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Toyota Echo Maintenance and Repair



  • Mr_Shiftright, Thanks for your prompt help.

    I can barely go over 40+ miles when the blue light is still on and it makes me a bit concerned to go out to the busy road in the morning. However, everything is back to normal after the blue light is off. Would it make a difference if I park the car in the garage?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Oh sure, that would make a difference.
  • Thanks. I will keep you posted after I upgrade the lodging for my Echo.

  • Mr_Shiftright,

    The blue light went off sooner this morning (25 degree outside) after I put the car in the garage last night. I guess I will keep it in the garage for my own convenience the next morning in the winter.

    I just came across with this wonderful Discussion Forum a few days ago (i.e., a newbie here). I had an AC-related issue in the summer that I plan to fix in the spring. In the cool fall weather, I dialed the coldest setting but the air from the vent (AC off; NOT circulating) was at least 10 or 15 degree warmer than outside. It seems that the AC/heating control/temperature dial was not set properly on my Echo. Then, it dawned on me that this might be one more reason why the AC was not cold in the city (OK on highways) the past summer. (Btw, I bought this car in the spring.)

    I would like to fix the temperature dial/setting and I downloaded a diagram from the Internet. The diagram shows the controlling valve (for hot coolant) is next to the engine but there are only two (in/out) hoses going inside the car on my Echo. I guess the valve is behind the instrument panel. How to reset the temperature dial correctly? Thanks.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Well sometimes the ducting gets hot from the engine itself or the sun beating on the car. So you mean that even after driving a long time, the "cold" fresh air setting is still warmer than outside air?

    As for the AC, I have to tell you that this is traditionally marginal on Echos and Scions.
  • I realized the temperature difference because I had to drive another car (Corolla) immediately after I got home one day in September.

    I did an experiment (with the dial set to the coldest) this morning when the outside temperature was below freezing. At the beginning, the air coming out of the vent was as cold as outside. After the blue light went off (about 4-5 minutes), the air from the vent gradually became not as cold. It seems that the heating is always on in my Echo. If so, how can I turn it off in the spring/summer? Thanks.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Well okay....when you turn the heater dial do you hear a "click". If you hear NO click and the dial seems to bounce back when you let go, then you might have to adjust the cable from behind that knob, that does to the heater valve. Maybe your heater valve is not closing all the way.

    unfortunately I don't have any instructions on how to do that but I'm sure you can research this.
  • Thanks.

    I will check it out in a few months and I will keep you posted if there is anything worth mentioning.

  • Mr_Shiftright,

    Thanks for the tip.

    I never turned the dial to the hottest setting on my Echo and I just tried it the first time this morning. Guess what? I could not turn the dial to the hottest setting. The dial stopped one notch short of the hottest setting but the dial could stay at the coldest setting. Is this inconsistent to you?

  • typentypen Posts: 7
    edited December 2010
    Hood release cable broke this morning, does anyone know a way of opening it from the outside, i dont have ramps to remove the plastic under engine shields. thanks tyler
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Yeah seems to me it should go "all the way".
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    edited December 2010
    Can you see any part of the cable from inside the car?

    If not, I think a lift is your only real option, or a set of ramps at least. If it was easy to pop the hood, then it wouldn't be much of a security device.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    I would call the service manager at a dealer and ask his opinion. Doesnt have to be a Toyota. Keep doing that till you find one. Did the cable break or just the lever? If you can pull the cable with pliers that would work. Mybe you can reach through the grill with a coathanger with a hook in it and pull the cable. Good luck!
  • Hi, i have a 2000 3 door echo bought recently. the problem is as follows:
    when i press on the throttle, it has a slight delay before it revs up the engine (kind of similar to an automatic transmission) - it has a manual transmission. it gets worse when i try to rev it up more rather than less. and if i'm going up a hill, it hardly moves. it's ok once it takes off (but then the next gear has a similar delay).
    Also, when i turn the ignition to start the car, i need to hold the ignition a bit longer for it to start. otherwise it won't.

    I've just changed the spark plugs, and the air filter is pretty clean. the engine oil is good too.

