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Toyota Corolla Maintenance and Repair



  • corolla03corolla03 Posts: 17
    I know nothing about the science, but I do know that our 2003 Corolla LE sometimes smells so bad it makes me nauseated. I have had to open the windows in rainstorms, to try to get the smell out. One rider honestly thought we were parked over an open sewer. The trouble is that it doesn't happen all the time, so I can't replicate the problem when I take it to the dealer.
  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 118
    Try this to replicate.

    Close window and make sure the knob is NOT on recirculate, so that you get the whiff from the outside...

    Turn on AC or fan.
    Go up a hill and floor it.
    Near the top, let go of the gas pedal.

    You should have the stink in your car by now.
  • jcoulterjcoulter Posts: 7
    After only 1200 miles, I decided to bite the bullet on the Goodyear Integrity tires that came with my Corolla. I bought a set of Michelin X-Ones to replace the Goodyears.

    The results are amazing. With the change of tires its handling and stopping characterisitics are significantly improved.

    The good news:

    1. Michelins are much quieter (less road noise) than Goodyears.
    2. Handling on both dry and wet pavement is much better.
    3. Improved braking and shorter stopping distance (especially on wet pavement).

    The bad news:

    1. Michelin X-Ones are expensive.

    I live in a climate that requires me to drive in highly variable conditions, including rain, sleet, snow and ice. So I could not make do with an inferior tire for 50,000 without taking a great deal of risk.

    I had no experience with Goodyear Integrity tires prior to purchasing the Corolla. So I did not know whether they would be suitable for the kind of driving I do. I found out soon after purchasing the car that they were not. It is unfortunate that when purchasing an economy car, you can end up being forced to take marginal tires as part of the deal.
  • steve285steve285 Posts: 8
    Anyone else having this problem? We own a 2002 Corolla with 30k miles and a 1989 Corolla with 235k miles. Both have the darkest interior colors available for their years. Both brought new and treated the same.

    The interior on the 2002 is showing a lot more wear and staining relative to its age. The factory floor mats on the 1989 actually look better at this point than the ones on the 2002. The driver's side floor mat on the 2002 is worn through to the rubber backing.

    The engine and transmission on the 2002 are clearly superior to the 1989, but I'm beginning to wonder if we're going to be able to hold on to the 2002 like we have for the 1989. I'm thinking that the interior may get too shabby to keep by the time the car has 125k miles or so.
  • Nippononly - the installer said that it would take and extra $60 for the molding, but he would try to reuse it. And he was successful. He said that it was difficult to get off with damage, but that he was careful. No problems, so he must have been. Yes, I was surprised that the replacement had the black-dot sun blocker around where the rear-view mirror mounts, and between the sun visors. Also carrys down the passenger side. My dealer said that they could replace it, but actually recommend several other replacement firms. Hope you don't catch another one, but just in case you do.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    the dealer told me the molding was strictly throwaway after the glass was removed.

    As far as Toyota's interiors, news flash to everyone in Toyotaland: the floor mats they sell now are NOTHING like the ones that used to be in their cars. You can wear a hole right through these peach fuzz ultra-thins in about six months of driving. I recently had a pre-90 Camry go through my hands with the original mats, and the difference was amazing. That was back when carpeted actually meant INCLUDING CARPET.

    I am not sure if it is just Toyota being ultra-cheap (wouldn't surprise me) or if it is a weight thing - "a few ounces here, and a few ounces there, is the way to save weight"

    The same trend is occurring with the regular carpets and the seat upholstery.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • calynzeacalynzea Posts: 2
    I took delivery of a new '03 Corolla LE Tues. It had 80 miles on it when I bought it (dealer trade) and now only a lil over a 100. My car is making a noise. I am also a first time driver, but I had someone go out and listen to my car w/ me and she is baffled. When I start the car it is fine, but when I shift to reverse (I have an automatic) it makes a strange sound- a loud clicking or something along those lines that appears to be coming from the front of the car. If I shut off the car and start the process all over immediately it doesn't make the sound. If I do a start from park to drive it doesn't make it..

    what is causing this noise? should i contact the dealer? I am also parked on a very slight incline in a garage, not sure if that affects it-
    any ideas???
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    don't set your parking brake before putting it in park, and it is on an incline, then it might just be the sound of park disengaging from where the vehicle's weight was resting against it?

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • matthew525matthew525 Posts: 52
    I wear boots to work with heavy rubber heals - just about tore up the driver's mat near the gas peddle where my heal rested. Went down to Walmarts and got a clear plastic one to put over the top to reduce wear / tear. Guess that defeats the purpose of having floor mats doesn't it. Didn't want to wear out that Matrix emblem.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    I DON'T wear boots when I drive, and still in eight months I have worn a large bald spot on the mat...wearing a hole right through can't be far behind.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • steve285steve285 Posts: 8
    Yeah, I'm also using rubber mats now over the Corolla floor mats to protect them. Absurd, really. I guess the factory mats have become strictly a fashion item.

    My main concern is that the hole in the floor mat may be just the first symptom of a bigger problem. The door panels and upholstery are still ok, but showing more wear and staining than older Corollas did for the same length of service.

