Toyota Corolla Basic Maintenance Questions

just_some_guyjust_some_guy Member Posts: 52
Specifically I'm looking at the Zymol Japon wax in a starter kit from the autosport catalog. Also any opinions on how long I should wait to wax the car. I've heard from some sources that there is a curing time on new cars. I think I heard something like 3 months.


  • just_some_guyjust_some_guy Member Posts: 52
    Tup, I've been hearing about Zaino recently. I think I remember it being popular in a Mustang board somewhere. I've also heard good things about Meguiars. Although, XR, I don't think you should have to polish it everytime. Polish contains abrasives. I would think you only had to polish on a paint job that needed fixing like your corolla did. On a brand new paint job I would think that it wouldn't need to be smoothed out, which is what polish does.
  • TupTup Member Posts: 200
    The dealer told me that the curing time is more for non-clearcoated cars. he said that with the baked on paint from the factory and clearcoating that by the time you get it, you should be fine.

    As for wax type....have you looked at Zaino?

    I have some and will be putting it on our black Matrix soon....supposed to not leave any white residue.

  • xr_matrixxr_matrix Member Posts: 96
    I use Mequiars 3 step system and it is awesome...step 1 is a cleaner, step 2 is the actual polish and 3 is the carnuaba wax. I like it and it easy to use for the do it wife bought a 94 corolla which have never and I mean never been waxed. We spent a day on it including 2 steps of cleaning and you would not beleive it was the same car. Some people actually asked if it was new.
  • deagleddeagled Member Posts: 20
    You shouldn't have to wait to wax a new car. The dealer was right about it being fine by the time you get it. Not many cars come without clearcoat now (a few VW's or Honda's with base colors i think).

    just my $.02.
  • britton2britton2 Member Posts: 305
    I highly recommend Eagle One's Products - you can wax your car right away -
  • just_some_guyjust_some_guy Member Posts: 52
    Doesn't it have petrolium disstilates in it?
  • britton2britton2 Member Posts: 305
    I don't think it does - I looked at the label and it says it contains "sodium sulfonate" - but I think it's the best car wash I've tried and it's not expensive - I bought 64 ounces for $4.99 recently at Advance Auto Parts - their Wipe and Shine is also very good - I find these products are just as good as the "high end" stuff I ordered from car care websites -
  • matrix2004matrix2004 Member Posts: 5
  • matrix2004matrix2004 Member Posts: 5
    Why would you guys wanna wax a brand new car in its first day of life? I won't was mine for at least the first 3 to 4 months.

    my 0.02 cents
  • britton2britton2 Member Posts: 305
    I have read conflicting opinions on waxing/polishing new cars - I read that it is not necessary to polish a new car within the first 2 years and yet somewhere else I read that it is good to polish it right away (using a mild polish) to remove any contaminants that may have bonded with the paint that a simple wash would not remove - I have not polished my 1 year old car - only washed & waxed - I find that keeping wax on it helps bugs and bird crap and stuff wash off alot easier...I have decided to polish my car once a year (when it's about 2 or 3 years old) and will continue to wash about every 10 days or so - and wax about 3 times a year - so far the Eagle One Wash is my favorite brand - just my 2 cents -
  • Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
    On the M&R board: Zaino Car Polishes/Products--Your Experiences

    Hope it isnt too overwhelming. As of this moment there are only 3502 messages.

    And for all other brands: Store Bought Waxes

    Owners Clubs
  • potroastpotroast Member Posts: 13
    What have you guys and girls been told of when 2 get your first oil change,by the dealer ?Besides the different opinions you hear .?
  • britton2britton2 Member Posts: 305
    My dealer recommended every 3000 miles even though the manual for my '01 Corolla says every 5000 miles - I think I'll go with every 3000 just to be on the safe side
  • TupTup Member Posts: 200
    Well, According to my dealer, our Matrix and all newer Toyota's are on the same schedule as with our previous Mazda....every 8000KM's. We used this interval for oil changes with our 93 Mazda MX3 and it was the most reliable vehicle we ever owned.
  • dogtrainerdogtrainer Member Posts: 96
    The manual says every 7500 miles or 6 months. Remember, the dealer will tell you whatever he needs to get you in and payinfg for service more often. I plan to follow the manufacturer's recommendations, and expect to get 10 years and 100,000 miles plus.
  • leafguy2727leafguy2727 Member Posts: 83
    Hey Tup. Got the same. 8000km or 6 months. I'm all booked in already for August.
  • scott31scott31 Member Posts: 292
    The owners manual lists the break in period at 1000 miles and says you need to stay under 55mph during that time.

