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Toyota Solara



  • If your car is pulling to left, I presume it always will. I have had multiple alignmments, and rotations, which even included inverting the 16 inch Michelins(outsidtations turned inside on wheels), and nothing seems to resolve the issue. GET USED TO IT! You may get the car a little straighter, but it wont last more than a few hundred miles. I have now found, my car drives straighter, without the alignments, and rotation. I guess the tires are broken in, at 31,000 miles in the rear and the 2 front tires have about 9,000 miles on them, after hitting a small pothole that ripped through the tire, and $480 rim. Earlier postings suggested many people have this problem, I beling one the the first, and will always have this problem. I think there may be a steering rack problem, like Toyota's trucks have/had, or just BAD geometry of the front end, due to design, or poor build quality. You can think of it as a safty feature, cuz if you take your hands off the wheel for even a second at highway speeds, your dead. So remember to use both hands, positioned at 10 and 2, and get used to the ongoing battle with the steering wheel.

    ROCKING CHAIR....I recently got a phone call from The National Highway and Traffic Admisitration, and he said that the 2000 Camry/Solaras are covered by TBS, BO... SOMETHING OR OTHER, GOT DELETED FROM MY VOICE MAIL!?! I have had ongoing problems getting this resolved with Toyota Customer Service, and my local dealer. If any of you guys or gals have a rocking chair, reply, or give me any info you have about getting it resolved, please!

    STEREO... I have the JBL system that came with option #4, 2000 Solara's,(didnt get alloy rim, like was in brochure) and I think it is the best factory stereo I have ever had, sound quality wise. The head unit is weak, but not a priority of mine. If you think it has too much bass, turn the bass down!?! Increase your treble.

    SNOW TIRES...It is a good idea for anyone in snowy climates too have snow tires, as those of us who reside in cold climates, know that all season tires, do not refer to SNOW!!! Black ice, is another story, as even snow tires won't help at all when you start to hydro-plane over the ice. Of course, we all know that black ice is "almost" invisable, until you are driving on it, usually at way too fast speeds, for conditions, and when you hit it just hold your breath and wait for the car to regain control itself, or with your assistance. Even ABS won't help, maybe even make it worse.
  • bwiebebwiebe Posts: 27
    I have the michelins on my 2000 SLE V6. I have actually found them to handle quite well on snow and ice. In the past I have found michelins rubber compound to be too hard. Great for being long lasting but tend to just slide on ice and snow. Must have softened the rubber compound. The ABS has saved me a couple of times, this last Saturday the most recent. I hit some black ice on a bridge and while everyone was doing 180's I slowed down under control and steared around a car that had "parked" itself up on the curb.

    I have started to experience a slight rocking in the drivers seat, especially when I get in and lean back to adjust myself in the seat. I hear and feel a creaking or give in the seat back. Will be bringing the car in for the 24,000 km servicing next week and will get them to check it out. May be out of luck on warranty though as I had heated seats installed and they may claim this will void the warranty.

    No Pulling left, thank the car gods for that as previous posts haven't found a solution.

    Stereo sounds good to me although a slight hiss when volume is down and car is parked.

    I have noticed that the brakes have a slight squeel when backing up. Usually noticable when first starting up car and it is slightly cold or damp out.
  • My 99 Red Toyota Solara SLE's battery just died. Since the car is only 2 1/2 years old, it seems a little early for the battery to die.

    Anyone else experience this or have any other types of electrical/alternator problems??

  • decondecon Posts: 56
    I recently took my car into service for 30K.
    I told them about the rocking seat problem. They took it for a test drive and said there is a problem. I have a 2000 SLE. They are ordering the part and will fix it when it comes in. The reason it is loose is due to a loose seat rail. Only way to fix it, is to order that new part.
  • vz18wpvz18wp Posts: 20
    Hey webguyster...

    I have a 1999 SE V6 that had this problem. Took it into the dealership and they replaced the "lower seat frame assembly" under warranty. This was done back in January 2001.

    I think it is part # 72020-06020.

    Good luck.

