Toyota Echo Maintenance and Repair



  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    I bet its more than $40 to change the belts! 100k miles? Great!
  • pulgopulgo Member Posts: 400
    It all depends. I got charged $ 40 Canadian (half an hour labor) plus the cost of the belts of course.

    I live in a small town and the mechanic wants to see me again!

    Toyota would have wanted twice as much.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    When I sold my 240D I needed to put the AC belt back on. I took it to MB and even gave them a good belt. It was $75 and that was ten years ago, almost. Brake rotors were $19 each and a water pump $23. Brake caliper went for $40 and a complete exhaust system $300. The first one lasted 14 years. The nuts and bolts that held it to the car were copper plated.
    Living in a small town youre more likely to get a fair price.
  • rcp21771rcp21771 Member Posts: 13
    Hey All,
    Just wondering what brand 5W-30 motor oil you all use. I have a 2001 Echo with 88K and I'm considering switching to synthetic motor oil.
    I'm just looking for some suggestions. What brand has worked well for you? What are you currently using, etc....

    Thanks everybody! I hope all is well with all the Echos out there (and their owners).....
  • pulgopulgo Member Posts: 400
    I used Amsoil 5W-30 (ASL) in my Echo for 6 years. Oil analysis results were very good, better than Castrol Syntec or Mobil 1.

    OCI's were 10k to 15k miles.

    I became a preferred customer ($ 20 a year) just to obtain dealer prices. IMHO it is money well spend.

    I suggest reading about different synthetic and mineral oils on and reach your own conclusion.
  • oloresolores Member Posts: 5
    I have a 2000 echo, automatic, pwr steering, drove it from WA to TX twice and from WA to OR six times all in the past year. It has 79,000 miles now. Oil was changed last week, the brake pad recall was done last month. What I'm noticing now is: the steering seems unusually loose. With all my driving last year I'm wondering if something is going or needs tightening? Does this make any sense? Any ideas? It's been a great little car.
  • jmrbkjmrbk Member Posts: 18
    Is this something new? There was a brake line recall a couple / three years ago. Is this something different?
  • jsgimpjsgimp Member Posts: 2
    Any other recalls out there that I should know about? Break Line and Break Pad recalls - any of these or others for 2003 Echos? Thanks. Joanne Szwed
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    The steering being loose would have nothing to do with driving the car a lot. First thing I would be checking is the condition of the tires and the tire pressure. Frankly 79k miles isnt a lot where youd expect frontend components would be worn out. I would jack both wheels off the ground. Make sure the steering lock isnt on. (turn the ignition key on) Grab each wheel at 12 and 6 oclock and check for looseness (ball joints) Also, check for looseness a 9 and 3 oclock. (steering rack, tie rods) You could have a shop check it but I would almost guaranttee they will say something is wrong even if it isnt. Good luck and tell us what you find!
  • oloresolores Member Posts: 5
    Sorry, the break pad recall was from a couple of years ago. I thought my Toyota dealer in Hawaii took care of it then but when I moved to Oregon the dealer said it wasn't done. So I had it done last month. Thxs for the loose steering help. I'll let you know what happens...
  • oloresolores Member Posts: 5
    Right on with your post about tire pressure. My right front tire had zero air in it??!! Good grief. Don't know how THAT happened. I put air in all 4 tires last month before traveling from Tacoma, WA back to Eugene, OR. Maybe I ran over something?

    Anyway, I am now comparison shopping for 4 tires. Previous posts mentioned Toyo Spectrum or Michelin Harmony. Costco online sells Michelin Symmetry or Michelin MX4. Still gotta check Walmart and the Toyota Dealer. The dealer has a $60 off coupon and a $50 gas card. Is there anyplace I should stay away from?
  • kosarinkosarin Member Posts: 14
    i recently got a set from on-line tire can find all tires that fit, specs, and reviews...they're cheap and they'll ship them either to you or any shop in your area...if you use one of their recommended shops, you get a low, guaranteed installation cost up-front
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    Likely you have a nail or something in the tire. I always check my pressure once a week until I am confident the tires are holding air. Then its once a month. Obviously if you pick up a nail in that time, theres gonna be a problem.I got Kumho tires from tire rack for $29 each. Dont know how long they will last but the traction is night and day better than the Potenzas the car came with. I only drive 6 k miles a year so longevity isnt important.
    Glad I was able to help!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    Stay away from the dealer!!!!!!!

    Well you can check there maybe ...
  • kosarinkosarin Member Posts: 14
    i also got the far, so good...also, recently bought valve covers at wally-mart that let's you know if tires drop below 27 psi
  • oloresolores Member Posts: 5
    The dealer couldn't beat Costco's price even with a free $50 gas card. I ended up buying Michelin X Radial DT, P185 instead of P175. $315 for a set of 4 from Costco. Drove it all around yesterday and the ride is noticably smoother and quieter.