    I took it to a mechanic who hooked it up to a computer and still couldn't tell me what was wrong with it. he said we need to change the air filter and the spark plugs and see if it improves! Well, i just did that today and it hasn't.
    I'd appreciate your input.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    edited February 2011
    I take it there are no error codes? Af and plugs are a good first step but seldom fix trouble like this. Go to another mechanic this one knows nothing if he said change plugs and filter.

    I suspect the throttle body needs cleaning. You could also clean the mass air flow sensor. Google echo cleaning MAS.

    Did aa little reading.Definately clean the mass air flow sensor. Its easy. Google around for instructions. It on the black air filter housing held on by two phipis screws. Also there an electrical connector. Remove it and look on the bottom. There are two fine wires up inside. DONT TOUCH THEM. Are they dirty? Theres the trouble. Buy a can of brake cleaner at auto zone or equal. Spray the wires until shiny. Do not touch or they break!

    Let us know what you find!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I agree---the first mechanic sounds like he is totally in the dark. I think he's had all the chances he's going to get, guessing with your checkbook.
  • cruz16cruz16 Posts: 2
    edited February 2011
    Thanks guys. I did as you said. I cleaned the mas air flow sensor and also the throttle body. I used a can of throttle body cleaner for both (the parts shop I bought it from said it's ok -- was he being honest?). The MAS looks shiny now. It has helped tremendously in the driving experience.

    However, there's still a slight trouble with moving the car in first gear from a full stop. I still have to apply a lot of gas (nowhere near as much as before) but still will stall if I don't (stalled twice today and felt utterly embarrassed). Could it be because the echo is just like this? I have a Rav4 which doesn't have this problem at all - and it's 3 years older!

    And no, there were no error codes when I took it to the mechanics -- definitely won't be taking it there anymore!!

    But your advice definitely helped with it. It's much better. Thank you :)
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    If this car is auto trans I would check the fluid level. If its a manual I would suspect the clutch. No the ECHO is not like this normally.

    Glad to help and if you find whats really wrong let us know!
  • jmrbkjmrbk Posts: 18
    My 2002 Echo (purchased new 12/01) has 93k miles on it. This morning the headlights seemed to be flickering. It's -1 degrees this morning (I'm in Michigan) and I was thinking maybe the battery is in need of replacing (the one I have now is maybe 4-5 years old) but my fiance pointed out that with flickering lights, the alternator might be going bad. Does that sound about right? How long should an alternator last on an Echo? (I turned off the radio and the heat (BRRR!) and made it safely to work.)

  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    If it started at -1 I think the battery is OK. Mine was 7 years old before it went bad so age isnt necessarily an issue. Turning off the radio isnt going to change anything. Ceertainly not the heat either. Leave 'em on!

    Give it some more time for something to happen then post back here if it does.

    Good Luck!
  • I have a 2000 Toyota Echo with 230,000 miles on it! I LOVE this car. I added some gas (E-10) to it the other night. It drove fine on the way home (10 miles). I only put in about 4 gallons, because I was headed to "the city" where gas was WAY cheaper.

    The next morning, it started running REALLY rough! Once I got it up to above 50 mph, it was okay. Well, I didn't make it to "the city"--ahout 100 miles away. I ran out of gas about 20 miles short of the destination. There should have been PLENTY of gas to get there in. When I finally got there, I filled up with gas. It didn't help. I even added the stuff that takes the water out of the gas (the name escapes me right now). No help. I took it to a local mechanic and several codes came up, I don't remember what they were. He mentioned doing a basic tune-up on it, which I was okay with. But he wasn't sure that would do it. He said to do a full tune up it would cost $400+ because this car didn't have spark plug wires by themselves, that you had to buy the entire spark plug boot. THIS I had a problem with. I drove the car home, and it hasn't left my driveway since. I don't know if it WAS the gas, or if it was coincidental. Any thoughts?? I am going to the Auto Zone and have them tell me the codes so I can write them down and do further research. ANY help would be appreciated!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Get away from that mechanic! His proposals will not help you. He is only trying to profit!

    Yes have the codes read and tell us what they are. Its possible you got a tank of gas with a lot of water in it I think.

