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Toyota Corolla Maintenance and Repair



  • dogtrainerdogtrainer Posts: 96
    Time to call in the zone rep. No dealer should ever tell you to go back to the dealer where you bought the car. All Toyota dealers are obligated to honor the warranty and they get paid by Toyota for everything they do.
  • mtyfmtyf Posts: 19
    I'm not sure if your question about the not-opening door got answered, and I'm not sure if this will help, but here goes. My friend just had some body work done on his car because of a minor accident, and as a result the rear driver's side door was really sticky opening from the outside, impossible to open from the inside. He took it back and found out it had something to do with the childproof locks on the doors, guess something got 'switched on' or clicked into place when they were fixing it. I don't know if that might have anything to do with your door problem?
  • zukhovzukhov Posts: 34
    I have noticed that the 'door open' light often stays on after having closed the hatch. Seems like you really have to slam it. Has anyone else found this to be the case? Anything I can do about it?

    Received a dealer installed alarm with the 2 factory remotes. With one of the remotes, you can press 'unlock' once for the 1 door, and it's fine. If you try the 2nd 'unclock' for all of the doors, it detects an intrusion and gives warning chirps. The other remote works fine. Guess I'll go back to the dealer for that one.
  • dogtrainerdogtrainer Posts: 96
    I've had two instances when the door open light has come on while I'm driving. In both cases, I was able to turn it off by slamming the hatch. I'm not sure if I didn't close it tightly and a susequent bump made it release, or if the switch needs adjusting. I'll watch it for a while yet.
  • sxw8615sxw8615 Posts: 1
    I have the exact same problem as you had with your corolla. I checked the car with the dealer and get the answer "no problem with seat belt". What a shame. I decided to fix it my own self. Here is the step:
    1) takle off the plastic plan covered the seat belt retractor. I suggest to peel the plastic cover near the bottom of the door of driver side. Be carefuuly. The plastic panel is fixed by plastic clips that are easily broken.
    2) Remove the U sharped small frame above seat belt retractor. This frame is fixed by three bolts.
    3) Loose two bolts that fixes the retractor. However you can't take the retractor too far away since it is connected by two groups of electrical line. One is white and the other is yellow. The white one can be separated by the yellow one probably can't be separated at least that I can't find solution to do that.
    4) Near whith group of electrical line, there is a round plastic cover. This cover has to be tight to the nearby in order to trigger the switch of retractor. If you feel interested, you can get this cover off. But I suggest to leave it alone.
    5) Use a tape to tight the plastic cover with nearby plastic stuff and make sure it won't be loose again.

    I had successfully fix the problem with my car.
    Go luck.
  • flootfloot Posts: 22
    I purchased a 2002 Corolla in October 2001. The car now has 7400 miles on it and is driven primarily in city traffic.

    I had my tires rotated (Goodyear Integrity tires) for the first time at the end of June and noticed that the tires that were on the front (now on the rear) show definite wear on the outside edges. The inside edges appear fine. Toyota recommends 30 psi for all tires; I keep them at 32 psi.

    Does this sound like an alignment problem? On a straight road, I can let go of the steering wheel and count off three seconds before the car veers to the right.

    Thanks for your help!
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    - that's where I'd start. Generally, I like to rotate tires at shorter intervals than this, no more than 5000 miles on a front drive car.

    On our '03 Corolla, with 3500 miles, there is no discernable wear on the same brand tires [different size, of course]. The Firestones on my mother-in-law's '98 are in excellent shape at 15000 miles [same chassis as yours], but then I rotate tires on both cars at about 2500 mile intervals - easy to do with floor jacks and a torque wrench, takes less than a half hour to do all four. Her car seems to track well, and pressures have been 30-32 psi. I would indeed have a look at the alignment before the tires get chewed to pieces.
  • flootfloot Posts: 22
    According to one of the owner's manuals I have, alignment and wheel balancing are covered under warranty for 20K miles or 12 months, so I'm hoping this will be a freebie from the dealer.

    Much appreciation for the quick response.
  • Matrixchick1, Bilder, and anyone else: Not sure if some people's gauge cluster pods were making noise from different places but I finally found where my scratchy sound was coming from. Pull the gauge cluster cover straight out (feels like your going to break it but it just clips in) and you will see a piece of the plexiglass which covers the speedo. At the bottom of this piece there is a guide piece that sticks straight out. Find where this piece lines up on the backside of the cluster. You will see that there are two plastic guides on the matching point on the inside of the cluster. Using a razor blade - cut away the plastic guides on the cluster. You will find it a little difficult because the area is curved but if you remove enought of these little guides they won't touch the piece of plexiglass that covers the speedometer. Snap the cluster back in place and no more squeak. Another fix I've heard about is to completely cut off the piece that sticks out on the speedo plexiglass cover. Email me at if you have any questions about this process. Good luck!
  • mbbstimsmbbstims Posts: 16
    I bought a 2003 Corolla CE.It is the first car I have owned with AC.On a recent long trip the AC started to become weaker into the trip.After 3 or 4 hours the AC air was so warm it was ineffective so I shut it off.The unit had to stay off for a few hours before I was able to get cold air again.The outside temp.was in the mid 90s and very humid.
    Is this normal for AC to work this way? Anybody else with similar problems? Should I take it in for warranty service?