    Thanks for everybody's help.
  • maxx124maxx124 Member Posts: 8
    I also did the same thing and what a great ride ,like driving in a new car
    P.S the tires from costco from what I've been told are high end not car manufacture crap.does the odometer ratio change going to a differant tire size?
  • oloresolores Member Posts: 5
    From what I understand, no. Going from P175 to P185 is less than 3% so it's ok...although, the service clerk mentioned if I was going 65 mph, I would actually be going 66 mph...or maybe it was vice versa. Anyway, not enough of a difference to matter.
  • fixermaintfixermaint Member Posts: 1
    Hi Fellow Echo Lovers,

    I've owned my Echo since Sept 2005 and no problems have arised . I have driven it for over 3K miles and replaced the factory air filter with a K&N lifetime filter and now I am "testing " the Pulstar plugs . I do suggest that the cabin Air Filter that the holder is with every Echo be replaced every year . The air Quality even in Monterey, California still has pollen in the air and for the small price (around $15.00) make me breathed alot better. I do the oil changes at 3,000 mile intervals with the oil filter and that little VVTI 4 banger works great !! :shades:
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    I STRONGLY suggest you get rid of that K&N air filter and put back the origional one. The origional filter is 99% efficient whereas the KN is only 95%. Which means the KN passes four times the dirt into your engine. In addition, the oil in the cotton element will flow downstream to the MAP sensor and coat it with gunk after ten thousand miles causing your engine to run erraticaly. MAP sensor very expensive! The origional ECHO air filter is actually one of the most efficient air filters made!
    As for the Pulstar plugs they are in the same class as magnetic fuel conditioners for increased fuel mileage. Pure smake oil! I realize you love your ECHO and want to improve it. Please understand you are being taken advantage of! None of these things are any good and the most likely outcome is a worse off situation.
    If you have really driven your ECHO only 3000 miles in two years may I suggest changing the oil at least twice a year. Changing it once in two years isnt enough.
    Good luck with your ECHO I wish you many happy miles together! They are wonderfull cars!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    Since the 185 designation refers to the width of the tire I dont see how it is possible for it to mess up the speedometer. That could only happen with an increase in tire DIAMETER.
  • pulgopulgo Member Posts: 400
    The difference in height between a 175/65 R 14 tire and a 185/65 R 14 tire is less than 2.3%.

    If you want a wider than standard tire you have several options, all of which require a different wheel size and or diameter. See:

    and others. All these websites will give a list of plus 1, plus 2, etc, tire sizes.

    You can do a comparison on

    Most car manufacturers recommend not increasing or decreasing the tire diameter more than 3% in order not to mess up the car computer, which is not able to compensate enough.

    All kinds of problems could be created like brake and fuel consumption problems.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    my Echo's speedo reads 2 mph high, so don't assume that increasing the tire size will make your speedo more inaccurate - it might just have the opposite effect! :-)

    I think next time I buy tires for mine, I will go to the 185s as well, I might even go for 195/60s (which would have virtually the same diameter as the stock 175/65s) if they will fit on the rim and not rub on the inner fenders.

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

  • squarewheelssquarewheels Member Posts: 5
    I cant find a thread for my question...I want to know how to replace my brakes front and back on my echo, without having to buy 130 dollar repair manual...can anyone direct me to free internet information on how to replace my brakes? Thanks
  • rcp21771rcp21771 Member Posts: 13
  • rcp21771rcp21771 Member Posts: 13
    Hi All,
    I'm wondering if I can get some feedback from you all. My 2001 Echo rides like a dream up until I hit 68-70 MPH, then I get a bounce/vibration in the steering wheel. I'm curious if anybody else has experienced this problem and can suggest what the problem might be.
    My tires have 23,000 miles on them and are 2 1/2 years old. As far as I know they are balanced.
    Thank you all for your input, its much appreciated.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    If it's only a problem at high speeds, it is probably just that the tires need to be re-balanced - 2-1/2 years is a while, even if you have only done 23K miles in that time.

    You should probably have it inspected on the off chance it is a bad tire or a problem in the steering (or a bad ball joint), as either of those issues could prove dangerous at high speeds.

