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Who plans on keeping their Corolla for 200K+ miles?

bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
edited October 2014 in Toyota
I have a '99 Corolla which I put 2500-3000 miles on per month. Since the vast majority of miles this car sees is on the highway, I can easily see it lasting AT LEAST 200K miles. How many of you are looking to drive your Corolla this long and what type of preventive maintenance do you do/have done to reach this milestone?


  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    ....who plans on keeping their Corolla this long? I find that hard to believe.
  • semantic2semantic2 Member Posts: 28
    I dunno my uncle has an old corolla maybe a 94-95. it has over 200,000+ miles driving from westmont to indiana everyday for work. he just keeps beating on it. after all that he bought a new one for 06 and so did my mom. figure we'll just beat them until the engine dies. :)
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    Does he do anything special?
  • beantownbeantown Member Posts: 228
    I have a '97 with about 95,000 miles on it. I only drive around 5-6K miles a year with it now, so 200K is unlikely for me (not cause the engine wouldn't survive, but because there's just no way I can hang onto one car for almost 30 years).

    So far, I've only done the standard preventive and scheduled maintenance (oil changes twice a year, the standard service every 30K, one set of new brakes - the front discs finally gave in a month ago at about 95K miles!, new tires when needed). I'm still on the original muffler, radiator and every other major part.

    I may look to buy a replacement next year, but it'll be really hard to give up such a reliable ride that gets decent (30 mpg in 60/40 city/highway driving) mileage and, more importantly, has been paid off for a long time. Safety is a bit of a concern, though, as I've got two infants now and it is a base model - no ABS, side airbags, or any of the other safety features that are now common in most cars (we do have a Highlander that is the primary kiddie hauler though). However, I am of the belief that most competent drivers will never get in an accident where these items come into play and believe strongly that 75% of accidents are avoidable, so safety isn't necessarily a dealbreaker for me (unless the car gets unacceptable/poor ratings all around).
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    That's amazing! I put that many miles on my Corolla every 2 months! Do you use synthetic oil? Is your's an auto or a manual?
  • beantownbeantown Member Posts: 228
    I only commute about 6 miles a day total to the train and back (about 3 miles each way) during the week and then a little errand running and shorter trips on the weekends. I ride my bike on the nicer days, so it really doesn't get a whole lot of use this time of year unless it rains or is oppressively hot.

    I do not use synthetic. I just say yes to whatever the cheapest stuff is that Jiffy Lube has handy (or the dealership for the major service intervals).

    1.6 liter, 3 speed automatic tranny (which is why I only get 30 mpg combined instead of 35 - though the EPA rates it in the mid 20s, so I'm not complaining)
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    I don't know much about the 1.6, but I understand it's a very good engine in terms of holding up well. Yes, your '97 would probably get a little better mileage with a stick, but 30 MPG is nothing to complain about. If you are interested in getting slightly better mileage you can inflate your tires to 4-5 psi higher than the recommended pressure listed on the driver's door. I gained 1 MPG highway just by going from 30 psi to 33 psi.
  • terrymac1terrymac1 Member Posts: 4
    I have a 96 Corolla which has 149,000 miles on it. I will drive it until it dies. It has been a reliable vehicle and would consider purchasing another corolla.
  • terrymac1terrymac1 Member Posts: 4
    I have a 96 Corolla that has been very good to me. It has 149,000 miles on it. A month ago, my right tail/brake light was out. Went to replace it at home yesterday and notcied that both rear brake/tail lights were out. Bulbs and fuses are good. Now, I cannot get it out of parking gear. Suggestions??
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    Not quite sure I'm following you here. How did you go from the tail/brake lights being out to being stuck in park?
  • redwoodarcredwoodarc Member Posts: 2
    Well, I planned on keeping my 98 corolla LE until it died on me, but my husband got into a car wreck with it at the start of Labor Day weekend that reduced it to a pile of ash (no joke), so that's that. He was the final car in a 6-car pileup on a local freeway. I should mention that the car did it's safety job admirably: despite the car bursting into flames on impact, my husband was able to release the seatbelt and even open the door to get out! He emerged with only a couple bruises. All the airbags went off and protected him further.

