Tires for an old car

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seek1227
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Tires for an old car

Post by seek1227 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:18 am

I have a 2003 Camry that needs new tires. For the past 4-5 months I have had about 4 instances where sometimes while driving it feels that the wheels spins, rpm shoots up but the car does not move. This is while driving and all of a sudden this happens for about 1-2 seconds and then it is fine. Took it to a mechanic and he did not find anything wrong but did ask to change the transmission oil ( which I did).

Btw I have the check engine light on too. Any big shops do a free check engine light?

I attribute this to worn out tires. I'm looking to get the tires replaced this weekend. The car has 170k miles on it.

Is my assumption correct that tires is the issue?

nps
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by nps » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:33 am

I would be surprised if the mechanic couldn't recognize worn tires. Have you checked the tread depth? It's not complicated:

http://www.tirerack.com/winter/tech/tec ... ?techid=51

Advance Auto, AutoZone, etc should be able to read your OBD code for free.

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mrc
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by mrc » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:35 am

This sounds more like a clutch/transmission problem than worn tires.
it feels that the wheels spins, rpm shoots up but the car does not move.
People often hate what they fear

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Watty
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by Watty » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:55 am

seek1227 wrote:Btw I have the check engine light on too. Any big shops do a free check engine light?
Most of the auto parts chain stores will read the code for free, that will usually reset the light so that you can see if it happens again. You can then google the car model and code to get an idea of what the problem is.

A very common problem that can cause the check engine light to come on is that the gas cap was not tightened enough to make a good seal. Usually the gas cap should click a few times when you are tightening them. If that was the problem after it is tightened it may take a day or two for the check engine light to go out.

IowaFarmBoy
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:14 am

mrc wrote:This sounds more like a clutch/transmission problem than worn tires.
+1 I've only seen tires slip when on ice and even then usually just when accelerating. From your description it sounds like it just happens when driving down the road.

onourway
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by onourway » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:16 am

I agree - sounds like a transmission problem. Is this an automatic or manual?

seek1227
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by seek1227 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:26 am

The tires are not completely "bald" yet but getting there.

It's an automatic.

What does a transmission problem really mean? Beyond repair, tranny fluid replacement?
It does not smell i.e. Not burning or anything.

Taking it to a mechanic shortly to get it checked.

IowaFarmBoy
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:34 am

One way a tranny can fail is that internally it begins to slip. There is some kind of clutch mechanism inside it- usually either plates or bands that when worn begin to slip. I've had this happen on a pickup I once owned. Normally Toyotas do better than 170k but there are always outliers and outlying situations.

I wouldn't expect external smell but you might be able to smell something if you pull the tranny dipstick and smell it. Occasionally a fluid change will help but not really commonly.

Frisco Kid
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by Frisco Kid » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:38 am

At 170k miles the possibility of a component being worn and needing to be replaced is quite likely, a check engine light on Op's year car can be set by about 150 possible inputs. Since you had the trans fluid replaced when an issue surfaced rather than as proactive preventive maintenance I must conclude you do not maintain your car per manufacturers suggestions? Take it to a qualified mechanic who can read the code(s) and handle a proper repair. I doubt replacing worn out tires will fix this problem, something is amiss............. BTW, how old are your tires? Tires become unsafe at 10 years due to the rubber breaking down regardless of mileage.

multiham
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by multiham » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:16 am

Definitely sounds like a transmission issue unless the slippage occurred on wet streets. May I suggest for your safety and the safety of other drivers, please get new tires. Old tires really decrease your ability to stop and also increase the chance of hydroplaning in the rain. Look for a good tire sale which occur quite often.

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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by jchris » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:31 am

I have a 2005 Camry and find that it is touchy on the accelerator when starting from a standstill, compared to other cars I have driven. So that could be some of it. When I had this problem I also looked at the tire tread depth on the front (drive) tires, and thought it was marginal, so I rotated the tires front to back, and the slipping issue went away. Obviously next step will be at some point to get new tires, but not yet.

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sunny_socal
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by sunny_socal » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:55 am

LOL, you're the one who should be posting the "when to ditch an old car" thread! :D Old car? check. Car _actually_ showing some mechanical problems? check. (Find the thread where someone wanted to get rid of a car with merely a broken windshield wiper...a wear item)

It might be time to make that car someone else's problem. It still drives, and a dealer won't perform a test drive on it anyway. I'd be looking at trading it in on a New Camry instead of dropping $3k on a new transmission. (Forget the tires, that's close to another $1k with installation & insurance.) $4k to refurbish a 2003 Camry, it's time to upgrade. Even the base Camry will have many goodies that weren't invented 15 years ago.