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

  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    Tire pressure. Tire dammage. Balance. Front end mechanical problems.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694

    Theres brakes and a lot more!
  • cphampton17cphampton17 Member Posts: 2
    My ECHO has recently had a tune up. Air filter, spark plugs, oil change & filter, fuel injector cleaner And O2 sensor. I have about 101,000 miles on it. I had experienced a problem with acceleration in the past couple of months, noticing that the check engine lihgt was on. The vehical will hesitate drastically when I tromp down on the acc. pedal. I replaced my battery today and now the car will barely get down the road without working the gas pedal! I have to vigorously pump the gas pedal to get the rpms up otherwise it will labor to get to up to speed. three items came up on the diagnostics:
    1.Fwd O2 sensor 2.fuel control unit 3.tune up. I have replaced the O2 and tune up, could it be that i have to purchase a electornic fuel control unit?
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    What were the error codes exactly?
  • kborderskborders Member Posts: 2
    2000 toyota echo with 133000 miles. After the engine warms up and I drive it about a mile down the road the oil pressure light starts coming on. No engine trouble codes in the computer. Can this problem be anything other than the oil pump or the oil pressure sending unit?
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    Could be low oil level. Could be the engine bearings are worn out and wont hold oil pressure. Could be the pressure relief valve is sticking open.
  • cphampton17cphampton17 Member Posts: 2
    Hey thanks for responding!
    I don't know what the codes are any more because they were discarded.
    I did spray the mass air flow sencor and the car does have a better top end response.
  • kborderskborders Member Posts: 2
    If the pressure relief valve is at fault then replacing the oil pump unit would solve the problem correct?
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    No the PRV can stick in the open position. In the open position it is dumping oil right back into the crankcase to relieve the higher oil pressure typically present at startup. So either the piston, the spring, or the bore it moves in are dammaged. Frankly I would be suprised if the oil pump was bad. Most likely the rod bearings are worn out. Although its possible the oil level is low or the oil somehow diluted with gasoline.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    In such a young car, I would suspect the bearings and oil pump less than I would suspect the oil sending unit (the most likely cause, IMO), or possibly a bad oil pressure sending unit (although if it were the oil pressure sensor, I don't think the symptoms would exhibit this way - you would probably just get the light flickering or solidly on all the time including when the oil is cold).

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

  • anthonyg1anthonyg1 Member Posts: 1
    So...I've read all 40 pages of discussion and noticed that a good many have hesitation issues. My '01 manual trans echo 180K also has been hesitating getting gradually worse over the past 6 or 7 months. I started by changing the plugs and air filter, and threw in some fuel injector cleaner, and it had minimal effect. Now it's getting worse. I had Auto Zone check the engine light code, and it came up Intermittent Cylinder 1 Misfire. Any thoughts? I plan on cleaning the MAF sensor and possibly installing new plugs again, in case there was a bad one. I've tried to find plug wires, but couldn't find any when I idle it will act like it's about to stall, but doesn't, when I press on the gas, it takes a minute then revs up, if I'm idling with the clutch depressed the idle gets rougher than if I let my foot off of the clutch, if I don't shift until higher rpms, it minimizes the hesitation, and if I'm going 50mph or so in 5th gear it'll hesitate and same sort of thing in all the other gears, low rpm = hesitation...Thanks and have a great day!
  • luvmyecho3luvmyecho3 Member Posts: 6
    actually everyone drives a car differently,
    have 95,000 mi.on my manual 01 and no problems at all.
    previously i had an 87 civic si before my echo and got 150,000 miles on that before replacing the clutch.i can only attribute it to my driving habits.j
  • luvmyecho3luvmyecho3 Member Posts: 6
    hi am new here.
    have an 01 echo manual trans.95,000 mi and have done not much of anything except change the oil every 3000-4000 miles.
    i am wondering if i need to do something as far as maintenance goes am almost waiting for something to not used to this kind of reliability.
    i did have scheduled maintenance at around 36,000.that was it.(got car w/22,000 on it already)
    i am skeptical of the owners manual,and generally do not trust the dealerships as far as their recomendations.they told me to change transmission fluid,on a manual.never heard of that before.
    i was thinking it is time to replace plugs and fan belt.
    also was thinking that mabe i should replace timing belt.
    mabe flush radiator for the winter.i personally do not believe timing belts on japanese cars need changing before 100,000.
    any suggestion?
    also i live in north jersey and was looking for an independant mechanic that specializes in japanese cars.
    can't seem to locate any.
    i did have a problem w/front door switches going.i do not believe that they are burned out,only stuck,as recently the passenger side started to work temporarially.
    these are the switches that turn on interior light when door is opened,and make that buzzing noise if you leave ur lights on/keys in ignition.only down side is that i have left lights on w/out knowing locked keys in car,i always keep a spare key w/me at all times.
    i am not someone that works on cars.
    i have read some of the posts on here and someone mentioned cleaning the injectors.isn't that a huge no-no?i thought that anything more aggressive than pouring the occasional injector cleaner in the gas tank was about all someone should do.
    sorry this is such a long post.
    anh suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    No timing belt on an ECHO its a chain. ECHOs as they come from the factory (or at least my 2001) do NOT come with 100k mile spark plugs. It says right in the owners manual change the plugs every 30k miles. Of course if someone has installed platinum plugs they are good for 100k miles. If you use brand name gasoline then in my experience you dont need injector cleaner. Also people tend to have injector problems if they dont drivethe car regularly. DEFINATELY change the oil in the transmission. At the very least check the level in it once a year. As it is older now its possible to have a leak and if the level falls below a certain level she'll blow. If your fan belts are origional yes its time to change them most likely. At least look at them once a year and see if the tiny Vee's are disintegrating. If the coolant has not been changed I would change it with Toyota long life coolant and have it flushed. Hows the air filter? Something you didnt mention which is very important. Sounds like your ECHO is a great car for you!
  • rcp21771rcp21771 Member Posts: 13
    Greetings All,
    I have a 2001 Echo with 89,000 miles. I have noticed during cold temperatures the engine ticks more than normal. It's not severe, but there is a slight ticking noise in gear and while idling. When it is warm out, this noise is not there. I'm just wondering if this is common and if there is any way to have this ticking eliminated. A few people have told me that this is common with Toyotas and 4 cylinders in particular. Just curious if anybody has any input on the matter. Thanks all!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    Are you using 5w-30 oil in winter?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Toyota changed the spec for the plugs right in the middle of the model run. The 2000s and 2001s use the regular old 30K-mile plugs. Some of the '02s do as well, then they switched to the long-life platinum plugs for all remaining Echos until they went away.

