Toyota Solara

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
This is a continuation of the popular Toyota Solara--Part 5 Topic, which has once again topped 1,000 posts!

For newcomers, you may review previous posts on the Solara by linking here:

Toyota Solara--Parts 5 and Earlier

For "regulars", please continue your discussion here!

Thank you for your participation in Town Hall!

Mr Shiftright Your Host


  • vitahawkvitahawk Member Posts: 14
    I wonder if this topic should be switched to Explorer vs Solara?
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Member Posts: 3,581
    I was wondering when you would notice that one.
  • pbcpbc Member Posts: 44
    I was thinking the same thing. In all honesty, I only test drove the Explorer b/c I was thinking of buying an SUV until gas prices sky rocketed!! Then I switched to a car. I really don't think comparing SUV's and cars makes much sense. They're completely different vehicles.

    I have michelins on my Solara and still have the left steering problem. Mine does not pull however (at least I don't think it does). I was told initially that it is because all roads tilt to the right (which is true, but why then don't I notice having to turn the wheel to keep the car straight on an other vehicle?), then I was told it is likely that the steering bracket was slightly off when they built my car and can't do anything about it now. I have a 1999, are people experiencing the same problem with 2000's? I wonder if we could catch some attention by getting everyone here who has the problem to sign a letter of complaint and going public, or sending a copy to Toyota and "threatening" to go public. They likely wouldn't care, but at least we could try. I have to admit, I look at my steering wheel a lot while driving to see just how far left I have to keep the wheel, and it's really not that far left by any means, but it is noticeable. I actually had someone comment that I may need an alignment!
  • klee5klee5 Member Posts: 1
    I recently bought a Solara SLE in Twilight Blue Pearl with Ivory interior and she is just beautiful and rides very smooth. The only problem is when I insert a CD it doesn't start tracking at the beginning of the CD and randomly skips all over the place. Should I insist that the dealer just replace the whole unit or can they actually make an adjustment to the CD Player at the dealership? Any of you all that have had the same problem please let me know how the dealership resolved the issue. Thanks for your help.
  • anonymousanonymous Member Posts: 314
    I have not had problems with tracking or skipping. I have problems with the CD player scratching my discs! I get a circular scratch that is 0.25" from the outer edge of the disc (the scratch goes all around the disc). Check your CD's and see if you have scratches. I had a post in Part 5 of the Solara topic. I have had the entire CD player replaced twice already and I still have problems. I'm trying to see what I should do next. Toyota hasn't been very quick in answering its e-mail on the Toyota website.

    Who else has been having CD player problems?

    2000 SLE Diamond White Pearl
  • radracerradracer Member Posts: 96
    This is NOT a defect. It's Toyota's new Keep-Awake feature. Think about it...if you have to keep readjusting your steering wheel, you're less likely to fall asleep while driving. This feature was implemented after several Lexus drivers fell asleep at the wheel and crashed. They claimed they fell asleep because they didn't need any hands on the steering wheel due to the car's ability to follow the road so precisely...after awhile they just dozed off.
  • solara11solara11 Member Posts: 78
    Then why dont the new Lexus's pull to the left? Tested the IS300(?), the one in all the magazines, around 30 grand, and it did not pull like my Solara! Maybe it was a defective Lexus!

    Anyone know if you can use Dex-cool or what type/brand, of coolent to top off the coolent reservoir. I was going to top mine off with Halvoline Dex-cool, like I had used in my last GM car, but noticed my Solaras coolent is pink, not orange like the extened life coolent I purchased. Any suggestions on coolent???
  • automophileautomophile Member Posts: 780
    My '99 SLE still does it after several alignments. Toyota is replacing a couple of leaky struts next week, and will do a complete 4-wheel alignment then. We'll see if it helps! My ES-300 went arrow straight at all times.

    I seems I had gotten used to it, but drove a friend's M-B around Europe in July, and when I came back, I noticed the pull and fighting of the wheel immediately. MUST get it fixed - somehow! I guess it's time to become the squeaky wheel over at Toyota!

