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Toyota Corolla Maintenance and Repair



  • irismgirismg Posts: 345
    Well, if it were me, I'd take it to the dealer and tell them you want to find out what the burning smell is under the hood, and that you'd like an estimate on the cost to fix. Then take it someplace cheaper.
  • rideboyrideboy Posts: 7
    Did you ever find the cause for the engine light coming on?
    I have 1 2003 Corolla with 35,000 miles on it,and the light has come on 2 times, both times after highway travel.
    Thanks for any help you can give.
  • Breaker on the harness wiring about to go, if it has not already done so. First you will notice some smoke coming from under the hood and then flames when you stop.
  • I have a 97 Corolla. New Master Cylinder.
    The left side Front will not engage. Will replacing the Proportion Valve do the Trick? Is the valve right next to the master cylinder? HELP !
  • alex24alex24 Posts: 54
    Never heard of a proportion valve, All you have is your master cylinder, brake lines and calipars with brake pads, and option rear brake cylinders with brake shoes, If your front left side is not engaging, try bleeding the brake line with another person footing the brake peddle, if brake fluid shoots out hard, its ok, if fluid comes out slow or not at all while your holding pressure on the brake peddle then that short rubber brake line to the calipar is cloged or defected from age, and not letting fluid push out the calipar piston, if your rubber brake line is good then calipar may be bad from rust and piston could be stuck. As I repair my own cars for over 30 years, and replaced master cylinders, Lines, Rotors, calipars and all, but this proportion valve does not ring a bell, unless thats in your master cylinder which you would replace if bad, not rebuild it yourself, Hope I help ya, Alex
  • gchernyagchernya Posts: 11
    Corolla questions: Does anyone has experience with occupant classification system re-calibration? How much it cost (passenger seat was replaced on the used one from another car…) There are several warnings in the manual do not disconnect the battery… What will happen if I did disconnect it? Security light on the dashboard (left sub-panel) went off permanently… What the fix?…. Any source of dumb (non-transponder) keys for 2006 corolla on the net?
    Does anyone under impression that too many things on this car required dealer visit?
    If I wanted Mercedes (some geezers just love it for the sake of customers lounge with free doughnuts) , I would have gotten one…
  • gchernyagchernya Posts: 11
    Sounds like camshaft position sensor... Try to put one from the old engine onto a new one... Check any other sensors on the engine and swap them onto the old ones one by one...
  • gchernyagchernya Posts: 11
    Long shot, but sounds like torque converter lock fault after sufficient warm up... very hard to catch up when interminient... Try to brake in several hard jolts before the light... try to drive around with o/d off... lock occured on a relatively high speed like above 45-50... so if you drive under you might never encounter it... Try to do transmission flash, it might be due on the car of this age...
  • gchernyagchernya Posts: 11
    Unfortunately your estimate in about right... check the KYB struts, last time I've got them about $70 delivered, but installation will range from 50 to 100 apiece and, no it is not diy job... not complicated, but there number of very rusty bolts to unscrew, alot of high car lifting, possible axels disconnect, spring decompression/compression, and above all there is aligment after that... If you can find low milage car on salvage yard, and buy the 4 assemblies(with springs and bearings), then I would risc.. , but only if ever personally disconnected ball joints and steering rack... Btw while you there check the lover arms, you might want to replace those too...
  • leede1leede1 Posts: 1
    My car wont start...

    we put in a new spark plugs....and battery..alternator..and yet it still dont work..

    anyone know why it wont start then?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    Well you're gonna have to start some diagnosis and stop throwing parts at it, or that will get expensive for you.

    A good first step is to test for fuel delivery (a fuel-pressure gauge is safest) and then test for spark (you can buy a spark tester real cheap at Kragens, Autozone, etc.) and if you have fuel injection (can't recall on a '90 model, sorry) then you can buy a noid light to test for impulse to the fuel injectors.

    One of those should reveal your problem.

    Are you quite sure the new distributor was timed correctly?

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  • I own a 2003 Corolla and the left headlight bulb is out. How complicated and expensive will it be to replace the bulb? Is is something I can do myself?
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    Directions are in your owner's manual. I have not done it, but I think it would be easy.
  • I'm using 85 model corolla. some time missing my car engin
    on running slow. Also speed will reduce. please help me.
  • magooomagooo Posts: 4
    I recently purchased an '07 Corolla LE~I am already thinking about the "scheduled maintenance"~Do I HAVE to take it to the dealer or can I have a certified mechanic perform it according to the maintenance guide? I don't want to do anything that would void my factory warranty but I am not interested in paying the dealers inflated costs either.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    See your owner's manual for details on your question. Basically, it says you do not have to take it to the dealer. Just save all receipts and follow the guide in the owner's manual.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    Although you don't have to have the car serviced at the dealer, it could become tricky should the auto need repair work under warrantee at some point in the future.