    We had 232,000 miles on it and it was still going strong. No major repairs other than having to replace the original catalytic converter this coming November to pass smog check (we live in California so it's required). Guess I won't have to do that after all. Anyway, I never had any complaints about the car. It was a champion workhorse the entire seven years I owned it. If I wasn't expecting our first baby in a few months, we would probaby just get another one, but since we'll need more room, it's on to a RAV4 or highlander now!
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    I'd be happy to get that many miles from Corolla. It's good to hear your Corolla's safety equipment work to prevent your husband from getting seriously hurt. Any time you can walk away from an accident it's a good thing!

    Since you mentioned getting a Rav4 or a Highlander, I've got to give you the speal. If you need something with more room, get the Sienna instead. It's roomier than either SUV and it gets better fuel economy too. You won't be sorry.
  • duster497duster497 Member Posts: 7
    I just bought my 96 Corolla DX at the end of May with 159,000 miles on it. I plan on driving it until it dies, and I'm hoping I can shoot for mid-high 200,000 miles. I do my routine oil changes, and they also do a check over of the car. Other repairs I do as needed. I sold my 1993 Nissan Altima with 190,000 miles on it (I put on 90,000 of those in 2 trouble free years) to buy my mom's 1998 Oldsmobile Cutlass GLS with 50,000 miles. Sold the Cutlass in May with 60,000 in two years, after spending over $2000 in non-routine repairs and it still needed work. I had my Corolla checked out before I bought, and everything checked out. I had the brakes done, and need to do the struts and O2 sensor soon. After that, I don't expect any other major ordeals. It's sad that I have more reliability in a car that's older with over twice the amount of miles as the Cutlass.
  • terrymac1terrymac1 Member Posts: 4
    I feel there is some connection between putting on the brake which allows you to take your car out of park and a connection to brake lights not working. Wouldn't be the first time I was wrong. Yet, when manually (with a screwdriver) it was taken out of park the brakes stopped the car.
  • tom71tom71 Member Posts: 46
    The fact that you do lots of highway driving is a plus, as opposed to lots of stop and go traffic driving. As for preventative maintenance, if you have a good mechanic you like, stay loyal to him. Simple engine oil and filter changes every three to five thousand miles is cheap insurance. Follow the maintenance in you're car's owners manual. Here is a snapshot that could make the difference in getting longer mileage or not:

    * Engine oil and filter changes every 3 to 5K miles.
    (don't use cheap oil like from Target etc)
    * Automatic Tranny fluid should be drained and replenished
    at least every two years or every year.
    * Belts and hoses should be inspected and replaced when
    * Drain and refill you're radiator at least every two years,
    (every year even better)
    * If you're battery is three years and older, keep an eye
    on it. You can go to Sears battery express drive through,
    and get a free battery test.

    * Keep you're tires at the proper inflation and check at
    least once a month, and rotate tires.

    Good luck.
  • tom71tom71 Member Posts: 46
    If I were you, I'd keep the Corolla and if you're worried about the safety aspect, don't ferry around you're kids in it; use the Highlander.
    If you want to try and get 200K out of the car, you might
    consider changing the oil more often then twice a year.
    Whichever brand of motor oil you use, stick with it.
    It sounds like you've done a good job insuring the maintenance is taken care of. Of course as you're car continues to pile on miles, the odds of repairs coming up increase, but thats expected within reason. I really agree with you that being a competent driver goes a long way in safety. One could drive a car loaded with safety features, but if the person is talking on their cell phone while driving or doing other stupid unsafe things, it offsets all the safety the car provides. Good luck.
  • tom71tom71 Member Posts: 46
    Wow, 232K mileage. Thats great! Isn't a good feeling to really get you're money's worth out of a car?
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    Because I put so many miles on my car, I switched to Mobil 1 Extended Performance full synthetic so I could extend my OCI's. It was getting old having to change my oil and filter every two months. Now I only have to change my oil every 12K miles instead of every 6K, plus I'm getting all the added bennies of a full syn for about the same amount I was spending on conventional oil.

