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 1 of 2)

problem #40

May 082014

Camry 4-cyl

  • miles


2002 Toyota Camry. Attorney representing consumer writes in regards to vehicle engine cylinder head bolts service bulletin. The engine failed while driving in heavy traffic, less than six months after the vehicle was purchased. The mechanic informed the consumer, after the damage and the extensive re-build of the engine, other parts would began to fail.

- Johnson City, TN, USA

problem #39

Dec 032012

Camry 4-cyl

  • miles
2002 Toyota Camry. Consumer writes to request a full investigation against a local dealer for fraudulent and deceptive business practices related to their vehicle not starting

- Florence, MA, USA

problem #38

Apr 232012


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Camry. The contact was driving 70 mph when a burning smell emitted inside the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where the mechanic confirmed that the head gasket needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 100,000.

- Lafayette, TN, USA

problem #37

Feb 012012

Camry 4-cyl

  • 87,500 miles


Radiator/oil cooler copper nipple disintegrated causing loss of oil. Part that failed is original part of vehicle. The nut holding the nipple rusted and crumbled causing the oil cooler hose to separate from the oil cooler. Car has never had front end or any other damage.

- Saugerties, NY, USA

problem #36

Dec 282011

Camry 4-cyl

  • 83,500 miles
I have a 2003 Toyota Camry and have major damage to cylinder block with stripped head bolts. Cost is approx $4700 to repair. I talked to executive offices at Toyota they will not help. Also has caused coolant to leak into engine. Please see www.camryforums.com/forum/general-tech-8/2002-stripped-head-bolts-4585/ and check out the "technical service bulletin tsb2740.

- Tempe, AZ, USA

problem #35

Jan 052012


  • 135,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Camry. The contact stated that the vehicle was overheating. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic for diagnosis when the contact was informed that the engine was leaking coolant and needed to be replaced. The dealer did not offer any assistance and the manufacturer had not been notified of the failure. The vehicle had not been repaired. The current and the failure mileages were 135,000.

- Brockton, MA, USA

problem #34

Nov 012011


  • miles


2002 Toyota Camry. Consumer writes in regards to engine problems the consumer stated his mechanic wanted to charge him an additional $3,450 to perform valve work and other repairs to the engine. The consumer stated when he started the vehicle in the morning time, a plume of exhaust smoke could visibly be seen.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #33

Jul 272011

Camry 4-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
Three head bolts in the engine have stripped and pulled out of the engine block. The largest consequence of this is a head gasket failure; this also caused coolant loss and overheating, which in turn ruined my radiator. When my mechanic opened up the engine to replace the head gaskets, these faulty bolts were loose and he was able to pull them out by hand without needing wrenches/tools. The total cost of the fix, which included drilling out and retapping the bolt holes, repairing/resurfacing heads, installing new head gaskets and installing a new radiator exceeded $3500; the only other option was buying a new/reconditioned engine for $7000+. Toyota refuses to admit that this line of cars has defective head bolts. My 2002 Camry xle had about 98,000 miles on it at the time, which is not a lot by Toyota standards. While searching internet forums, I have found many many other people with Toyota vehicles (especially Camry from 2002 to 2005) that have had the same exact bolts fail on their engines, leading to blown head gaskets.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #32

Apr 222009

Camry 4-cyl

  • 96,943 miles
I was losing coolant in my system so I took it to my mechanic. He told me that the head bolts on my engine had become stripped and that I would need a new engine put in. I paid for that repair and now two years later I am having the same symptoms. I went on the internet and found that I am not alone with this problem. It seems that stripped threads are very common in 2002-2008 Camry. It is clearly a design defect. I cannot believe that a class action suit is not being arranged.

- Diamond Bar, CA, USA

problem #31

Aug 132011


  • 78,000 miles
After waiting in line at a fast food outlet for about five minutes, my Toyota Camry's engine suddenly accelerated to very high rpms. Only my quick reaction to apply the brakes as hard as I could kept us from hitting the car ahead. The passenger reacted by pulling the emergency brake. Shutting off the ignition stopped the engine. It restarted normally and seemed to be fine.

- Crockett, CA, USA

problem #30

Mar 092011


  • 98,762 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Camry. The contact stated the check engine light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the contact was informed the engine coolant was low and the temperature gauge needed to be replaced. The mechanic replaced the temperature gauge and added more coolant to the vehicle. Approximately 100 miles after being repaired the head gasket blew out. The vehicle was taken to another independent mechanic where the contact was informed the engine needed to be replaced. While repairing the engine, the mechaniced noticed the bolts which mounted the engine were stripped. As a result, the engine was previously mounted out of position, preventing the engine coolant from properly entering the engine. The contact was informed that due to this failure, the engine ran at a low temperature and the head gasket failed. The failure mileage was 90,000.

