2021 Toyota Camry Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Airbag, forward collision-avoidance, and brake issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

The 2021 Toyota Camry is a sedan that has been a popular choice among drivers. The automaker labels it a “clear-cut leader” that offers multiple variants while “advancing safety.” It might lead in terms of the variants it offers, but there are an increasing number of owners who condemn its lack of safety. A variety of risk-laden forward collision-avoidance issues, faulty brakes that lead to crashes, and malfunctioning airbags linked to injuries keep piling up. 

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2019   2020   2022

Most Common Problems

With 17 varied models and grades offered, purchasers of the new 2021 Toyota Camry are spoilt for choice. But one thing they can’t choose to eliminate are possible malfunctions and failures.  Official complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other reliable sources highlight issues with faulty brakes, forward collision-avoidance, and airbags that don’t deploy.

There are also many other less common problems including windshield cracks, sunroof glass that explodes, and tires that are defective. Other components and systems that are listed in complaints include the electrical system, engine, lane departure, powertrain, steering, structure, suspension, vehicle speed control, visibility/wiper, and wheels.

One particularly disturbing complaint filed as an unknown or other problem, blames the lack of structural support as a factor that caused the death of a driver in a crash. The complaint, from Florida, states that “My son hit a tree at an estimated speed of 45” mph and the car burst into flames. The entire inside of the vehicle and his son were burned beyond recognition. “I am amazed at a new car that does not have enough front crash support.” Also, “most importantly, the fuel pump should have shut off due to hitting the front to prevent the car from being burned. Yes, my son died in the accident but we did not have the chance to see him because of the fire, we have only bones to bury.”

2021 Toyota Camry Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Air Bags
10
Service Brakes
10
Unknown Or Other
9
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
5
Engine
3
Steering
3
Electrical System
2
Lane Departure: Assist
2
Power Train
2
Seat Belts
2

Airbag Problems

The most common airbag problems relate to them not deploying during a crash. Shockingly, considerably more than half the complaints report injuries to drivers and passengers. Some complaints mention brake problems being the cause of crashes.

An owner from Nebraska states in an NHTSA complaint that he, his wife, and his daughter were “severely injured” during a crash when the airbags didn’t deploy. While driving at 35 mph, another vehicle struck the front passenger side of his car. It was deemed “a total loss.” He filed a case with Toyota.

While driving at 45 mph, another owner was T-boned by a van and pushed across three lanes of traffic. There were no warning indicator lights illuminated and the airbags didn’t deploy. The driver sustained injuries to his arm, back, and neck. He received medical attention and filed a police report.

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Brake Problems Contribute to Crashes

A New Jersey woman’s leased 2021 Camry was also totaled in a crash. She was pulling into a parking space, but when she depressed the brake pedal, it didn’t respond. As a result, she crashed into trees. Again, the airbags failed to deploy. The woman was injured and required medical assistance. This car was totaled and the police were notified. The manufacturer responded to the incident stating there was no recall related to the failure.

A woman from Georgia was parking her Camry when it repeatedly lurched forward. She was unable to stop even though the brake pedal was depressed to the floorboard. Even after the vehicle hit a gate, it continued to accelerate independently. She put it into reverse, but it still continued to accelerate, hitting a vehicle behind her, which hit a third vehicle. She put it back into drive, “which sent the vehicle into another gate which then finally stopped the vehicle.” Both gates were damaged. The airbags didn’t deploy, and she suffered pain in her shoulders and lower back, but didn’t seek medical attention.

Similar lunging or lurching experiences are described by owners some of whom crashed and others who didn’t.

A New Hampshire owner was driving slowly, at 10 mph, when the brake system power assist function failed. This prevented the brakes from operating normally, and resulted in the Camry rear ending another vehicle.

Similarly, a “partial brake assist and auto emergency braking failure to engage” contributed to a rear end collision for an owner in Massachusetts. “The Toyota Legal Claims department issued an incomplete report that they claim absolves the vehicle.”

An owner from Massachusetts crashed when the auto emergency braking system failed. In response, Toyota maintained that the ABS “worked.” On the other hand, the dealer agreed that “the brake pedal was abnormal.”

Brake Problems

Many complaints to the NHTSA about brakes relate specifically to parking brake malfunctions. There are also issues with brake system power assist, and the Georgia complaint, above, was filed as a hydraulic brake problem. Additionally, there are problems that pertain to faulty auto emergency braking and anti-lock braking systems (ABS). Most of these are filed as forward collision-avoidance issues. Of course, all these individual brake issues are probably related in one way or another.

