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Toyota Corolla Maintenance and Repair



  • Those people who have posted about the sulfur smell in the Corolla, would they please post what State thay are from? I'm trying to see where people seem to have the problem and where people do not. I am from N.Y.S. and test drove the '03 Corolla and did not notice the smell. I suspect because N.Y.S. has low sulfur in their gas.
  • I'm from Brooklyn, NY. I bought my Corolla here in Brooklyn, but I get my gas mostly from NJ because of cheaper gas prices in NJ. I didn't notice the smell in the beginning either, but lately, I smell it but after a while it goes away. I haven't taken it back to the dealer yet to see what they can do.
  • I live in Stafford, Virginia and I periodically had a sulfur smell -- about once every 3 days. As an experiment, I recently switched to 89 octane, which seems to have worked. I've only had the smell once in two weeks.
  • We're from Atlanta, Ga. Have tried lots of different brands of gas, but they all stink. It seems smelliest when I pull up to a stoplight. I took it to the dealer, and, for some reason, could not replicate the problem that day. Ugh! People say I should try premium gas, but I did not buy a corolla to use premium gas!
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Gagwagon is a great name but it should apply to the Matrix since it is functionally the Corolla wagon and some of them have the problem.

    How about gag a rolla for the sedan?

    It's the Toyota word for stinks while moving! Pass it on!

    I bet we can get custom bumper stickers done! Get them in either swamp gas green or lemon yellow!

    Mean me!
  • I've had it with Toyota. I've averaged 23 highway MPG since I got the 2003 Corolla. I took it to the dealership, where I was told they don't warranty MPG. They wouldn't comment if 23 MPG highway was normal, which isn't I guess, if it was a Cadillac. Plus I get the sewer to boot. Boy am I pissed, the biggest reason I bought the Corolla was for the gas mileage since I drive 80 highway miles a day. Toyota couldn't care less either. Here's a tip for anyone concidering buying a Corolla, RUN as fast as you can till they decide to fix the problem. Don't hold your breathj though.
  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    Can you folks with the stench comment on your mpg?

    Just trying to see if bad smell = bad gas mileage.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    i get this smell (more like gas) when the car is cold, the smoke coming out of the tailpipe is white. after the engine warms up, smell is completely gone. doesn't bother me that much. same thing with my sienna van and even my sister's camry.

    dont know if this is the smell you guys are referring to.
  • I'm in Texas. We consider 50 as a cold weather here. I have sulfur smell on a cold start. But I turn off outside air flow and don't smell it. I'm turning it back on after car warms up. I'm averaging 27 Mpg on 50/50 driving. I visited Dealership with this problem and they changed air flow meter. But it didn't help. My Corolla LE came from Japan. I think converter is a real problem.
  • My 2003 Corolla has the sulfur smell, I live in COLD WEATHER now and my MPG is around 24 and I drive conservative, 80 percent interstate driving, short idle periods also. Sulfur , cold weather makes for BAD MPG..... Car has been back to the dealership .. same old Toyota story.. They do not even admit a problem... bunch of jerks they are!
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    any car uses more gas during colder weather as it takes longer for the engine to warm up. can't really blame this on the car manufacturer. just like my sienna, i use more gas driving the vehicle between short distances - more so during cold weather.
  • With all the notes on poor mileage on the new 2003 Corolla, let me chime in that lately my mileage on my 98 Corolla has been awful. For years it has remained above 30 mpg even with primarily city driving. Recently it has dropped to 21-24 mpg. The injectors are clean and no apparent engine problems. Replaced plugs, cleaned throttle body, and replaced air filter.