    ALSO -
    I saw a brand new SE on the freeway here in L.A. yesterday with no DRLs. Why? Aren't all Solaras equipped that way?
  • mgw1mgw1 Member Posts: 11
    First, I wanted to thank all of you who recommemded the Zaino products. My 2000 Red/Ivory SLE looks amazing after applying 1 coat of Z1 and 2 coats of Z2, with the gloss enhancer between coats and then to finish up. My neighbor actually walked over and looked (and felt the finish!), and asked for the information on the various products.
    Next, a recent post asked if others were having problems with road noise, especially when going over bumps. I'm now at almost 5,000 miles and took the car in today to be looked at because I was getting a rumbling, rattly noise and a fair amount of vibration when going over bumps. It has actually been more or less noticeable for a while now, and it's definitely a switch from when I first got the car. The technician took it for a ride and thinks it may be the shocks. I'll find out later this week when it goes into the shop, and let you know.
  • ish4ish4 Member Posts: 5
    If any one has a problem with a check engine light on their new 2000 Solara check out my post (#211) under the Camry Problem Discussion Forum
  • y2ktrdy2ktrd Member Posts: 81
    My 00 solara does not pull one bit and the wheel is perfectly straight........that nonsense about building them to pull is the funniest one ive heard ever!
  • jhope1jhope1 Member Posts: 2
    I posted back in June this year that I bought a 2000 SE with Option Package #4.The brochure specifically stated "Full Size Spare with Alloy Wheel". Toyota substituted the Alloy rim with a Steel one. After the run around from both the dealer and Toyota Customer service I filed a small claims suit.
    Sept 6, 2000 I received a phone call from Toyota Regional office apologizing and asking me if I would except the Alloy wheel and settle my claim out of court. This was 1 week after Toyota was served papers that I planned on taking them to small claims court for substituting a Steel rim for the Alloy Rim. I agreed even though I spent about $60.00 filing and serving papers. I went to my local dealer and they mounted my spare onto the alloy wheel on Sept.8th. I then signed a paper releasing Toyota of any further obligations thus settling the suit. I love my car, but Toyota’s handling of this? Well you be the judge.
  • anonymousanonymous Member Posts: 314
    What kind of service have people received from Toyota Customer Service?

    I'm getting the impression that my snail-mail letter and my e-mails are being ignored. If I ask a general question via e-mail, I get a response. If I have a problem, then I do not receive a response.

    Based on jhope1's last post, it seems like he was not receiving good service either.
  • automophileautomophile Member Posts: 780
    First - Congratulations on your switch to Zaino products. I was very skeptical before trying them, but now can never go back. Simply the Best!

    My SLE also makes some funny noises from time to time over particular types of bumps. The service tech found leaky struts, and will replace them this week. Perhaps this will cure the problem. Good luck with yours.
  • nrl76nrl76 Member Posts: 30
    I was referring to keeping the original head unit as opposed to getting an aftermarket new head unit.

    '99 SLE
  • solara11solara11 Member Posts: 78
    Toyota customer service is very, very, very, friendly! They may not resolve any of your issues, but they are nice people to talk too!!! I have been in customer service for years, and they talk a good game! In America, we tend to like to hear our names said numerous times in a conversation, and like friendly people who can offer an apology for our auto problems! Thats Toyota customer service! Don't take me wrong, they are GOOD!!!
  • solara11solara11 Member Posts: 78
    What was wrong with your struts??? How do you know they are leaking? I am in the Chicago area, and we have construcion everywhere, all the time, with big bumps, hole etc. I noticed my Solara gives a nice ride, until I hit a bump, then get a jarring, shutter through the car, that goes through my bones! Is this what was happening to you???
  • solara11solara11 Member Posts: 78
    Hey, guys, anyone have a suggestion for coolant to top the reservoir???
  • rghallrghall Member Posts: 5
    Ok guys and gals, I need a little help here. This is a little OT, but here goes. I got the idea this weekend that it would be nice to use the lovely weather to stain my back deck. I used a sprayer to do it. Problem is I noticed today when I got to work that my truck is covered with the stain. My wife has the Solara, so no way to check it till tonight.

    Does anyone know any way that I can remove the mess? It was an oil based stain. I have two coats of Z2 on both vehicles, but it has been a couple of months since I applied the last coat. I figured with my vehicles being about 45 feet away I'd be ok, but I guess not. Will a buffer work?

    The antifreeze used by Toyota is pink. My dad was a master tech. with Toyota for over 13 years and has had his own shop for 4+. He still uses the Toyota brand antifreeze and says (based on his experience) it's better than any of the store bought stuff. If you are just topping the reservior, you can just add water unless you live somewhere where it gets ungodly cold during the winter.
  • ejyejy Member Posts: 62
    Start with clay. It is the cheapest solution and works for most contaminates. It removes bug tar and road paint easily, so it should work on oil based stain as well. You are probably very lucky you have 2 coats of Z2 on it, that will make the job so much easier. or for more info on detailers clay.
  • automophileautomophile Member Posts: 780
    Actually I didn't know that the strust were leaking - they told me when I went in for service, and ordered me a new set. I should have them installed this week - we will see if it makes a difference. ALSO - they said that they expect to replace the strut towers in the front in the near future - that some were made out of tolerance.

