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Toyota Corolla Basic Maintenance Questions



  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,680
    One thing that I would suggest: Call Toyota.

    About 4 years ago, I had a seat belt release button that would stick sometimes. It needed to be replaced, but I was past the warranty by about 3 or 4 months. I called Toyota (the 800 number in your owner's manual, not the dealer) and explained the situation very nicely, how I was just a little past the warranty, how much I like Toyota (I was not lying), etc. and how I was a little disappointed that this problem occurred. Guess what? They covered the repair free of charge. They called the dealer and told them to do the repair and gave them the authority to bill it back to Toyota Corporate. I was very happy with this! I heard that Toyota is generally pretty good about this kind of thing, and my experience proved it.

    It is probably a long shot now, but it's worth a try. At the minimum, I hope that someone reads this and can benefit from it in the future. My dealer told me I would have to pay for it, so it is a good thing I heard about calling Toyota and did it!

    Good Luck!
  • I said it was a desighn problem ! I talked to a service managein a neighbouring city and he said that they install a wire screen over the air intake so the mice do not enter the intake. After they get into the intake they chew a hole in the exhaust vent above the filter, from there the vehicle is their palace. A $5.00 fix at the factory Because the engineers looked past it. That is were I say it is a desighn flaw!
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I am glad to hear that you now know a solution to the problem. Have you had the screen installed?
  • Hi just finished, the air intake is just under the plastic shield below the windshield. 20 minutes, and the car is back together. Hope this helps any one else, there is also an exhaust vent at the rear of the car in the trunk around the tail lights that de pressurizes the vehichle when the doors close, that should be checked if mice are a problem.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Thanks for the update. I hope it takes care of the issue for you!
  • The mouse problem is not unique to Toyotas. I had a distinct dead mouse smell coming out of the a/c in a Dodge Stratus (always parked outside) last summer. I found a mouse carcass inside the a/c vent (luckily it hadn't chewed up anything except some insulation). I also found (and I am totally serious) a few pieces of snake skin in the same area - which troubled me more than the mouse, since I had been reaching blindly into the ductwork for about a half-hour, pulling out the nest the mouse had created from the insulation. I don't know how the mouse got inside the car, but they can fit into very tiny spaces. So, apparently, can snakes.
  • I recently started getting the dead rodent smell in my 2008 Corolla, too. I've noticed droppings inside the interior and have cleaned thoroughly but the smell persists. I live in the middle of the Mojave Desert so I'm hoping that whatever is dead will soon desiccate and the odor will go away. For the life of me, I can't locate the source.

    I've seen no sign of wire-chewing or electrical damage. I'll be moving to a much wetter and colder place within a month and I also hope that whatever rodent species that's taken to my vehicle will vacate or die with the climate change. Whatever the case, I'm concerned that whatever is living or dead inside the vehicle may be in the vent system. Since it's hot, I run the air conditioner frequently and have noticed that the smell from the vents is much better than the interior. Is this a good sign? What about when I start running the heater? Are there major mechanical differences between running the heater and running the AC? That is, if there's no odor when I run the AC (suggesting that the rodent is not in the vents), should I be confident that there will be no problem when I turn on the heater? People always mention turning-on the heater when they first recognize that there's a rodent problem...
  • I have noticed the following issue with my car (Corolla 2001 - 90 K) in last few months.

    If I don't idle the car and start driving, car would start choking and then turn off. I have to idle for 1-2 min and then it would run without any problem. I live in Florida, so cold weather is not a issue. it just started few months ago. Before that I never had this problem. Can anybody suggest, what should I be looking at ?

