Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Electrical Problem with 02 camry

i wonder if any toyota owner has experienced this problem with the 02 toyota camry.

several months ago the battery light starting flashing intermitently. soon it stayed on so long that the battery had to be replaced. after a number of visits to the dealer and costly ones i might add they replaced several wiring harnesses leading from the dash and the one for the alternator. it has started doing the same thing with a new battery and an alternator that is only a year old. the alternator seems to be charging but there is still some kind of grounding that is occuring that causes the problem. please let me know how i can resolve this

You say it is doing the same thing so I take it that the battery light is turning on and alternator isn’t charging as it should be. I would first verify that the alternator is really ok by taking it it to a place like Autozone and have it tested on the bench. Even though the unit is fairly new it doesn’t mean it is really ok. If it passes the bench check then you need to check the wiring to the alternator and battery along with the fuse circuit. A lot of alternator circuits require that the field and sense leads have 12 volts on them for the alternator to work correctly. There are some different versions though. I suggest you purchase a service manual for the car if you work on this yourself.

The main output lead of the alternator is tied directly to the battery through a fuse so if you work on the alternator be sure to disconnect the negative battery lead first so you don’t short anything out.

I agree with Cougar, but I would add: Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car. They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies. They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent.

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

In this case a trip to the auto parts store might take care of it all, let them test the battery and charging system.