Notes: Beware of the NHTSA complaint data for the 2004 Camry. It is almost certainly misleading.

The problem with NHTSA data for the 2004 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 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 2004 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:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
39,496 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.

2004 Toyota Camry steering problems

steering problem

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2004 Toyota Camry Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #38

Feb 272010


  • 72,000 miles


The front left of the car was making noise. When I drive, the steering wheel was vibrating when I press the brake. When I was driving on the freeway, the steering wheel stopped working. As the steering wheel did not work, I tried to stopped the car by pressing the brakes, but that did not stop the car. The front of my car hit into the center divider on the freeway and then the back of my car also hit the divider. When the car finally stopped I was blocking 3 lanes on a 5 lane freeway facing traffic. The air bags did not deploy even though I was driving 55 mph. The front bumper completely detached from the car. I suffered whiplash including neck and shoulder pains. I just had my car maintained about a month ago.

- Oak Park, CA, USA

problem #37

Dec 092008

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Camry le. The contact lost control of the vehicle because the steering wheel malfunctioned on the vehicle. The contact was not injured in the crash. The contact was not able to give more details of what caused the vehicle to lose control. The consumer was traveling 55 mph when the crash occurred. The failure mileage was 39,000. The vehicle was destroyed. Updated 4/26/10 updated 04/30/10.

- Ithica, NY, USA

problem #36

Jan 112010


  • 17,258 miles
I previously purchased a 2004 new Camry at a car dealership in California. At 17,000 miles I noticed a thumping sound and vibration in the steering column. I was informed that this year car was experiencing problems and the steering column was fixed. The repair was made under warranty. Just recently at 49, 000 miles, the same problem occurred again. I was told that the steering could have gone out any time and I would have lost complete control. I was again informed that the 2004 Camry's had a problem with the steering column. This time I had to pay over $600 as the car is out of warranty. I have written to Toyota company asking them to pay for the repair, since it should have never occurred again. I have not received a response.

- La Palma, CA, USA

problem #35

Jul 012009


  • 123,145 miles


Steering hard to turn, steering wheel very stiff.

- West Greenwich, RI, USA

problem #34

May 012008

Camry 4-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
The inner steering column shaft became detatched on my 2004 Toyota Camry 4 dr le sedan. It started making a noise and the complete steering column had to be replaced at a cost of $950. Toyota would do nothing because they said the car had 60,000 miles on it and it was out of warranty. Also the rear struts wore out at about 30,000 miles.

- Sandy, UT, USA

problem #33

Aug 152008


  • 21,000 miles
Steering column makes bad noises when it is turned. The noises continue and steering is rough.

- Berkeley, CA, USA

problem #32

Jul 272009

Camry 4-cyl

  • 76,000 miles


Acceleration on my 2004 Toyota Camry began to fluctuate wildly while I was driving down the road. Car would suddenly accelerate, then decelerate almost non-stop. I shut engine off, called Toyota and had the car towed in. I was told that the engine control module (ECM) was defective and would be replaced under a federally mandated warranty - car had 76,000 miles, and warranty was good to 80,000 miles. However they also told me that the accelerator pedal assembly had simultaneously failed. That would cost me $681. Toyota's own technician said that the ECM failure caused the accelerator pedal assembly to fail. Toyota corporate, however, told me that the two incidents were unrelated. After reading about the "accelerator pedal sticking" problem in the news lately, I wonder if my problem is not part of a much larger problem involving the ECM on Toyota cars. If I was not wise enough to shut off my engine when the problem occurred, a serious accident could easily have occurred. Please continue to investigate the ECM problem, as I believe that Toyota is not forthcoming with the full story here. The consumer also stated there weas an engine knock coming from the vehicle. The dealer repalced the tensioner, and belt. The water pump was wearing prematurely, there was a noise coming from the steering column when turning the wheel. The dealer replaced the intermediate steering shaft. The check engine light was on all the time. The dealer replaced the catalytic converter. The ECM and accelerator pedal were replaced. Updated IVOQ 04/15/11

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #31

Dec 052009


  • 106,664 miles
During routine vehicle maintenance Toyota mechanic reported loose steering column. Lots of play in steering wheel when driving - very poor responsiveness. Vehicle taken to Toyota dealer - new intermediate steering shaft replaced at my cost.

- Invermere, 00, USA

problem #30

Aug 062009


  • 102,000 miles
Steering loose when moving wheel back and forth slowly. Hardly noticed at first. I drove the car today. I have not driven it for several months. Steering was more loose and the wheels also vibrated along with the steering wheel at about 60mph. I googled the problem and found lots of information, see link: Yes, search this forum for "steering noise" and you'll find a few threads. This is where they nailed it:

- Morton, IL, USA

problem #29

Apr 172008


  • 45,000 miles
The steering column has failed on my 2004 Camry. A little browsing of the internet reveals that this is a common problem with the Camry model. My dealer in covington, la has said that about 1 in 8 Camry's have this problem, but would not offer to held repair my vehicle since only the powertrain warranty remains. A call to Toyota customer assistance yielded the same results. The steering wheel make a grinding noise at slow speeds, and the dealer (northshore Toyota in covington, la) has told me my steering bearings are "shot." This problem was first reported to my dealer at about 50,000 miles.