    1999 DWP SE V6 with 37,000 smooth miles.
  • 2 1/2 years is as good as it gets with the cheap battery they give you with the car, especialkly with all the parasitic drain from the security system, and alarm, if you have one installed. I had 2 replacements the first year, and I am headed for another. When my lights start to dim at stop lights, I know it time to go in again, and get another $39 replacement battery. When I am out of warrenty, my Toyota Extra care deductible is $50, so I will replace with a better battery myself. My dealer installs Interstae batteries, an although they seem to be good batteries from the web sites, I would rather chance it with a Sears Die Hard, or some other large company that has a bigger selection than the dealer, and will be more customer focused when it comes to replacing the battery. I was amazed that Toyota replaced the batteries, as Dodge, aka. D/C, did not cover batteries or tires under bumper to bumper. They did reimburse me after a few phone calls, but it was a hassle. I will try to replace the seat frame b4 36,000 miles, as they have it documented since almost the day I bought the car. My problem has been that I cannot get the service guy or manager to sit in the car, and the mechanics find no problems and dismiss it as wear and tear. I weigh 165lbs, and I am not too big for the seat, where it may cause wear and tear. It has become more noticable to me since I have bruised/fractured a rib, and every little rock back and forth HURTS alot! I hate to we whiney, as the dealer I use is open until 12 midnight, and all the other dealers are about 15-20 miles away and require appointments.
  • My car has always had a slight left drift. The dealer has improved it, but it is still there, and I don't reallly notice it anymore. I am trying a different dealer for my next service, we'll see what happens. This is the only "defect" or problem I've ever had with the car in nearly 3 years.

    The JBL stereo is not the best I've heard, but I would never say it has too much bass. The relatively small speakers can't gereate much real bass anyway.

    If you think the JBL system has WAY too much bass then 1. The system is defective, or 2. your previous system had no bass and you got used to it.
  • I recently replaced my stock paper air filter with TRD's, and so far I am happy with the change. You really notice the difference more at highway speeds--acceleration is smoother and stronger. Not much difference on city streets, but idle coasting speeds are a bit faster, with less "resistance" to slowing. My concern was that there would be increased engine noise (I like the already quiet ride), but so far I am not bothered by any increase in noise. Has anyone else out there tried this upgrade?...Will see how it affects gas mileage, too.

    A side note: Does anyone feel and hear an intermittent mild "thump/jerk" when initially accelerating from stop? It is not a big deal, but I wish accelerating from stop would be smoother. I've got the rocking seat, too, and will take it into the dealer soon. Otherwise, great car!

    2001 SLE V6 DWP
    8000 miles
  • Mine gives a thump when coming to a stop at a red light. It feels like the tranny shifting too hard.Makes a DUNK noise. If it is night, the lights will dim when this happens. It is usually only when in 1 and 2nd gear back to 1st. It almost feels like the A/C compressor is on, but is is not. Is this the same thump you refer to??? Good luck with the rockin' chair...

    00 SE V6 Solara package #4, no alloy rim,:^( Black/Ivory

    P.S. Got an invite from a company probaly through Edmunds, for $75 for opinion on car designs. Anyone else go to one of these???
  • I don't even have 1000 miles on my car and I think I have the rocking chair problem. It squeaks and moves a little when I lean back in it. About the comments made here regarding bass, the stereo has more bass than the little speakers can handle. My previous systems were Nissan Bose and were of much higher quality. The JBL speakers distort way too easily, in my opinion. That is with the bass cut almost to the max. When the bass is flat (at zero) it should sound natural, and that is simply not the case with the JBL. I also feel that the car wanders a bit on the highway. The steering is definitely not tight on my Solara. The paint is average at best, it's a "regular guy car" paint job which is ok because it's not an expensive car. I wanted to put a really good shine on it, but it's just not going to happen. I guess I'm being critical, but I'm starting to notice the car's weaknesses at this point. Still the best for the price.
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    Ok people, here's my dilemma: I'm basically looking for a solid, reliable car that would preferably be comfortably, roomy, and quiet.

    Basically my choices are set on either the Sebring Sedan, the Accord Sedan, or the Solara (I know the latter is a 2-door, but I dislike the coupe versions of the Accord and the Sebring).

