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Toyota Corolla Maintenance and Repair

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  • iwphilliwphill Posts: 48
    For those of you having problems with the little compartment beneath the shifter popping open, I think I found a solution. I had a small roll of the foam rubber seal and used that to fix it.

    On mine, the bin was loose which was preventing the latch from catching, causing the bin to pop open all the time. Pull out the bin, and cut a couple small pieces of the foam ($2-ish for a roll at Home Depot, 3/8" thick)and stick them at the base of where the bottom of the bin would come down on it, and then put the bin back in and voila! Takes about 30 seconds, and the bin no longer pops open.
  • eric105eric105 Posts: 8
    10w-30 is ok. 5w-30 will give you a little better milage maybe, as well as better starting protection in cold weather, but it's marginal. Whats more inportant is what kind they put in. I would go with a group 4 synthetic as it helps with sludge better but thats expensive if you change every 5k miles.
  • 914914 Posts: 15
    Shamgotti - When I have oil changes done at the dealer (When I am not doing them myself), I bring in four quarts of the oil I want them to use. That way I know (And watch) exactly what oil I am getting in my car. Who knows what kind of oil - brand/weight - the dealer is pumping? And as an added bonus, you will save $$ on the bill. Regards.
  • Three times in the past four years I've been stranded when my battery went dead. Each time, the mechanics blamed a bad alternator and swapped in a rebuilt one. Now my battery light is coming on and off intermittently (sometimes when I accelerate sharply; sometimes after turning; sometimes when I'm stopped and idling at a traffic lighter after 20 minutes at over 50 mph).

    The mechanics have tested the battery, the alternator output and the belts and say they can find nothing wrong. I'm still afraid of being stranded. Any ideas?
  • scnamescname Posts: 296
    rebuilt alternators are no good, they last exactly one year and 1 day when warranty expires. Get a Toyota alternator.
  • Yeah, but I'm also wondering if the electrical system has some other problem that's causing all these alternators to fail. Any ideas?
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    alternators: Believe it or not, Toyota alternators are rebuilt (remanufactured) alternators also. The only time they are new, is when the car is assembled. Something is causing the voltage regulator to blow (which the regular is internal)...so as dave594 said, a complete check is required.

    oil weights: Changing it yourself is even less expensive. When winter hits, make sure it's 5w30. The oil pumps better than 10w30, so you get less wear at startup.
  • Have a black '03 XR with 750 mi on it and I've noticed the following:

    * Center stowage bin under shifter is impossible to open without using two hands
    * Low frequency vibration from front passenger side of car during medium acceleration from 0mph (dealer is clueless)
    * A/C is weaker than the base model Chevy Cavalier Toyota rented me while they fix things. A/C is like two two-year-olds blowing air in my face. Can't hardly feel it.
    * MPG is 1/3 what the Toyota thinks it should be (12/15 to 15/18)
    * I had it tinted, and the rear windows had resistence the first time they went down. No problems since.
    * Strange rattle from rear of car, sounds like the rear wiper gear box
    * Paint chips and scratches in front of car when I picked it up (it had to be DRIVEN, not put on a truck, from another dealership) -- dealer is paying to have a body shop PULL THE BUMPER to repain. My car will likely never be the same.
    * CD player is loud, I can hear it spinning, tracking, etc.
    * Turning radius was bragged to be "inside two lanes of traffic" -- try three or four
    * I had rust on my tailpipe when it was delivered (with 115mi on it)
    * Tonneau cover is one of the better jokes I've seen in recent years. Sags in the middle. Rebuilt one out of 1/2" MDF and aluminum and secured it with bolts.
    * Tore up the front bottom of the bumper after *slowly* driving into a driveway at a slight angle. Scraped the bottom. No way. Even the $2 Kia's have plastic skirts on the bottom to protect from that sort of thing.
    * Did I mention my A/C is weak and my gas mileage stinks?

    Overall I must say I do like the car, but I have learned a lot about buying a new car. Next time I won't get screwed on the nonsense items like a read cargo mat, "Permacoat" aka car wax, etc. So far I've had it in to the dealer twice. I get the impression I am an annoyance and not a customer. I don't like feeling that way. I'll likely take the car to a different (more reputable) dealer for all future work. I though I might have break-in oil in the engine that was bogging it down, but coworkers have new Corolla's and they've been getting 30+ MPG from the day they drove it off the showroom floor. To be fair, I get "ok" mileage when the A/C is off and horrible mileage with it on. And with a black car in California A/C isn't exactly something you turn off.

    Should I have the dealer look into the gas mileage thing, or is my engine still "breaking in?"

    Thanks.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    i do find the 03' corolla (engine) a bit noisier/louder than other cars, specially during the warm-up period. from the articles i read, most of them mentioned the engine being loud. it could also be that i'm used to the sienna's smooth v6 so i'm complaining about the corolla's engine. :)

    "jasonwagner", you made this statement "And with a black car in California A/C isn't exactly something you turn off."... i've heard this before about black colored cars somehow attracts heat more than other colors! i find this strange and i was just wondering if there is any truth to this at all. i've heard about the same thing with wearing black colored shirts! :)
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    since i got the car a week ago, i noticed that each time i start the engine - the RPM would go up to about 2,000rpm when engine is hot and about 2500+rpm when the engine is cold. it feels like as if someone just stepped on the gas pedal real quick and let go. the rpm would quickly go up and also quickly come down.

    anyone of you noticed this with your 03' 5speed corolla? i just find it strange coz it really sound like someone revved the engine quickly and let go.

    i haven't owned a 4 cylinder car in a good 5 yrs. at least. so maybe this is why i'm noticing all these things with the 4 cylinder corolla.
  • Matrix XR mileage should at least be in the high twenties, even during break-in. I'd have the dealer check it out.
    Also, A/C is weaker when engine is idling, but should cool down well when in higher RPMs.
    Steering on the Matrix is toward the heavy side, so that may give the impression that the turning radius is bigger than it should be.
    Engine RPM during start-up should stay less than 2000 RPM when engine is cold, much less when it's warm (since it's Summer right now). This applies to Corolla engines as well (same as Matrix).