- Covington, LA, USA

problem #28

Oct 222005


  • 29,944 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Camry. While making a turn at approximately 15 mph on normal road conditions, the contact heard a loud clicking noise coming from the steering column followed by a shaking sensation. There were no warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and they stated that the failure was related to the steering column assembly. The steering column was replaced under the service warranty. On two separate occasions, the vehicle was returned to the authorized dealer for identical failures. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure mileage was 29,944 and current mileage was 72,000.

- San Tee, CA, USA

problem #27

Aug 152007


  • miles
There is a knocking sound in the steering wheel. The sound comes when the steering turns right or left. It started at around 30K miles. This seems to be a factory defect.

- North Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #26

Jan 012007

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Camry. While driving 55 mph, the steering wheel vibrated. The contact was still able to maintain control of the vehicle. The dealer stated that the intermediate shaft needed to be replaced due to normal wear and tear. The repair was not made. The failure mileage was 65,000 and current mileage was 71,520.

- Portland , ME, USA

problem #25

Apr 232007

Camry 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
2004 Toyota Camry has excessive play in steering column and make noise when making a left or right turn. Dealer states that it is just a noise but would replace lower column at a cost of $463.65. I believe that this is a potential safety issue in which the dealer/manufacturer is aware. This in my humble opinion should be a recall item paid for by Toyota. This is my fourth Toyota and I never had any issues like this beginning at 39,000. Noise was smaller and only noticed on left turns at first now much louder and occurs on left and right turns.

- Bristow, VA, USA

problem #24

Feb 202007

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles
Shortly after we purchased a new 2004 Camry sedan, we began noticing looseness, rattling, knocking sounds and "play" in the steering characteristics. In addition, in slow, tight-radius turns (as in parking lots), it almost felt as if the front tires would slide laterally over slick surfaces -- snow, ice, loose gravel, wet pavement. The problem was subtle at first but became gradually more noticeable. At highway speeds, there was a barely-perceptible oscillation or vibration of the steering wheel. At about 28K miles we noticed a pulling to the right. We asked for an alignment to be done and this did not correct the problem. The knocking, rattling, looseness, play, lateral skidding in tight-radius turns became worse over time and at about 50K miles we asked the dealer to check again. Dealers service order stated, "tsb ST001-06 applies to this concern. An updated steering shaft ordered." The cost to repair was over $400. We believe this defect existed from the time the car was manufactured, and the description of the problem sounds similar to recalls or defects I have researched that affect the prius, avalon, and other Toyota vehicles. We believe this could be a potential safety hazard.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #23

Feb 162007

(reported on)


  • 43,000 miles
2004 Toyota Camry with steering shaft assembly problems*

- Highland Park, IL, USA

problem #22

Jan 302007

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
When turning to the left, the steering wheel had a jerking motion and a knocking noise. Contacted dealer and said it has happened before on occassion. Car taken to dealer and replaced a lower steering shaft to a newer version. Comment was that this car was a new design and this particular part needed replacement. My problem is that it was not covered under warranty and I had to pay for the replacement. The old part was not available for me to take it.

- Denham Springa, LA, USA

problem #21

Nov 112006

Camry 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving 65 mph on normal road conditions a clicking noise was heard. There were no warning lights illuminated. When the vehicle was taken to the dealership for its regular service, the mechanic determined the intermediate shaft of the steering gear needed to be replaced, however it was not a safety problem. The contact was aware of vehicles affected by corrosion when operated in salt belt states creating specific steering failures. The manufacturer was contacted who also indicated there was no recall but the dealership would honor the cost of the parts but not the labor involved for the repair. Updated 2/22/2007 -

- Tinton Falls, NJ, USA

problem #20

Jul 242006


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
: the contact stated the vehicles steering locks up, and will need an ignition cylinder for repair the problem. Several dealers confirmed that this is a recurring issue with vehicles of this year, make and model.

- Newport News, VA, USA

problem #19

Jan 102006

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,800 miles
Steering knuckle defective on 2004 Toyota Camry. Provides a major safety issue. Problem has been going on for two weeks. Now after taking it to an official Toyota dealer repair shop, problem still not fixed. Now at least two week to a month wait on part. Was told we were number 536 on waiting list, and was told it was not a safety issue in short term, but do not believe that. Steering is loose, and a catch occurs in steering. Passenger can even feel when this occurs. Dealer has reported three exact same problems with other Camry in the same week.

- Columbus, OH, USA

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