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2007 Camry LE --- Could worn tires be the problem?

I’ve noticed that my Camry has seemed especially sluggish when it starts from a stopping position. The acceleration just seems slow, but it gets better once I get up in speed. My first instinct was the transmission, but the fluid level is fine and I’m not really feeling that ‘slipping’ feeling. I noticed that my tires are very worn (not bald, but certainly worn to the point where I want them replaced), so I’m planning to get those replaced. However, I’d like to know a little more information so I know what to expect when I go into the shop.

  1. Could the worn tires contribute to the dragging feeling that car has when it starts to accelerate?
  2. I’ve also heard noises almost like a rumble shortly after I stop at a light, and rarely when I make any turns. I’m going to have them check the brakes and all, but the brakes seem fine and I never hear that noise when I step on them, only the two scenarios described. Could the worn tires be responsible for that sound too?

I guess ultimately I’m curious what sounds/issues a car could have as a result of worn tires (other than the obvious risks of wet roads, blown tires, fuel economy, etc). Thanks for your help!

  1. No.
  2. This could be a failing wheel bearing or constant velocity joint. Neither would explain the sluggishness, however.

Has routine maintenance been performed on schedule (spark plugs, air filter, etc.)? Is the Check Engine light on?


Yes routine maintenance has been performed. Regular oil changes, filter checks. In fact the transmission was flushed at about 80k miles (car has 105k now). If not tires what else could cause the sluggish acceleration?

Spark plugs? How regular oil changes. Sounds like the engine might be getting a little tired.

Oil change place checks spark plugs (or says they do). I get it changed within every 3,000 miles. Most recent was abou 6 weeks ago, about 1k miles. Do you think k should switch to high mileage? I do notice that at times about 2000-2500 miles after a change the oil light flashes while making wide turns, so I know it gets lower faster. I take it to get changed immediately at that point. I also do check it regularly and will add a bit as needed.

Is this one of those quick/jiffi lub places? I wouldn’t trust anything they say (and I’d never take my car there for anything). Get a real mechanic to check this over. Could be spark plugs or any number of other things.

In fact, I’d check that they are using the correct oil.

"I do notice that at times about 2000-2500 miles after a change the oil light flashes while making wide turns, so I know it gets lower faster."

Yow! that’s a lot of oil consumption or oil leakage. (Not to mention it’s not the best way to monitor the oil level.) How many miles on this car?

If the oil light is flashing because the engine is low on oil , you’re not checking & topping it off often enough . Does the oil change place also install new spark plugs when needed according to mileage or what ? I find it difficult to believe they remove all the plugs & inspect them or whatever it is they do to check them .

Agree it’s a lot of consumption… Would a high mileage oil help? And I will definitely check the spark plugs.

The car has 105,800 miles on it

It’s possible that by basically running it dry of oil between changes, you’ve trashed the engine.

I’m with insightful on this.
The oil pump lubricates the engine by drawing oil up from about 1/4" from the bottom of the pool in the oil pan. If the light’s coming on around corners, it means the top of the oil pool is dropping below the pickup tube when inertia pushes the oil to the side of the pan. And every time it does that, the critical bearing surfaces are momentarily running without the pressurized fluid barrier that protects them from certain destruction. There are additional problems with running the oil low, but this is the main one that I think may be the source of your noises… you’ve damaged the engine internally.

Oil level should be routinely checked, perhaps at least weekly, and checked immediately after every oil change before starting the engine… then daily for a few days.

IMHO if you feel the car is worth saving, you need to have a competent mechanic pull a main bearing cap and see how much damage there is. Or at least have him listen to the engine, tell him what you’ve told us, and see what he says. If the car isn’t worth spending a few grand on, perhaps it’s time to go shopping.

Agree with insightful. Unless they put a diagnostic machine on it or take the plugs out, no way to tell. But if it hasn’t had plugs in that mileage, no point checking them, just replace. It costs very little more to take them out to check than to replace. But I suspect you have a very worn engine from the low oil levels.

New tires will slow your acceleration since they are larger. 2-3% does make a difference. Your car is lower to the ground so it has better airflow characteristics now. Higher up means more under car turbulence.

Toyota has had issues with oil consumption on this gen Camry if this is the 4 cylinder. I believe this is what your car has. Look on toyotanation forum and see what type of extended warranty if any, there is and try to use that.

The only tire related issue I can think of that might cause a feeling of sluggish acceleration is if the tires are not properly inflated. Not enough air pressure can make the car seem like it is riding on sponges, sort of squirm down the road. Worn tires can cause unusual sounding road noises though.

Oil change places do NOT check spark plugs! They will usually check the air filter.

In addition to the problem of possibly letting the oil get dangerously low (could be a false alarm due to a flaky oil pressure sending unit), it sounds like some maintenance needs to be caught up on, if it isn’t already too late for your motor.

I wouldn’t want a jiffy lube to TOUCH my spark plugs. They have enough trouble installing the drain plugs properly.

Besides, on many cars “checking” the spark plugs is counterproductive. Many manufacturers use plugs with square shoulders and crushable metal washers designed to seal the plug’s periphery when the plug is torqued. Once crushed, they’re not designed to be removed and reinstalled. Even by me. Never mind by a young kid with ten minutes or training.

It wasn’t Jiffy Lube for oil changes but a regular mechanic shop. In any case, yikes and some pretty discouraging news about the engine.

thank you all for the feedback.

Have you been checking the oil level between changes?
Should be done at least every 1000 miles.

Is the parking brake on ?
I’ve seen it before.
The customer does not ever use it therefore they never reach to release it.
BUT . .
The last shop guy to park it DID set the park brake !

. . you get the picture.