    But the codes will tell...
  • albusdalbusd Posts: 8
    Hi everyone,
    My 2000 automatic echo with just over 96k makes a chirping sound at low rpms. It happens whether warm or cold, mostly when dry but also sometimes when wet, and has progressively gotten worse over the last 2 weeks. The noise is much less obvious when driving and seems to disappear above 35mph, and is worst when you shift from P into drive and the engine idles down under the trans load.
    I thought the noise was coming from the drive belt that runs the ac, water pump, and alternator. But I just replaced that belt (which was glazed and showing some wear) with a new one (a Dayco poly cog?) and really cranked on the alternator to get the belt tight - I was thinking the old one had been slipping. Now, I am sure the belt is tight, but the chirping noise is still coming from my engine bay in the belt region.
    I know it could still be slipping or the bearings on one of the components could be going bad, or it could be the power steering belt or pump bearing. But my question is: has anyone else had this same issue? I feel like echos with a lot more miles than mine haven't ever had these belts changed or pulleys wear out... But maybe it's my imagination and someone else has experience in this area? Any chance this is normal?
    Thanks for your 2 cents.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Its possible the noise is coming from the alternator or the water pump. Remove the belt and BRIEFLY run the engine. Like 5 or ten minutes from totally cold. If the chirp is gone spin the wp and alt by hand feeling for roughness etc.

    Tell us what happens!
  • albusdalbusd Posts: 8
    I checked the accessory pulleys again with the belt off and all seems fine there - very smooth with no rough bearings or wiggles.

    I also did some more research and found the "water spritz test" - basically you get the belts damp by dripping water on them and if the noise still persists it is more likely misalignment or a bad bearing; if it goes away it is likely a belt slipping or wear issue. So I started by getting only the power steering belt wet, and voila... no more squeaking. The ps belt still has a green toyota label on it, maybe it is oe and after 96,000 miles and harsh WI winters its time is up. It does feel a bit glazed. Either way I am leaning toward that being the issue, since I am confident that my drive belt is tensioned too tight or close to too tight already so I doubt that's slipping.

    I don't have the tools to access or change the power steering belt (evidently you need to remove the wheel?), so looks like it might be time to get the local shop involved. Alternatively I suppose I could just keep driving it until the belt fails completely - as long as I'm at less than 40mph the Echo shouldn't be that hard to control without power steering, right? I can't stand the noise though.

    Thanks for the tip though - I learned a thing or two, and I got a new drive belt out of the deal.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Huh my sons 2000 ECHO has the same problem. The ps squeels at times. Somes times it good, sometimes its not. I took the wheel off to examine the belt. It appeared to be in excellent shape and properly tensioned. I believe the PO changed both belts about 40k miles ago. I could find no reason for the noise so i sprayed the belt with "belt dressing". Drat that kid never answers his phone so I cant report any results! Anyone else use belt dressing or have a comment?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Don't use belt dressing--it just makes things worse. If the tension is okay, then the belt itself needs to be changed.
  • albusdalbusd Posts: 8
    Finally got around to having the shop change the belt out. If anyone is curious it cost me about $70 - $25 for the belt & $40 for the labor. That doesn't seem too bad considering it must have been a bear to change, although I bet the belt would have cost me half that if I bought it myself. The mechanic confirmed my suspicion that it was the original belt from the factory. Had I not run it so long with the chirp and glazed it up it probably would have went a few more miles, but I'd say 97000 is a pretty good run for a belt. Thanks again for your help.
  • flexbeltflexbelt Posts: 1
    You mentioned in your May, 09 posting that you had an ECHO manual. Could I pay you to send me a copy? Thanks,
    [email protected]
  • I own a 2000 echo with 142,000 miles on it. Just recently I've noticed a grinding noise from the left front wheel when I turn slightly left above 30 or so mph. I removed the wheel, removed the brake pads and rotor and could find nothing. I have some bearing backlash , but it is within spec. I tried different tires, thinking maybe a rim or belt was causing this, but it still is present. I drive around 90 miles daily and after two weeks the car handles no different than before the noise started. I don't think its a bearing as I've driven it over 2 weeks. Could it be an axle? anyone else having this issue
  • butler83butler83 Posts: 14
    All - Thanks for the tips the last 2.5 years.
    A drunk totaled my 2001 Echo with 70,000 miles on it. She ran like a top and will be missed.
    On the goods side the car was parked when hit so there were no injuries.