  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    No, it's most certainly not normal. Our '03 has very effective AC; assuming you didn't accidently hit the compressor switch, there is obviously something wrong. If the symptoms repeat, get it to a dealer ASAP.
  • Finally Got buzzing rattling noise from the instrument panel fixed. Called zone support and i got him to follow socal_racefan's instruction and no more noises. Thanks Alot Socal_Racefan & Footie! Owe Ya One ! Bilder i reccommend you do the same thing. Good Luck!

    Thanks Again So Much!
  • I would just like some opinions on it. When I test drove it I thought it handled well. My only concern is that I'm used to a much bigger car and I worry about the safety of a smaller car. Has anyone ever gotten into any accidents with this car? Does the car live up to it's reputation of being safe? Any opinions would be appreciated. Oh, and I am planning on getting one with ABS.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...but I'm not planning on hitting anything to find out. Since the structure is all-new, bigger, stiffer, and better in every conceivable way than its predecessor, that was enough for me. Crash test results haven't been published yet, but I'm confident this car will do as well or better than anything in this class.

    Since it has been on the road less than 6 months, it's a little early for much anecdotal evidence about crash worthiness. Size is not all there is to this question, in any case; computer-aided design tools now make this much more of a science than the black art it was in the old days.

    I've owned and enjoyed driving [with no special worries] everything from a '61 Beetle to state-of-the-art MB E and S class cars. I guess I've never equated car size with safety, per se. Seat belts are another matter - I had them installed in cars in the '60s when no one was offering them, and used shoulder harnesses before 3-point belts became common.
  • yyiyyi Posts: 1
    I just got my 2003 Corolla S last Friday. While examining the engine, I found that it was vibarating pretty obviously. The dealer showed me 2 2003 Corolla CE and they had no problem with the engine, but when they started another S, it had the same vibrating problem. I could feel the vibration mostly when I am at a stop light, although I had no problem driving at whatever speed. The dealer said that the engines of the S have no problem and CE's are a little different from S so that why their engines don't vibrate. I feel uneasy about it though, because all Corolla's have the same engines. Why would it just be S that has a vibrating engine?
    Does anyone have the same finding or a good explanation of the vibrating engine? Or it's just my dealer happened to get two crappy S?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...possibly be talking about. This engine should be butter smooth and completely unobtrusive at idle once it's warm. And it was an S that sold me on this car, notwithstanding the fact that we bought an LE, because at the time, a manual trans S was all he had available to drive.

    Could be an engine mount problem - if so, this is a new one on me - our March-built NUMMI LE is just fine.
  • terceltom1terceltom1 Posts: 150
    Can anyone with a "00" to "02" Corolla help me out with some feedback? It seems that my "01" Corolla gets wet under all four doors after rain or washing on the plastic strip that you actually step over to get in the car. This is the strip that is around 3 to 4 inches wide that extends to cover the actual car body directly under each door (when closed). It seems to me that this location is actually on the inside of the weather stripping and should not get wet but strangely enough it happens under all four doors. so I'm wondering if it is normal. Does anyone else see this happening?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...nothing to worry about. The area you describe is in fact outside the door seals that keep it from penetrating the cabin.
  • Hello fellow corolla owners,

    Took the 2003 toyota corolla in today for her first oil change. The manual states that she needs 5w30 oil. However, when I looked over the reciept for the oil change, I saw that 10w30 was used. I advised the service manager that my vehicle requires 5w30,but he reassured me that 10w30 is better for my corolla. Is he right?
  • britton2britton2 Posts: 305
    In my '01 Corolla my dealership also puts in 10W30 even though 5W30 is recommended in the manual - I haven't questioned it (yet) - just figure they know what they're doing.
  • iwphilliwphill Posts: 48
    For those of you having problems with the little compartment beneath the shifter popping open, I think I found a solution. I had a small roll of the foam rubber seal and used that to fix it.

