What kind of problems does a Toyota Camry Hybrid usually have? In this blog, we’ve outlined all the most important things you should watch for when you’re in the market for a Camry Hybrid. However, let’s first start with a quick answer:
Most commonly, the Toyota Camry Hybrid has problems with the failure of the power brake assist or the ABS actuators; both issues make braking harder or more dangerous. Furthermore, the dashboard melts in higher temperatures, the windshields can be distorted, and the 2016 – 2019 models have echo problems during phone calls. Finally, the 2007 – 2011 models have excessive oil consumption.
However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. In the rest of the article, we’ll discuss every problem in detail. Furthermore, we’ll let you know how to identify it, fix it and how much it costs to fix. Read on!
1. Power Brake Assist Failure
One of the most sizeable and most recent recalls happened in 2021. Toyota recalled 227,000 Camry manufactured between 2018 – 2019 because of failing power brake assist. Failing of the system that assists during braking doesn’t mean that the driver wouldn’t be able to brake anymore.
However, as you can imagine, suddenly having to brake much harder will lead to an increased risk of collision and injury. The problem was caused by a vane cap inside the brake pump that was wearing prematurely and malfunctioning.
If you’re in the market for a second-hand 2018 – 2019 Camry Hybrid, it’s wise to check if the vehicle has been at the dealer for this recall. Toyota should still carry out replacements, which is a good thing considering replacing the responsible vacuum pump will set you back $700.
2. Failing ABS Actuators
Failing ABS actuators were another common problem of the Camry Hybrid. Especially models that were manufactured between 2006 – 2008 have had these problems. Luckily, most of them have already been diagnosed and repaired.
The ABS actuator is a hydraulic device responsible for operating the brakes in an emergency. Therefore, it’s also an important safety feature that needs to work at all times.
The most significant symptom of failing ABS actuators is an unresponsive brake pedal or a delay in braking. Other symptoms include the ABS warning light coming on or the brakes frequently locking up.
The problem with this failure is that replacing ABS actuators on a Toyota Camry Hybrid is quite expensive. Therefore, it’s worth checking if the car has had issues with this and if the actuators have been replaced. If the car does have problems with this part, expect to pay between $900 – $1,100 to have the ABS actuator replaced on a Camry Hybrid.
3. Echos During Bluetooth Calls
One problem focused on more recent models of the Camry Hybrid is a loud echo during a hands-free phone call. According to owners, this problem was quite severe in the 2016 – 2019 versions of the Camry Hybrid, rendering the whole system useless.
The problem was so bad that Toyota even issued an instruction video on minimizing echo during these phone calls. The main takeaway from this is that you need to adjust the phone’s audio all the way up while adjusting the audio of the head unit down to below 45.
However, since this ‘tip’ involves picking up your phone while driving, it does take away from the whole hands-free aspect. Luckily, this problem was resolved in 2019 models that were manufactured later in the year and models from 2020 onwards since these have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
4. Distorted Windshields
One of the other problems Camry Hybrid owners have complained about for many years now is the quality of the windows. The problem was first reported with 2008 models and was last registered with 2019 models.
The primary problem people experience is a distortion of objects seen through either the front or back window. However, the rear window is the most complained about. It seems that either the angle of the window or the tinting used causes this problem.
Furthermore, some owners have reported they don’t have this problem in clear conditions; however, they then show up during the night or rainy conditions. Since this is merely an annoying design flaw, instead of a dangerous situation, Toyota has never really changed the windows. Furthermore, not all Camry Hybrid owners report this problem, and therefore it’s definitely worth making sure, when you’re in the market for a Camry, that you’re not annoyed with the distortion of the windows.
5. The Dashboard Melts In Older Models
In Toyota Camry manufactured before 2011, and other Toyota’s from the same period, the dashboard tends to melt during warmer periods of the year. Not only did this problem ruin the interior of the car and make it dirtier, but it would also impair the vision of drivers.
This was because the dashboard would become shiny, reflecting on the windshield, which would then blind the driver. Toyota did turn this into a warranty issue, but that deadline has expired.
Instead, the solution is to wipe the protective film on the dashboard away with a cleaning rag and detergents. You can find many detergents online to fix the shiny dashboard problem.
6. Airbag Failures
A minor problem, but a very important one, was that Toyota had to recall 618 Camrys made in 2019 because of issues with the airbags.
The problem here was that the cars had problems with the ‘Occupant Classification System’. This system would fail to function correctly, which resulted in the non-deployment of the front passenger airbag and knee airbag during a collision.
Camry’s manufactured between 2012 – 2013 had a similar issue caused by electrical problems that would prevent the airbags from deploying. However, this recall was much larger since it involved 885,000 Toyota.
