2006 Toyota Camry Hybrid (8 Years and 135K Miles and Going)

The Toyota Camry Hybrid 2006.

My previous car, an Oldsmobile Alero that I had gotten used from my parents for use during college. After it's fair share of problems, the issue with an unreliable ignition was the final straw that convinced me to get a new car. Upon graduation, I bought my 2006 Toyota Camry Hybrid. At the time, this was the highest trim (comes mostly fully loaded) with push to start, auto-dimming rear view mirror, heated side view mirrors. The average mileage I get was 35 miles per gallon, which isn't the best, but pretty good given the weight and features loaded into the car.

If my memory serves correctly, I had decided to buy the Camry back in 2006 heavily based on the reputation that Toyota's are reliable. I chose to purchase the hybrid system over a standard gas engine for the better mileage despite hybrids being a rather new technology is the US (I had read that prior to introduction in the US, the technology had already been deployed in Japan). On top of that, the hybrid system came with a 100,000 mile guarantee.

My Camry Hybrid Habits
I am a strong believer that a car needs to be properly maintained to not break down. And so it's important note that my results are currently based on a well maintained car. Every oil change on time and every minor and major service check (thought I handled it through my 3rd party mechanic). I park in my car in the garage when I'm at home, so it is protected from mother nature, although I have no option but to park in an open lot. When I drive to work, I don't accelerate hard (mostly because there is too much traffic).

The First 100K Miles
Like all new cars, the Toyota Camry literally never gave me any problems for the first few years. The most common issues were 'self-inflicted' minor scratches, side view mirrors getting broken off when I wasn't around, and flat tires. None of these have anything to do with the build quality. During the 8 years of ownership, I averaged about two round trips a year from Northern California to Southern California, to visit friends and family.

After 100K Miles
After the Camry Hybrid reached 100K is where I got more nervous about reliability, specifically the hybrid system. It is my understanding that most modern cars should easily get over 100K miles, maybe even 200K. But since the hybrid component of the Camry Hybrid is only covered for 100K miles, it made me more nervous that my car's electric component would give out at any time. One hand, I've heard many stories of hybrid taxi cabs making it well over 200K miles. I've also heard other versions of the stories of hybrid batteries leaking at around 140K. So to me, in an age where 200K should be a practical lifespan of the car, I don't like that the hybrid made me worry at 100K. Even at 130K, the interior is in decent condition, and I'd even consider getting a new hybrid battery installed if/when the battery fails.

We have just purchased a 2014 Toyota RAV4 to replace an even older Honda Civic. Since I average about 15K miles a year, I'm optimistic that the Camry Hybrid will reach around 200K miles, another 4-5 years so we can space out the time we buy a new car. In general, because of the extra concerns on the lifespan of hybrids, I am likely to avoid both hybrids and full electric cars in future cars unless there are major improvements in battery life and efficiency.

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