2012 Toyota Camry Long Term Road Test - Maintenance

2012 Toyota Camry Long Term Road Test

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2012 Toyota Camry: 15,000-Mile Service Complete

October 31, 2012

(Photo by Mike Magrath)

Our 2012 Toyota Camry returned from its 15,000-mile service yesterday. As expected, the oil change was covered under Toyota's complimentary maintenance program. What we didn't expect was such a quick resolution to our steering wheel button problem... 

According to our advisor, the tech was able to get the buttons to fail. He said, "We've found that sometimes the audio systems in the new Camrys can be buggy. We reset the audio system and that seemed to fix the problem."

Our advisor added, "Also, remember that in order to use the audio controls while the car is in motion you need to hold down the 'mode' button. You don't need to do that when it is stopped, just when you're moving."

This last tidbit was news to me. It just doesn't make any sense. Look at the picture. What sort of hand pretzel is required to make that work? I think wires were crossed somewhere between somebody's mouth and his ears. Still, we didn't encounter the problem on the way back from the dealership. So, for now, it is fixed.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 15,959 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry: 15,000-mile Service

October 30, 2012

(Photo by Erin Riches)

This morning we dropped our 2012 Toyota Camry off at the dealer. On the agenda was a routine 15,000-mile service and a fix for those semi-operational steering wheel buttons.

Toyota Care pays for the oil change. And we fully expect Toyota will also cover the steering wheel controls. Our fingers are crossed that it doesn't return with a "could not duplicate" excuse. More to come.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 15,956 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry: Ready for an Oil Change

October 23, 2012


Our long-term Camry SE has been busy driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back twice in just two weeks. In fact, it's northbound on Interstate 5 right now.

And then, just yesterday, this happened. The Camry is on a 5,000-mile maintenance schedule, and it has begun to ask for its third oil change by displaying this MAINT REQD light on its instrument cluster.

We'll get the service done next week back in L.A. and report to you how it all transpired.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 14,886 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Not One of the 7.4 Million

October 10, 2012

2012 Toyota Camry

Toyota today announced the global recall of 7.4 million vehicles, including 2.7 million cars in the U.S. The majority of the recalls in this country involve Camry and Camry Hybrid models from 2007 to 2009, so our 2012 Camry is not subject to the recall. That's a relief.

Toyota says that owners will be notified by mail and that it will take about an hour to fix the "notchy" power window master switch, which can pose a fire hazard.

Every week, carmakers proactively recall cars for defects large and small (often nudged or shoved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Office of Defect Investigations). But as our writer John O?Dell reported recently, owners frequently ignore recall notices and cars with potentially deadly defects get passed along to often-unsuspecting buyers.

What's your stance on recalls? Do you hop on notices ASAP? Or do you let some things slide?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @13,567 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry: A Look Underneath

September 21, 2012

2012 Toyota Camry

Yesterday we finally put our 2012 Toyota Camry SE up on our 2-post Rotary Lift and photographed its underside. Enjoy.

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: 10,000-Mile Service Complete

June 13, 2012


I had some time yesterday afternoon, so I decided to drop our long-term 2012 Toyota Camry SE off at the dealership. Actually, I called the dealer (Santa Monica Toyota) first, around 12:30 p.m., to see if it was feasible to have our car's oil changed and tires rotated by 5 p.m.

After I was on hold for a minute or two, a service advisor picked up and said they could "probably" have the car done by 5.

"So how likely is it that it will be done by 5?" I asked. "I have tickets to the Dodger game tonight." (I did in fact have tickets.)

"Likely," he said, "but we can't guarantee it."

I decided to go ahead with it, because I had the time, and a back-up car was available if the Camry wasn't ready to go at 5.

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Still Waiting for First Oil Change

June 12, 2012


The "MAINT REQD" light has started flashing at startup in our long-term 2012 Toyota Camry.

This is a mileage-based indicator (rather than one based on an oil life sensor) that prompts you to observe Toyota's recommended, normal-duty 5,000-mile service intervals for the car. There's evidently an early warning feature built in, as we last reset the light at 4,888 miles after the car's first mini service -- and we're still a good 300 miles away from putting on another 5,000. (I suppose the light will start staying on all the time as we get closer to the threshold. Had I waited for that, I would have been able to take a sharper photo.)

Although we won't be going as many miles between oil changes as we have with various (hapless) BMWs that have passed through the fleet, 10,000 miles between oil changes is still a pretty good deal... at least, for the first two years (or 25,000 miles) when the Camry is covered by Toyota's complimentary maintenance plan.

After that, cheapskate Camry owners (like my future self?) will be scouring the big-box stores for deals on the 0W20 synthetic that enables that long interval.

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2012 Toyota Camry: A Lovely Bouquet of Dirty Socks

June 11, 2012


The A/C in the Camry is starting to smell a little swampy. Dan says that usually comes from recirc being used too much. The system will start smelling like dirty socks because moisture builds up, etc.

I mentioned to him that I couldn't get recirc to turn off, so perhaps that was the culprit. Dan also said that if the temp was set to Max, the recirc would not turn off.

I didn't think I had it on Max but I went down to our garage to check. And, it turns out I did have it on Max. So, I changed the temp and switched off recirc. Hopefully, the stink will clear up. It may take a little time though.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 9,546

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2012 Toyota Camry: Scratched

March 30, 2012


This is how the passenger front door on our 2012 Toyota Camry looks. Somebody scratched it. The white gash in the picture runs about 4 inches in length and beneath it ithere is an ever-so-slight crescent-shaped crease in the metal.

My attempt to rub out the blemish removed the white and shrunk the visible damage to roughly 2 inches in length. The crease remains. This sort of thing makes me sick, no matter how often I see it.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 6,565 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: First Service. Sort Of

March 07, 2012


Just picked up the Camry from its first "service." At 4,888 miles there wasn't any actual service needed, but this check up comes at no charge with the 2-year/25,000-mile maintenance plan which is included in the purchase price. A tire rotation and fluids check are the only jobs performed during this visit.

There was no drama.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Maintenance Time

March 05, 2012

Camry maintenance.jpg

The Camry's Maintenance Required light started blinking at me today when I fired the car up after getting it washed. It blinks on and off for about 15 seconds, then leaves you alone (thankfully).

According to the owner's manual, the light will come on "approximately 4,500 miles after the maintenance data has been reset." The odometer just passed 4,800 miles.

The warning light is telling us the Camry is due for its 5,000-mile service, apparently a fairly minor affair of mostly inspections and tire rotation. We'll get it taken care of soon.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 4,804 miles.

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Could You Be More Specific?

December 27, 2011


Because blowouts are such a bummer, it's really nice to have a warning light illuminate to let you to make the rounds and check your tires. Tire pressure sensors get even better when you have a fancy display to tell you the pressures of all four of your tires. That makes filling them up even easier.

But you know what's even better, and I'm looking at you Camry, is knowing which tire pressures on the fancy new display correspond to which tire. So close...

Think you could pencil in an update for that sometime soon?

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 1,998 miles

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Past Long-Term Road Tests