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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by neilpilot » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:09 am

sunny_socal wrote:LOL, you're the one who should be posting the "when to ditch an old car" thread! :D Old car? check. Car _actually_ showing some mechanical problems? check. (Find the thread where someone wanted to get rid of a car with merely a broken windshield wiper...a wear item)

It might be time to make that car someone else's problem. It still drives, and a dealer won't perform a test drive on it anyway. I'd be looking at trading it in on a New Camry instead of dropping $3k on a new transmission. (Forget the tires, that's close to another $1k with installation & insurance.) $4k to refurbish a 2003 Camry, it's time to upgrade. Even the base Camry will have many goodies that weren't invented 15 years ago.
Actually, while it's impossible to say for sure It sounds to me like the issue maybe due to the "not completely "bald" yet but getting there" tires. The tranny could be fine, and the tires could be the issue.

orca91
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by orca91 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:37 am

Agree that it's very tough to tell from the info given. But, unless this has happened on very icy days it's highly unlikely the 2003 Camry is putting out so much power it's going to sit and spin even bald tires so much that the car doesn't even move forward for a few second. And, it's tough to tell if the OP meant from a stop this happens or while driving, as in rolling down the road. If happening during a roll, I would say it's about impossible the tires just break loose for a second or two.

From the sounds of things, it's more likely to be a transmission issue. Then the issue might be, how much to put into this high mileage 2003 vehicle at this point?

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William4u
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by William4u » Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:43 am

Most people do not change their ATF (automatic transmission fluid) regularly (e.g., every 30-50k miles). IMHO it should be completely flushed with a filter change throughout the car's life.

If you have not done this, then you leave lots of metal shards in the trans, plus spent fluid that does not perform well. It is like metal sand in your trans. That is a recipe for a failed transmission.

Toyota does not recommend trans flushes because they think you should replace your car when it fails.

Get a new car. I bet that trans is shot.

tim1999
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by tim1999 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:50 am

Do the "penny test" on all 4 tires, especially the fronts, and see how much tread you have left. Even if they meet the state inspection minimums does not mean they are giving optimal performance.

seek1227
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by seek1227 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:19 pm

Update:

Took the car to the mechanic. 2 codes came up P0420 and P 0500.

P0420 is the catalytic converter
P0500 is the Vehicle Speed sensor

He seemed more concerned about the 500 and will provide more feedback next week. Weekend rush.

More information about when the issue occurs : It's generally when accelerating from a stop and go traffic.

Tires looked fine - had replaced them about 5 years ago. But I might go ahead and still get them replaced.

@ sunny_socal - I got the message. Will decide next week based on additional information.

Was hoping to keep the car for another 2 years and/ or 30-40k miles.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by Epsilon Delta » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:29 pm

mrc wrote:This sounds more like a clutch/transmission problem than worn tires.
it feels that the wheels spins, rpm shoots up but the car does not move.
Or bad suspension or bad roads.

I've driven several new cars where the traction control will routinely come on if I drive too fast over washboard roads or bad pot holes. The traction control detects that the tire is free to spin because it is no longer touching the pavement. Without traction control the wheel will spin up and so will the engine. If you're applying enough power it can take a while for the tire to regain traction. One solution is to fix the suspension so it keeps the rubber on the road. Another is to accelerate more gently, and steer to avoid potholes. Both is better.

In any case checking the suspension should be pretty darn easy for even the horniest old mechanic so it's worth ruling this out.

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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by adamthesmythe » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:09 pm

OP's problem sounds much more like a transmission problem than tires.

I don't think a Camry is going to spin wheels on a dry road, regardless of tire wear.

And it's easy to rule out tires- if they have some tread left, they are not the problem.

>Took the car to the mechanic. 2 codes came up P0420 and P 0500.

Some states will not pass a car at inspection with codes. With a likely bad transmission, and a likely need for a catalytic converter- this vehicle is hurtin'.

UNLESS some really cheap transmission fix takes care of the problem and the code magically goes away.

