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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
17,100 miles
Total Complaints:
23 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (20 reports)
  2. replace all the duct work (3 reports)
2012 Toyota Camry AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2012 Toyota Camry Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Jan 012017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles


I noticed a wet dog type of smell whenever I turned on the A/C during the summer. Now that it is winter and I turn on the Heater, there is a smell that reminds me of a black sharpie marker. It is so awful that I have to drive sometimes with the Heater off because it makes me want to hold my breath. Plus this is an issue considering I have a 2 month old grandson that needs warmth when I am driving the car.

- Ericka W., Louisville, KY, US

problem #22

May 012015

Camry LE V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles

A/C smells musty especially when initially turned on. Never goes away

- roederrl, Swisher, IA, US

problem #21

Jul 012016

Camry XLE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles

I too noticed a dirty sock smell on the2012 Camry when the AC was on. I bought it in June of 2016 as a certified used car,whatever that is worth. I took it in to dealer because of the smell. They could smell nothing. They offered a charcoal filter fix for $125.00. There was no guarantee,so opted out.

I later discovered that the driver's side door panel had the smell all over the top of it where one would rest there arm. I scrubbed and scrubbed with different solutions.I have removed a lot of the odor plus some vinyl! There is still a musty smell right at window slit that comes in when window is down but not nearly as bad as before. I am going in tomorrow and will mention it again as who knows if this ever goes away fully?

- Anna C., Provincetown, MA, US

problem #20

May 012013

Camry SE 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles


I first started having this problem when the car was about a year old. The problem got a lot worse this summer (2016) and is now much worse. The smell is raucous and I dread driving it now. I will be selling this car soon and will NOT buy another car from Toyota. It's very disappointing to see that I am not the only one to have this problem and that Toyota has done nothing to resolve the problem. I will never recommend to anyone to purchase a Toyota!

- M.A. P., Star, MS, US

problem #19

Jun 262014

Camry ES 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,000 miles

Looking for solutions to fix this very bad smell, I saw that there is a class action lawsuit for this issue now, how do I sign up for this? Dealer did not offer anything to fix this issue for free or anything. They want to charge me $200 to fix this issue.

- samoilich, Salem, OR, US

problem #18

Jun 012013

Camry LE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

This is the second Toyota I have owned, and bought a Camry due to it's good reputation. While driving along the highway, my dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree. I swerved and panicked then took the car right to the dealer the next morning. At first they told me to come back a certain day (Smithtown Toyota), and the next time they took the car and gave me a rental car. It took them 21 days to fix my car and said I was caused by a spider crawling up the air conditioner exhaust pipe and asked me if I had a lot of spiders in my driveway. After picking up my car, the smell was awful. The car seats were smudged with grease fingerprints. I was very displeased - took the car back and was told the only thing they could do was oxidize the air vents, but then it would smell like a hospital room.

I went to 2 other dealers and they were also unable to help - one told me to take it back to Smithtown, the other told me they would do an airfresh for $100 (my cost). To this day my car has never really had that new car smell. I will never buy a Toyota again.Very disappointed with the customer service and the solution to a problem that was caused due to a defect resulting in a recall.

So now I'm stuck with a car that cost a great deal of money and that is smelly and embarrassing to drive!

- sunshower, Bohemia, NY, US

problem #17

Nov 082013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles


I bought a 2012 Camry from Dale Earnhart Buick GMC Cadillac in Tallahassee last year. I took it to them tying to explain the problem with the smell and how bad it was when I cut my ac on. They told me that I had to have someone from a Toyota dealership look at it since it was under warranty. Once arriving at Toyota I was showed my air filter had rat poop all in it and they changed my filter and told me they would contact the dealership I bought it from. It took me one year almost to receive my owners manual that I was told came with the car. It took me sending a pretty nasty email to them and poof one arrived via FedEx a couple of days later. I have experienced mold all in my gas cap. I was told this is normal. My weather stripping on my back doors looks 10 years old. Completely molded and looks awful. I have had my car serviced and cleaned twice now at Legacy Toyota and they even told me that the mold in the gas cap is usual. and the smell Toyota is aware of but does not have a solution. To me that is unacceptable. I have two children and this is our only transportation. I fell this car is making me sick. I do have pictures of the mold and plan of uploading them.