    The Vibe manual says that the break in period is 300 or 500 miles, and has no speed limitation (it says not to stay at the same speed for long).

    If I go 55mph on the captiol beltway, I'll be killed.....

    How religiously should I follow the Toyota break in? Can I subsitute the Vibe one instead?
  • TupTup Member Posts: 200
    I think you're ok to drive over 55 as you won't be exceeding the 4000RPM's by doing so. Perhaps a good idea to vary the speed up somwhat though.
  • alshariffalshariff Member Posts: 11
    Folks, here's some advice. For the first oil change, I'd recommend you perform it between 1600 & 2000 Km (1000 - 1250 mi). There is a lot of wear in the engine during this time and its best to keep your oil as clean as possible. Don't let a $20-$30 oil change get in the way of protecting your car. After your initial oil change, I'd recommend you perform regular 5000 km (3000 mi) oil changes, unless you're driving your vehicle over 80 km/hr (50 mi/hr) 80-85% of the time. Frequent stops and short trips don't allow your engine to heat up enough to clean out contaminant effectively. With regular oil changes, your Toyota engine should last well over 300,000 km.

    I've managed to get over 375,000 km on all my japanese vehicles (all I've done is use a synthetic oil at 5000 km intervals religiously.

    As for break-in of your engine, just drive carefully. Do not allow your engine to lug and do not tow heavy loads. Also, do not drive at constant speeds for long times. Most importantly, make sure you keep changing the load on your engine on a continous basis. Toyota's 1600 km break in is based on how much engine break-in is done during DVT (dynamic vehicle testing)at the assembly plant. GM plants always seem to cycle more during DVT, hence they call for a shorter break-in. I'm sure Toyota would rather err on the side of running a longer break-in. This is why Toyota car's last longer, they don't take as many risks as GM
  • dogtrainerdogtrainer Member Posts: 96
    Consumer's Reports did a test using Manhattan taxi cabs (kinda the definition of severe service.) They changed some oil every 3000 and some at 4000, some at 5000 and some at 6000 miles. After 100,000 miles, they disassembled each engine and had their engineers go over them with a fine-toothed comb. The result, they could find NO significant difference in wear in any of the engines. There was also no indication that one group experienced more problems during the use time than any other group.

    I tend to believe that these recommendations may have been valid at one time, but modern engine and oil technology have made them obsolete, unless you operate an oil change business.

    Since I believe that Toyota has a strong interest in preserving their reputation and knows best what their engines require, I plan to follow their recommendations.
  • alshariffalshariff Member Posts: 11
    I've read the Consumer's Report article on oil changes a while back and I agree with their analysis. The only thing you must consider when applying their recommendations is that the average car owner doesn't keep their car running for extended periods of time as do cabs.

    The largest percentage of wear occurs during start up. While cabs start and shut down frequently (or in some cases just keep at idle when stopped), the regular public parks their car's while at work or over night when home. This allows most of the oil to flow down into the lower extremities of your engine. Thus you don't have the same amount of protection as a car which is run at frequent intervals. Also remember, oils main job is to keep foreign particles away from mating engine parts. Shut your engine for a long periods of time and you'll allow these particles to settle where they can do damage.

    In my opinion, I just don't understand why anyone would want to take risks when there's only $20 at stake. Whether someone wants to spend $0.006/mi or $0.004/mi on oil is all up to them. Just remember frequent oil changes reduce the amount of time foreign material stays in your engine.

    Good luck!
  • num1willisnum1willis Member Posts: 3
    got a quick one, i live on long island were theres too many cars and too few roads. therefore its highly aggressive on the roads. the other day i was driving and had no choice but to floor it. my matrix is at about 400miles. it tach went all the way aboove 6000rpm. i had no choice. what kind of damage is done when you have no choice but to gun it??
  • alshariffalshariff Member Posts: 11
    I wouldn't worry too much about gunning your engine once in a while during the break-in phase. The key is not to keep it running at any one sustained speed for long periods of time. You also don't want to keep the car running about 6000 rpm for extended periods of time. The manufacturer's recommended break in is geared to keep us drivers driving conservatively during break in. Actually, if you read the owner's manual it will say that running at high rpm causes high wear. In reality, you'd have to consistently keep driving at high rev's to shorten engine life.

