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Forward camera system unavailable warning message may show up on a Toyotas' dashboard from time to time. A front camera is an integral component of the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), found in many newer models. This safety feature constantly monitors the road ahead and warns the driver about obstacles or other hazardous situations.

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What does Toyota Forward Camera System Unavailable mean? 

With the forward camera not working, some of the Toyota Safety Sense features may not function, which increases the risk of a crash. Due to its complexity and sensitivity, tracking down the root of the fault can be tricky and challenging even for a mechanic.

Furthermore, troubleshooting is even more difficult if this warning message only appears randomly. To help you out, we will go through the most common causes and possible fixes for this front camera unavailable matter.

Camera Unavailable - Common causes

Toyota Camera Unavailable common problems

Here are some of the expected causes that trigger a camera unavailable warning on display.

Snow and mud on the windshield

  • The front camera is located at the top of the windshield, which is only partially swept by its wipers. During cold winter days, snow and ice may accumulate here, obstructing the cameras' field of view. The same will have happened if a layer of mud or dust covers this area. Removing the snow and washing off the dirt will immediately solve the problem.

High temperatures

  • Some Toyota C HR owners have noticed that heat exposure can trigger front camera warning messages. A warning message would usually have happened after the car had been parked in the hot sun for a long time. Although Toyota Motor Corporation is aware of this problem, no current recalls address it. The only solution is to park the car in a spot where it will not be exposed to extreme heat.

Dust on lenses

  • Although the front camera is firmly enclosed within the rearview mirror housing, some microscopic dirt or moisture may still get inside. Over time, these particles will build up at the camera's lens, blurring the image. Dismantling the rearview mirror housing and cleaning the dust of the lens can solve the problem.

Misaligned windscreen

  • Windscreen replacements, which are frequent with modern cars, can affect the operation of the front camera. This happens when the new windscreen is slightly misaligned, which offsets the camera's field of view and the visual data it sends to the car. Performing a specialized calibration procedure will restore its normal function.

Wiring issues

  • Some Toyota models are likely to suffer from damaged wiring that connects the camera and corresponding harness. Apart from being mechanically damaged during repairs, this issue can also be caused by moisture. This interferes with its signal and may even interrupt it whatsoever. Wiring issues and resulting electrical shorts can also cause blown fuses.

Outdated software

  • Like most other manufacturers, Toyota Motor Corporation is constantly working to improve the software that operates various systems in their cars. This eventually results in software updates, which usually address issues noticed in real-life conditions. These updates typically come as a recall, so checking if there are any for the particular vehicle could help if everything else fails.

Why is camera calibration needed?

The front camera in every Toyota is located within the rearview mirror housing, which sits at the top of the windscreen. These glasses are exposed to various road hazards and need to be replaced and damaged. During its fitment, the new windscreen may end up being slightly misaligned. Although barely visible to the naked eye, this offset to the camera's field of vision may be significant. Its inaccurate readings and data it sends will consequently affect other safety system features.

The only way to fix this problem is by recalibrating the camera and realigning its field of view. Because it requires specialized equipment, this procedure is usually far out of reach of DIY automotive mechanics. Instead, you will need to visit an authorized dealer. Alternatively, you look for an expert on an independent Toyota enthusiast website or by creating a new post on leading forums.

Where are Toyota forward cameras located

As already mentioned, the front camera is always located inside the rearview mirror housing. Still, some models have a similar device within a Toyota emblem on the front grille, which sometimes confuses. Its job, however, is to provide an image for the 360゚ Birds-eye parking system and has nothing to do with the TSS feature.

What is the front camera used for?

The front camera in Toyota cars is an integral part of their TSS feature. This safety system uses several sensors to monitor the surrounding environment and take appropriate preventive actions. For a start, this component works together with the microwave radar behind the front grille to enable features like Pre-Collision Warning and Adaptive cruise control.

Additionally, it monitors the road ahead, assuring the car drives within the lines and spotting oncoming vehicles. If necessary, it will warn the driver when straying out of a lane our automatically dip its headlights. Lastly, it can recognize different road signs and inform the driver about current road regulations. You can always turn these features on and off using the control buttons or cancel menu on the steering wheel.

Conclusion

The front camera unavailable message may appear on the display of your Toyota for several reasons. It may be covered with a layer of snow or ice when it's icy, which blocks its view. Another likely possibility is the camera's misaligned, especially if the warning message happened for the first time just after a car windscreen replacement.

If the car is parked in the hot sun for a long time, the excess heat can affect how the camera works. Lastly, checking for recall and or searching for a response from the forum community may help if everything else fails.