    Thanks in advance for the help.
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    Could it be that the original sparg plugs have reached the end of their life? The OEM plugs in the 2001 are iridium plugs and can last up to 120,000 miles. If they are double platinum plugs they can last up to 60,000 miles. I would suggest starting with a sparg plug check. Just remove one and see what the tip looks like. If the wire or the electrode are burned it's time to replace them.
  • I had a rude shock from my dealer the last time I took my car in for service. The service guy came back and showed me the cabin air filter which was really nasty. He recommended changing it and that it would cost $54.95. I almost choked. The OEM filter he was holding was very flimsy and couldn't have cost more than a few bucks to buy. I had him to put it back in and I stopped by the local NAPA store and they had replacement filters in stock for $14.95. The NAPA filter was more sturdily built than the Toyota filter. I looked in the owner's manual and it explained how to change it. All told I spent five minutes and most of that time was unloading the glovebox. How in the world can the dealers justify $54.95 for this is unbelievable. It makes me wonder if I want to continue to take my car to them for even routine maintenance. I'm making a note about this the next time they do the owners survey followup on the service visit. Do yourselves a favor and change it on your own. It takes no tools to do it.
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    Of course you'll pay more at the dealer. The dealers make more money on your return visits for maintenace and repair then they do selling new cars. Why not take it to a trusted local repair shop? The warranty will be in full force regardless, as long as you keep all receipts and records.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,680
    Most dealers do the same thing, because it is a very quick way to make a lot of money, and they can easily show you the dirty filter.

    Yes, change it yourself (under 5 minutes) and save big money!
  • kemukemu Posts: 1
    I changed my car engine from carbruetta to efi 4e engine. the RMP is not functional and after driving 40km the MIL goes on.After switching off the engine it goes off then on after next 30km climbing a slope i have tried mechanics do did the wiring without getting the solution What might be the problem
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 61,425
    Maybe your engine computer, which no doubt came from the EFI car, is expecting values equal to those in the original EFI car, say for the 02 sensors, catalytic converter etc.

    or it could be a simple misfire.

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  • 0435004350 Posts: 26
    I usually go to a Toyota dealer (A) on the other side of town for upkeep like oil changes on my 08 Corolla. I decided to go to a closer (in terms of geography) Toyota dealer (B). The service writer at (B) claimed that the reason that their oil changes were more expensive ($ 34 vs. $ 20 at [A]) was because the other Toyota dealer wasn't using semi-synthetic oil. Toyota dealer (A) said that they did use semi-synthetic oil and that their competitor's claims were false. Neither of these prices include a tire rotation.

    What's the story on semi-synthetic oil? If the oil is being changed at a large Toyota dealer, why is there even a price differential on such a basic repair (and I'm past my 36K powertrain warranty)?
  • They are all different businesses at different locations with different building, labor costs. Semi-synthetic is not much different than mineral oil.Since your basic warranty expired, why do not you change your own oil and filter? It is easier than you think.It takes 10 minutes for somebody who is not a mechanic.
    I do it myself, I use full synthetic oil and Mobil 1, K&N, Purolator Pure One filters.It costs me around 25-30 dollars and it is the best a car can get.The satisfaction of knowing you are doing it yourself is the extra benefit.
    Follow auto stores sales.
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    The price difference is as dealer "B' said, dino oil is cheaper. 5 qts. X $2.50 per qt. is $12.50 plus filter and labor. Neither of those prices would include a tire rotation, you went for an oil change right? What does the 36 K warranty have to do with it? Oil changes are not covered by any warranty. How does dealer "B' know what dealer "A" is using anyway?
  • I just changed the oil in my 04 corolla. The filter was put on too tight last time, so I wasnt able to change it this time. I put in 3.5 qts, and level on the dipstick is much higher than the two reference dots. The amount of oil put in is just about the same as the amount taken out. Do I have to drain some out so the level is right between the two dots?

    Thanks for your help
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    Your probably around a 1/2 qt. too full which will be fine. When you start getting around a full qt. or more over filled, your oil can start getting foamy and not do a great job of lubricating your crankshaft.
  • geobluegeoblue Posts: 71
    I could not unscrew the filter on my wife's car last year, I just changed the oil but I made a mental note to change both oil and filter earlier than we are supposed to. (at half the miles). I suggest you do likewise. Filter traps the dirt/dust in oil but if it is really plugged it might bypass it and dirty oil might start circulating.