    We must all remember to enjoy our vehicles (afterall I don't want to believe that you and I paid good money to [non-permissible content removed] foot the car around), and that sometimes means driving them hard for short periods of time.
  • matrix123matrix123 Member Posts: 14

    I just got my Matrix (5-speed, base) about a month ago, and I am having a problem which, I suspect, is related to the clutch.
    About a 10 days ago, after I started driving the car, I could smell something like burning rubber. I asked the dealer about it and they told me that I probably burned the clutch and that I should stop riding the clutch. The problem is - I don't. This is not my first manual transmission vehicle and I never had this problem before. Ever since that time, once in a while I can smell burning rubber while I'm driving. Called the dealer - the same story: don't ride the clutch. Am I doing something wrong with the way I change gears (doing lots of city driving), or is there a mechanical problem with the clutch (or something else)?

    Any answer will be much appreciated.
  • dogtrainerdogtrainer Member Posts: 96
    I don't think even Click and Clack could answer this question as posed. IMO, the thing to do is to take the car in to the dealer and have them look at it. Don't accept "it's probably." Problem is, if the clutch is damaged, you may have a heckofa time getting it repaired under warranty. They'll claim you did it, which is probably true for 99% of these kinds of problems.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Member Posts: 1,391
    The burned smell is from an overheated clutch friction material (basically burning the clutch).

    What are your driving habits (how you drive, how you engage the clutch, etc)?
  • tom3ktom3k Member Posts: 91
    I used Zaino from day one on my '00 Odyssey and the finish still beads after two+ years (just don't have the time like I used to ;-)). Plan to follow the same process on my Matrix (purchased yesterday) this weekend - wash, dry, clay, wash again (yawn), prep and Z2 (as many coats as time allows, hopefully two or three over the course of the first few days).
  • plumberboyplumberboy Member Posts: 1
    Matrix 123, I have also noticed the burning clutch smell with my XRS. Also, like you I have driven numerous vehicles with manual transmissions without incident.

    I brought the vehicle back to the dealership and they looked over the clutch and brakes, both checked out fine. This weekend I smelled the odor for the third time while backing up. I plan to bring the vehicle back and get the dealership to look it over and document the problem once again.

    There are several comments regarding this same issue over at;

  • jeproxjeprox Member Posts: 466
    every new car i've owned always have that smell come out once. it's usually when i go uphill. makes no difference if it's a manual or automatic tranny. strange though that the smell only comes out once. no, i dont floor it going uphill or pull a trailer.

    so far on my 03' corolla, no smell yet. just picked it up last week.

    do any of you find the engine noise on the 03' corolla is a bit loud, specially during warm-up? sounds like an old car! :)
  • vlanman25vlanman25 Member Posts: 49
    I noticed the same smell once on my new 03 Corrola backing up with a high rev (stuck in a depression). Not sure what to make of it, should I be worried?

    Engine noise is fine.. a lot more quiet than the Cavalier it replaced.
    I do have an annoying little creek coming from the rear trunk area. Anyone else noticed this?
  • jeproxjeprox Member Posts: 466
    i have my 03' corolla now for exactly 7 days today and i just noticed this squeak coming from the rear this morning - it happens when i go over a badly paved road.

    about the engine noise, i guess i'm just used to the sienna's silky smooth v6 so i find the corolla a bit loud.
  • alshariffalshariff Member Posts: 11