    For the same price as a 4-cylinder Solara SE, I could get an Accord Special Edition V-6 with all the bells and whistles. I could also get a fully loaded Sebring, with a V-6 engine. My question is this: do you think that the Solara is still worth it, considering I'm not getting as much for my money (or so it seems) than the Sebring or Accord? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273

    Like people always told me when I had my 1999 "award-winning Motor Trend Car of the Year" Chrysler 300M, some bad ones are bound to get through. Mine got through alright. I couldn't wait to get rid of before it hit 36,000 miles with NO warranty. Let me just say that no matter how "bad/cheap" you think the Solara is, there are WORSE cars out there in the same price category.

    As for the paint- a front bra works wonders if you do a lot of highway driving and want to avoid chips. These new cars with their aerodynamic shapes leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the front hood. I know the bra is a pain, but it does help. All depends on how much the chips bother you. As for the shine, well, you are new here! ;-)) Ever heard of Zaino? It's a polymer polish. Too detailed to go into here, but if you click on my name above, you'll see what a shine it gives. Check out the 300M and the Acura pics. Those are the cars that have Zaino. I've been using it since the summer of 1998.

    The instructions at may SEEM complicated, but they're not. The initial steps might be time-consuming, but after that, it's a BREEZE to keep the car looking like mine. I do NOT spend 24/7 keeping it like this. Not sure what color your car is, but the darker the better, although the Diamond White looks great too. Just ask automophile to send you the link to his pics. Maybe they're in his profile too.

    Anyway, rest assured, that in the long run, I think you made a good choice with the Solara.


    If you're retired and like to spend time hanging around the dealer while they TRY to fix minor and major problems, then by all means get the Sebring Sedan! They're probably the best deal out there right now with their gigantic rebates and deals, but unless you're keeping the car until it dies, their resale is for the birds!

    I'd say to stick with the Solara or the Honda. Their reliability is not even in the same category as the Sebring! Just my .02 cents.


  • I don't think you can compare the Solara to the Accord sedan. I tried to, and found out that the Solara is a much nicer car. As a matter of fact, I drove the Accord immediately after driving the Solara and there was no decision at that point. When comparing prices make sure you add on fog lights and a spoiler to the Honda. Because the Solara comes with fog lights and the spoiler is part of a package. Also, the Accord SE comes with the ugly black plastic "side sill" or whatever you call it along the bottom side of the car. CHEAP looking. I found that the Solara and Accord were comparbly priced, and as far as I know, you can't get a V6 SE. In order to compete with a Solara, you would have to get an EX Accord. The LX's and SE's are cheaper quality and noisier than the EX's, you can't put an LX or SE accord up against a Solara, the Solara will win. Have you driven all of these cars? That will make the decision for you. Maybe the noise and ride of the Accord won't bother you, but it bothered me.

    I won't put a bra on my car, because I think they're ugly. In response to the Zaino recommendation. I don't care what you polish a car with, Zaino will not make a Soalra look like a Jaguar paint job. I used to detail cars, professionally, and I have sold them for years. I do know cheap paint when I see it. I've seen Solaras shined up really nice, and I've seen Solaras polished with Zaino. Zaino makes the fair piant job on the Solara look as good as it's going to get. However, it's still shined up low quality paint. I'd rather have better, more durable paint, and use cheaper wax, wouldn't you? The paint on Solaras, and Accords for that matter, is on the lower end of the scale. If you want to see nice paint, go look at a Jaguar, Ferrari, Corvette, Mercedes, or BMW, then take a close look at a Solara. I know these cars are expensive, but they are excellent examples of nice paint jobs. I think it's great that you use Zaino, because it's top shelf stuff, but I don't think the Solara piant job warrants the use of such a high quality product. In short, the paint is cheap, soft, and thin for that matter. For such a high quality car they should step up a bit on the paint.
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273

    I guess you can sum it up by saying - you get what you pay for?? Ever since they took the lead out of car paint, they haven't been as good. The Solara paint is probably no better or no worse than any other car in the same category/price range. I also have a 94 Toyota Corolla that sits outside 24/7 and goes to automatic car washes all the time in the winter. No problem with that paint at all. Very few chips on the hood and only a few on the bumpers from OTHER people.

