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Toyota Solara

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
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


  • I wonder if this topic should be switched to Explorer vs Solara?
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    I was wondering when you would notice that one.
  • pbcpbc 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!
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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???
  • 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 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 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
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Posts: 30
    I was referring to keeping the original head unit as opposed to getting an aftermarket new head unit.

    '99 SLE
  • 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!!!
  • 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???
  • Hey, guys, anyone have a suggestion for coolant to top the reservoir???
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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.
  • My 97 Honda Accord had this problem of pulling to the right. So does my dad's '89 Cressida
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 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!
  • Yeah, same pulling concept. Are you left handed???
  • 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!
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