I’ve had my '95 Camry for about 3 years and it’s been a great car. About a year ago, it started overheating rather randomly - the engine temp would just go up up up, but eventually would come back down if I kept driving. I took it in, and they put in a new temp gauge. It kept doing it, and I took it to another guy who replaced the engine fan. Now, the temp gauge doesn’t go up high like it used to but even when it looks perfectly normal, I sometimes turn off my car and notice some faint white smoke coming from the hood. Any thoughts?
Open the hood and see if you can tell where the steam is coming from.
The cooling fan may have been a “red herring”. The exhaust manifold on your car (if it’s a 4-banger) runs across the engine compartment in front of the engine. I’ve seen the plastic on a Camry fan assembly melt from too much heat. It’s possible that the shop saw the melted fan assembly, attributed the overheating to that, changed it, and missed a leak that was the root cause. I’m not defending the shop, just posing a possibility. Perhaps if you brought it back they’d take a second look.
There could be an engine coolant leak anywhere, and it’s going onto the hot engine and forming steam. The coolant level may be low, now. Have a mechanic check it out.
Inspect the rear of the radiator, if you see white and green colors on the lower part, change it. If you see missing fins between the tubes, change it. Inspect it with the shroud out of the way. I bet the temp goes up when you are going uphill.
Low coolant levels will cause the spiking in temperature. I think you are loosing coolant somewhere. Have the system pressure checked.
I’d replace the thermostat and the radiator cap . . less than $25 total and both could be the reason. Anyway, they are both 13 years old and should be changed. Good luck! Rocketman