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White smoke out of 2005 Camry
My wife and I just got a 2005 Camry XLE used from a Toyota dealership last month. We bought the car "as is." It had no warranty. We got the car for a really good deal....$8,900. The car had 93k miles on it, now has 96k. I guess at the time I didn't think much of it due to the economy I just figured maybe they were desperate to sell cars....but then I started to wonder if maybe we got the car at such a good price for a reason, considering most other Camrys in this model and year were going for at least $10-11k.
Towards the end of the first week I noticed something when we went to fire up the car.....a plume of white colored smoke would come out of the exhaust.....it would go away after about 5-10 seconds.....to me, it smelled rich....richer than what I would usually think car exhause should smell like. The problem only occurs after the car has a cold engine.....it won't smoke after that initial cold firing.....but if the engine sits for 4-5 hours, it will do it again on start up. There are no engine codes flashing, and the engine appears to be running smooth.
We took the car to our local mechanic that we trust, and he came back the next day with a grim look on his face. He said after doing some research, it tends to be a problem with these Toyota engines, and he said it was our Valve seals and/or guides in the cylinder head were bad, and that they would need to remove the heads and check guide clearance. The repair cost.....$2,000!!!!!!!!
Needless to say, I was furious. I completely feel like I got duped by this Toyota dealership. I called the Toyota dealership up and spoke to the manager of the used car department. He says that there is no way a 2005 Camry should be doing this, and they would not have put a car with this condition out on their lot. We were told when we got the car that they do this big 120 point inspection before they put the cars out on the lot.....well, to me, obviously something got missed.......I start to question this inspection also due to the fact we had to have them agree to replace a tire that had a bubble in it, and also we saw shortly after we got the car that the fog light was busted out of it's bracket, and was just hanging there. We got them to replace the tire and fix the fog light free of charge, but I still question how this would have gotten missed on this supposed 120 point inspection.
The Toyota dealership recommended I bring it in to their service department for a second opinion, and they said they would look at it free of charge. When I spoke to the service department and described the problem to them, they said that white smoke would indicate a condensation problem, and not an oil leak into the cylinders. They said if it was a problem with oil leaking into the cylinders, then the color would be blue or dark gray. Now, I'm not a trained mechanic....so what I call "white" a trained mechanic might say it has a blue or dark gray color.
Now the mechanic we took it to said that it's nothing that's going to ruin the engine at this point, and his recommendation was to not worry about it until it starts getting worse....he said it will eventually get worse though to where it smokes for longer, and possibly even starts smoking all the time.
Interestingly enough, I was talking to my father-in-law about the problem who has a 2003 Camry, and he said his does the same thing! He said it's been doing it for over a year now, but just like ours, the engine seems to be running smooth.
So I guess I will take it to Toyota to see what they have to say......but I was wondering what your thoughts were on this problem. Also, even though we bought it "as is" do we have any recourse against this Toyota dealership, especially since they told us these cars go through this 120 point inspection, and we have documented proof we had to have them fix other problems already that obviously slipped through the cracks? Thanks everyone.