    Though I have a manual tranny, I plan to change its oil once a year.

    The coolant in my Corolla is the 100K mile stuff, so I will change it at 100K (which is coming up in about 13K miles).

    I check my tire pressure weekly and rotate every 5K miles.

    I inspect the belts and hoses each oil change.
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    It's sad but true, but poor build quality and reliability is the main reason the big 3 are hurting so bad. They haven't figured out the way to success isn't by offering 30 different models, it's to offer 8 to 12 models and build them well. Toyota and Honda (and some of the other companies too) have mastered this and this is why they're doing so well. The last American car I had was a '98 Intrepid which I bought new. I carefully maintained this vehicle and it started burning oil at just 60K miles. That was the last American vehicle I owned. They will continue to struggle, and may even go under unless they improve their quality.
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    ....whenever I either start what I think is an interesting topic, or I post in an existing one, everyone else stops posting? I don't get it. :confuse:
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    ....kicking a guy when he's down. I post a message basically complaining about being ignored, and even that gets ignored. Nothing like carrying on a conversation with a wall :(
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    ...hello Mr. wall. How are you today? Hi door, how are things with you? :sick:
  • electrobuzzelectrobuzz Member Posts: 47
    Yo bro. Be chillin'. Go for a drive. That's where we've all been! :D

    H E double toothpicks right I am going to keep Lucy II (2006 LE) for 200K. It'll be the first car of my unborn child, I tell you what. My 2 year old son is already getting the well off-roaded and cared-for 2001 Yellow Nissan Xterra.
  • ic_designeric_designer Member Posts: 28
    Just to lighten up your day.

    1988 Toyota Corolla SR5
    Total miles: 201K miles
    Original CV Boot (no cracking or anything)
    Mobile 1 5W30 Syn every 7.5K with Wal Mart brand filter; recently changed to Wal Mart brand syn. @ $12.99 per 5 quarts, I can't complain.
    Replce ATF at every 20K.
    Replace timing belt twice; 1st one at 70K; 2nd one at 155K with water pump, idler pulley and all the front oil seals.
    Replaced muffler 2 times.
    Replaced all struts at 135K.
    All original hoses. They still look good.
    Replaced Alternator at 185K.
    Replace Starter motor one time.
    Replace rubber boots on rack-and-pinion steering.
    Brake pads. Average life is about 60K.

    This is all the major things that the car has been worked on, and I did all the repairs except the timing belt replacement.

    The car is solid like a rock and keep going strong. Plan to keep the car for another 50K.

    I am getting about 33 mpg on 80/20 highway/city driving.

    My coworker's 94 Corolla has 235K. He is using synthetic oil, but does not stick to one particular brand.


  • ic_designeric_designer Member Posts: 28
    AC is still working great. Blow cooler air than my 02 Subaru, and I have never filled freon in the compressor after 18 yrs. The AC unit is still running on the factory filled freon.