    I am looking at a 2007 Yaris Hatchback - 25k miles for $9000 from a private party. I think the price is to high, but what do you think and I will post this on the Yaris board also.

    Thanks and good luck all.
  • dbdbechodbdbecho Posts: 4
    I have a 2003 Echo, and I apparently need a new mass air flow sensor, because my check engine light came on and I get a P0171 error.

    But that isn't what this question is about. When I was looking under the hood, I noticed that an electrical connector to a sensor directly above the alternator was broken off. The sensor is a brass colored cylindrical shape that protrudes about 2" from the engine block, is about 1" in diameter and is about 1" above the alternator. The wiring harness has a branch that plugs into the sensor at this point.

    Unfortunately, the plastic connector that sticks out from this sensor has snapped off, leaving whatever this thing is unconnected. The engine still seems to run fine without it. BTW, the sensor plug has two prongs.

    What is this thing (sensor?), and how do I replace it? Is this a major job? Any ideas???
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    edited April 2011
    the MAF is held on by two philips screws to the front of the aircleaner. It is easy to change. Look inside at the two fine wires. If they are cruddy they can be cleaner with brake fluid. DONT touch them or you will break the wires and destroy the MAF.

    Also that code can indicate loose vacuum lines. You should check that.

    Tell us what happens!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Check your CV joint boots. Possibly a joint boot is torn or the joint is faulty.

    The wheel bearing can make noise even if turning smoothly.

    Tell us if you fix it and what it was!
  • dbdbechodbdbecho Posts: 4
    Great, thank you, kneisl! I have located the MAF over the air filter, and will clean it carefully, and check for vacuum lines as well.

    Do you have any idea what my broken connector is, that plugs in over the alternator? That is the big question in my post. Thanks!
  • typentypen Posts: 7
    HI, i broke the same connector above the alternator, it's the variable timing cam control, i broke it adjusting the tension for alternator belt i would do that again. maybe others can confirm the exact name for the part, it can't be fixed only replaced.
  • dbdbechodbdbecho Posts: 4
    Typen, thanks, that's exactly what I needed to know! Do you know how the old one comes out? Does it just pull out?
  • dbdbechodbdbecho Posts: 4
    I've found out the exact name of the part sticking out of the engine block right above the alternator. It is called the "Variable Camshaft Timing Oil Control Valve." I haven't been able to locate the part on NAPA, AutoZone, or O'Reilly's web sites. I guess I'll have to call the Toyota dealership tomorrow & find out how much it costs.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Do tell what you find out especially if you replace it yourself!
  • echo2003echo2003 Posts: 4
    edited April 2011
    Okay, I have an '03 automatic, 2-door Echo at ~55K miles (yeah, low :))

    1) Doing city driving (involves some hills), I typically used to get 280 miles before the last fuel marker started blinking (i.e., ~ 28 mpg). Lately (the last 6-8 months), my mpg is lower (~25-26 mph). I was thinking that this might be attributable to Winter temps...but it isn't. One thing I did do was change tires (to Pirelli P4 Four Seasons). For the record, I do oil change every 6 months, which based on my low mileage, is probably overkill. Alternatively, I am due for the 60K maintenance soon, which may be a bit late, considering it's an '03. So any ideas about low mpg, or maintenance?

    2) I get this NOISE that seems to be coming from under the (right side/middle) of my dash. It only happens when I am in reverse and not moving. It's a rattling, vibration-type noise, and it's getting louder over time.

    3) My driver-side seatbelt tension is insufficient now to roll itself back up. A dealer suggested that it might be twisted inside...is there an easy way to check this?

    Okay, thanks a million, people! :)
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    The noise you describe is exactly the same thing in the Yaris. It is a shifter cable rattling against something. It doesnt mean anything but if you can locate the cable and secure it from whatever is in contact with it that will stop the rattle.

    The oil change interval is 4 months so you are NOT overchanging it. Especially if you drive a lot of short distances.