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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by daveydoo » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:14 pm

seek1227 wrote:while driving it feels that the wheels spins, rpm shoots up but the car does not move.
This would be a crazy amount of wheel-spin to make the rpm's go up like that. And there's no swerve or traction-control light that comes on, etc? You're not going to have both drive wheels slip perfectly symmetrically for any reason I can think of. For loss of traction as the culprit, I've only seen this when (foolishly) trying to power out of a rut in deep snow. It's not the tires.
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by Dimitri » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:30 pm

My wife had a 1998 Camry. Check engine light (CEL) came on. Dealership said it was the transmission. Wanted $4K to replace. No go. We got lucky one day - backing out of the garage the light was off - drove all over looking for an open vehicle inspection station. Finally found one and got a smog certificate so the car could be registered. Something was wrong with the transmission. Kind of slipped occasionally like the OP's issue. But the car kept driving for another year. My wife bought a new car (2012 Prius C) when it started leaking oil. Didn't want to deal with it. Personally I kind of regret getting rid of it - my suspicion is it would have drove fine for several more years as long as we kept the oil topped up. If our state didn't require a car to have no CEL light to renew registration I would have kept it. If your state doesn't require no CEL to renew your registration I would consider keeping the car and driving it.
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wander
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by wander » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:38 pm

seek1227 wrote: P0420 is the catalytic converter
P0500 is the Vehicle Speed sensor
I think after taking care of these codes, your car problem should go away.

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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by tibbitts » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:46 pm

seek1227 wrote:I have a 2003 Camry that needs new tires. For the past 4-5 months I have had about 4 instances where sometimes while driving it feels that the wheels spins, rpm shoots up but the car does not move. This is while driving and all of a sudden this happens for about 1-2 seconds and then it is fine. Took it to a mechanic and he did not find anything wrong but did ask to change the transmission oil ( which I did).

Btw I have the check engine light on too. Any big shops do a free check engine light?

I attribute this to worn out tires. I'm looking to get the tires replaced this weekend. The car has 170k miles on it.

Is my assumption correct that tires is the issue?
No, tire traction isn't your problem. You have to be very, vary careful to not have this turn into a money pit. At 170k I'd just buy a new car.

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just frank
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by just frank » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:25 pm

My 2003 Camry spun the wheels like that from the day I bought it in 2005, to the day I traded it in in 2014 with 150k miles. For like $2k.

I had to learn to drive like a grandma all those years....and I would forget from time to time and it would remind me.

Had a check engine light, warped head cylinder, had to have a complete rebuild...for $2k.

In hindsight, what a hunk of junk. Good riddance. I will **never** own another Toyota.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:26 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:OP's problem sounds much more like a transmission problem than tires.

I don't think a Camry is going to spin wheels on a dry road, regardless of tire wear.

And it's easy to rule out tires- if they have some tread left, they are not the problem.

>Took the car to the mechanic. 2 codes came up P0420 and P 0500.

Some states will not pass a car at inspection with codes. With a likely bad transmission, and a likely need for a catalytic converter- this vehicle is hurtin'.

UNLESS some really cheap transmission fix takes care of the problem and the code magically goes away.
+1

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wander
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by wander » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:43 pm

I wouldn't jump for transmission right away. That's a lot of money to spend. Rather, try inexpensive stuffs first. Lucky for you that the OBD throws some error codes. Speed sensor maybe the hint. Transmission should be the last thing you want to fix.

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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by Dimitri » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:41 pm

just frank wrote:My 2003 Camry spun the wheels like that from the day I bought it in 2005, to the day I traded it in in 2014 with 150k miles. For like $2k.

I had to learn to drive like a grandma all those years....and I would forget from time to time and it would remind me.

Had a check engine light, warped head cylinder, had to have a complete rebuild...for $2k.

In hindsight, what a hunk of junk. Good riddance. I will **never** own another Toyota.
To each his own. I wouldn't buy anything but a Toyota.
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by S&L1940 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:50 pm

Watty wrote:
seek1227 wrote:Btw I have the check engine light on too. Any big shops do a free check engine light?
Most of the auto parts chain stores will read the code for free, that will usually reset the light so that you can see if it happens again. You can then google the car model and code to get an idea of what the problem is.

A very common problem that can cause the check engine light to come on is that the gas cap was not tightened enough to make a good seal. Usually the gas cap should click a few times when you are tightening them. If that was the problem after it is tightened it may take a day or two for the check engine light to go out.
had a dealer do a quick check and told me I needed a $110 computer diagnosis to determine the cause of the check engine light; went to my local, dependable mechanic and he tightened my gas cap free of charge. no expert, but I think the slippage is more than slick tires. to hold onto an older car, a good mechanic is key.
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just frank
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by just frank » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:56 pm

Dimitri wrote:
just frank wrote:
In hindsight, what a hunk of junk. Good riddance. I will **never** own another Toyota.
To each his own. I wouldn't buy anything but a Toyota.
Indeed, different strokes.