- kellymfl, Tallahassee, FL, US

problem #16

Jun 012013

Camry SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles

Bought my 2012 Camry new at the beginning of 2013. I live in KY where I use the AC a lot. I started noticing a musty smell & it kept getting worse. The dealership told me to spray lysol in the air intake and there wasn't much that could be done about it. I have complained about this issue multiple times to no avail. The smell is so bad it is embarrassing to have someone ride in the car with me. The last time I took the car in for service I took it back the next day to ask if they had replaced the cabin air filter. They said this wasn't the issue, there wasn't a fix for the smell and to make sure that underneath the front floor mat isn't wet. That the water may be draining into the car if the ac vent is clogged. I have been checking, but a couple months later, I noticed while cleaning out my car that a piece of paper from under my seat was wet. I reached under the seat, and it is not just damp, but puddle wet. We took the car to the dealership and they said it was not covered under warranty due to spiders built a nest in the vent hose and it caused the condensation to come into my car. Not only does the carpet need to be removed, cleaned and dried, the floor padding has to be taken out, and it is attached to the frame. I called Toyota and they said maybe my insurance will cover it. I told them I have no intention of covering the costs of the repair. Currently working with the dealership and toyota to see what can be done. Will keep you posted!

- Kimberly P., Mortons Gap, KY, US

problem #15

Mar 112014

Camry LE 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,412 miles

Bad odor every time the a/c is turned on. Kids are embarrassed to have their friends ride in the car.

- lagarcia15, Mobile, AL, US

problem #14

Mar 032013

Camry SE 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,750 miles

Started to notice this problem a while ago and it has not gotten worse but stayed the same. The AC works fine but there is a weird smell when I first turn on the air flow into the car, AC or no AC. I had no idea it was happening to other Camry's the same model as mine until I started to read on this forum.

The smell seems to go away once the air-conditioner begins to work, it seems to only happen when the car first begins to pump air into the cabin. It does not seem to me to be an operator caused problem, I am not sure what it is but everything else on my Camry is awesome. I hope Toyota comes out with a recall on this one. Good luck if you have the same issue...please update the thread if you find a fix for this.

- mlee8086, Spanish Fork, UT, US

problem #13

Nov 012013

Camry SE 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles


We bought a 2012 Toyota Camry SE from Stevens Creek Toyota NEW for $27,000. We have always kept it garaged and have it cleaned weekly at the carwash. At around 10,000 miles we started getting a foul smell out of AC and thought we were just crazy because the interior still smells of new car until we start it. Now after several months and extreme discomfort and humiliation we are utterly disgusted that we have bought a car that has such a horrible problem. I can't wait for the lawsuit and will be contacting a lawyer soon to start filing a class action suit against Toyota. So let's all band together and report this problem to the Better Business Bureau. I have only put 1000 miles on my car in the last 10 months due to the horrid smell and discomfort! Toyota should recall all our cars immediately before they lose there tales and get horrible publicity. Tell everyone you know about what horrible products Toyota has and never to buy from them again!

- Albert M., Santa Clara, CA, US

problem #12

Jul 122013

Camry SE 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,000 miles

My car had this horrible smell for a few weeks but I had just thought a cat had gotten under it and sprayed. Then the airbag light came on one day. I drove it straight to the dealership who looked at it. They asked if it had been wrecked and the airbags repacked. Uh, NO! 24 different codes were coming up when ran through the checks. Toyota ended up discovering that the A/C system was not draining right and admitted it was a design flaw. The car was holding in all the moisture from the A/C and was full of mold and mildew (there's your smell!) The moisture shorted out a section of the electrical system (thus the airbag light coming on and all the other code readings.) The car was at the dealership for a month (fortunately they gave me a loaner) while it was completely disassembled to replace the coils, condenser, compressor, etc. Toyota also had Serv-Pro steam clean it from front to back because of the mold and mildew. It has been back in again for another electrical issue, but it does leave me worried about this car. I must say though, the dealership was upfront with me about the problem and took care of everything. They also said there was a car that came in the previous month for the same thing, so there is documentation of this problem. If you are having trouble with the A/C and a horrid smell, have them check this out on your vehicle. It should be under warranty!!!

- Regina G., Webb City, MO, US

problem #11

Mar 052013

Camry SE 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles

Toyota said they could put some type of condenser cleaner in there for $125.

They would not do it under warranty.

NO guarantee it will fix problem.

Toyota is a joke.

I thought they were the best, but no more.

Just like all the others.