    As for the question posed by Nippononly, the answer is completely clear: this is a short-sighted cost cutting measure. That hole in the carpet was the first thing anyone noticed on my Corolla, at least until I covered it up. Not a good advertisement for the product.
  • matthew525matthew525 Posts: 52
    It might be the reason why they are selling the rubberized mats - a bad strategy if that is it.
  • insactocainsactoca Posts: 2
    My 2003 is getting 29-30 on the highway. Toyota headquarters tells me this is too low, they sent me to a local dealer to have it checked out. Of course, everything is fine. "How can my 1999 Solara 3.0 get 28mpg on the highway and my 2003 1.8 litre corolla only get 29?," I ask...his response, "well it makes perfect sense...the bigger car with the bigger engine is going to get better gas mileage because its RPMs are lower at highway speeds."


    The only reason I down-sized to the smaller car was for the gas mileage...I wouldn't complain if it were getting 35...but 29 and 30??? I shoulda gone for the bimmer...after all it gets 30 highway and is a much nicer car.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    don't give up yet - you hit a bogus dealer, now find a better one. I know it is a hassle, but you should be able to get 38-40 mpg no sweat on the highway in this car.

    I get 36-37 mpg in my Matrix, which has the same powertrain but weighs 200 pounds more and has a higher profile.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • boilermanboilerman Posts: 35
    You are doing about average for this car to get 30 mpg on the highway. I have owned this car almost 9 months now, and the best I got, was close to 34 mpg driving conservatively. The car is MUCH worse in the Winter, unlike any other Toyota I have ever owned. Consumer Reports OVERALL mileage on this car was 29 mpg...
  • klrobieklrobie Posts: 1
    I've had my '03 automatic corolla since Jan. and put about 9,700 miles on it so far, long commute. It has been ok, so far, definitely don't love it. The major problem is when I am going down a hill, a significant hill, the car sounds like it's shifting into a lower gear and the RPM's shoot up to around the 4 or 5 mark. The only way to bring them back down and to quiet the engine is to shift the car into Neutral and back into Drive once the hill is over. Has anyone ever had this problem? The dealer couldn't replicate the problem and therefore thinks I'm crazy.
  • insactocainsactoca Posts: 2
    Toyota headquarters now tells me that they are happy to have helped me, but it's not their's the EPA's fault.

    quote taken from last communication...

    "Thank you for contacting Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
    We were sorry to learn of your displeasure with the service provided by Toyota of Roseville.

    As the fuel economy estimates are based on results of tests required and performed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), you may find more clarity by contacting them to address your concerns.

    We hope you will find the support you need through this resource.

    Toyota has presented you all of the available options; any further recourse may be pursued outside of Toyota.

    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to assist you.

    National Customer Relations "

    Toyota is locally advertising this car gets 40.

    I did my research before I bought...edmunds, KBB, and consumers said it gets around 35. In fact, the articles I read from the professional reviews stated they got a consistent 35.

    Unfortunately, I didn't check out the consumer discussions about this car first.

    Of the 8 new vehicles I've owned in the past 12 years, I've never had one that disappointed me so much, especially since it was the gas milieage that sold me on the car.
  • boilermanboilerman Posts: 35
    I have owned several Toyota's in the last 20 years and THIS 2003 Corolla has been the ONLY one that is not even close to the MPG estimates .I also went through the same CRAP with Toyota dealers and corporate (people)? and to be quite honest, they do not give a crap about you after they sell you a car. Toyota quality is rated high, but customer service ratings from their dealers and corporate are just as low as any other manufacturer. If you still have the survey they mailed to you,(about the dealership) BLAST THEM HARD, as it hurts their dealer rating.. which is the only thing they care about...
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    that is not a problem, it is intentional on Toyota's part. They have designed in some engine braking for long grades - when you step on the brakes and exceed a certain threshold of deceleration (ie slow down fairly quickly) the computer will shift down a gear to provide braking from the engine.

    The dealer is just ignorant if they did not immediately explain this to you when you brought your car in. You may want to find a better dealer.

    If you want to avoid this, be more ginger when braking from high speeds...OR when it downshifts, you can slow way down. Once the speed falls below a certain level, the computer will assume it has provided enough braking from the engine, and upshift again. Sometimes you can even feather the throttle, and after a few seconds of this, the computer will assume you want to speed up, and upshift accordingly.

    Just some ideas you might try.

    Hondas autos have been doing this for years, but Toyota is just beginning to program their autos to do it.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • sensei1sensei1 Posts: 196
    Took my '98 Corolla w/ 66.2k miles to the dealer w/ a blinking airbag light. They confirmed the suspect being the airbag harness. SOL I'm out of warranty and the est. was $800+. This was the harness they replaced when the car was still under warranty, under the advise of Toyota HQ tech bulletin. I asked about this and I was told the warranty on the work or harness does not extend beyond the orig. purch date. And double SOL my 100k warranty insurance does not cover airbags!

    My point is the harness was already ID'd as a weak point before.

    I refused the service and asked for the regional POC #. Still a little fumed right now while contemplating my next recourse.

    Anyone had similar issues and resolutions? Maybe I'm barking at the moon right now so pardon the post. Any advise is appreciated.
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