    1matrix
    '03 Matrix XR 4WD
  • I have a black Matrix in NC, and A/C is a must, but I would agree that the A/C in this car has a hard time keeping the car cool, but only IF you have the vents open to the outside. Try turning it to recirculate - it will cool MUCH faster and keep it that way.

    Gas mileage in the teens? Yeah, I would DEFINITELY get that checked out. Even with the A/C on all the time (just about all summer long), the lowest mileage I ever recorded was 24.5 mpg, and I have an automatic trans. Take it back in for service, no way 12/15 is acceptable (my friend's F350 gets better gas mileage than that!)
  • "i've heard this before about black colored cars somehow attracts heat more than other colors! i find this strange and i was just wondering if there is any truth to this at all. i've heard about the same thing with wearing black colored shirts! :) "

    Yes, black will be hotter - it's black because it's absorbing all of the colors of light. Black pigments will typically absorb into the infrared too, adding to the heat. Wear a white T in the sun for a while and trade it for a black one to see for yourself. A white/silver car with a light colored interior will stay much cooler than a black/black one will...
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,367
    Yes, it is normal for the '03 1.8 to jump to 2300 rpm or so at cold start; it will settle quickly as it warms. Once warm it will be the usual 750-800 or so. This is designed to get the cat as warm as possible as soon as possible to keep the ULEV emissions rating...
  • Under routine driving conditions, good service record, no prior service problem, my wife and I experienced complete engine failure at 62,344 miles. Piston/Rod #4 failed/broke and created three large holes in the bottom block of the engine. Toyota Service Department at Stone Mountain Toyota in Stone Mountain GA refused to cover costs associated with repair despite the fact that we were only 2,000 miles over warranty. I refused service charges of between $6,000 and $2,500 and picked my car up with a flat bed trailer. I have replaced the engine myself with the help of a friend and I continue to pursue reimbursement from Toyota. Toyota national, regional, and local have all refused to consider my case despite the premature death of my engine caused by an obvious unspecified manufacturers defect.

    With Toyota’s current problems with Engine Sludge going back 8 years, I believe that Toyota vehicles are about to see a massive increase in engine failures. Our Corolla is not specifically included in the company’s Engine Sludge alert (Quasi Recall) but I wonder if it could be very soon.

    Buyer BEWARE! Toyota will not help you when their famous high quality engines fail!
  • Under routine driving conditions, good service record, no prior service problem, my wife and I experienced complete engine failure at 62,344 miles. Piston/Rod #4 failed/broke and created three large holes in the bottom block of the engine. Toyota Service Department at Stone Mountain Toyota in Stone Mountain GA refused to cover costs associated with repair despite the fact that we were only 2,000 miles over warranty. I refused service charges of between $6,000 and $2,500 and picked my car up with a flat bed trailer. I have replaced the engine myself with the help of a friend and I continue to pursue reimbursement from Toyota. Toyota national, regional, and local have all refused to consider my case despite the premature death of my engine caused by an obvious unspecified manufacturers defect.

    With Toyota’s current problems with Engine Sludge going back 8 years, I believe that Toyota vehicles are about to see a massive increase in engine failures. Our Corolla is not specifically included in the company’s Engine Sludge alert (Quasi Recall) but I wonder if it could be very soon.

    Buyer BEWARE! Toyota will not help you when their famous high quality engines fail!
  • what year model is your Corolla? At what mileage intervals did you change the oil?
  • While it appears a few people have had problems with their Toyota engines, I would have to say, from experience, that the great majority of Toyota engines work reliably well. I have had past experiece with half a dozen Toyota vehicle models before (most with over 100,000 miles), and none had the engine problems that you speak of.

    1matrix
    '03 Matrix XR 4WD
  • We recently purchased a "new" 2003 Toyota Corolla LE from a dealership in Indianapolis(Northside)( They know who they are) Not only was this car delivered to us in "suspicious" condition, which included a ding, dirt, stains and over 300 miles , it was explained to us by the "salesman" , that the average Toyota that is delivered? (HAHA)!! has on the average 4 flaws on the car. What is this Yugoville? Has Toyota quality sunk lower than a slithering salesman? involved here or is it really gotten this bad? AKA GM Ville . We have bought 3 other "new Toyotas" over a long period of time and have never had this kind of problem at all. Customer Service at least at this dealership takes on a "I LOVE ME"attitude in referring to the salesmen and could not care less about delivering on promises to their customers. They back pedal faster than a cornerback when confronted with a problem. They care more about their survey grades and their bank accounts... I hope not all Toyota owners have experienced these kind of headaches.

    P.S Overall the Corolla is a nice car, but not cracked up to be the "super car" that the dealerships claim it is.. We live in the Midwest and this car "DOES blow you all over the flat interstate roads contrary to what they want you to believe. A good car but not great....

    Fed up in Indianapolis
  • I was aware about rattle noises on Corolla. I was listening hard when I test drove my car. Also I insisted on Japanese built one. Today is my second day on this car and I heard noise coming from CD player area. Noise happens only then I'm driving on bumpy roads. I will wait for a week before taking it back to dealler.
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