  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    That's excellent!
  • toyoman3toyoman3 Member Posts: 11
    I have a 98 with 221k miles, no major repairs,just maintenance original alternator starter ect. heavyduty use, like a taxi. in my opinion nothing as reliable out ther
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    Nothing like the good ol' Swiss-watch-like reliability of the Toyotas (and Hondas).
  • electrobuzzelectrobuzz Member Posts: 47
    As I took my baby in for her first oil change, the tech asked if I had a Camry. "Camry, Jr." I replied... "a Corolla." A bonus -- a few customers in the Good Year shop in Littleton said that it's a great place. Yee-ha!
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030 a "Baby Lexus" which is not a stretch by any means of the imagination.
  • henryb3henryb3 Member Posts: 3
    I have 140,000 miles and the car runs perfectly. I do all the maintenance on time and I plan to keep it till it dies of natural death. HOWEVER, today I had a strange problem. The gas tank was almost empty so I stopped to get some gas. I figured it would take at least 9 gallons. After pumping 3.5 the pump started stopping as if the tank was full. I looked at the pump but it had only pumped almost 4 gal. I tried to pump more but the gas spilled out. The tank wasn't taking any more gas. It was as though something inside was keeping the gas from filling up the tank. I never heard of something like this. I also posted this on #311 and #310 had the same kind of problem yesterday. Anybody can help? Thanks
  • henryb3henryb3 Member Posts: 3
    My message re: Gas Tank is #311 in Care and Maintenance section
  • celrexcelrex Member Posts: 1
    I have a 04 corolla w/106000 miles already. I bought this car 11/2005 with 45000 miles on it. I drive about 200 miles a day to and from work. i do all of my own servicing. I use Walmart brand synthetic and oil filters. I change my oil once a month or every 5000 miles. I'll change filters, hoses, other fluids etc. as needed. So far I'm very pleased with this car. My only concern is when to change the timing belt.
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    Your Corolla is equipped with a timing chain. The last year the Corolla had a timing belt was either '97 or '98. Mine is a '99 and I know it has a chain.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Member Posts: 1,722
    First year for chain was '98.
  • quietspiritquietspirit Member Posts: 27
    What is a timing chain?
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    ....runs on sprockets so the driveshaft can turn the cam or cams. A belt does the same thing, only belts wear out whereas chains normally do not.
  • quietspiritquietspirit Member Posts: 27
    Sorry. Don't understand all this car terminology. Where are they in the car? And what exactly do they do? What are cams? And where are they?
  • kbk7kbk7 Member Posts: 3
    Just wanted to share my recent experience with hopes of maybe someone else having the same trouble.

    My '95 Corolla DX has 145k miles on it. It has been running strong for the 10 years that I have owned it. I have maintainted it pretty well. About a month ago, I decided that it was maintenance time again. I took it to a mechanic that has done pretty much all the work on my care since I bought it. A complete tune-up was done: new wires, dist cap, sprak plugs, along with replacement of all belts including timing. Water pump was replaced as well. Needless to say, this was costly, but I plan to keep the car at least until it hits 200k. Three issues arose after this work was done.

    1. The car does not run as good as it ran before the service. It idles harder then before and sometime struggles to shift into over-drive at top speeds.

    2. I found an oil stain on my garage floor a few days after the service was done. My car NEVER leaked anything until this moment.

    I took the car back to my mechanic who checked everything over and found no issues. He showed me the undercarriage of the car and it was completely dry. All oil levels were ok. I took the car back, and a few days later found another puddle, this time on my driveway where I was warming up my car. I checked all levels and everything looked ok. At this point, I'm extremely frustrated because it appears that all this time and money has made my car's mechnical condition turn for the worst.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    The timing chain is inside a cover on the front of the engine, and it uses engine power to turn the camshaft(s), which is what moves the valves, opening and closing them continuously when the engine is running. Gas and air come in through these valves on the top of the engine, which is how you get the combustion of the internal combustion engine (all engines that use gasoline are internal combustion engines).
    Now some cars use a metal chain to turn that crankshaft, while others use a rubber belt. Needless to say, rubber belts wear after a while and need to be changed, typically after 90-100K miles. Chains are more durable and do not routinely require replacement, although as engines get old (usually beyond the 150K-mile point) chains can become stretched and loose and need replacement also.
    It is much less likely for a chain to break in normal use than for a belt, which is one of the advantages of having a chain.

    So for all you high-mileage folks out there in Corollaland, how many of you have a manual transmission, and what kind of mileage have you been getting out of your clutches before they required replacement? I am playing with the idea of getting a new Corolla, which would be my first in a decade, and I am wondering if they still have the longevity of the old-school ones from the 80s and early 90s.

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

  • mcdawggmcdawgg Member Posts: 1,722
    Had a '89 with 140,000 miles, 60% city, 40% highway before I sold it, clutch was still good, no other problems with it other than I wanted a new one!

