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Toyota Corolla Maintenance and Repair

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  • Sorry, this is lengthy but I hope it will help other members.

    Bought our 03 Corolla in March 2002. Experienced cold start problem first winter (2002-2003)when temperature dropped below -15C. Bypassed the problem by plugging in block heater the whole winter.

    November 2003. I said to myself, this is a brand new car, why should I put my 'head in the sand' and pretend all is well? Why should I upgrade the battery to one with more CCA? So I started my pursue for the right solution.

    1st visit to dealer (Nov 2003):
    They replaced the battery with an identical slightly-used 310CCA battery. This didn't help because cold start problem returned on January 8-9 when the mercury plunged.

    2nd visit to dealer (Jan 12):
    They said there was a TSB on defective headlight dimmer switch that was draining the battery. The replacement switch didn't solve the problem either. Thanks to the extended cold spell we had recently, they were able to experience the problem first hand consistently.

    3rd visit to dealer(Jan 15):
    This time they got serious and worked in close partnership with Toyota factory tech/engineer. After working on it for a week, they determined the culprit was the ECU (engine computer) and replaced it. They found no DTC codes. The diagnosis said something like "FC terminal open inside ECU". Bingo! they fixed it! the extended cold spell allowed me to verify that my cold start problem is gone! My car now starts on first short crank!

    Lesson learned: Don't just blame the battery, a more powerful battery may simply mask the real problem. I was lucky to have a dealer who got to the bottom of it. Get it fixed before your warranty expires!
  • 2000 corrolla was consuming oil at 34000 miles,took to dealer ,they said was known valve problem on that engine ,they replaced the engine with no charge.Drove car for 58000 miles on new engine with no problems...yesterday my engine blew loosing all the oil ...prbly main bearing .The dealer that did the work says no warranty.I say the 60000 mile warranty should have started over with engine replacement.In process of contacting Toyota ...but I am problably gonnna eat it.
  • nick29nick29 Posts: 19
    Toyota quality is a total myth. I have a 99 corolla VE. 20 000 miles on it, absolutely babied this car, bought new. Many problems from blown rad for no reason 720 bucks CDN., to paint thats applied so thin it scratches from snow and chips paint in car washes. It was rusting in the first 3 months. Im getting accustomed to the vibrating dash now. I had a geo metro that was far better built than this. As far as design goes why would they build a water run off channel in the roof that dumps its water on the driver when the window is open? Why would they design the spray washer lever to turn one way to spray then you must turn the lever another way to wipe what you've sprayed? Try doing this when a truck splashes the windshield and you cant see while on the highway. I must admit I was myself blinded by the "Toyota Is So Superior Mentality."I thought I sacrificed style for quality. I got neither. People do yourselves a favour save your money and buy north american or whatever you like but dont buy this car expecting premium quality. It isn't. Pure myth. As wide spread as the myth cooking in aluminum pots causes alzheimers. The more people buying Toyota's the more people realize they were blinded.
  • I have a 2004 Toyota Corolla S, I have owned the car for over 2 months. I noticed I have a rotten egg smell in my car just 3 weeks after I purchased the car. I also noticed that my car is not getting great gas mileage either. I used to get close to 600kms a tank, now I'm only getting 420 kms a tank. Is there a recall or TSB regarding the sulfur smell and poor fuel consumption?
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,012
    Enter "sulphur" in the discussion search box. You'll find quite a few posts discussing this issue.

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • lpc68lpc68 Posts: 45
    I just bought a 99 corolla today and have a serious concern about a sound i'm hearing from the front drivers wheel area. the previous owner said she just replaced the steering rod.

    the sound i'm hearing is like a rubbing/grinding noise when i accelerate. it's not like a grinding rotor sound... it only happens when i step on the gas. it happens when both turning and driving straight. when the speed increases it turns into a thumping sound (not really a clicking noise). when it reaches about 40 mph it stops.

    i took it to a shop and the mechanic lifted the car and said when he turned the front wheel, he heard a clicking sound in the transmission pan. he said the CV boot was fine.

    the sound is intermitent but pretty frequent. the brake pads are fine. i think the car needs an alignment because it pulls to the right and when it hits 70 mph the sterring wheel vibrates.

    would anyone know what this is... and is it a serious problem. when i first heard it i was thinking cv joint / tie rod... the mechanic thought it was a transmission issue and that i should bring it to a transmission shop.

    i really appreciate any feedback anyone has.

    thanks in advance
  • your catalytic converter probably went bad. that's usually what you smell when they go bad.
  • 96 Corolla 4dr sedan. Taillights work fine. (Both bulbs on both sides). When i hit the brake, only some of the 4 lights get brighter - sometimes, its 3 out of 4, sometimes 2. There appears no particular pattern as to which ones light up. I guess the bulbs/wires are ok, since each bulb has lit up sometime. Could the stop light switch cause the problem ? Where does the signal from the stop light switch actually branch to the 4 bulbs ?