    If the amount of drained oil is about the same as the amount of new oil, there should not be much difference on the dipstick. Are you sure it is the actual level and not the smeared oil on the dipstick? If it is the actual level and it is really way up there you can drain a little bit, if not it should be OK, especially if you are going to keep the oil change interval shorter than usual this time.
  • Hello all,

    Can some one please offer an opinion about buying a used 2001 corolla with 95,000 miles. What is a reasonable price for such a car? What should I look out for at the dealer's? What problems can I expect to have with this car, in terms of maintenance issues? Any recall issues with this model ever reported?

    any advice is appreciated.


  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    I own a 2001 LE with 55,000 miles on it and you'd have to offer me a pretty penny to get it off my hands. This car has been great to me. Never took it in for any scheduled maintenances, I just do all the oil and filter changes myself and also just drained and refilled the automatic tranny fluid. I might have had brakes replaced once or twice; other than that this car has been bullet proof. The only recall I had was the first month or two back in 2001 it was recalled for the belt tensioner to be replaced, no big deal. Great little car, expect to pay Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds retail value! Consider how much mileage you will put on it a year though. If taken care of, motor will take you over 150,000 miles.
  • geobluegeoblue Posts: 71
    I would say 'stay away from 1998-2002 Corollas'. Most of these Corollas are OIL BURNERS.
    If you want reliability you should look into Corollas and Prizms of 1993-1997.
  • I bought the Corolla with the Clunker tax. The Langhorne Toyota dealer had people waiting until past midnight to sign for these economical cars. With 11000 miles mine is having trouble starting. I don't know if it is the battery, starter, or computer. Had it back to the dealer, and of course they cannot replicate the problem. "somebody else played around with your battery," said the counter person to my wife. "No one else looked at it." After waiting for hours at their giant service center, they began trying to sell us other services that were not requested or warranted. "What do you want me to do when the car don't start again?" we asked. "That is not Toyota's problem." We should have bought the Elantra.....Anyone else having starting problems with their Toyota? :
  • Hi gindelm7,

    That dealer seems to be a bad one.You bought a BRAND NEW car with warranty.
    Even battery is under warranty.Even the cheapest batteries come with 2-3 years free replacement warranties, Toyota factory installed ones should, too.

    Insist on getting service under warranty, if they do not want to help, write to Toyota's consumer department, give the dealer a hint...

    You do not have to buy a service you do not want to, again your car is a 2010 model year car, brand new.And under warranty.

    If possible, go to a different dealer service department.

    You can even return the car for a full refund, claiming lemon status, at least you can use this to force them to solve the problem.You can contact better business bureau too.
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    You simply call them up from your cell phone when it won't start and have them tow it from the side of the road to their dealership. All is covered under the warranty, including the tow. I do however disagree with post #528; you can't just return your car for "lemon status" for a first time starting problem. If "lemon status" is that easily done, do you know how many people would have already returned their Corollas because of the EPS steering problem that is present on some of these cars? I think your car has to be in the shop for at least three times due to the same problem to begin to even think about "lemon status". Good luck! Keep us informed.
  • I am looking for someone in the Bend area that has a 1998 Corolla sedan that I can rent for a day. I need to recreate a driving sequence using a car similar to the one that was involved in an accident. Does anyone know of someone that may be interested? Do you know of any other place I could look to find Corolla owners? Thank you!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 61,425
    I doubt most people would risk a no-payout on insurance to rent you their car, but some of course will---so advertise on your local craigslist.

    also Rent a Wreck in Portland might have one.

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  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    Geez, I hope your kidding ! ! !
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,079
    If you do advertise on craigslist, you'll want to be detailed with your wording or your ad there won't likely last long. The information you've provided here makes it sound like this:

    "I'm looking to rent a car just like the one that was involved in an accident, and I'm looking to drive it just like I did when I had the accident to see if I wreck again under the same circumstances. I'll pay $50 to borrow your car and you may or may not get it back in the same condition."

    I'm hoping that's not the actual situation, but that's the way people will read it if you don't explain.


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