Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2007 Toyota Camry transmission failing at 131,000 miles

Hello all,
My first post here. Last week my 2007 Camry’s transmission went out. The car has 131,000 miles on it. Oh, it has the V6. I follow the recommended maintenance schedule. My mileage is around 80% highway driving. Is this an unusually low mileage for the transmission?

This Camry is my fourth car in 26 years, and this is my first transmission failure. My beloved '94 Grand Am went nearly 200,000 miles without needing a new transmission, for comparision.

This does seem like low mileage for a transmission failure especially a Toyota. I rented a Pontiac Firebird years ago when the new body style came out. My wife and I were thinking about buying one so we rented one to take a 1000 mile round trip in it. The tranny blew with about 15 miles on it. They dispatched another Firebird and we made the trip. We never bought the new body style Firebird even though the second one made a flawless trip. I think you just had a bit of bad luck. It happens.

“Last week my 2007 Camry’s transmission went out.”

You might want to say what that means. The transmission isn’t “a” thing but a whole bunch of things.

In addition to that most auto shops are not a place to go if you have transmission problems. This includes even a lot of dealer service departments. Automatic transmissions are a specialty. Not only is it a bad idea to ask a general mechanic for an evaluation of an auto trans, but its also a bad idea to take one to one of the many transmission chain-type operations.

Yes - if you do mostly highway miles, 131K is not unheard of, but is not all that normal. So lay out the details, including what the transmission is doing, where it was diagnosed and as many details as you can muster about the diagnosis (including computer generated error codes).

Also, following recommended maintenance schedules for transmissions is often a bad idea, so provide details, as in “X was done to the transmission at xx miles by [kind of shop]”

How often did you change the transmission fluid in the Camry?
How often did you change the transmission fluid in the Grand Am?

With most things it’s best to follow the maintenance schedule.
But the transmission often is an exception: it’s helpful to change the fluid every 30k miles.

If this tranny is the same as my wifes Lexus…then there is no maintenance schedule for tranny fluid change. However I surely wouldn’t follow that (no matter what the owners manual says). I’d still get the tranny serviced every 30-50 thousand miles. This tranny also uses the new Toyota WS fluid. It’s a full synthetic and expensive. And only a handful of oil companies sell a equivalent…and it’s just as expensive as the fluid from the Toyota dealer.

While I agree a tranny is a whole bunch of things…it’s still a black-box to most people on this forum. I may know that there’s a problem with my tranny…but I’m not skilled enough to know exactly what the problem is.

I do agree that a general mechanic or a transmission chain store are NOT the best place to take a transmission to for repair/diagnosis. Find a good independent transmission place. For some reason this little town not too far from me (Windham NH) has 5 transmission shops within a mile of each other. This town only has about 10k people.

i had the same issue mines went at 20k amd then again at 167k. the dealership and Toyota did NOT want to repair it because of the high milage. 85% highway miles from what i have been reading the tranny is sealed and does not have a place for replacement of fluids no dipstick either!!. the dealership told me that there is a process of removing the fluids from the tranny but it is time consuming. which means $$$$$$ I a, very disappointed with the toyota as a company

Call up Toyota and see if you can get a goodwill repair done. They had some significant issues with the transmissions in V6 Camrys in 2007, particularly with the earlier built ones. They might just be willing to shoulder some of the cost. In my personal experience, Toyotas haven’t been any better than other brands I’ve owned for reliability, but Toyota has been very very good about stepping up and covering unusually large repairs outside of warranty. Even got two engine replacements on an 87 Camry out of them outside of warranty.

If this tranny is the same as my wifes Lexus…then there is no maintenance schedule for tranny fluid change. "

Yep - I see this on a lot of Toyotas (and other makes). I blame it on them trying to manipulate Edmunds’ True Cost to Own for advertising purposes. If you call for a fluid check in the manual, there’s no cost associated, but a fluid change means cost and a higher TCO. That’s one of several reasons I put zero faith in TCO. The manufacturers are doing their customers a disservice with this sort of approach, IMO.

OTOH, then there’s my Mazda6. Dang, they’re overly ambitious in the manual for that vehicle. It is over two years old, under 16,000 miles, but the manual is already calling for a brake fluid change. I’ve NEVER done those on that short of an interval, and the only issue I’ve ever had was brake hoses wearing out with age (sorry, but I don’t think changing fluids every two years will prevent a hose from wearing out after 14).

Yep - I see this on a lot of Toyotas (and other makes). I blame it on them trying to manipulate Edmunds' True Cost to Own for advertising purposes.

I don’t doubt that for one minute. It’s probably fine for the average owner who only keeps their vehicle for 100k miles. But for some of us who keep them 300k+ miles…it’s NOT ok. The rest of their maintenance schedule seems reasonable. It comes down to a numbers game. I’m sure if they started seeing too many transmission failures in that 100k-150k miles…they might change their schedule. I’ll bet they aren’t seeing many failures. But I’d like to see the failures for vehicles with 200k - 250k miles. I know for a fact that changing my tranny fluid every 50k miles is a lot better for the tranny then not changing it at all. And it’s not that expensive.

@MikeInNH : I agree wholeheartedly. I bought my first automatic car in 1965, and have had 9 since that time. All had their fluid and filter changed at least every 30,000 miles. Five of the vehicle towed small trailers.

The ONLY transmission repair I’ve ever had was on a C-4 unit in a 1971 Mercury Comet. It cost all of $185 at that time to replace a band, I believe.