    Thanks,
    avn
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    This seems to be a common problem. I had a 95 Corolla with similar problems and I now notice a lot of Corollas that age with one or more brake lights not working or not working properly. In my case it was poor grounding in the rear light assembly. I doubt it is the stop light switch.
  • Interesting to hear that it is common for the car's age. How did you diagnose that it was a grounding issue ? I don't see the light bulbs (neg point on the body) being separately grounded - the ground wire may be brought to the rear as part of the harness itself. or am i way off ?
  • lpc68lpc68 Posts: 45
    update on the above issue. i replaced the cv joint and everything is perfect. the quote from toyota was $400 +. i went to Autozone and got the part for $60 and went to goodyear to install it for $45. total cost $105. took half an hour.
  • I am having a problem with charging system battery light comes on gauge show discharge when running high RPMs (over 3ooo) when it returns to idle, have changed all components and checked all wiring that I think would pertain to charging system. Have been totally lost as to why this is happening, and it's inconsistent. This does not happen when car is idling or staying under 3000 rpm
  • Hey LaurelMarie,

    who did you contact at Toyota Canada regarding the smell in your car. I think they need to buy my car too. It not only has a rotten egg smell, but it's getting poor mileage (23 mpg) and the engine runs rough most of the time. My car is a 2004 Toyota Corolla S for your info. It has 16,500 kms on it. It's my first car and so far I have been dissatisfied. If Toyota Canada and/or the dealer don't do anything. They can rest assured that I WILL NEVER BUY A TOYOTA AGAIN! and I'll be sure to discourage anyone from buying one. Anybody with any useful info is greatly appreciated!
  • lpc68lpc68 Posts: 45
    could anyone tell me what the symptoms are of needing a valve adjustment.

    my engine seems to vibrate/clatter when cold or under stress (AC on, hard acceleration, etc)

    it sounds great when in park and I rev the engine but starts clattering when in drive or reverse.

    it gets better when warmed up but sill makes the sound when under stress.

    thanks in advance for any info.
  • silly1040silly1040 Posts: 48
    On two occasions during the past 6 months I've had the vehicle almost stall. This happens after coming to a stop (Red light).

    I know of no other factors that could help duplicate this problem.

    Anyone else hear of anything similar?

    Troy
  • Hi,

    I have a 2003 corolla S with chronically poor mileage and occasional sulfur (aka sewer) exhaust smell. The MPG varies from 26 city to 30.5 hwy (constant figures since i bought the car new; now it has 15000 miles).
    I recently scanned the ECU with my new OBD2 interface.

    No codes, O2 sensor works well. However, the TPS registers 10.2 % at idle without pressing on accelerator. Engine effort is registered as high as 14% at idle (warm engine). IMO, it should be 0% and couple of percent, respectively.

    Can anyone confirm that the TPS settings are wrong for this model?
    If so, IMO there is chance that every stinky Corolla out there is stinky because emission control devices are installed at a factory without proper adjustment allowing for rich A/F ratios.

    Anyone, please.
    Thanks,

    Jacek
  • jeff_l1jeff_l1 Posts: 5
    I installed an aftermarket factory style spoiler on my LE. What kind of adjustment can I make to the trunk hinges because of the added weight to the trunk door? I hate that the trunk door slams down hard. I assume that changing the hinges will cost more. Is there a way to adjust them without spending a lot? I talked to a toyota dealer and told me that the S model has the same hinges as the LE and that it's supposed to be heavy. I don't believe it because it is annoying. Has anyone done this? If you have the S model, do you have this problem?
  • hpoohhhpoohh Posts: 35
    I have a 02 Corolla S Auto w/ 30K miles. I do encounter the following issues:
    1. Engine stalls while waiting on Signal 4 times during the past 2 years (couldn't duplicate this at the dealer)
    2. Dashboard vibration buzzing sound at about 1800rpm to 2000rpm 30-40mph
    3. Gas mailage 26-30 mpg Mix
    4. Car pulling to the right side, dealer tried to realign it 1 1/2 yrs ago but problem still exist till now (expecially during acceration)
    5. little ticking sound coming out from the left front wheel area during acceration (window all closed)
    6. Front brakes need to be replaced (seems early coz i didn't need to change the front brake on my other 98 Civic EX until 40000Miles)