    Mine uses the long-life plugs, and you can easily tell the difference as there is a sticker right on top of the engine that tells you to use only the platinums on models so spec'd (at least on the '02s there is). I changed the platinums at 60K and plan to do it again at 120K miles as I like to run a clean machine and old plugs have so much to do with your car producing excessive smog-forming emissions.

    You should change the manual transmission oil at least once every 100K miles - I am just coming up on doing that myself. It's really something you probably ought to do every 60K miles also, but I have found that on Toyotas you can get away with 100K intervals. :blush:

    I tend to change out coolant and brake fluid every two years (about 30-40K miles for me) to avoid rust and water build-up respectively. You could let that slide some, but not too much. Toyota says every 30K for a new air filter, and no, there's no timing belt in the Echo. Thank goodness it's a chain!

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

  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    Oh one bad thing about platinum plugs I forgot to mention. Actually theres nothing bad about the plugs themselves. But if you leave them in there for 100k miles and years and years you might not be able to get them out! The threads can corrode and weld themselves to the head. So its very easy to strip the thread removing them, if its possible to get them out at all. My wifes Camry has them and I remove them every once in awhile, clean the threads, and put them back.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    good tip! And you can use "anti-seize" compound on the threads before you screw the plugs in. That works great.
  • pulgopulgo Member Posts: 400
    You are right!

    Removing and reinstalling spark plugs unnecessarily may cause dirt to enter the engine and that is not good.

    Anti-seize is the way to go!
  • rcp21771rcp21771 Member Posts: 13
    The noise appreard to be coming from the transmission. When I start the car, the noise isnt there but when I put the car in neutral or in drive, there is a noise that is hard to explain. It isnt a click, its more like a clink. a metallic noise. It is much more apparent during cold temperatures. Actually in the summer, I never even heard the noise. Now that its colder out, the noise is apparent. Any ideas?
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    You got me on this one. I dont have a lot of experience on auto transmissions. I would check the oil level in the tranmission per the owners manual to be sure you are doing it right. Also, you could start and run the car and look underneath it for a leak. If you see one put a large piece of cardboard under it. Transmission oil is red. I dont think youll find anything wrong but who knows? Your next choice is take it to a mechanic you trust OR just drive it! If you DO go to a mechanic, be prepared for them to go over the car and find fifty things "wrong" with it that need immediate attention and need to be fixed "right away". Get ready to say NO JUST FIX THE PROBLEM I TOLD YOU ABOUT! How many miles on the car now?
  • rcp21771rcp21771 Member Posts: 13
    Right now, I have 89,000 miles. I have noticed that this noise is only present when the car is in gear. I am thinking this noise may be a belt. The noise isnt there when I fire the car up or have the car in neutral, but as soon as I put the car in drive, the noise is there. It is much more prevelant when I have my foot on the brake pedal and its in gear (red light). This noise is also not there when the weather is warmer, only when its cold out. Any ideas? I definitely dont have any leaks under the car and always have my fluids changed regularly. Thanks!
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