
I own a 2002 Toyota Camry purchased new from dealership and regularly maintained. The check engine light came on while my daughter was driving the car and so I took it to our mechanic who said it was a faulty sensor which he replaced. The next day the check engine light came on again while she was driving and she was just able to make it back to the mechanic's shop with the car running roughly. The mechanic advised that the engine (136,000 miles) had suffered a "blown" head gasket. He recommended replacing the head gasket but warned me that because of the aluminum casting of the engine that there was a good chance that when he removed the steel bolts they would strip out the aluminum threads and then I would be looking at a new engine. Unfortunately that is what happened - total cost to put in a reasonably "new" used engine (from a 2009 Scion) was $5,800. I understand that things can happen and am not unduly upset that the head gasket was blown however, something as basic as knowing that you should not use steel bolts in an aluminum thread should be remedied by Toyota. When a repair such as mine is undertaken there is a high probability of the bolts stripping out the aluminum threads. When that happens the cost of repair goes from approximately 1600 to replace a blown head gasket to 5800 to replace an entire engine. This is really a design flaw that should be obvious to any engineer and should be remedied by Toyota.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #10

Jun 012008


  • miles


Vehicle started smoking (white smoke) I took vehicle to dealer he advised that the prior year vehicles had a defect of the motor sludging up but my model had been redesigned and that it was due to me not changing the oil filter my husband owns a repair shop and had done the oil changes and replaced the filters the vehicle was still under 50,000 but dealer would not take care of problem.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #9

Apr 052008

Camry 4-cyl

  • 77,600 miles
I purchased a 2002 Toyota Camry new and recently noticed the car blowing blue smoke on start up in the mornings. I took the car to my dealer where they did an eval. They are suggesting that I have the valve stem seals replaced at a cost of around $2,000. I was shocked. My car is 5 years old with 77,000 miles. How could this be? I have taken excellent care of my car, getting oil changes every 3,000 miles (and have the receipts and records to prove it. In fact the dealer handled all the oil changes and service for me, up till the last 2 oil changes.) I know there was a class action suit for an oil sludge/gel problem, which after reading everything on the internet, I believe is probably the real issue with my car, but everything I've read says it ended with the 2001 Camry models. Have you heard or received any complaints for the 2002 models as well? any information or advice you could give me would be much appreciated!

- Olathe, KS, USA

problem #8

Feb 182007

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles
Toyota Camry le 2.4 L winter weather cause to vvt on auto to fail and stall engine. Stalled engine caused lost of controls, steering, brakes, etc..parts replaced were oxygen sensors, cat.convertor, etc.. the vvt is variable valve timing control along with ocm, PCM, throttle sensor, mass air sensor which regulates the engine performance.

- Mckeesport, PA, USA

problem #7

Nov 272005

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles
I was coming home one day and my check engine light came on. I immediately took my car to the dealer and they told me it was the O2 sensor going bad. I wanted a second opinion so I took my car to another dealer who told me it was the catalytic converter. I was very concern by these two different answers, so I went to a third dealer who told me it was indeed the O2 sensor. After having that replaced, within 2 months the light was back on again.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #6

Feb 072005

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
While driving 80 mph vehicle stalled. Consumer managed to pull over and had the vehicle towed. Dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem. The battery was replaced but the Toyota dealership refused to reimburse the towing cost. They won't pay for the 7 miles towing charge because the vehicle was not towed to the nearest dealer.

- Fairfield, CA, USA

problem #5

Oct 062004

Camry 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving check engine light appeared on the dashboard and remained on. Consumer drove vehicle to the dealer for inspection, and mechanic determined that the sensor needed to be replaced.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #4

Dec 152002


  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,500 miles
At 1,500 miles the check engine light went on. I brought the car to the dealer on November 8, 2002 and was told that nothing was wrong with the car and they reset the computer. The car was fine until I arrived at home and the check engine light was on again. I brought the car to the dealer on November 11th and they said they didn't know what was wrong with the car. They were going to remove the transmission but needed a part. It is now November 25th and the part still hasn't arrived and the car hasn't been repaired.

- Holmdel, NJ, USA

problem #3

Mar 232004

Camry 6-cyl

  • miles
My vehicle, a vintage 1965 Pontiac catalina hardtop coupe was parked in the driveway at my friend's residence at 1271 N.E. 207th street when at around 4:50 P.M. it was struck by a 2002 Toyota Camry sedan driven by a Mrs. Una elizabeth tucker of port St. Lucie, fl. The Toyota was on the next door neighbors driveway. According to her, she was trying to get out of her driveway when she claims her car started smoking and suddenly bolted. Her vehicle smashed onto my car with such force.. that it moved it and pushed it against a van that was parked next to it. My car's front fenders where smashed, making the front wheels immobile. The left front bumper bent under, left fron headlight assembly smashed, unable to open hood, possible front suspension damage, unknown damage to engine. Hsmv crash report number 4464507 miami dade county.

- Hollywood, FL, USA

problem #2

Feb 182004


  • 17,000 miles
While parked vehicle was started and engine roared and surged forward. Consumer had to use extreme force to keep the vehicle from moving. Also, when air conditioner was on and turned off and back on again there was a foul odor coming from the vents.

- Lake Worth, FL, USA

problem #1

Jun 272002

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75 miles
I have a 2002 Toyota Camry xle, since I got the car new it started to lunge several times while sitting at stop lights/signs. I went to two different Toyota dealers and was told that the car is running as manufactured. I said this can cause an accident. They said nothing was wrong. Also, since I bought the car new it wants to stall when coming to a stop. Again, no dealer will help. Something is wrong but the dealers won't help. I do not have time to keep running to dealers, that is why I bought a new car. There is a definite problem with these cars. As times goes by, it's getting worse, especially in warm weather conditions.

- Tamarac, FL, USA

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