    On mine, the bin was loose which was preventing the latch from catching, causing the bin to pop open all the time. Pull out the bin, and cut a couple small pieces of the foam ($2-ish for a roll at Home Depot, 3/8" thick)and stick them at the base of where the bottom of the bin would come down on it, and then put the bin back in and voila! Takes about 30 seconds, and the bin no longer pops open.
  • eric105eric105 Posts: 8
    10w-30 is ok. 5w-30 will give you a little better milage maybe, as well as better starting protection in cold weather, but it's marginal. Whats more inportant is what kind they put in. I would go with a group 4 synthetic as it helps with sludge better but thats expensive if you change every 5k miles.
  • 914914 Posts: 15
    Shamgotti - When I have oil changes done at the dealer (When I am not doing them myself), I bring in four quarts of the oil I want them to use. That way I know (And watch) exactly what oil I am getting in my car. Who knows what kind of oil - brand/weight - the dealer is pumping? And as an added bonus, you will save $$ on the bill. Regards.
  • Three times in the past four years I've been stranded when my battery went dead. Each time, the mechanics blamed a bad alternator and swapped in a rebuilt one. Now my battery light is coming on and off intermittently (sometimes when I accelerate sharply; sometimes after turning; sometimes when I'm stopped and idling at a traffic lighter after 20 minutes at over 50 mph).

    The mechanics have tested the battery, the alternator output and the belts and say they can find nothing wrong. I'm still afraid of being stranded. Any ideas?
  • scnamescname Posts: 296
    rebuilt alternators are no good, they last exactly one year and 1 day when warranty expires. Get a Toyota alternator.
  • Yeah, but I'm also wondering if the electrical system has some other problem that's causing all these alternators to fail. Any ideas?
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    alternators: Believe it or not, Toyota alternators are rebuilt (remanufactured) alternators also. The only time they are new, is when the car is assembled. Something is causing the voltage regulator to blow (which the regular is internal) as dave594 said, a complete check is required.

    oil weights: Changing it yourself is even less expensive. When winter hits, make sure it's 5w30. The oil pumps better than 10w30, so you get less wear at startup.
  • Have a black '03 XR with 750 mi on it and I've noticed the following:

    * Center stowage bin under shifter is impossible to open without using two hands
    * Low frequency vibration from front passenger side of car during medium acceleration from 0mph (dealer is clueless)
    * A/C is weaker than the base model Chevy Cavalier Toyota rented me while they fix things. A/C is like two two-year-olds blowing air in my face. Can't hardly feel it.
    * MPG is 1/3 what the Toyota thinks it should be (12/15 to 15/18)
    * I had it tinted, and the rear windows had resistence the first time they went down. No problems since.
    * Strange rattle from rear of car, sounds like the rear wiper gear box
    * Paint chips and scratches in front of car when I picked it up (it had to be DRIVEN, not put on a truck, from another dealership) -- dealer is paying to have a body shop PULL THE BUMPER to repain. My car will likely never be the same.
    * CD player is loud, I can hear it spinning, tracking, etc.
    * Turning radius was bragged to be "inside two lanes of traffic" -- try three or four
    * I had rust on my tailpipe when it was delivered (with 115mi on it)
    * Tonneau cover is one of the better jokes I've seen in recent years. Sags in the middle. Rebuilt one out of 1/2" MDF and aluminum and secured it with bolts.
    * Tore up the front bottom of the bumper after *slowly* driving into a driveway at a slight angle. Scraped the bottom. No way. Even the $2 Kia's have plastic skirts on the bottom to protect from that sort of thing.
    * Did I mention my A/C is weak and my gas mileage stinks?

    Overall I must say I do like the car, but I have learned a lot about buying a new car. Next time I won't get screwed on the nonsense items like a read cargo mat, "Permacoat" aka car wax, etc. So far I've had it in to the dealer twice. I get the impression I am an annoyance and not a customer. I don't like feeling that way. I'll likely take the car to a different (more reputable) dealer for all future work. I though I might have break-in oil in the engine that was bogging it down, but coworkers have new Corolla's and they've been getting 30+ MPG from the day they drove it off the showroom floor. To be fair, I get "ok" mileage when the A/C is off and horrible mileage with it on. And with a black car in California A/C isn't exactly something you turn off.

    Should I have the dealer look into the gas mileage thing, or is my engine still "breaking in?"

  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    i do find the 03' corolla (engine) a bit noisier/louder than other cars, specially during the warm-up period. from the articles i read, most of them mentioned the engine being loud. it could also be that i'm used to the sienna's smooth v6 so i'm complaining about the corolla's engine. :)

    "jasonwagner", you made this statement "And with a black car in California A/C isn't exactly something you turn off."... i've heard this before about black colored cars somehow attracts heat more than other colors! i find this strange and i was just wondering if there is any truth to this at all. i've heard about the same thing with wearing black colored shirts! :)
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    since i got the car a week ago, i noticed that each time i start the engine - the RPM would go up to about 2,000rpm when engine is hot and about 2500+rpm when the engine is cold. it feels like as if someone just stepped on the gas pedal real quick and let go. the rpm would quickly go up and also quickly come down.

    anyone of you noticed this with your 03' 5speed corolla? i just find it strange coz it really sound like someone revved the engine quickly and let go.

    i haven't owned a 4 cylinder car in a good 5 yrs. at least. so maybe this is why i'm noticing all these things with the 4 cylinder corolla.
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