- David M., Tulsa, OK, US

problem #10

May 012013

Camry SE 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles

We bought this 2012 Camry at the end of the 2012 year. It only has 8,000 k on it right now, and we have an ongoing issue that Toyota denies having ever seen before, however when we go to the TOYOTA NATION WEBSITE, you can find a HUGE THREAD of complaints about this issues, none of which Toyota seems to be doing a damn thing about!!! THIS CAR which has never been eaten in or smoked in and is showroom spotless in and out, has a HORRID STINK coming from the AC vents! We live in Indiana, keep the car spotless, and are disgusted that when we take the car into the dealership they can acknowledge that they smell the stink, but have not been able to offer a fix . The car sat there for an entire week before they called us to come get it, and had not done one thing to it!!!! We have filed a formal complaint online with the Toyota Corporation, but even this seems to be of no avail and everyone says the same thing, 'WE HAVE NOT SEEN THIS PROBLEM BEFORE" However, I know it is not true- as I said, go to Toyota Nation and see for yourself!!!! This is disgusting and I would love to know how to get this situation resolved! I did not pay 26,000 dollars for a car that would stink so badly that no one wants to get into it!!!! I would not have even bought a USED car that stunk!!!! What can I do???

Please advice;

- Vicki P., North Manchester, IN, US

problem #9

Oct 012012

Camry LE I-4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,800 miles

This smell is like mold out of the unit when it is turned on after sitting a while. It is nasty, stale, and most unpleasant. I had a Lexus with the same problem. I believe the parts Toyota and it Lexus division use for HVAC are not right as my mom's Rav4 also gets that moldy smell a lot, she complains.

- S M., Champaign, IL, US

problem #8

Sep 052012

Camry SE 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles

Bad smell from a/c when it is turned on every day. Took to dealer at least 3 times and the problem is still the same. Given instructions to turn a/c to fresh air mode every day before turning the engine off. Now the smell is coming directly from the fresh air outside.

It seems to be a water drying or draining problem based on conversation with service manager. Will take the car again for the 4th time, to get the problem resolved. It's a shame and I am really mad. I was very happy with my prior Toyota and I am really disappointed now.

- calian2004, Houston, TX, US

problem #7

Dec 102012

Camry 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles




- rossyama1, Augusta, GA, US

problem #6

Aug 012012

Camry LE 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles

Horrible smell coming out of the vents after starting car before I turn on the AC. Smells like very strong cat pee. The car is garage kept.

- Ernestine S., Lakeland, FL, US

problem #5

Apr 302013

Camry SE 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,200 miles

So I have the foul smell which tarted at 3k miles! I just upgraded from my 2007 to the 2012. I was so happy with my old car, now I am just pissed. My dealer is going to run the A/C cleaner a no charge for my first oil change. This is a band aid for this problem and I am sure it will be back. Dirty Socks smell coming from a brand new car, come on Toyota. I loved my old 2007 and am now about to trade in my brand new car. I have asthma, thids has not effected me yet, but who knows if it will! I am so disappointing in my new car because of this. The last thing I want is the dealer tearing apart my dash and messing with stuff!!! Gonna file my first complaint with Toyota. If this is not fixed in 2 times I will let the attorneys do the talking!!! Good luck folks. I am not happy about this at all, as you may see!!

- crmwill, St Augustine, FL, US

problem #4

Nov 012012

Camry LE 2.5L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles

ok. I am reporting for the first time however tomorrow will be my second trip to the dealer. Mold smell coming from ac, Toyota does know this is a problem. Don't let them tell you otherwise! The first time I went to dealer they ran some sort of disinfecting solution through the system. This just masks the smell for a short time, if you google "dirty sock syndrome ac" you will find several articles on the subject. It can happen in cars and home ac units. Here in florida we have a three strike lemon law, as noted this will be strike two if they fail to resolve the problem. The only way to fix it is to purge the system, replace the compressor and evaporator coil. Even this sometimes does not fix it. I plan to give the dealer three chances to resolve, I have started a case number with Toyota USA and contacted the Florida Attorney Generals office. They have told me to allow the dealer 3 attempts and if not resolved the dealer will have the option to buy back the car for the total purchase price or give me a new car. DO NOT LET TOYOTA SCREW YOU OVER! IT IS A REPORTED PROBLEM! I have been told Toyota tech. services is working on a solution but as of now no known fix. This means they will delay for as long as possible hoping you will give up. There are hundreds of reported cars with this problem, and over all it has been reported that 3% of the 2012 model have been lemons for a host of problems. That number is up from <1 % for previous years 07-11. Toyota quality? What quality!

- David W., Jacksonville, FL, US

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