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Toyota Corolla Maintenance and Repair



  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...have it your way. Call in the regional service rep if you don't trust the dealer, or find another dealer.
  • behhppbehhpp Posts: 51
    My corolla stinks too. Didn't notice it when car was new and ran AC on the recirculate mode, but I smell it now as outside air gets in the car. It is really bad. Makes no difference what brand of gas I buy. Is there a fix for this that anyone has found?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    I will repeat: depending on where you live in the nation, this can be an ongoing problem that varies with the source of the crude that was used to refine your gasoline. It is a common complaint across all makes of cars, not just Toyota [I follow many makes online, and this happens all the time].

    We have never had this problem since going to RFG in our CA cars, including our '03 Corolla. Your profile gives me no clue as to your location, but I will bet it is not in an RFG state.

    The catalytic converters in these cars [to achieve ULEV certification] do NOT like sulfur at the levels that some refiners can still legally get by with. Complain to your Congressperson about the ridiculous amount of leeway that the current law gives the oil companies to get the sulfur out of our motor fuel. This issue was settled in Europe many moons ago. We will have to wait years more for the current law to solve this problem nationwide in the USA. It is also why we can't use the clean diesel technology that is widespread in Europe - the crap that gets sold as diesel in most of this country is poison for the emissions systems.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636

    In order to validate this as a 'it's the gas' problem per jrtc9454 suggests, go to your Toyota dealership where you bought your car and go test drive about 3 or 4 used Toyotas on the lot. Tell them you are shopping for your college kids, or if you are too young, you are shopping for your Mom.

    If they stink with the windows down like jrtc says, hey, then maybe it is the gas in your area.

    You can also try Toyotas at another dealership to cross check.

    If the cars you test drive don't stink, then your car has a problem. If the dealership doesn't deal with it and fix it, put them and Toyota on a lemon law "3 strikes and you are out" plan.

    Hydrogen Sulfide is a culprit the stink. It's chemical formula is H2S. It mixes with H20 (water vapor in the air) to give H2SO3 and H2S04, which are known as sulfuric acid. Long exposure to it isn't probably very good for you or your car. In areas of the country where high sulfur coal has been burned, it creates what's called acid rain.

    Good luck!
  • Because none of the other cars in our family, besides the 2003 Corolla and Matrix, are experiencing this problem, I'm convinced it is a design flaw within the car itself, and not a problem with the gasoline.

    As for going to another dealer to resolve the problem, I believe the dealership is saying exactly what they have been instructed to say. I don't believe they have been given any kind of notice from Toyota Motor Sales USA as to a way to correct the problem. And, until a number of displeased Corolla customers go on record, there won't be any effort to correct the problem.

    Right now, I am communicating with Toyota Motor Sales USA. In the past, they have always come up with a solution for me. I'll keep you posted.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    to those of you who owns 03' corolla and this may apply to matrix owners too...

    if you look under your steering wheel, sort of under the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock position - you will see a hole on each side. do you have plugs covering these 2 holes? if look closely, you will see a screw/bolt inside. i just find it strange that toyota didnt put plugs to cover the holes.

    my dealer said they dont know if those holes are left open on purpose or supposed to have plugs there.
  • H2S has an extremely strong rotten egg smell. However, H2S does not react with water to produce H2SO3, SO2 does this trick. H2S is water soluble, though. Because most cars do not stink like rotten eggs, sulfur in the fuel is usually burnt to SO2, which contributes to acid rain indeed. Only rare cars (and not just Toyotas as jrct noticed) emit significant amounts of H2S. Interestingly, H2S is a flammable gas, so it should be burnt to SO2 and H2O in the cylinders or catalytic converter. The central issue is what conditions of engine, converter, or exhaust allow for this incomplete combustion of sulfur/sulfates?
    And this is where I have no idea.
    Based on an anecdotal story that converter replacement helped a previous poster here, one could assume that defective converter is the culprit. I bet that the converters are made by part suppliers and not by car manufacturer (but I don’t know for sure). Since converters contain precious metals (palladium I believe), it is easy to assume that the makers try to put as little of the good staff as possible to cut costs. But again, this is a speculation.
    One more disclaimer: my chemistry knowledge bases on a high school course, so do not quote me in you correspondence to Toyota (and no, my 2003S does not smell like rotten eggs, not yet ;-)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    do you mean where the cruise stalk comes through? That is what is at the 3:00 position on my steering wheel, just under it. At 9:00 there is a little plastic cover on a hole.

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

  • I am sorry, but I personally have problems with your advice Re: sulfur and milage.

