My GF bought a 2014 Camry. Her last car, a 2011 Nissan Altima, had been a constant pain in the ass, and we were really looking forward to the peace of mind and trouble-free ownership that the Camry has a reputation for. I’ve always trusted Toyota, I’ve owned multiple Toyota cars and trucks and always thought of them as the #1 brand for reliability. My daily driver is a 2008 4Runner that has had zero issues, and my dad has been driving the same Camry since forever. So when we found the Camry for $10k with 167,000 miles, the top-level XLE trim, and excellent service records, we were overjoyed.
For one day, anyway. Because immediately, we noticed an annoying issue - one that I hasten to add, was NOT in evidence at all during the test drive (and we both drove it.) What happens, is when accelerating from around 25 mph to 30 mph, the transmission lags for a second or so, then vibrates very noticeably, before upshifting to the next gear. This issue was not evident at higher speeds, but most of her driving is going to be city driving and the car will constantly be in the 25-30mph range, so this is going to be exceptionally aggravating.
The transmission shifts quite smoothly when you manually shift the gears (it has a tiptronic-type manual mode where you can just nudge the shifter up or down to shift, as many automatic cars do nowadays). It’s only in “D” when this issue occurs, but come on, a car that’s meant to be used primarily in automatic mode should work properly in that mode, it shouldn’t be necessary to manually shift in order to have a pleasant driving experience in an automatic car.
I jump down the Google rabbit hole, and lo and behold, tons of people are complaining of the same issue (“Camry transmission shudder”)- that a faulty torque converter and/or a software glitch is the culprit, and that, in fact, Toyota repaired the issue for free in many cars under an extended warranty that was good up until 150,000 miles. Because of course it is. (There’s no dealer warranty on this car, and the service records do not show any replacement of the torque converter or any other transmission-related components at any point in the vehicle’s history.)
People on various forums are saying that they’ve been quoted $2500 to get this bullshit fixed, and that this experience has permanently soured them on Toyota’s reputation.
We’re both now kicking ourselves for not doing more research on the car before pulling the trigger on the purchase - doubly so for me, since I consider myself a car guy and I know about a lot of different cars and trucks, but the idea that a 2014 Camry would have any fundamental design flaw that might need to be researched, simply eluded me.
We’re still trying to figure out our next move. Only time will tell if this is something she can get used to, or simply use the “manual” mode and be OK with that, or whether it’s simply too much of a headache to not have repaired. It’s going to have to be serviced anyway - it’s going to need a timing belt, rotors and brakes, and some other things - and we’re dreading the price that a mechanic might quote us for (what I can only assume) would have to be a total transmission replacement. Or - maybe some workaround could be found? We simply don’t know. Is it possible to return a pre-owned, as-is car to a dealership? I’ve never even pondered the possibility before.
I guess I’m wondering if anyone else here has had the same issue, and if so, what did you do, or not do, to correct it?