    Just thought I'd let everyone know, my matrix exhibited this condition for the first few thousand kilometers. I'm now at around 1800 km (11000 mi)and the smells no longer appears. The smells been gone for a long time. I even drive hard (i.e redline whenever I can) and drop the clutch at around 4500 rpm whenever the coasts clear at traffic lights. The only concern I'm starting to run into is, my tires are wearing fast.
  • fgf001fgf001 Member Posts: 98
    I strongly agree with the first oil (and filter) change @ 1000 miles. I broke mine in by the book and changed to sythetic oil at 1K. The combination of completing break in and the synthetic oil worked wonders. The somewhat noisy engine got considerably quieter, had a lot more oomph, and the mileage went through the roof. On the current synth oil I will change @ 5000 miles and 7500 thereafter....perhaps longer with an oil analysis.
  • boilermanboilerman Member Posts: 35
    What type of gas mileage were you getting before the switch to synthetic oil and the gas mileage now? Thanks! What type of oil did you switch to? Thanks again! My 2003 Corolla LE has continued to go down in gas mileage even though I drive the same(conservatively) avg 28 mpg which is lower than most Corolla owners that I know. Mainly interstate also..
  • friendly_jacekfriendly_jacek Member Posts: 96
    I think people getting ~40 mpg drive 55-65 mph on highway. May milage so far (2003 corolla s auto):
    27 (90% city), 27.5 (50% city), 29.5 (80% city). I only credit the last better milage to unusually light acceleration (RPM under 2750) I used recently to test the hypothesis that milage in corolla varies widely with driving style.
    Keep in mind that EPA tests milage at 55 mph (highway). I drive mine at 80-90 mph.
  • fgf001fgf001 Member Posts: 98
    Mileage prior to the changeover was about 25mpg. It now exceeds the EPA sticker for the 5 speed, both city & highway. I'm in Texas so A/C is usually on and I DON'T drive it easy...I've bumped that damn rev limiter (6450RPM) often. You've got to drive 70 or better here to get anywhere! In order to maintain your warranty I would recommend Mobil 1 SS 5W30 or 0W30. It's available practically everywhere, meets/exceeds warranty requirements and is reasonably priced for a top notch synthetic. The Mobil 1 filters are the best although expensive @ $10-12. I credit the synthetic oil for a great deal but the engine just won't be up to it's potential until after the break in...1500+. Mine has consumed zero oil from day one till now @ 2500 miles. Whichever oil you decide to use look for the API SL symbol on the bottle. "SL" is the newest oil designation and your car calls for it. "SJ" is the previous designation, stick with SL.
  • larryrolllarryroll Member Posts: 5
    I just purchased an '03 Corolla LE (automatic) and had no choice but to take it on a
    long (450 mile and return) trip beginning with only 100 miles on the odometer. I also
    had no choice but to drive it at over 55 mph, actually 65 mph, most of the way. If I
    didn't, I would have been killed on the superhighways between Dover, DE and Buffalo,
    NY. I also had to maintain fairly steady 65 mph. All of this, of course, violated the
    owner's manual recommendation of 55 mph and variable speeds for the first 1,000
    miles -- a kind of driving which most people in urban areas simply cannot do.

    Sooo, my question is -- what, if any, damage have I done to my engine? I changed
    the oil and filter for the first time at 1924 miles, and plan to do my usual 3,000 mile
    servicing thereafter. Have I done something which will rob me of maximum life
    from my engine? Have I done something which will affect overall fuel economy,
    which, so far, seems to be outstanding?

    Quite frankly, I think any modern automobile engine which cannot tolerate a
    long distance, steady-speed highway trip from mile number zero and give
    maximum performance, economy, and reliability is somehow lacking. Am I
    right or wrong? In any case, I'd appreciate someone who knows telling me if
    I did my new Corolla any harm.
  • fgf001fgf001 Member Posts: 98
    For what it's worth every new car I've had since 1988 went through no break in procedure...I just ran the hell out of them and have not had one single problem related to break in or the lack thereof. None used oil, all ran perfectly and were sold at the high end of the scale. I did initially change the oil at 500 to 1000 miles in each. IMO you should be fine for many moons to come kemosabe.

    Having said that I broke my '03 LE in by the book. Why? I can't really say, maybe it's that aging thing. BTW the little 1.8l Yota engine responds well to synthetic oil. Aside from better protection and longer change intervals it quiets down considerably and the MPG rises. Try it. I'm glad I did and won't go back to the 3K crawl under the car regimen.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    for under-55 driving and varying speeds is to give the various internal oil seals in the engine a better chance to seat properly...this will reduce internal blow-by, and other unpleasant oil-burning problems, particularly as the engine ages. You have certainly not harmed the engine, but you may have sliced a few miles off the end of its life, in the second or third 100K.

    If you do not keep your cars that long, then it will not affect you at all!