    There is a guy with only one car (of many) with H2S emission problem. He is being blamed for buying wrong type of gas with high sulfur content, even though he tried different brands and his other cars using same fuel do not stink. If lax US fuel sulfur regulations are to blame for H2S emission problem, how come our roads don’t stink like rotten eggs? Don’t get me wrong, sulfur in fuel and acid rain are big problems, but would not account for the fact that same cars stink regardless of fuel brand and others just don’t.
    You almost sound like a doctor seeing a psychotic patient and saying “it is just in your head.”

    The other issue. Nowadays, most people do not see any difference in mileage after break in period. I didn’t, other posters didn’t. Unless you experience clearly indicates otherwise, I see no sense in repeating this old truism, which is apparently not true anymore. Perhaps it was true in the past when the first oil change was needed after 500 miles and the used oil was full of metal shavings.

    Irct, do you work for Toyota? You advice sounds exactly like the advice people are getting in the dealerships.

  • zukhovzukhov Posts: 34
    I've owned a cosmic blue XR Matrix for 3 months now. Overall, a fine drive that I highly recommend. I have noticed very annoying creaking sounds from the dash area. It seems to happen with the cold weather. Looks like the cold weather caused materials to contract/expand etc...I can't quite figure out whether it's the dash or the windshield yet. Very annoying as I said. Any bumps or ruts in the road, and the creaking/cliking sound emanates from the dash area.

    Do any other Matrix owners share this problem?
  • Go back in time on the posts. A few others had problems with squeeky dashes, I personaly haven't had any problems, maybe 1 or 2 squeeks. There was a fix with the clips on the dash being shaved down or something like that.

    Up to 23,000 km on my XR, no major problems, love my car!!!!!!!!!!
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    no, not where the cruise stalk comes out from.
    on the steering wheel, at 9 and 3 o'clock position... look sort of under or if you turn your steering wheel to the right/left, you will see 2 small holes at 9 and 3 o'clock. the holes are about half an inch in diameter and not covered.

    you mentioned u saw this hole at 9 o'clock that is covered, probably the same hole i'm talking about. look on the other side and there's another one there.

    on my car and many other corollas i saw, the two holes are not covered!
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    Which Toyota owns a good chunk of.

    If you go back a million posts, back to the April to May 02 dates....many said the rotten egg smell goes away after a few hundred miles.
  • I'm not really good with cars and I just got my 03 corolla LE auto, so I hope you kind people can spare me some advice. My question is in regards with air conditioning. Imagine being stuck on a traffic,your on Drive and your stepping on your breaks. While I have my AC on, it seems like there's a small jolt every 15 seconds and feels like the car is literally gasping for air and moving a few centimeters forward (even i'm stepping on the breaks hard enough). This doesn't happen when i have my AC off. Hope you guys and gals can shed me some knowledge as to whethere this is normal or something to be checked out. Thank you.
  • Silv3rrice, yes I know what you mean. It is a very slight lurch. I had it on a 1991 Corolla and also now on my Matrix XR. I believe it is caused by the a/c compressor clutch engaging and disengaging. I've had other cars - Altima, Caravan, Windstar, etc - and they did not do this. Might be a Toyota "feature"?
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    my sienna have the same problem you described. yes it happens and yes its normal.

    this happens everytime when your compressor kicks in to maintain the cool temp. you will notice this happen more when the weather is really hot and your a/c is on. when the compressor kicks in, your RPM rises... its like you stepped on your gas a bit so your car inches forward if its in gear. this happens only on cars with auto tranny.
    you will notice this more if your car is a 4 cylinder. if you have a v6 or v8, you wont notice it very much unless you look at your RPM gauge.

    now you know what is going on... all you do is when your a/c is on and each time you come to a complete stop, make sure you step on your brakes firmly. this will solve your problem of the car inching forward.
  • Thanks guys for the advice. I'm due for my first check up for the car, I'll sure mention it to the dealer too when I go there. Again thanks a million.
  • zukhovzukhov Posts: 34
    Thanks for the advise Leaf man. By the the way those Leafs have no where to go but up right now. Going to see them at the ACC on monday. Sorry for the diversion.
    I've seen the previous posts re a scratching noise that comes from the speedomitor housing. This is defenitely not it. A sort of cracking sound. It may be coming from the windshield itself, and has only happened since it got colder. Less annoying, but there is: A slight vibration in the driver's side window at certain RPM when it's closed, a slightly squeeky clutch when cold, glove compartment makes a noise over big bumps, and a buzzing vibration at certain RPM that seems to be coming from the front passenger side speaker cover area. I'm a bit picky with noises, especially with a brand new car. Otherwise, I love it.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    the door makes noise when I drive over rough pavement. Apparently, this is because they now use a cable to connect the door pull to the actual latch, rather than a steel rod like they used to. This cable is not taut when it is not in use, and can slap against the metal reinforcement panel when you drive along, making a rattling sound. They pulled my door panel off and insulated the cable, and voila! Noise (mostly) gone!

