Watch This Teardown of a 300,000-Mile Toyota Camry Engine
This video should serve as a reminder of the value of regular maintenance.
YouTube channel The Car Care Nut has taken a deep dive into a 300,000-mile Toyota Camry engine.
The video serves to explore the reality behind Toyota's legendary reputation of reliability. The car in question is a 2009 Toyota Camry, fitted with the 2.4-liter 2AZ-FE four-cylinder engine. The engine currently burns oil, which suggests it's suffering from wear, but it nevertheless still runs and drives. Notably, the original owner is very much in love with the car after all this time, not least because it's a manual. Toyota simply don't offer a stick-shift in the Camry anymore, making this a vehicle worth maintaining.
With the engine removed from the car, it looks fairly okay given its age. There is some oil evident on the block, likely to have been spilled during oil changes. There aren't any major leaks evident, nor badly rusted fasteners or rotting seals. However, the car is due for a short-block engine replacement to solve an oil-burning issue. The car goes through a quart roughly every 150 miles. The 2AZ-FE has been known to burn oil, due to a piston ring issue that was later rectified by Toyota. This engine had been to a dealer as part of a past Toyota campaign regarding the issue, but at the time, wasn't burning oil badly enough to qualify for repair.
After disassembly, the reason for the oil-burning issue is evident. The cylinder bores are worn smooth, with the usual cross-hatching pattern no longer visible. The cause of the problem is down to the poor-quality seized piston rings fitted from the factory, rather than any malpractice on the owner's part.
However, other parts of the engine are in remarkably good condition. The rod bearings show only minor wear despite the advanced mileage. They show no need for replacement, and the engine reportedly still ran quiet and smooth upon arriving in the shop. The crank journals are similarly unblemished, and the cams and head look close to new. While the oil is dark, the engine hasn't built up sticky, gummy deposits. Much of it simply wipes clean, both in the head and the block. There is some carbon build-up, but nothing that would unduly affect performance or operation. If not for the issues with the piston rings and bore damage, there'd be no need for a rebuild.
Outside of the oil burning issue, the car has served well over its long life. The owner reports getting 665 miles out of a tank of gas, and achieves 37.5 mpg driving at highway speeds. The estimated total cost of ownership over the car's 305,000 miles was $67,500. That includes $32,000 on gasoline, based on an average gas price of $3 a gallon and fuel economy of 28 mpg. Other consumables include four sets of tires, two clutches, and 60 oil changes over the years.
This engine serves as a great example of how much life you can get out of a modern engine with proper, regular maintenance. Even with a piston ring issue from the factory, the Camry was still able to rack up serious miles. With a new short block under the hood, this humble sedan looks set for plenty more motoring to come.
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