    What I noticed mostly was certain types of bumps where the wheel dropped suddenly - there was a metallic "clunk" or "thunk" where I would not have expected any noise at all. I'll let you know.

    I know Chicago's potholes very well, having worked there for several months years ago. I still enjoy visiting!
  • pbcpbc Member Posts: 44
    I went to a auto parts store and they suggested to stay with the Toyota coolant as well because with this type of coolant it is not good to mix with different brands (i.e. the pink coolant which is more permanent) since this could corrode your radiator. I figured, since the guy sold different types of pink coolants (which are pretty darn expensive) and still reccommended staying with the Toyota stuff it's probably a good idea to do so!

    Pulling --

    I'm hoping the pull to the left story about Lexus driver's was a joke!! When people are complaining that they're car pulls to the left do you mean you have to keep the steering wheel slightly turned to the left (like mine) to keep the car from going right if you kept the steering wheel straight? The problem with my car is not that it "pulls" to the left but that I have to keep the steering wheel slightly turned left to go straight. If I straighten the wheel the car starts to go off to the right (but it doesn't actually pull, pulling means that if you put your steering wheel in the position that your car normally goes straight in -- in my case the steering wheel must be kept ever so slightly to the left -- that the car actually "pulls" itself back and goes left anyway). If I leave the wheel alone the car does not pull (it does eventually but I'm sure with any car if you left the steering wheel alone you would eventually move left or more likely right -- although I wouldn't recommend trying that for too long!!). Another way of telling if your car pulls is to go on an empty street go around 30m/h and come to a fairly quick stop. If your car pulls to one side then there is a problem (more so if it pulls left since all roads are tilted towards the curb for drainage reasons).

    Odd, when I complained many months ago about this the sales man told me it was normal and let me test drive a new corrolla to prove his point (any one of my choice). I had to keep the steering wheel turned slightly to the right instead!!! Maybe it's just a Toyota problem for 1999 in general, they can't get they're damn steering wheels straight. I guess they've fixed it on the 2000's though.
  • radracerradracer Member Posts: 96
    My 97 Honda Accord had this problem of pulling to the right. So does my dad's '89 Cressida
  • scsolarascsolara Member Posts: 47
    Here is the deal.....

    I bought a 2000 Solara and the manufacturers sticker shows it comes with 15in tires. Also on that sticker was upgrade package #5. This includes 16in tires. The dealer added 17in tires and there own dealer invoice sticker next to the manufacturers for 2999.95. Since I paid for the upgrade #5 AND the 17in tires, should't I be able to get the 16in also? 3k is a lot to spend on 17in tires, obviously they did not back out the cost of the 16in. They left the 16in spare in the trunk. Should I ask for the other 4? Thanks for any input.
  • cnmancnman Member Posts: 7
    My 2000 SLE steers straight, no pull to the right or left. However, if I look very carefully at the steering wheel while driving in a straight line, the wheel is slightly turned to the left; I mean you really have to look hard! But its there, no doubt. But I can live with it, its the worst problem I can find after 6 months and 5000 miles. However, my sons' 1976 Cordoba pulls to the right big time! He claims that it made him hit a curb and bend a rim. He's not sure if it pulled harder before the curb or after.

