2012 Toyota Camry Problems Include Two Airbag Recalls, Powertrain Shudder, Flimsy Switches

2012 Toyota Camry Problems Include Two Airbag Recalls, Powertrain Shudder, Flimsy Switches The 2012 Toyota Camry has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most reliable used cars on the road. Not without issue of course. You’ll want to check the VIN for open airbag recalls, and test drives for some major powertrain issues. But if you pass the test, this car could be your ticket to the high mileage club.

2012 Toyota Camry Problems Include Two Airbag Recalls, Powertrain Shudder, Flimsy Switches

  • The device was recalled shortly after its release for passenger sensors that had been miscalibrated, which could lead to airbag failure.
  • A second airbag retraction has been issued for possible unintended deployment caused by a blockage of the air conditioning hose.
  • Drivers reported shivering and twitching in the 20-50 mph range, despite a technical service bulletin fix.
  • You should expect broken door handles and window switches, given the car’s age and some “budget-friendly” building materials.
  • The car received five stars overall in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash test, and a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

A pair of airbag calls for the title to fail to publish, inadvertently publish

The 2012 Toyota Camry was for airbag issues. The first was in 2013 for a few thousand units that were having problems with passenger sensing systems. The repair in this case was simple enough, requiring a simple recalibration of the affected units.

The next recall was issued just a few months later to nearly one million Toyotas that were experiencing potential unintended airbag deployment due to a clogged air conditioner drain. On affected units, the air conditioner drain hose could become clogged, which could cause water to pool at the bottom of the condenser unit housing.

If that water then drips onto the airbag control unit, you can see a short circuit and spread of the airbag. And of course, if the airbag explodes while driving, this is a major safety hazard. So you’ll definitely want to check your VIN for this particular recall.

The repair for this recall involved placing a seal on the condenser unit and a protective cover over the airbag control unit. There are no recent complaints about airbags spreading for no reason, so the recall appears to have corrected this issue. There have been complaints about the lack of airbags, but thankfully these are in low enough numbers that they aren’t much of a concern for used Camry buyers.

Continuing power train vibration despite technical services bulletin

2012 Toyota Camry - Toyota Photography
2012 Toyota Camry

Powertrain issues are taking a strong lead, making up 121 reports out of a total of 577 reports. Most common complaint: transmission slippage, trembling, shivering. One complaint registered in 2022 states that “while the vehicle speeds over 35 mph, the vehicle begins to vibrate slightly and the vehicle appears to have lost its power.”

Another driver reported that the car shivered and jiggled between 20 mph and 50 mph, and then exited when it reached highway speeds. This is the pattern of complaints more often than not: the car shudders at city speeds, and stops shivering as soon as it goes above 50mph.

A technical service bulletin has been issued to fix the problem, it appears that the problem is going to the AC torque converter, but a few drivers reported that the problem persisted after repairs. Failed miles are usually reported in the 60,000-70,000 mile range.

With no recall in place, no investigation conducted, and TSB repairs not always seemingly done, the best thing you can do as a used Camry buyer is run a thorough test drive. Put the car in steps and see how it accelerates and decelerates from city to highway speeds. Make sure you can hit 50 mph without shivering before handing over any money.

2012 Toyota Camry Problems Include Two Airbag Recalls, Powertrain Shudder, Flimsy Switches

Structural issues include broken door handles and bumper clips

While not a major safety concern, Camry drivers have reported a whole host of structural issues including broken bumper clips, malfunctioning power lock switches, and a failure of the driver’s side door handles to work as intended, leaving drivers crawling through the passenger side door in order. To get behind the wheel.

To an extent, this is to be expected with older cars, but many of these complaints date back to the first year after the car was released. One driver reported being hit on the head multiple times with the trunk lid within a few months of buying the car fresh from the merchandise. Another driver reported road debris chewing up the front bumper during the first year.

The 2012 Toyota Camry was built from the ground up to be a budget-friendly vehicle, so don’t expect quality materials, but you an act Expect door handles, trunk lids, and power locks to continue to function at least for the first few years of ownership.

There are 66 structural complaints on file with the NHTSA, which isn’t a huge number, but each one likely points to several issues that other drivers didn’t feel worth reporting. In short: If you’re buying a used Camry, be prepared to pay a few extra bucks to fix things like door latch and window switches, or get comfortable with some broken odds and ends.

The most pressing problems of the 2012 Toyota Camry are rather simple

2012 Toyota Camry - Toyota Photography
2012 Toyota Camry

Assuming the previous owner took care of the vehicle, the worst problem you might encounter with a 2012 Toyota Camry would likely be some flimsy structural components. After the first hundred thousand miles, it’s hard to find a Camry without a broken window switch or trunk lid that you need to prop it up with a stick.

But, these problems are cheap enough to fix, and they’re easy to fix if you’d rather keep your money. The main thing you want to avoid is powertrain vibration, and this will be one of the most obvious things to determine on a test drive.

The car received an overall five-star rating from NHTSA, was recalled only twice, and generated fewer than 600 complaints in total. In short, this is simply one of the safest and most reliable vehicles in use on the road today.

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