An owner from Montana describes “surging” when depressing the brake. When it started snowing, the surging began happening when braking to slow down to turn. “This surging was scary, even with studded snow tires.” Driving home from work one evening, rain had turned to “black ice” on the road. On a slight curve on the bridge, close to the white line, “the car decided to pull me away from the white line. This was the final straw. Not going to allow a car to make the decision to pull on black ice or other driving conditions. I did not want to become a statistic by having this vehicle cause a car wreck and hurt myself or other drivers. I had contacted Toyota Care and they said it was not a warranty issue. That is when I knew it was time to get rid of this hybrid after only 5 months.”

When the parking brake fails to engage, some drivers get error codes, for example “Parking brake malfunction/ Hold brake malfunction.” Others find that even when the brake is set, “the vehicle will begin to roll if put on an incline.” An owner from California accidentally put the Camry into reverse with the parking brake engaged – “and it still moved.” So, to check, ”I put gear in ‘Drive’ and engaged the parking brake. The vehicle still moved.”

Forward Collision-Avoidance Problems

In addition to forward collision-avoidance issues that clearly relate to the braking systems, there are other issues as well.

An owner from New York states that the steering gets so loose when using cruise control with the radar feature, “I don’t have good control when changing lanes. I feel that this is a serious safety issue.” Like some many other complaints already mentioned, the dealer “claims there is no problem with the cruise feature.”

With only 100 miles on the clock, an owner from Pennsylvania found that the forward collision-avoidance system failed. It “became inoperable, nearly causing the vehicle to crash on several occasions.” Neither the dealer’s mechanic nor the automaker’s engineer were able to determine the cause of the failure.

Is your 2021 Camry a Lemon?

If you think you’ve bought lemon, you can ask Lemberg Law to assess your problems free of charge. The law makes Toyota pay legal fees and you may be able to get your lemon out of your life. After all, every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners.

Call our Helpline or fill out a contact form if you want free legal assistance.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
3 COMMENTS
  • Jennifer G

    Man I own a 2021 Toyota Camry Se nightshade and the guy that said 2500 for tires and rims I dunno where u live but I’m pretty sure California the highest for anything and I got a new set of nice tires for less than 700 so ur quite exaggerating a bit bud and it sounds like they covered the replacement of the tires and rims so I’m not sure what ur complaining about I have a Camry and I love it I’ve driven it across country all over the place the only issues I have are me driving like a dummy sometimes I’m sorry if I popped everyone’s bubble on here but Toyota has good cars and they have taken care of me if ur thinking about purchasing one DO IT THEY ARE GREAT CARS !!!! wish mine had a few more features but it’s a great car thanks Toyota !!!

  • Justin G

    2021 Toyota Camry 27,600 miles….bought brand new off the lot. I was driving from Arizona to Alabama and was picking up some road noise, which automatically made me think tires are a little out of balance. It wasn’t bad, but noticeable. I made an appointment at Serra Toyota in Decatur, AL. The tech came back and said my tires were chopped, recommending 4 new tires and 2 new wheels. This car is still under warranty too. I understand tires and wheels are not covered, but to have that mileage with that new of a care, and all of a sudden I need 4 new tires and 2 new wheels. I told them to do a rotation and balance and filed complaint through Toyota’s main website. Similar situation happened with my mother’s 2021 Toyota Venza at 19,000 miles. We decided to buy both cars together to get a decent rate. However, the service that we have received from Toyota is making me second guess my decisions. New tires and 2 new wheels probably would have easily costed me $2,500.00 on a nightshade edition, which is what I have.

  • Julie G

    I have been told my Camry 2021 Hybrid had a “thermal event” in which heat reflected off a surface and melted the plastic on my car. It is the plastic between the drivers window and backseat window. Also the drivers side view mirror was affected. Will be over $400 to fix and they said Toyota hasn’t been covering these occurrences. I was told they are happening often on my car and also the Rav 4. Said not sure why, but probably cheap or thinner plastic being used. My car is 18 months old. This shouldn’t ben happening. I parked it outside my mother in laws house and came out to find the damage. They new immediately what it was. Is there a case here? They are selling cars with plastic that will melt. If I have it fixed it will likely happen again. Is this a money making scam on their part forcing owners to buy more parts from them. Seems crazy they won’t fix it.

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