    To each his own.

  • canccanc Posts: 715
    Thanks for your comments... what's this about the Accord SE being noisier than the EX? Unless Honda doesn't insulate their cars equally, this is strange.

    Although having a V6 is very nice, the current Toyota V6 doesn't impress me. I think I'd be very happy with the 4-cylinder. From what I've read here it's supposedly far better than its predecessor, and I've tried out the 2001 Solara with a 4-cylinder. I was impressed by the torque I got from it.

    It's alluring however, when you start comparing the two cars, and you can find so many more options in the Accord for just as much money.
  • Fastdriver,

    I agree with you completely. Paint on most of today's Japanese cars is not what it used to be. Toyota IS in line with the other Japanese car producers in regards to paint quality. However, would you agree with me that GM and Ford cars in the same price range have much thicker paint? I guess my real problem with Japanese cars today (and I don't mean to offend anybody who meticulously cares for their car's finish) is that how much of your time should be spent cleaning, polishing, and waxing your paint when every rock, pebble, or speck of dust that comes in contact with your car scratches the paint down to the primer? Does anybody here remember when you could rub out all but the worst scratches with some good polish? Does anybody else find these new finishes frustrating to maintain? I mean, I haven't resorted to Valium yet....


    I'm telling you, Honda doesn't insulate their cars equally for sound. Go drive an LX and an EX and see if they are the same. I know more than one Honda salesman that would state it. It really sucks, because I don't like a sunroof, so I would rather have an LX. Also, a fully loaded EX cost less than a fully loaded Solara. I think they are closer in price in their basic models, though. The new 2002 4 cyl. is good on gas and has decent power, better than last year's, try it you might like it. There is no contest in transmissions: Toyota makes a better tranny. They are smoother shifting and they last longer, don't believe me, ask your mechanic. All this being said (I know I talk to much) the EX Accord is a great car, second only to the Solara!!
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    Thanks again... weird how Hondas would insulate their cars differently. I guess that would make it more complicated for the people assembling their cars.

    Toyota trannies are the best compared to Hondas. What about a Toyota engine? Is the 4-cylinder in the Solara as reliable as the Honda competitor?
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273

    Well, sorry to have to disagree with you again. While you only mention GM and Ford's paint, I'm not sure if you would include Chrysler here or not. Let me tell you, the paint on my 99 Chrysler 300M SUCKED! I had chips on the hood the FIRST week I had the car! It only got worse the 33 months that I had that car! The car was red, the chips were WHITE!! UGLY! I didn't have a bra for that car.

    So far, after 8 months and 10,400+ miles, on my 2001 Acura(Honda) CL-S, driving on the SAME roads/highways as the 300M, I have ONE chip at the very tip of the hood when something came flying on I-95 about a month ago and bounced off the hood and HIT the top of the car. I thought for sure from the sound of it, I would have a nice chip AND a dent on the roof! Not so. There is a slight dimple in the top, but with that Zaino shine, no one but me would even notice it. I only put the bra on the car if I'm going on a "long" trip on the highways. I think the Acura bra looks good. Fits nice and tight with no flapping.

    This is only my opinion. I'm not a car detailer. I know nothing about paint thickness. I don't know if foreign paint is thinner than American paint. All I know is my experience with these latest cars. There is someone at work who details/repairs/paints cars on the side. I'll ask him when I see him what he thinks. When he fixes a car, you could NEVER tell that it was ever fixed. He's a fanatic because he loves cars too.

    You really have me thinking about paint now. When I have time, I'll have to research this some more. Do foreign car companies use paint other than DuPont and PPG??

  • I have a 00 SLE. First problem just occurred. The automatic temperature control is not working properly. When I press the auto button, the fan used to come on initially at low speed, then progressively increase. Now, the fan speed that initially comes on is always the speed that was on when the system was turned off the last time. This speed does not change automatically at all at that point. Anyone else experience this problem?

    (Great car, but I love the 2002 taillights.)

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