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

Camry on the fritz

Hi guys,

I own a toyota camry and she’s on the fritz. I was hoping one of you 'em can help me diagnose the problem.

My car has this awful tendency to have it’s rpm go nuts. Let me explain: Sometimes the rpm will shoot up by when I’m idle, it’ll even do it when moving as well but not by nearly as much. Other times, only when idle, it’ll drop when I press the gas. It may even drop to where the car stops.

I can’t seem to find a clear pattern for when it happens either. It’ll happen late in the drive, but sometimes it’ll happen early as well (though it seems to be more frequent when it’s late). And it happens throughout the day.

I have noticed recently that sometimes when my car gets confused, it’ll give out this weird alcohol smell. Kind of like my drunk uncle at christmas parties. Though I’m not sure this is related.

I have taken it in to the shop and they were stumped. Though they said it might be the master control valve. Unimpressed with their confidence, I thought I’d see if any of you have advice.

Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

To help us out, please specify the year, model, engine size, configuration (I4 or V6), and mileage of the car. Has your mechanic done a throttle body cleaning recently and ascertained that the Idle Air Control valve is operating correctly?

Give us more information and we will try to help.

Oops, sorry - I knew I forgot something. It’s a 96 camry with roughly 150,000 miles on it. The engine is an I4 - I don’t know about engine size.

The mechanic said he cleaned the control valve, hoping that would help. It didn’t really help. But he wasn’t able to reproduce it in the time he was looking at it, so there’s no indication of whether anything wasn’t working correctly.

Thanks for the help!