Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Camry update

As promised long ago, here’s an update on life with the 2014 Camry after two years and 18k miles. :slight_smile:

Torque converter: Once the computer finally was flashed six months ago with the needed update, the tranny went back to good behavior and I have had fun again with rather more “spirited” driving. :slight_smile: Implacable persistence with businesslike courtesy but resorting to escalating the issue to corporate level got results. Take away lesson, determined persistence with detailed documentation and refusing to be intimidated or treated disrespectfully eventually achieved a good result.

Service department: Once I employed the metaphorical whack bonk stick of escalating to corporate customer service and FOLLOWED THROUGH that way, along with also being immediately unyielding about the simultaneously occurring hub cap fiasco, there has been a gratifyingly notable improvement in how I am sincerely treated by the dealership service department. In this case it has paid to give them a second chance to treat me right.

Tires: To my happy amazement, all three patched tires are in great shape! But I do keep a cautious eye on them and will eventually replace them sooner than I would run off tread had they not had unhappy encounters with road debris and nails.

Trouble free: For all that I generally liked the 2007 Impala and had very much liked the earlier 1987 Olds, the first two years owning the 2014 Camry has been a refreshingly trouble free experience, aside from the torque converter hassle. Those previous GM cars had endless serious problems even in the first months that built thick service files by two years of ownership. The Camry, by contrast, simply has no problems. I keep the oil changed and tires rotated every six months, all fluids and tire pressure checked weekly, keep it clean, wax it twice a year, and happily motor on trouble free. :slight_smile:
I shall, of course, do proactive maintenance at proper mileage/age intervals, such as flushing the cooling system, fresh brake fluid, etc.

Driving comfort: The seat has gradually become more comfortable although long drives still cause leg cramps. Eh, I’m not young anymore and chronic pain is my companion so I adapt to more frequent rest stops with good walkabouts to stretch out the kinks.

Driving dynamics: Midsize vehicle wheelbase means a less smooth ride than found in a full sized car but provides nimble handling (cue spirited driving :slight_smile: ) The headlights still suck but that is a design flaw in my opinion. Arthritis friendly shifter that has proven as easy on the hands as the column shift levers I drove for 27 years because I don’t have to squeeze the shifter to change gears equals advantage Toyota design over all other models I looked at. Four cylinders does nicely (once the torque converter returned to proper functioning) with gas mileage that matches claimed averages. A six cylinder engine would give nicely quicker acceleration merging on the highway, etc but the four isn’t lacking in adequate power.

Overall: Glad I traded the Impala for the Camry. Had the Impala not turned out to be a hanger queen I would happily have kept it. But the Camry has proven far, far more reliable and that is exactly what I needed. Hopefully, it stays that way.

To all you regulars, as always, my thanks for all your kind help over the years and my great respect for your contributions here on the forum. :slight_smile:

…still reading, still learning…

Thanks to you Marnet for the followup on how things are going.

I’m still a bit bumfuzzled (made that word up…) as to how that Impala became such a problem child. Some of my neighbors own these cars and have had little or no issues with them.
Maybe some hoodoo man having trouble in his home life decided to place a curse on your car during a moment of extreme frustration.

My youngest son bought a new Camaro a couple of years ago and he hasn’t had one iota of trouble out of that car. His only complaint is that the C pillars cause some bad blind spots so he has to use a lot of care backing up or changing lanes.

The only thing I don’t get on his car is why they put 2 speedometers in it; side by side. One is an analog and the other a digital.
I guess if the cops stop him for speeding he has 2 options for placing the blame… :smile:

Each make & model could have lemons, but generally Toyota’s are more reliable than others. The Camry and Corolla being their flagship cars. They are not exciting, which I guess they are trying to fix, but then the majority of drivers are not much into excitement esp if they can pocket the difference.

I have a friend who has a simple solution to car buying; just buys Camry’s. One for him, one for his dad. They don’t even shop around or test drive it. They accept the fact that when they get a new one, there is going to be some adjustments (new seats, different transmission, etc), but they still won’t buy anything else.

Actually . . . the current Corolla and Camry were praised for not looking as boring as previous versions

Car magazines have always criticized Toyota seats for not being that great. One thing that consistently comes up . . . the testers wish they had more thigh support.

My problem with most car seats is that they are not flat as I find comfortable. The old bench seats of days gone by were what worked best for me. But then I prefer to sit sideways on folding chairs, school desk seats, or any seat that has raised front and/or bolsters.

Obviously, any make/model has some lemons but some are more trouble prone on average than others. Over my forty years of driving I have generally preferred GM cars due to the proportional layout of the interior. But the 1973 Corolla and so far the 2014 Camry have proven far more reliable.


I’m a fleet mechanic, as you know

Bench seats are becoming rare, even in pickup trucks

We have many base-model pickup trucks with the regular cab, the ones that traditionally had bench seats, whereas the extended cab models had bucket seats. Nowadays, even the regular cab models seem to be equipped with bucket seats.

Did you buy the Camry LE . . . ?

db4690. Yes. It is a 2014.5 Camry LE 4-cyl. On balance, a nice car.

The Honda Accord had better acceleration and better suspension and handling; I almost bought an Accord.

But the Camry ended up being the more comfortable choice. Accord seats were killer miserable, the shifter hurt my hand, and driver outward visibility was less than in the Camry.

Any vehicle choice involves some compromises. The longer I own and drive the Camry the more satisfied I have become that I made a good choice to replace the hanger queen Impala with the “boringly” reliable Camry.