7. Very High Oil Consumption
Earlier versions of the Camry Hybrid, manufactured between 2007 – 2011, have problems with excessive fuel consumption, which can be as bad as burning one quart of oil per 1,000 miles. That leads to a very expensive, and frustrating, problem no matter what type of fuel you use.
According to various sources online, the issues were the pistons and the rings of the engine, which would wear prematurely, in which case the car needed more oil.
Toyota admitted to having this problem and extended the warranty on 2007 – 2011 Camry Hybrids that consumed more than 1 quart of oil per 1,200 miles. That warranty extension looked as follows:
“Primary Coverage offers the warranty enhancement until October 31, 2016, regardless of mileage.
After the Primary Coverage expires, the Secondary Coverage is applicable for ten (10) years from the date of first use or 150,000 miles, whichever occurs first.”
If you’re in the market for a Toyota Camry Hybrid that was made between 2007 – 2011, it’s essential to check out if the car has been recalled for this. If not, it’s necessary to ask the dealer or the person you’re buying the car from what the oil consumption looks like to avoid unpleasant surprises.
8. Vehicle Speed Control Problem
In both the first (2007 – 2011) and second (2012 – 2019) generation of the Toyota Camry Hybrid, there have been incidents reported of the car failing to accelerate or accelerating out of nowhere without applying the accelerator pedal.
In some cases, owners report trying to accelerate on the highway but not being able to top a speed of 25 – 40 mph. On other occasions, owners report parking the car in a garage or parking lot with the car suddenly accelerating forward.
In most cases, the cars were taken to dealerships, but the dealerships could not replicate the problems. Furthermore, Toyota has never investigated these problems and blames them on stuck floor mats or driver failure. Therefore, it remains unclear what the root cause of this problem is.
However, we know that Toyota settled for $29 million in several lawsuits that revolved around sudden acceleration involving Camry manufactured between 2005 – 2010. Furthermore, Toyota settled for $3 million in Oklahoma when lawyers successfully argued that the electronic throttle-control system software was the problem of the acceleration issue.
9. Soy-Based Wires
This is not necessarily a Toyota problem, but Toyota Camry Hybrids have had issues with their soy-based wires. This is because Toyota (like many other car manufacturers) started using soy-based wiring in their cars at the beginning of the 2000s.
However, it turned out that many animals, such as rats and other rodents, like to use soy-based wiring for their nesting. Therefore, they would chew through the wires of the Camry, resulting in the malfunctioning of whatever wire they were destroying. There are multiple ways to fix or prevent this problem, from using peppermint oil to storing your car inside.
Lawsuits have been filed against Toyota; however, these have been unsuccessful. This is because the courts have judged that soy-based wiring is not a manufacturing default, and instead of that, rodents and other animals are something we’ll have to deal with in life.
It can be difficult to avoid this problem in almost any vehicle for certain years and it’s a problem for everything from Toyota’s Highlander hybrid to very different vehicles like Chevy’s Cruze diesel.
What’s The Worst Year Of The Toyota Camry Hybrid?
When we look at all the data, it becomes pretty clear that most Toyota Camry Hybrids seem to be decent cars that will last you long. For example, we already found out that the Toyota Camry can last 260,000 – 290,000 miles.
Yes, that article is not specifically about the hybrid version. However, as you’ve read above, the hybrid has no problems with the battery pack, which makes it safe to assume that the hybrid is also capable of reaching these mileages.
However, if there’s one thing our research has told us, then that’s the following:
The first generation of the Toyota Camry Hybrid (especially the cars between 2007 – 2011) is best avoided. These models have melting dashboards, excessive oil consumption, and failing ABS actuators.
If you’re looking for a reliable second-hand Toyota Camry Hybrid, you’re probably best off with a model manufactured between 2012 – 2015. If you don’t mind potential echoing during hands-free calling, you can extend that range upwards to 2017. However, since the 2018 – 2019 models had failing brake actuators and the echoing issue, these aren’t the best models on the market.
Want to know more about the problems of a Toyota Camry (Hybrid)? Read this article in which we go in-depth about the transmission problems of the Camry and what you should look out for.
In wrapping up, having a comprehensive understanding of potential problems with the Toyota Camry Hybrid, such as power brake assist failure, ABS actuator issues, or even echo problems during phone calls, helps ensure a safer, smoother driving experience.
By detailing these issues and providing guidance on identifying, fixing, and estimating repair costs, we’ve equipped you to tackle these challenges head-on. Forearmed with this knowledge, you can navigate the road of Camry Hybrid ownership with more confidence. Happy driving!
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!