    Strange...have the refiners changed the gas formulation perhaps??
  • dcddcd Posts: 25
    For those wondering what this problem is, it is bad! You will know if you have it. I test drove an 03 CE built in Japan with 350 miles on it. The interior smelled like a stink bomb before I even started it. After the 10 mile or so test drive, I got used to it. But when I parked and turned engine off, the cabin filled up with Sulfur aroma. The salesman said it was because the car was new, and it would go away. I still tried to negotiate a deal, and they would not come off MSRP. I drove down the street and bought a Civic.
  • Congratulations! VERY SMART MOVE! The sulfur problem DOES NOT go away! Toyota and their dealerships have been lying and lying about this problem! They do not admit the 2003 Corolla has ANY problems! Sulfur and poor gas mileage is VERY COMMON in the 2003 Corolla, especially in cold weather!This is coming from a 6 time Toyota owner, but this 2003 Corolla will be the LAST Toyota! Good luck with the Honda!
  • hurler4hurler4 Posts: 104
    Does anyone know of a solution to the glare that comes from the rings around the gauges in the Matrix? I am thinking of buying a Matrix, but am prone to migraines from light glare. I’d be really upset if I bought the car, then realize that I am getting migraines all the time from the glare!
    Does Toyota have black or matte versions of the rings? Or has anyone out there tried anything that has worked? So many people I talk to who have the Matrix or Vibe say it can be very irritating to deal with.
  • canoe2canoe2 Posts: 128
    Have been cold days (below -25C) in last weeks.
    It proves out the fix I made for speedo noise it works (see message #825).
  • I love my Matrix but the gas and brake pedals are too high for me, causing serious pain in feet, legs and lower back. Toyota service mgr said there is no adjustment, nor can the seat be moved higher. The hatch door does not open high enough for me; I keep hitting my head and shoulder on it. Car only has 1100 miles on it, but will be sold soon unless a solution is found. By the way, I am only 5 ft. 5" tall. Anyone else have these problems?
  • I am 6 ft tall and have no problem at all fitting in my Matrix. The only problem I have is how close to pedals are (I wear a size 13 shoe....problem in all cars but not trucks). The rear hatch height isn't a problem either. I just perform a slight "ducking" manuver. I love my car. I have had it 3 months and it brings a smile to my face every time I rev it to 8K RPM's. I don't race my car or anything silly. I am past my "hey look at me days". I am 25 and use my Matrix XRS as my "fun" car. My everyday car is a company issued Pontiac Aztek.
  • I am currently driving an 03 corolla LE with a five speed transmission. I love the car when it doesn't smell like dirty farts Also I was wondering if anyone else that has a five speed corolla hears a rubbing noise when releasing the clutch the car has 15000k's on it and I will be amazed if the clutch is already shot in it. If anyone else hears this rubbing noise mostly when switching to reverse, please reply or if anyone has any suggestions on what the noise might be please reply.
  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    I hope the mpg gets better than my current 27mpg in mixed driving, in warmer weather.

    I think thaw the MTBE stuff lowers mpg, although Gas Co denies that.

    My '89 Corolla mpg did not vary much until the MTBE came around in the early 90's.

    I still get about 28 mpg (EPA was 27/30) with the 1.6 carb, at I think 90hp.

    Vibe gets me 27 in the same commute (EPA = 28/33)
    1.8 FI with 130hp.

    I'm trying to stay below 75mph on the highway in the next few tanks to see if it goes up.

    Also noted that the RPM's goes from 2500 to 2200 to 2000 from 75mph to 65mph to 55mph.

    Technically, I should see a 5mpg increase if I drive closer to 55mph, but that will never happen...
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    not sure how you came to that "technical" conclusion, but if you routinely go 55 versus 75, you will definitely improve by a couple of mpg.

    the '89 weighed about 400 pounds less, and had a lower profile for better aerodynamics, so it had advantages in the fuel economy game that the Vibe/Matrix doesn't have.

    suzysubaru: I never use the hatch door, always use the glass window, so I don't know about that, but you can "tip" the driver's seat bottom back and forward, so it might help to tip the front higher - this will bend your leg more and have the effect of moving the pedals "further away".

    Of course, I am 5'9" and have no problem even with the seat tipped forward.

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

  • Thank you all who have posted comments about where they live. After talking to a mechanic friend and checking out the EPA web site, it looks like every state except California will have problems with the Sulfur smell. California is the ONLY state with low sulfur content. Therefore, EVERYONE else should experience this problem. I aked Toyota about this and they said automobile manfactures are not required to provide a system to handle sulfur content in gasoline. Well, aperantly they did when the 2003 model Corolla has problems and previous models do not.

