My 1993 Camry has recently been giving me trouble starting today. For the record, I’ve had terrible fuel economy (15-17 MPG in all gentle city driving) for awhile now and have been trying to diagnose it for awhile and tinkering with the various things that could effect fuel economy and having my mechanic help me.
For the first time in several months the weather has been hot enough to warrant the A/C being on and I noticed immediately upon turning it on and my car getting up to temperature that the car would quite violently shake at idle, stopped, or at low speeds. I turned the A/C off and the shuttering was still there and the idle shakes were still rough, but not as bad.
The only thing I can do to get it to stop entirely is to put the car in park or turn the car off.
Engine mounts, transmission fluid flushing, new spark plugs (no new wires), battery check at NAPA (alternator is supposedly getting old and will need replacing soon but battery is fine), have all been done in the last month. Spark plugs were done last week as was battery testing.
I drove the car on the freeway up to about 70 MPH. The shuddering seemed to go away at about 55-60 MPH with overdrive on. With overdrive off I wouldn’t get shutter at any speed above about 40 MPH. When driving in traffic the car seems like it’s going to die, with throttle response being so intermittent (unless the car is at higher than, say, 2500 RPM) that it seems unsafe.
The car only has 78K miles and is driven almost exclusively in city traffic. I’ve considered that carbon buildup might be an issue but I’m not sure if it would cause these symptoms.
TL;DR, car shakes at nearly any speed at low RPM, gets really bad with A/C on, done some recent service that might point to it, and my city-only driving might have built up a lot of carbon. Throttle response is pretty pitiful too.
An edit: I cleaned out the throttle body which was gunked with carbon and the car ran better but still shakes like crazy, so I think the running better is unrelated.
Second edit: SOLVED IT. One spark plug wire wasn’t working properly. Replaced the wires and the car drives like new.