“Those previous GM cars had endless serious problems even in the first months that built thick service files by two years of ownership”

When I bought my Chevy Citation, its service booklet came complete with a very large number of self-stick labels bearing the car’s VIN, that the service department could attach to invoices in order to speed the service process along. The booklet said that these labels should be sufficient to expedite the servicing of the car for many years. I managed to use-up ALL of those labels within about 1 1/2 years.

“Accord seats were killer miserable”

I got rid of my '92 Accord after only 4 years because the seats caused severe lumbar-area pain after driving for more than 30 minutes or so. It was a very nice car overall, but lousy seats that were sitting only a few inches above the floor caused me to have to extend my right leg almost horizontally, thus causing lower back and leg pain. It’s disturbing to hear that Honda has still not cleaned-up its act regarding seating comfort.

Anyway…Thank you for the update!

I guess I was luckier than @Marnet with my last Chevrolet–a 2006 Uplander. Our son bought the Uplander from us and it has gone about 165000 miles with no major problems. I bought a 2011 Toyota Sienna to take its place. It has been reliable for 75,000 miles. The Uplander was easier on tires. I went 55,000 miles on the original Goodyear that came with the Uplander before they needed replacement. I only got 35,000 out of the Firestone tires that came with the Sienna. I replaced them with Michelin This set only lasted 40,000 miles. I keep my tires properly inflated and rotate the tires every 10,000 miles. I just bought another set of Michelin. I don’t know if the Sienna is too heavy for the specified tires. The tires wear evenly so I don’t think alignment is the problem. I know the Uplander has a poor frequency of repair record according to Consumer Reports, but that hasn’t been my experience.

@ok4450. It is a mystery to me also why the Impala seemed to have a voodoo curse on it. My sis-in-law has one only a year older and has not had problems with hers. And my brother has a Trailblazer he cannot wear out and has had no problems with.

The Camry suits my budget and needs. On the rare occasion I need to haul something too bulky for the trunk I can always ask a favor from any of several friends who have trucks or SUVs. Besides, anything that won’t fit in my car even with back seats folded down is too bulky and heavy for me to manage anyway.

I confess if my finances ever allow, I would like to get a full size car or a mid size SUV, six cylinders, for the greater comfort and higher driving position but in all honesty I don’t need more car than the Camry. And I at least know the difference between needs and desire. That said, I wouldn’t mind being gifted a 6-cyl Impala or Highlander or Equinox… :slight_smile: LOL

I’ll go slightly off-topic, but it DOES relate to car seats . . .

I’m in the process of buying a used car for my mom . . . I’m looking at 1 - 4 year old cars

Anyways, I looked at 2 year old sedan with power seats, lumbar support, etc. A nicely equipped car, by all regards

The first thing I noticed was the odd seating position. The seating position was very low, no matter how I adjusted it. The seat was not sagged through, in case anybody’s wondering. The car had low miles and was only 2 years old. No matter how I adjusted the seat, it felt like I was sitting in a hole.

I drove the car, just to get a feel for it. But here’s the thing . . . if you check out a car, and the very first thing that you think of is “It feels like I’m sitting in a hole” then you should count that as a VERY large strike against the car.

We obviously didn’t buy the car, because I’ve always told you guys if there’s ANY doubt about a car, do NOT buy, walk away. There’s plenty of cars out there

Yes, seating positions in sedans have gotten far too low for my comfort and outward driver visibility. I keep my seat up at the highest position it will go. The main reason I would spend to upsize from the Camry is to get a higher seating position.

When an elderly friend sold her low mileage, impeccibly maintained Crown Vic last year I was about number five in line asking to buy it. I have driven that car long distance when I chauffeured her and her late husband to a funeral several hours drive away. Sweet car! Smooth ride, good handling, 8-cyls that purr. Of course, the first in line to buy snatched it up but that was okay, they truly needed a good, reliable car at a very affordable used price, and are friends of both the elderly lady and of me. But had it come down to me to get to buy it, I literally would have done so, sold the Camry and banked the difference toward future maintenance and replacement. :slight_smile:


I’m 99% certain your Camry has power seats . . .

My Camry is 2005, but has power seats, and I can adjust it for a very high seating position, if I choose to do so

Are you saying even with your 2014 Camry, even with the seat at its highest position, it’s still fairly low . . . ?!

I’m happy with the seating in my Forester. But I had to raise the seat all the way up, and add 1/2 inch via a seat cushion. And I am of average height.

@db4690. Yes, the Camry LE has power drivers seat I can tweak multiple ways. But even at highest height it sits closer to the floor than I prefer. SUVs and trucks have more upright seating farther from the floorboard, as did most bench seats of yesteryear. It is all in the proportional relative positions of seat, pedals, dash, beltline, etc. Current cars make me feel like I am down in a bathtub.

The first car to have that bathtub feel was a company car my dad drove back in the '70s, a Ford LTD with manual bucket seats and a miserable back seat right over the rear axle.

@db4690 ; From what I have heard, new cars have mostly “lower seating” because the have raised the belt line for safety. If you ever seat in the passenger seat of a 2011-2014 Sonata you’ll notice. For most cars, you can find kits online for raising the seat. These are usually just tiny blocks and nuts to extend the floor portion of the connections. It would compromise the safety of the car though.


Thanks for that information

If I needed to install those kits to get a decent seating position, then I would NOT buy the car

Seem to recall Grandmother peering out the space between the dash and the steering wheel.

@Barkydog. LOL. Now we just need hood ornaments to make a comeback; it is sooooo much easier to line up pedestrians that way.

Earlier today, I had the misfortune to be driving in back of that woman!