    I would guess your decreasing mileage is due to winter blend/alcohol in the gas. Im seeing decreasing mileage in my Yaris also. We are paying MORE for gas due to alcohol and getting LESS mpg. :mad: How is your tire prsssure?

    IS the seatbelt retractor beinds the plastic of the trim? I cant remember and dont drive an ECHO now.

    Good luck!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    My sons 2000 ECHO threw a PO171 code. Could be MAF or a vacuum leak. We had previously cleaned the MAF without luck. Today we looked hard for a vacuum leak. Didnt find it. So we went and priced a MAF. $109 rebuilt. I asked were the MAF of a 2000 ECHO and a 2009 Yaris the same? There are! So we cleared his code and put hisn in myin and myin in hisn. After an hour his had no code. Mine had a PO 101 "pending" which is specific bad MAF. Whasat "pending" mean? And is an hour long enough to definately throw or not throw a code? Could it take longer? And what does it mean "rebuilt" MAF?

  • sodadoodsodadood Posts: 4
    Hi - I have a 2004 Echo hatchback and I absolutely LOVE the car. I've had almost zero problems with it since I bought it new.

    Two problems (the other I'll post separately)... gas tank problem:

    The other day while driving the car sputtered like it was going to stall, but didn't, then seemed to self-correct - but the Check Engine light came on. Then at the gas station, when I opened the gas cap, it hissed and air came rushing out of it. As it turns out, the little metal flap the covers the hole inside the filler neck is gone (broke off or whatever). Also, now when I go to put gas in it, the pump clicks off every few seconds as though the pump thinks the car is full.

    I'm assuming the problem is with this metal 'filler neck guard'... Toyota says the part is $20 and $160 for labor. My question is, has this ever happened to anyone else here before? Does it all make any sense? Do I have any other options (like, for instance, a gas cap that has an extended piece in the middle of it that would seal the filler neck without having to replace that silver piece)? Any help would be much appreciated.

  • sodadoodsodadood Posts: 4
    Hi - I have a 2004 Echo hatchback and I absolutely LOVE the car. I've had almost zero problems with it since I bought it new.

    Two problems (the other I'll post separately)... vibration problem:

    A few weeks ago, I had my winter tires taken off the car (and off the rims) and then two NEW tires installed on the front (Rovello tires from Wal-Mart) and the other two older tires re-installed onto the back. Now the car vibrates slightly (but enough to be annoying) when driving over about 65. At first I thought maybe the "techs" at Walmart didn't balance the rear tires properly so I had it re-done at a different garage... but it's still doing it.

    I've had the brakes checked, and I don't think it's a coincidence that it happened after the tires were switched over. Could it be a problem that I didn't put 4 new tires on at the same time? The older rear tires still have a decent amount of tread. Or could it be an issue with the two new tires on the front?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated since it's been very frustrating.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Sounds like something has fallen apart in there. Yes have the shop take it apart and repair it. If you can read the code and post it and we will tell you what it means. AutoZone reads codes for free.

    Good luck and tell us what happens!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    You are right its something with the new wheels/tires you put on. Check for tread squirm. Look at the tread of each tire all the way around. It might be wavy which would indicate belt separation. Check for bent rim in side and outside.

    Take it back to the place that origionally did the work and make them fix it! They will feel guilty and want to help!

    I hope.

    Tell us what you find out!
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 898
    First, new tires should go on the back as recommended by all the tire manufacturers. This is to prevent the rear from losing traction first in traction limited situations. It's a whole lot easier to regain control if the vehicle is facing forward.

    If you swap the tires front to rear, I suspect the vibration will be gone - indicating the new tires are - well, let's call it "out of round" - and no amount of balancing is going to fix that.

    Try that and report back.
  • A few years ago my a/c compressor went out and have finally decided to get it repaired. For those that have had this work done on their echo, what kind of prices can I be expecting?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    A lot of places do a really crappy job of tire balancing too. The vibration is certainly a problem with the new tires you put on, but it may not mean defective tires. You may want to try having them rebalance them (although a place that balanced them badly once will probably do so again), or go to a reputable tire place in your area that only does tires and have them do the balancing.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • I was quoted 800 and 900 last year.
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