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

  • larryrolllarryroll Member Posts: 5
    I had my first oil change on my '03 Corolla LE done at Jiffy Lube. I chose the Pennzoil dinosaur oil, 5W30, I don't know the service grade (SL or SJ?). Is that oil OK for my Corolla? Should I dump it now and go to a synthetic? Or am I at least good for 3,000 miles? The first change was at 1924 miles, I'm at around 3,000 now, with next change scheduled for 4924 -- which will be quite some time with my typical short commute city driving style. Most of the time the car will be driven barely 10-15 miles a day. I'm seriously thinking of changing to a synthetic and maintaining the 3,000 mile severe service drain/filter change interval. Is this a waste of money, or will it payoff in the long run? My goal with this car is to drive it the long way around from the dealer lot to the junkyard. Then again, I may trade it in two years like I did my '01 Corolla. In any event, I want to do what is necessary to make this machine keep ticking. I love this car and I should be happy with it for a long time to come, but want to make sure I can capitalize on that legendary Toyota reliability and dependability!
  • fgf001fgf001 Member Posts: 98
    They most likely used classification SL but you should make sure next time. Petrol oil changes at 3K are likely overkill but will assure the engine runs well. If you are going to sell/trade the car in two years I can't see any advantage to go synthetic. If you're going to keep it and go synthetic, first change @5000 miles and 7500 from then on will be just fine. Longer intervals are possible but only with oil analysis. Mobil 1 0W30 or 5W30 would be fine and maintain warranty requirements
  • larryrolllarryroll Member Posts: 5

    OK, thanks for the recommendation. I guess what I'll do is stick with the dino oil, but make sure it's service grade SL (the highest). I'm gonna call Jiffy Lube and ask them what theirs is, and if it's not SL, out it goes as soon as I can arrange it. Since my driving is what I'd call "super severe" i.e. very short commutes and mainly city driving, I think I'll maintain the maximum 3,000 mile service interval. Oil is cheaper than an engine (or a car!). I've done this all my life, and have been criticized for throwing good money down the oil drain, but then again, I've never had a lubrication-related engine problem with any car I've owned. In fact, about the only engine trouble I've had is a bad head gasket on my '91 Taurus 3.8L V-6, which came about way after 100K miles.
  • jeproxjeprox Member Posts: 466
    if you plan to change your own oil/filter, make sure you use a funnel when you fill up your motor oil! i got lazy and poured the oil straight from the bottle - spilled a bit! with the big plastic piece covering the valve cover, i had to take off the plastic piece to wipe off the spilled oil.

    i broke the 2 plastic screws holding the plastic cover! take it easy when removing those two plastic screws, very easy to break! good thing i had two spare plastic screws that fits! :)

    next time, i know better! :) this was my first oil change at 5000kms. for my 03' corolla
  • saturnfansaturnfan Member Posts: 40
    Worked for Mobil when Mobil I came out. That time, tests were done on cabs with 25K mile oil changes. Great engines on teardown.

    Guess what. No automaker would allow their warranty to remain in effect with Mobil I extended change intervals. As the previous member mentioned, the cabs run 24/7 burning off most of the oil's impurities.

    That's why the oil needs to be changed frequently even with synthetic oil if a lot of the owner's driving is short trips.
  • toyotalgaltoyotalgal Member Posts: 13
    I have a 2001 Corolla LE - it's been a great little car so far - no problems - my next scheduled service is for the 15,000 mile service - the manual does not recommend changing the air filter or fuel filter but a website (not for Toyotas specifically) recommended changing these filters at 15,000 miles - should I ask at the dealership for this to be done or is this not necessary? Thanks
  • fgf001fgf001 Member Posts: 98
    To change them that early is premature unless there is a problem indicating change is needed. Go by the manual and you'll be fine.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    does not recommend any routine fuel filter changes on its fuel injected cars. Air filter is at 30K unless you have severe driving like always on dirt roads.

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

  • alkoalko Member Posts: 13
    I just changed oil in my 2003 Corolla for a first
    time and noticed that if I use the amount of oil recommended by User Manual (that is, 3.9qt)
    the oil probe stick (or whatever they call it) shows oil level _WELL_ ABOVE the upper limit mark.
    Looks like this engine actually requires 3.1qt (for oil level to be approximately in the middle between the low/high marks).

    Now I wonder who should I trust - User Manual or the Oil probe stick?.....
  • alkoalko Member Posts: 13
    Does 2003 Corolla really requires a gasket for the oil drain plug? There was not any when I un-screwed the plug... If it does require a gasket
    - what type of gasket should it be (metal, fyber, other?).
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    the amount of oil shown in the manual is what you should believe, end of story.

    By the way, that amount will include the oil in the filter, so if you just drain and refill it, the level will be too high. If you also change the filter, but do not run the engine before checking the level, it will also appear too high. You should change oil and filter, then refill, then run engine, then stop it and wait 2-3 minutes for all oil to drain back to the oil pan, then check the level. If it is STILL wrong, your dipstick may be marked wrong - they occasionally are - you can have it checked at your local dealer.

    Yes, there is a drain plug gasket - it is hard rubber if memory serves. You can get a bunch from the dealer for about $0.80 apiece.

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

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