    Have a '99 LE with 92,000 miles, original clutch, 50% highway, 50% city. It is still good, but I expect to have to replace it before 140,000 because of my wife.

    First, she hates stick shifts, and second, she isn't the most gifted as far as coordination goes. Even though I carefully taught her on a different car long ago and have practiced since, she still has clutch issues! She only has put on about 2,000 miles of the 92,000 miles currently on it, but twice while I was in the car with her driving, she burned the clutch. Another time, while she was by herself, she told me the "clutch smelled a little" because she got stopped on a hill and "got too nervous." Oh, well, we all have our good points and our bad points.

    Considering all that it has been through, I'd be happy to get 120,000 miles on this clutch!
  • bholiday_99bholiday_99 Member Posts: 6
    Well I bought my Corolla last year with 160,000 was a fleet car before I had it. I used it daily in my work, and today the milage is 207,500. The car still runs very strong. I change the oil, rotate the tires once a month. Change the spark plugs every 2 months, as well the air filter. This is just some of the maintance I do on the car. :)
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    What year is your Corolla? Why in the world would you change spark plugs every two months?
  • bholiday_99bholiday_99 Member Posts: 6
    Its a 2000. I change the plugs that much due to the constant driving I put the car through, which is quite a lot every week.
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    Spark plugs are good for at least 40K-50K miles. Even if you drove 24 hours a day every day, you couldn't possibly put that many miles on your car every two months. I bought my '99 Corolla in Nov '05 and I changed the plugs right after I bought it. It had 65K miles then. It just turned 100K and I pulled the plugs last weekend to check them and they look like they'll go another 30K-40K. Unless your engine burns an incredible amount of oil, you're just wasting your money changing your plugs that often. I also recommend using only NGK or Denso plugs in the Corolla. They are the best plugs. It sounds like you might be changing your oil a bit too often as well, unless you do a lot of short trip driving. I put 3K a month on my car, and I change my oil every 6K. My mileage is almost all highway, which is easy on the oil.
  • bholiday_99bholiday_99 Member Posts: 6
    Depends on the week sometime short driving sometimes long driving in a day. I like to do a lot of preventive work to the car to keep it on the road. When its not driving I lose money. My oil has always been changed at 1000, I do not give it a chance to break down. I use Bosch Plat 2 plugs in it right now. How do they compair to NGK or Denso? What type of oil do you use in yours?
  • electrobuzzelectrobuzz Member Posts: 47
    If you are changing your oil every 1,000 miles :confuse: , my friend, you are losing money.
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    NGKs and Densos make their plugs for each and every engine exclusively, where Bosch doesn't. For example, the NGK plugs for a Tercel, a Corolla, and a Camry would all be different plugs, each made specifically for that engine. Bosch would probably make just one plug for all 3 of these engines. So you're going to get better performance, better economy, and longer life from the NGKs. Also, I agree with electrobuzz about changing your oil. There isn't any oil these days that isn't good for 3K-4K miles. I run Havoline dino UOAs have shown it's good AT LEAST for 6K oil changes.
  • magihmagih Member Posts: 3
    Hi...bought her used at 130,000. Had to change some belts,
    do an alignment and tires. Hit over 240,000 with my son
    hurting for reliable car so gave it to him.
    He takes out some "card" under the dashboard and a red light
    goes on and the car won't start. Now he can't find the
    card. Somebody told him if he took it out nobody could steal
    the car.
    I never noticed this or the light, maybe it was covered with
    little metal box? Is this part of some security system?
    I can't find anything in manual. And we can't start the car.
    Lights go on, radio etc but won't start up. Help! magi :confuse:
  • grossgagrossga Member Posts: 2
    I have an 84 Corolla SR5 with over 330,000 miles that I have had since it was new and it still drives great. I have recently started taking it to SCCA autocross races. So my daily driver is also a a great race car! Has anyone else raced their Corolla? If so, what kind of tires do you use? Also, did you upgraded to a larger size wheel? If so, what size? Let me hear from you.
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