    Also, apparently, it is very common for rattle/buzz to occur at speaker covers, and for a buzz to occur in upper dash area at certain engine RPMs. The master tech I had riding with me said there was no fix for these yet, but a certain amount of buzzing and even a little squeaking was to be expected from such an extensive use of plastic.

    Check the kick panel in the footwell - passenger and driver side - it can be loosely installed and will buzz at certain engine speeds as well.

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

  • I own a 2003 Corolla and have a metal on metal banging/rattling noise coming from the front end of the car whenever I hit a sharp bump such as a pothole. After almost 3 months of taking the car back and forth to the dealership, it has been diagnosed by Toyota as a design issue with the front strut mount. The part has recently been re-manufactured and I am waiting to have it installed on the car. Hopefully this will fix the problem. Is anyone else experiencing the same difficulty?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...not on our car, but on at least one other whose owner has posted on this board. There was a "homemade" solution at the time that a particularly clever dealer tech worked out, but it sounds like now there is something more "formal" available from the factory.
  • gcboyd1gcboyd1 Posts: 11
    I have 10,500 miles on my 03 CE. I've got the rattle above the instrument cluster, one on the passenger side of the dash near the front window, multiple creaking noises from behind the center console, etc. They're minor, but they're present. Do I trust the Toyota service techs to dismantle the dash and put it back together? Or do I chalk it up to the price of so much plastic? I have a rattle in the door that I'm not too worried about, since I can stomach removing the door panel. But the dash worries me. I don't want it to get worse. Comments?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I have decided to chalk it up to the inevitable downside of so much plastic. I certainly don't think that pulling out the dash will ultimately benefit me - they never go back in as well as they came out, and then there will be ten NEW squeaks and rattles!

    I think squeaks and rattles are inherent in a design that uses this much plastic. That is to say, I don't think they can really be "fixed". Nothing is out of order to cause them in the first place. They probably will get worse as everything on the interior loosens up.

    For me, cars are a long-term investment usually, so I will grit my teeth and keep it a while because I do expect to have the longevity of Toyota engineering, but this may be a factor in the next new car NOT being a Toyota.

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

  • A question. When I took a delivery of my 2003 Corolla S, there were rubber plugs in the glove box with the following description “IMPORTANT To the pre-delivery inspector: insert these rubber plugs into the holes of the center floor side member extensions”. When I brought it up to my salesman, he replied that these are just spare ones. This was a lie, no plugs were installed. The service manager had a different story; cars in South (I live in Southeast) should not have the plug installed because it may facilitate corrosion (sic) by keeping moisture inside. I suspect that people working at Toyota dealerships make up stuff as they go, but I wanted to know if anybody (especially in south US) has similar experience with these uninstalled plugs. Thanks a lot.
  • tolyp1tolyp1 Posts: 1
    I also live in the southeast and had the very same set of plugs in my glove box when I took delivery of my corolla. I figured out where they went under the car based on the picture on the bag they were in. I found the holes and plugged them in. I really dont know what those things are supposed to do but...........facilitate corrosion?????? I dont think so. Corrosion of what imparticular? Sounds like a bunch of hogwash to me. They were obviously put in the glove box for a reason.
  • Hi I just got my 2003 Corolla LE and it comes with power door lock. Question: Should it automatically lock the door once I drive the car? Mine is not doing so. Can someone tell me if there is something wrong with my power lock or LE doesn't have this feature.

  • fgf001fgf001 Posts: 98
    It does not lock the doors automatically. Nothing is wrong.
  • dynoludynolu Posts: 5
    In my '03 Corolla, there's an annoying vibration/rattling from the front left that seems to be coming from the dashboard, apparent at low to moderate speeds. Anyone else experiencing the same?
  • gcboyd1gcboyd1 Posts: 11
    my thoughts exactly. My 93 geo prizm developed a rattle in the dash at about 65,000 miles, so I'm disappointed to say the least. I don't know that this toyota is going to be such a long term investment for me, either.

    Nice to know I'm not alone.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    If this thing developed rattles at 65K, I could forgive it, because that is a fair number of miles under the wheels.

    Imagine your car rattling and squeaking like a ten-year-old right from driving it off the dealer's lot!

    On all these little cars, they use a ton of plastic, both to keep the price down, and because it is light and therefore efficient. But I think in recent years, Toyota has gone a little overboard. I have a couple of rattles that aren't even drowned out by the stereo unless it is pretty loud...

    Problem is, I think most of the compacts and subcompacts out there are like this. I think the notable exception is Jetta and Beetle, BUT UNFORTUNATELY in those vehicles, buttons will begin to break off at 25K, the windows will quit at 40K, the electricals will be shot at 50K, and the transmission will quit at 75K. At least the Toyotas do not have these type of problems. While they may be annoying, they are cheap to own and operate.

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

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