    This happened to me when having to drop off my Corolla at a dealership for diagnosis and work under the basic warrantee. First I was informed that they will have to find out whether the problem is due to owner neglect, then the service adviser indicated that the actual diagnosis is not covered by the warrantee. I politely challenged both notions and left the car.

    Even though the fix was covered by the manufacturer, my hassle didn't end there. I never took my car to be serviced at a Toyota dealership before, therefore the dealer didn't have any loyalty to me as a customer. They tried to manipulate me and scare me into performing more work than needed and charge me accordingly.

    Your first scheduled maintenance svce. will not be costly, although it will be somewhat higher than an independent shop. It will behoove you to keep in mind that if your car ever needs repairs while under the three years/36000 guarantee, you may find yourself in a difficult situation. The owner's manual says one thing but the reality may be different. Once your vehicle is left with the service department, you're at their mercy. Of course the customer is not totally defenseless or without recourse.

    My 2 cents only.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    Sounds like you need to go to a different dealer. Some are great, some are terrible. If you go to a good dealer, you will not have any problems, even if you do have it serviced at an independent.
  • Wondering if someone can help me here.

    I have a 2003 Corolla. My battery has died down a couple of times. If I need a battery replacement, how much does it cost? Is it better to get it done at a dealer or a local repair center? Does anyone know of good places in Boston that I will not be ripped off at?

  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Any autoparts store (Pep Boys, Autozone, NAPA), many tire stores, many of the Walmarts/Sears/Kmarts, the big box warehouses (BJ's, Costco, Sams).....pretty much a commodity item anywhere.

    Sure you'll pay more at a dealership.

    Pricewise......50-100 bucks
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,319
    At local Advance Auto Parts, Autozone, Walmart, they'll check your system to see if it's battery or alternator that's a problem for you. Advanced will recharge a low battery if you're driving isn't recharging it enough as a part of checking it.

    And they'll put in the new one for you!

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • I am planning to buy a 2001 corolla CE which doesnt have the power windows and locks. How feasible/expensive it is to get new power windows and locks installed?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Not financially feasible. You'd be better off saving the money toward a replacement vehicle down the road.....or not buying that vehicle in the first place (if PW & PD are important).
  • I own a 1991 Toyota Corolla 4WD wagon (All trac?) @ 238,000 km with a 1600cc engine that has been diagnosed with a sticking or burnt valve in the #2 cylinder. Compression is down by 40 psi in this cylinder (others are fine with 150 psi compression). Engine is still running but is noticeably "rough" and hesitant. Not sure how long I can still run the car around town in this condition?

    Wondering what my repair options are? My mechanic has advised that the cylinder head must be pulled (4hrs labour) and sent to machine shop for necessary work and for valve repair/replacement as required. Am told that re-assembly could take longer, perhaps 6hrs. In total about a $1000 job at best case scenario I am told! Was very impressed that my mechanic performed about 1hr of diagnostic work (test drive, checked timing, spark plugs, wiring set and compression tested each cylinder)at no cost to me, so trust his opinion.

    In past 3 years I have spent about $3000 to replace the clutch, fuel tank, fuel pump, brake & fuel lines front to back, alternator etc. so would really like to keep vehicle, but also don't want to open up a can of worms in the engine. Body is in good shape and I have mounted on rims summer & winter tire sets.

    In my local area have found the identical vehicle for just $300, running but body badly rusted with 397,000 km although no apparent engine problems and also a fairly new radiator that I could use (mine is original). Wondering how complex it might be to just switch cylinder head & valves between the two vehicles?

    Any advice that might be provided from this forum would be much appreciated.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    If someone is going to go to the trouble and pull the heads.....I'd have the head redone as opposed to putting on some other unknown status head. Who knows how long that will last, and how good it may or may not run.

    I've had head jobs done on two different vehicles in my early days, both went on to run many many carefree miles.
  • Hi Kiawah,

    Thanks for the quick response and advice. Yes, it is probably better to stick with the "devil I know" than introduce other cylinder head/valve parts with about 150,000 more Km's on it.

    My mechanic estimates that to re-do the cylinder head at the machine shop and replace valves could run around $500, plus around 10 hrs of labour for dis-assembly/re-assembly @ $60/hr (shop rate) = $600, so fairly expensive job on a 17 yr old vehicle, although I have already put $3000 in these past 3 years. To find an engine mechanic working from home for less hourly wage and no tax (15% here)would be an ideal solution.