- Haiku, HI, USA

problem #29

Apr 012011


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Camry. While driving at any speed, the contact stated that the vehicle would suddenly stall intermittently, then the check engine warning light illuminated. The dealer advised the contact to bring the vehicle in for diagnostic testing. The contact did not inform the manufacturer of the failure since he knew that there were no related recalls. No repairs were performed. The current and failure mileage was 50,000.

- Woodland Hills, CA, USA

problem #28

Apr 172011


  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Camry. The contact stated that blue smoke was emitting from the tail pipe abnormally. The contact took the vehicle to an independent mechanic for an oil change and the mechanic advised that there was sludge building up in the engine and causing the engine to burn mileage extremely quickly. The failure mileage was 82,000 and the current mileage was 89,000.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #27

Dec 122010


  • 101,500 miles
The car accelerates at a high rate with little pressure on gas. It seems to happen at random times when the car is warm. I could be stopped at a red light then have it happen when the light turns and I step on the gas. It also has happened when accelerating while still moving ie: Taking a corner while slowing then stepping on the gas once I have straightened out.

- Burlington, MA, USA

problem #26

Jul 282010

Camry 6-cyl

  • 111,000 miles
About 2 months ago I started experiencing a jerking of my car at about 40 mph. My car is a 2002 Camry xle V6. I took it to the dealership and had two tech's ride with me and they experienced the jerking but couldn't determine what it was. Now the jerking is getting worse and is happening at all speeds. I have about 111000 miles on the car presently. I have had a few times where I thought the car was going to stop completely in the middle of traffic. I called Toyota's national office to make sure my dealership hadn't missed a recall or service bulletin and the national office said there wasn't a recall or service bulletin. However, I have found many similar complaints on the internet. The national office offered to call my dealership, which they did, I don't know what they'll do for me since last time they told me until a check engine light comes on they can't do anything. I have never had a check engine light come on.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #25

Jun 262010


  • 79,000 miles
Car was filled with gas on return trip and while in traffic suddenly began to decelerate with no warning. The car was pulled over and stopped. Samaritans stopped to support stranded car and when they tried to turn the car on, it would not turn over. When checked by a individual who identified himself as a mechanic, he said, he didn't understand the problem. It was clear that there was oil in the car and it was clean. Insurance company and towing service support called and $400 plus dollars later the car was returned to local dealer. After conversation with dealer representative, we were informed that our obvious negligence around regular maintenance and oil changes were the cause of the oil sludge that caused the damage to our car to the tune of $4,600. Several conversations later, allowing cooler heads to prevail, we were able to gain some support from the local dealer however we were still responsible for the cost of the second hand engine because Toyota refused to cover the cost of the problem.because we live in a small community and have been doing business with this group for years, we were able to get the part of the car that contributed to the problem. The mechanic in question reported that he had never seen anything quite like this before and he ha been working for many years at the same location. Additionally, we have access to the paperwork from our local mechanic who has routinely done the oil checks since we've had the car. Even after phone calls and letter requesting that Toyota "do the right thing" even though our situation was a few months shy of the "07 settlement, they refused to take any responsibility.

- Elmira, NY, USA

problem #24

Feb 102010


  • 78,000 miles
On my Camry 2002 SE engine stalls and/or rough idles anytime while cold or after being warmed up. Premature and unjustified throttle body failure is suspected.

- Stafford, TX, USA

problem #23

Jul 122010


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Camry. While the contact was driving less than 40 mph, there was a noise coming from the engine compartment. The oil temperature gauge indicated the engine was overheating. The vehicle was pulled over to the side of the road and inspected underneath the hood area. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer for diagnosis and repair. The technician recommended that the engine be replaced due to the defective cylinder head bolts. The technician ordered a new replacement engine at the time of the complaint. The failure mileage was 140,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #22

Apr 132010


  • 99,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Camry. The contact noticed the vehicle leaking coolant and took the vehicle to an independent repair shop. The mechanic informed him that the head bolts were stripped and the head gasket had blown. The mechanic told the contact that the problem was common with his particular model. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The current and failure mileages were approximately 99,000.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #21

Mar 012010


  • 180,000 miles
I was rear-ended on the highway while driving my 2002 Toyota Camry. When I tried to slow down and move into the breakdown lane, the car accelerated. I ended up going down an embankment hitting several trees. The car was eventually spun around and crashed rear end into a tree. The car was totaled. My passenger and I experienced concussion syndrome along with muscle spasms in the neck, back, and ankle. We were taken by ambulance to the new britain general hospital where we were treated and released. We are both receiving follow-up medical care.

- Natick, MA, USA

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