    Planning to bring it back to dealer and fix it one shot... but always busy. Will keep you posted
  • ztulztul Posts: 3
    I own a 2004 Corolla LE..I cant find the gas filter. Where is it located? How and when do I change it? No mention of the gas filter in any of the owners manuals. My previous Corollas had a small plastic on- line filter in the engine area..Thanks Ed
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,667
    60,000 miles on '99 Corolla, brakes are still going strong.
    There is no fuel filter to change beginning on the '98's to current. The filter is in the gas tank.
  • The check engine light came on our 03 Corolla yesterday at about 70k miles. We have only changed the oil and tires and no other maintenance has been completed as of yet. The dealer told us that it was still under warranty 80k or 8 years for the catellic converter and it would be replaced at no charge. They also said that there has been SEVERAL of those to go bad on the early 03's. Just thought I would pass it along.
  • I was called on Wednesday by a "follow-up" person making sure that I knew that my new cat converter was in. This was new news to me. I asked the caller if I needed to set an appt. and we did so over the phone. Friday we dropped the car off at 8 and they said that it would be done by 12. Low and behold, I called them at 1 and they told me it was not finished. I asked them when it would be done and they said 4. They called me a clople of minutes after 3 and told me it was ready. Thanks Cloninger Ford/Toyota for the over promising and under delivering!! I cant wait for the infamous "TOYOTA SERVICE SURVEY" phone call.
  • Hey guys, I'm thinking of buying an '04 Corolla and was wondering what the prices are of regularly scheduled maintenance at dealers in your area... I live in NH.

    Also, does this Corolla have a timing belt or chain? Just changed the belt in my '96 Civic, not fun spending that much money.

    Thanks,

    G
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    This engine uses a chain. Routine maintenance out here in the West for a Corolla is about as cheap as it gets for any new car. Can't speak for the NE.

    In the case of maintenance, I don't think the absolute $ are as relevant as how a Corolla competes with all the other makes in its class for total maintenance burden - and in that sense, it is one of the least expensive cars to own out there. Should be less than a Civic, for example...
  • So what is exactly up with this, I just bought A 2004 Corolla, i have 1600 miles, and haven't noticed anything unusual, I bought this car for reliability, my old 2001 Alero only made it 95000 miles, hopefully this makes it longer, I am starting to believe that toyota reliability has gotten worse over the recent years.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Don't know how many more times we have to talk about this, but the problem is high-sulfur fuel. I note that you live in Wisconsin, and indeed a lot of Canadian crude is going to result in gasoline product with more sulfur than is desireable [some fuel with over 250 ppm sulfur content]. Those of us in the West who are served by refineries that produce for California [even many who don't actually live in CA] see virtually none of this because of the CA requirement for less than 50 ppm of sulfur in motor fuel [even though we get a lot of crude from Alaska, which is also pretty yucky for sulfur]. The result is a more expensive product, of course, which is a source of endless complaining on the Left Coast.

    The nationwide requirement for low-sulfur fuel will solve this problem, but thanks to the oil-company-friendly people who now populate DC, not until 2006. In the meantime, you can experiment with different fuel brands to see if you can find one with lower sulfur content, though in certain regions, refining monopolies make this hard to do, even across brands.

    And contrary to the belief that seems to crop here regularly, this is not a problem unique to Toyota [similar complaints come from Honda owners, and others]...and from my perspective, hardly demonstrates anything about Toyota "reliability".
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Posts: 572
    Other than a 92 Miata I owned, this is the only Japanese vehicle I've had a long term experience. Let me say I am completely underwhelmed at 76,000 miles.

    My wife bought this before we were married. At 59,000 miles we took the car in because of piston slap. Toyota rebuilt the engine, and did pay for a rental car. I can buy one issue with a car.

    At 75,000 miles, two more expensive problems. First one - The check engine light came on. After diagnostic, one or both of the oxygen sensors were bad. I figure, $50 each just like my Grand Marquis (which I never had to replace them yet, nor on my 2000 Intrepid, but had seen the list price of the part). Nope, try $150 for one, and $240 for the other, and that is just for the part. I decided we'll get to it soon if it kills the gas mileage.

    Second one - the transmission is about the crap out. Started shifting very firmly a couple of months ago - went and got the tranny serviced and the fluid changed. Did absolutely nothing to improve it, and in fact is getting worse. I figure it should crap out on us soon.

    Sad to say, I'm more confident with my wife driving my 94 Grand Marquis with 104,000 miles out of town than this thing (never had any engine or transmssion issues, and the car is built like a tank). Most people tell me the Corolla problems are just a fluke, but add in the fact that the paint is superthin and scratches very easily, and the lack of features, and I don't get the fascination with Toyota's.

    Her 1990 Corolla was great, but this 2000 model stinks. Also, the Corolla costs more the insure than my 2000 242 horsepower Intrepid R/T. Go figure.
  • balbcjbalbcj Posts: 1
    My 04 corolla was hit from back. The rear bumper and the rear one third of the trunk floor were damaged.

    After body work done by a local TOYOTA dealer, I'm back driving my car. But I'm still worrying about the INSIDE MACHINE part rather than the body work, especially the gas tank. Can you tell me where is the gas tank in my car, and usually whether this kind of accident would have impact on the gas tank and anything else? Thanks.
  • '99CE w/ aut---does it have a drive belt or a chain? thanks
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,667
    Timing Chain.
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