    The mechanic who did the diagnostic work did indicate that when you resolve a "top end" compression issue in the cylinder head, it sometimes puts more strain on the "bottom end" which can create further issues down the road. Would you agree with this? You seem to have had good luck with your cylinder head repairs down the road!
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    After having heads redone, I've not had a problem show up with crank or piston rings, but I don't beat the cars either so wouldn't expect problems.

    But you are into the whole debate, at what point do you throw in the towel and stop fixing an old car. Some will say never invest more than the car is worth on trade in. Others will say okay to make some big dollar expenditures, it's still cheaper than buying something new, or pre-owned newer. Reliability and Safety come into play as well.

    I personally work on my own vehicles, tend to keep stuff forever, and have more garage space and vehicles in the household than drivers so it doesn't matter if one starts to have a problem that needs worked on at my convenience. The girls get the newer reliable cars, I putz around on the older ones.

    I happen to like the style of the old wagon you have, and would buy a new one if either Honda or Toyota made it (Matrix and CRV aren't quite the same). So, if I were in your shoes I'd have the head rebuilt since it sounds like you've kept up the other aspects of the vehicle.

    On the other hand, the Matrix,CRV, or Subie Outback are somewhat tempting, and if you need the higher reliability and can afford it....certainly now would be the time to consider stop throwing money into the Corolla and upgrade to the newer safety platforms (Side curtain/knee airbags, VSC, disc brakes all around, etc).
  • I just spoke to the machine shop where my cylinder head would be sent by the mechanic. Their costs are actually not too scary - $100 to re-do the head, $100 to replace valves /guides in problem cylinder. They would prefer to re-do all valves & guides for an extra $150 which seems to make sense given 10 hrs of labour are involved by mechanic in asembly work.

    Regarding "letting go" of a vehicle, in hindsight, I should probably have done this about 3 yrs ago (before spending $3000!), but this Corolla wagon (only made for 3 yrs I believe) it is a great commuting car and very good in winter conditions with the AWD/4WD + two sets of good mounted summer/winter shares. I have been the sole driver of this vehicle for 17 yrs and have also not "beaten" the engine. It is also safety inspected until June 30th, 2008 so if I get the head work done successfully I should have at least 9 mths of trouble free driving ahead of me before next inspection. At my last MVI the mechanic commented on how "tight" everything was for an old car and the body still very solid.

    I have 5 daughters (6-14 yrs old) who just returned to school, so this has already been an expensive few weeks for our family and this was the last additional expense I needed at this time. We really require 2 cars though with a very hectic busy family schedule.

    While I procrastinate on a repair decision, do you have any idea on what additional damage I might be causing the engine driving a little around town on 3.5 cylinders? It runs but is "rough".
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Well if you do it, have them do all of the valves and guides. No idea on additional damage, probably a better question for the mechanic you does the heads that you just talked to.

    Well another thing to consider is you eldest daughter of 14. Not sure what state you are in, in NC here kids get their permit at 15 and drive with a parent for a year before off on their own. Voting to replace it is the fact that a newer vehicle would have airbags and safety features. Voting to keep it would be that you'd have low insurance, and it's a great sized and stable car to learn to drive on (and have minor fender benders, if they happen). With 5 girls coming up, you are going to have your own fleet of vehicles before long.
  • For an alternative opinion, I just visited the local Toyota dealer which is only 2 min drive away. Their "official" book price for a cylinder head/valve job is 16 hrs! They indicate that if you were to replace all valves & guides this would bring the compression up to 165-170 psi in each cylinder, which could cause strain on the piston rings likely causing excessive oil burning.

    Before embarking on this road, they would like to attempt a valve adjustment and conduct a WET/DRY? compression test, to possibly try and improve the #2 cylinder compression up from 110 psi, closer to the 150 psi of the other three. This would cost around $200. They say if you were to pull the cylinder head it is better to just replace the affected valves in that #2 cylinder to prevent the oil burning issue that I mentioned above.

    They also indicate that no further damage will be caused by running the car short distances around town in the meantime. When I brought one of my daughters to an early morning swim practice yesterday, on a cold engine, I noticed very little "miss" in the engine, but it developed more later in the day on a warm engine. On the hwy I have no problem maintaining the 110 km/hr speed limit.

    I live in New Brunswick (NB) Canada and the age to start driving on a graduated license, accompanied, is 16 yrs old, so extra vehicles will no doubt become an issue for our family in the near future. With the "graduated" license the child can drive the car alone sooner, assuming they pass the applicable written & driving test if they take a course of instruction from a designated driving school.

    Regarding vehicle maintenance, I never compromise what I consider safety issues related to brakes, steering, tires etc. but could live with "cosmetic" issues like a rust spot fixed up or a pin-prick hole in the exhaust system etc. To pass annual MVI must have no holes in exhaust system or rust perforation holes, but in between MVI's I would let some these things go.
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