I just remembered. Those Camry's had the exhaust system pipe hanging down like 3" below the rest of the car, so if you were driving behind one, you could see daylight between the pipe and the rest of the car. Crazy. I actually took mine to the shop when I saw that, and they told me that was how they were making them. Oy.

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heartwood
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by heartwood » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:56 pm

You mention replacing the tires 5 years ago. The rubber may have hardened and lost its grip/gumminess. I just replaced older tires on my car. I was experiencing the same things you mention: loss of traction, esp on a wet road, spinning tires as I made a turn, etc. I replaced them and marvel at the difference in the ride. I still had lots of rubber. I took it to a tire shop I've used for 25 years. He didn't push me. The car is 18 years old; the tires maybe 10 years old. I only put a couple of thousand miles on a year. I asked for black and round, essentially my size in a decent tire. I should have done it sooner. I now realize it wasn't safe.
Tires have a manufacturing date on the wall. My new tires (continentals) were made 4 months before I purchased them.

2comma
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by 2comma » Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:54 am

Seek I hope you'll do us the favor of letting us all know what happens.

As an old shade-tree mechanic I'll vote with the transmission folks but when you said the speed sensor has a fault it's just possible it's giving the engine and transmission bad information that's causing the problem.

On dry pavement I doubt the tires could cause that problem, heck drag racers tires are slick (no tread). The treads are there to help with traction of wet surfaces.

Either way seems like your best case is you'll need a catalytic converter, speed sensor and new tires. Seems like it might be time to let the old girl go; 170k ain't too shabby in anyone's book.
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:00 am

Remember also that if you have to pass an OBD test when getting the car inspected, a reset of the check engine light will reset the "ready" registers and the car will need to be driven up to a few hundred miles to reset them all. We had an 0420 code on our Outback and used a trick found on the interweb of driving in 3rd all the time. I was able to get it to go just long enough to get the car inspected. The CEL came on maybe 20 miles later. That's a $1000 fix if it's the cat. Other things can possibly set it but that's a cat below efficiency code. I've tried most of the "cheater" fixes without success (sparkplug defouler, diode in the signal line...still have to try the R/C).

In any case, it does sound like your car is on its way out. Take what you can get for it and buy somethingnewer and more reliable.
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by afan » Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:57 am

Do not buy 4 new tires before you know what it will cost to fix the problems identified so far. You could blow a lot of cash on tires only to learn the repairs will cost thousands and you are better off replacing the car.
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seek1227
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by seek1227 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:42 pm

Update:

Got the speed sensor replaced and the check engine light is gone. Since the issue was intermittent I'll know in few days if the underlying problem is resolved.

thanks all for your suggestions.

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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by ReadyOrNot » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:13 pm

Don't know how similar other Toyota models are, but I had a 2001 Toyota Echo.
I didn't realize the Toyota automatic transmission fluid on this particular Toyota was supposed to last the life of the transmission, but if it was ever changed, only Toyota transmission fluid should be used, not ordinary transmission fluid, or serious permanent damage could occur.
Around 60,000 miles, I thought changing transmission fluid would be a good idea for any automatic transmission, and had it changed at Jiffy Lube as one of the recommended services at 60,000 miles. They used ordinary transmission fluid (Dexron II?). The transmission did slip sometimes after that, at freeway speeds when going up an inclined on-ramp. (Step on gas, engine speeds up a lot, but car doesn't accelerate.) I avoided a particular elevated transition between 2 freeways after this happened a few times.
A couple of years(!) later I read about the Toyota transmission fluid. Another cheap lube place knew about Toyota transmission fluid and replaced the fluid with genuine Toyota transmission fluid. Amazingly, the transmission seemed to work fine after that.

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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by Gufomel » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:28 am

Had a P0420 code a while back on a 2003 Accord. Replacing the O2 sensor fixed it. Less than $100 for the part. It's not too difficult to replace yourself, but I did have a relative who knows cars help me replace it. I'd guess $200-250 to have a local mechanic replace it.

The P0500 may be your main issue though. I'm not sure the P0420 would be causing what you're experiencing.