    On the SLE, is it just the perforated part of the seat upholstery that is leather? Or are the side bolsters too; or the whole seat? I want to treat the leather but I'm not sure how much of the seat is leather. Oh, I'm getting a consistent 23 miles to the 89 octane gallon in commuter driving. This seam to be about the norm from what I have seen in this post. Really not that bad for what you get in performance and refinement.
  • robertorrobertor Member Posts: 6
    Received 150 pages of the Sienna NHTSA ODI PE99-070 case, includes letters written to and from the Washington, D.C. Toyota Technical Center General Managers, Steering Rack pictures and DENIALS OF SAFETY ISSUES. Bottom line is that without the 14 original questionnaire/complaints filed by American Sienna owners there would have never been an investigation and the "NEW IMPROVED STEERING RACK GUIDES" would have never been produced, As of 4/12/00 the original 14 complaints had grown to 21 and Toyota reports an additional 137 with 557 warranty claims ! ! ! ! ! !. .
    You can get brief descriptions of the Sienna steering problem from the 14 Sienna owners that
    filed a Vehicle Owners Questionnaire with the NHTSA.....the NHTSA website is at "" under "Problems and Issues", then click on "Consumer Complaints", in the drop down menus choose: 1999,... toyota truck,... Sienna,... Steering & column...Check out, their descriptions of the Steering Defect and you will conclude it is almost identical as the 1999 Solara Steering Defect many of us keep complaining about.. .
    Remember that the Solara is built on the same platform and Powertrain as the Sienna,
    Does it share identical steering mechanisms with the Sienna ?. .
    My Solara steering continues to LOCK INTO A LEFT TURN, after 6 alignments, tire rotations,
    and recently installing B.F.Goodrich tires to no avail (check message #1024 in prior topic #1813
    Solara V ). If you dont pay attention, the Solara will turn left into the other lane in 5 seconds,without any driver intervention whatsoever.. I would dread the thought of having my teenage kids or someone elses end up crashing into a center divider or another vehicle for being innattentive for 5 seconds and that isnt very hard to do. . .
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Member Posts: 3,581
    When you say the CD doesn't begin at the first track and skip all over the place, are you saying it jumps to the beginning of each song or that it is jumping randomly to the middle of songs? If it is jumping to the beginning of the songs, you have the random button on. The next time you play the CD, push button #3 which is marked "RND" and it will come out of the random mode and play the songs in order. If this is not the problem, see your dealer.
  • pomanpoman Member Posts: 46
    trice1 the Eibach Springs are great for the car but the stock struts are not designed to be lowered at all time and it will not last long before you have to replace it. I'm sure when you drive over large bumps your struts will make loud clunking noises (I know because I had one). In addition the Eibach springs are not perfectly the same as the TRD springs that Eibach specifically designed for it. Just a thought for you. If you want more info I have a site you can check it out at

    Good luck!
  • solara11solara11 Member Posts: 78
    Yeah, same pulling concept. Are you left handed???
  • solara11solara11 Member Posts: 78
    I already complained to about my pulling problem. I bet more people have this problem, than do the people who have Firestone tires from Decatur, IL, on their SUV's!
  • solara11solara11 Member Posts: 78
    Only your tailor (or wife, or life partner) will know. If you sway towards the left, go to, and let them know! We all love our cars, just want them to work as well as a Yugo or Corolla (made at the same plant in Ontario). The life YOU save might be your personal stylest, or your own!!!
  • solara11solara11 Member Posts: 78
    Only your tailor (or wife, or life partner) will know. If you sway towards the left, go to, and let them know! We all love our cars, just want them to work as well as a Yugo or Corolla (made at the same plant in Ontario). The life YOU save might be your personal stylest, or your own!!!
  • solara11solara11 Member Posts: 78
    Only your tailor (or wife, or life partner) will know. If you sway towards the left, go to, and let them know! We all love our cars, just want them to work as well as a Yugo or Corolla (made at the same plant in Ontario). The life YOU save might be your personal stylest, or your own!!!
  • tomzeetomzee Member Posts: 1
    I'm considering purchasing a Solara SLE and just had the opportunity to rent one for a weekend. I loved the car but found the DRL headlights to be a potential nuisance. I like the idea of DRL and think it's a great feature, however the driver should be able to turn off his headlights when needed. I can think of three instances where I might want to shut off my lights at night: when pulling into the driveway or making a 3 point turn in a residential neighborhood late at night and one doesn't want to shine their lights into the house. When out on a date and you want to park in a quiet area, be able to leave the motor running for heat or AC.... but want the privacy of having the lights off. And when a deer crosses at night and you need to kill the lights so he will unfreeze and run off the road.