    In regards to the mileage issue, my mechanic offered this suggestion, the catalytic converter may be getting clogged up do to it's inability to properly handle the sulfur content. If this is the case then the engine has to work harder do to blockage in the exhaust line. Just a thought.

    Thinking about buying the Honda Civic.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    with the problem of the headlights flashing on and off all day long especially in bright sunshine, Toyota now has a TSB for this problem, and I have had the fix done for my car.

    Not only is the new sensor they put in a more sensitive receptor, but the programming is changed to allow more time after an ambient light change before activating the lights.

    The short version: it works really well, and has fixed this problem! The dealer needed three days to get the new sensor from a regional warehouse - the local was out of stock - but then it only needed a half hour to install. And it was free.

    Check it out!

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

  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    yeah, new sensor!

    does it work well at 2:00PM on a partly cloudy day with the sensor block?

    What is TSB number?
    A link would be nice.
  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    Looked again at the RPM's this weekend while on cruise control

    75 mph, RPM = 2900
    65 mph, RPM = 2600
    55 mph, RMP = 2200

    since the engine is spinning less, that should correlate to less gas used.

    Therefore, from 75 to 65, (2900-2600)/2900 = 10.3% more mpg.

    From 75 to 55, should be about 24% more

    So if avg 27 mpg at 75, should get 29.7mpg at 65; and 33 mpg at 55.

    Now this would be perfect if not for stop and go.
    For Business ppl, this is "fixed". For Engineers, Stop and Go can be considered a "bias".

    But the more highway you do, closer to these speeds, you should attain these mpg - in a perfect world.

    I have been seeing BP signs in the NY area that states their gas have lower Sulfer content in 40 cities - but I do not use them - yet.

    Any opinions on bp?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    let's extend this formula then: I will drive around all day with the clutch engaged at stall speed, say 1000 rpm. On this tank I will get a whopping 66% better gas mileage, or about 50 mpg, the same as what the hybrid cars get - yay!

    I am sorry, but this unfortunately does not take into account other factors such as load, grade, wind resistance, etc. In fact, the relationship is not linear at all, so that your mileage may drop a very little bit from 55 to 65 mph, but then drop a whole lot more from 65 to 75.

    On the TSB issue, this was all told to me at the dealership, so I have no on-line link. I am waiting to get the final paperwork in the mail, at which time I may or may not be able to confirm the part numbers previously posted here by someone else who had this done. However, it really does work - consult your dealer.

    It works at any time of day, even on bright sunny days, which as you folks who have had this annoying problem will know, is the worst kind of day for this problem.

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

  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    In a typical world on a typical day (no hurricanes, snow etc), I offer this -

    If you drive the same road over and over, the physical parameters (road grade, wind resistance etc) should be accounted for in the reading of the tach.

    The numbers I listed were on a relatively flat highway road at night - road friction and wind resistance should be accounted for in the tach, as this is real world.

    In our typical highway driving range, you should experience about a 10% mileage increase if you drop 10mph.

    Now factor in your city/highway mix accordingly.
    If 20% of time (not miles) are on local roads, then you should only get 10% better 80% of the time ==> 0.1 x 0.08 = 8% better mpg for each 10 mph drop.

    Any Mech Engineer or Physics guy here who can offer a thought?
  • I am not an Engineer, but didn't occur to you that the lower the RPM, the lower the speed, ofsetting the calculation?

    So yes, the engine takes less gas per HOUR but not necessarily per MILE.

    If your formula was correct, the closer RPM to zero the higher the MPG. Obviously not true or all the cars would be cruising at 0.1 RPM to save fuel (783000 mpg according to your calculation).

    Acctually, the physical fuel efficiency of the 1zz-fe engine itself is the highest at the 3000 RPM, but you save gas at lower RPM and speed because of lower air resistance and lower energy losses in the drivetrain and tires.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    Look at Honda Accord Problems board - same complaints about sulfur smell. Must not be just Toyota!
  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    3000 RPM's?
    Where can I get info like that?

    Good points - I was looking for something to think about.

    Let's relate to a bicycle, one of the most efficient vehicles around.

    Pump too fast - get tired real fast.
    Go too fast - wind slows you down + wind effect
    Go too slow - get sleepy
    Go just right - do best? (3000 RPM's?)

    Where am I going with this?
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