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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by jazman12 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:40 am

sunny_socal wrote:LOL, you're the one who should be posting the "when to ditch an old car" thread! :D Old car? check. Car _actually_ showing some mechanical problems? check. (Find the thread where someone wanted to get rid of a car with merely a broken windshield wiper...a wear item)

It might be time to make that car someone else's problem. It still drives, and a dealer won't perform a test drive on it anyway. I'd be looking at trading it in on a New Camry instead of dropping $3k on a new transmission. (Forget the tires, that's close to another $1k with installation & insurance.) $4k to refurbish a 2003 Camry, it's time to upgrade. Even the base Camry will have many goodies that weren't invented 15 years ago.
agreed ..trade-in don't sell or you may have liability when it fails
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:22 am

I doubt the problem is the tires. A 2003 camry wont be able to spin the tires on dry pavement unless you hammer it. Even then it may not be able to. Also what do you mean it "feels" like the tires are spinning. You will know when the tires are spinning and it makes a very distinct noise. If your engine is revving up with no forward motion its either because the transmission or torque converter is faulty or its not shifting to the next gear when it should. It is possible that the faulty sensor could have something to do with the shift points but I could be completely wrong about that, I haven't researched it. Either way the car likely wont pass emissions with the bad CAT and those are $$$.

If that were my car, I'd be trading it in shortly and I keep cars until the last minute of life.

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just frank
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by just frank » Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:15 pm

My 2003 Camry would often spin the tires when the transmission upshifted, if I was at all heavy on the gas. Ugh. During 9 years with that girl, I learned to anticipate when it was going to upshift, and would let up on the gas a little. As I said...I will not miss that junker.

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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by inbox788 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:58 pm

wander wrote:
seek1227 wrote: P0420 is the catalytic converter
P0500 is the Vehicle Speed sensor
I think after taking care of these codes, your car problem should go away.
I think that you might have it backwards. If you take care of the problem, these codes should go away.

I had check engine code go off after my wheels spun out while accelerating in some water. It sounds like what might have happened to OP and connects the wheel spinning to the check engine warning. However, OP reports 4 occasions and no obvious water/ice, so I'm with those folks that are concerned about the transmission. Doubt tires are the cause, and bald tires have more, not less grip, except again if water/ice are involved. Is this happening early in the morning on cold days? (black ice)

Anyway, good luck tracking down the problem. Don't worry about the emissions stuff until you've solved the wheel spin issue.
seek1227 wrote:Update:

Got the speed sensor replaced and the check engine light is gone. Since the issue was intermittent I'll know in few days if the underlying problem is resolved.

thanks all for your suggestions.
Just notice this update. Would a bad speed sensor cause intermittent wheel spin like what you experienced? Interesting.

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wander
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by wander » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:09 pm

inbox788 wrote:
wander wrote:
seek1227 wrote: P0420 is the catalytic converter
P0500 is the Vehicle Speed sensor
I think after taking care of these codes, your car problem should go away.
I think that you might have it backwards. If you take care of the problem, these codes should go away.
The real problem that bothers the OP was the "wheels spins, rpm shoots up but the car does not move". The check engine light was lightly mentioned. That's why I say take care of the error codes and the car problem should go away. Speed sensor is feeding bad data to the ECM and that might have caused the problem that the Op's has. ECM controls transmission solenoids. Of course, taking care the codes does not mean "clear the code without fixing".
I do not mention anything about tires. And transmission, while possible, is not the first one I think of because the error code (P0500) needs to be corrected first.
Last edited by wander on Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by inbox788 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:18 pm

wander wrote:
inbox788 wrote:
wander wrote:
seek1227 wrote: P0420 is the catalytic converter
P0500 is the Vehicle Speed sensor
I think after taking care of these codes, your car problem should go away.
I think that you might have it backwards. If you take care of the problem, these codes should go away.
The real problem that bothers the OP was the "wheels spins, rpm shoots up but the car does not move". The check engine light was lightly mentioned. That's why I say take care of the error codes and the car problem should go away. Speed sensor is feeding bad data to the ECM and that might have caused the problem that the Op's has. ECM controls transmission solenoids. Of course, taking care the codes does not mean "clear the code without fixing".
Then it sounds like we're on the same page here. Also, catalytic converter is likely a red herring, or OP is very unlucky, and it might be time to get rid of the car.

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bottlecap
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Re: Tires for an old car

Post by bottlecap » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:03 pm

Although it's very difficult to confirm via the internet, the transmission speed sensor seems like the most obvious culprit given the code.

Do please report back so we have some closure, though!

JT

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