    Has any Solara owner come up with a work around to allow the lights to be turned off for certain occasions without defeating the entire system?
  • ish4ish4 Member Posts: 5
    Quite honestly I hate this DRL feature but there is a way around it at least when your one a date and want some privacy while keeping on the A/C.
    Turn the car off, put the parking brake on and then restart the car. The lights will not go on.
  • ish4ish4 Member Posts: 5
    Has any one tried putting HID imitations headlights on their Solara?
    I have a silver SLEV6 and I put on some very nice PIAS Super Plasma headlights in my car. the car looks great but no visibility. You trade look for illumination.
    I was considering installing real HID's in my car but its a lot of $$$$$$ (around $1500). But the car looks incredible with them on and the light up the moon!
  • radracerradracer Member Posts: 96
    I installed some fake HID's as well. Why in the world would you ever trade in looks for visibility? I sent mine back for a refund. The claim that these bulbs contain 10% xenon is [non-permissible content removed]. The blue casing just filters out a certain color light (i forgot which) to achieve the blue/white light.
  • gpoltgpolt Member Posts: 113
    When people here say that they paid i.e. $500 over invoice plus frieght, are they quoting the invoice price posted on Edmunds and KBB, or are they quoting the invoice price given by the dealer? For example, many salesmen/women including those on THIS chat room add a $350 "mandatory" advertising fee to the Edmunds invoice price stating that it is an out of pocket cost which must be included to reflect their true invoice price. Therfore $500 over invoice ends up being $850 over the invoice figure reported on Edmund's cite; not to mention the 2% holdback the dealer gets from the manufacturer. So on a $500 over deal on a $20,000 Solara, is the dealer truly making $900 or are they really pocketing $1,250? Comments, please.
  • solaramansolaraman Member Posts: 7
    I had the same problem with the "manditory" advertising, handling, and documentation fees. Ridiculous, to say the least.
  • curlyqcurlyq Member Posts: 54
    Try They will hook you up with a local participating dealer in your area. Edmunds and KBB dealer invoice prices do not include the regional advertising charge, charge for a full tank of gas, or doc fees. In Chicago the dealers add $256 for advertising and tank of gas plus $46 Doc Fee. price quote was $100 over Edmund/KBB invoice. Add the Adv,gas and doc fees and the car was $402 over invoice.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Member Posts: 3,581
    I will be on vacation for the next week and a half. I may be checking in from time to time but I don't know how often. I don't want any of you to think I am ignoring your questions.

    See ya'll when I get back on the 26th.

    Oh, and gpolt, I don't know if it was this topic or not, but I have addressed the advertising fee before. It is real and we can't escape paying it on the invoice. Edmund's even has a disclaimer about it in the invoice section.
  • Marty684Marty684 Member Posts: 17
    I was reading the owner's manual for my '00 SLE and it makes reference to 2 types of boxes (a garage door opener box and an auxiliary box) that are interchangeable and which is located between the front visors. My car came equipped with only the garage door opener with the 3 buttons and no second box.

    Was there a subsequent chance in production? Does everyone have 1 or 2 boxes?
  • nrl76nrl76 Member Posts: 30
    I just found out that the 2001 Solara SLE will have the Power Remote Trunk release standard. Next step is to find out how much Toyota will charge to install it. It is about time!

    '99 SLE
    25,350 miles
  • automophileautomophile Member Posts: 780
    Neil - you can bet it will be too much! It will surely mean a new remote receiver and some wiring as well as the solenoid, etc. Anyway, we will keep our fingers crossed!
  • nori10nori10 Member Posts: 24
    My left light on my solara does not go on while it is on DRL and normal "on". But it works when I use the high-beam only!? why is this? Is it the solara's lighting wiring's problem, or just my halogen bulb? Are light bulbs seperated into high and low beam? and that my low beam part is broken?
    Please tell me what to do anyone! Thank you
  • ral2167ral2167 Member Posts: 791
    i got the two boxes when i bought the car back in 3/99-- i don't use the garage door opener box as i just clip the opener (genie) to the sun visor-- i use the auxiliary box for my sunglasses. i wish they had an auxiliary coinbox, cause the main one is a real drag.
  • solara11solara11 Member Posts: 78
    The other box was in a box in the glove compartment when I bought my Solara. The ashtray makes a good coin box in any car. The real coin box makes a good place for the valet key, if you valet frequently.
  • automophileautomophile Member Posts: 780
    The low beam filament in your left light is burned out. There are 2 filaments in each bulb - that is how you get low and high beams.
  • radracerradracer Member Posts: 96
    It shouldn't cost too much. The Solara is already wired for remote trunk release...that's what is in use when you open the trunk from inside the car. so i imagine it wouldn't be too hard to wire in something for a remote keychain
  • automophileautomophile Member Posts: 780
    The '99 & '00 Solaras use a mechanical trunk release - it it s steel cable running from the release levers to the door latch and the gas cover - not electrical. Therfore - it is going to be a big deal to install the new one. I doubt Toyota forsaw the need for this and pre-wired the car for it.
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