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Toyota Corolla Maintenance and Repair



  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    there is a TSB from Toyota for the headlight dimming/stall thing - take it to your dealer and have them research it if they don't already know about it. It will be covered under warranty.

    Yes, footie, rattles seem to be a big problem across the boards this year for Toyo, but I wouldn't assume, based on that, that long-term reliability or repair frequency has changed in these vehicles...the next few years will tell that story, I suppose...nothing that has rattled in any of these vehicles so far has caused any type of mechanical problem, or any problem at all more than annoyance.

    The real threat to long-term reliability is not some rattling plastic trim, but rather the squeeze Toyota is putting on its part suppliers for further price reductions when no more are possible without decreasing quality. Toyota is not the only one doing fact, one of the big keys to Nissan's revival was major pressure on its parts suppliers resulting in lower costs. And the domestics have been busily going about their own slash-and-burn thing for more than a year now.

    Given my druthers, I would rather that Toyota maintained the line on the quality of its parts, and raised their vehicle prices a little if need be.

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

  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    Is the TSP for the Corolla only, or (I'm afraid to ask), the Matrix as well. This would then beg the question - what about the Vibe.

    How can I get the info on the TSP?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    it is TSB - technical service bulletin - and as far as I know it is from Toyota only, and only affected certain cars early in the production run.

    But hey, if you have a Vibe, take it out and see if it does that, and if not, you don't have to worry!

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

  • Whatever 03 Corolla you buy, plan to use premium gas everywhere but Japan or California. Otherwise, your car will smell like a sewer. Ours does. It's nauseating.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    anyone know when the rest of the country is going to go to the low-sulfur gas we already have in CA?

    I was curious to see a post earlier that a Torrance, CA service department had said the rotten smell was routine, seeing as they are in CA and have the low-sulfur gas too. Are there California-operated corollas that have this problem, or was it a standard BS response from a service tech?

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

  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    you can obtain TSB's and recall info from the NHTSA site or the ALLDATA site.

    just remember that with TSB's, it doesn't necessarily mean that your car have this problem. from what i understand, TSB's are more of like warnings.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    you can obtain TSB's and recall info from the NHTSA site or the ALLDATA site.

    just remember that with TSB's, it doesn't necessarily mean that your car have this problem. from what i understand, TSB's are more of like warnings.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    A TSB is a bulletin from the carmaker to its own dealer network, so that they can fix something that does not work right. They are mostly voluntary, and not all of them show up on the websites cited above. Sometimes, if you are the original owner you will get a letter from the car company telling you to take the car in to have whatever it is fixed free of charge, and sometimes they are nothing more than precautionary work on the vehicle.

    Either way, they do not meet the legal standard to be a full-on recall (not safety-related)

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

  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,680
    Lots of new cars have the sulfur smell - Honda, Nissan, etc. Sulfur is supposed to be removed from gasoline next year, so you and all the other owners of many different makes of cars will have to deal with it until then. I heard that the new cleaner gasoline was supposed to be in place now, but when Bush was elected, he delayed the new cleaner gasoline standards, which caught Honda, Toyota, etc. by surprise. I guess blame Bush for the smell (or Bush's Baked Beans!)
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,680
    Look at the Honda Accord Problems Part 2 board number 4055 and 4057.
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    Please use lower case when typing, it's hard to read and it's also like shouting! Lower case is a lot more pleasant for everyone.

    Ths Sandman :-)
  • I have been a long time Toyota fan until recently. I have one of the first Matrix XR's purchased in Massachusetts. The drivers side inner door rubber gaskets have disintegrated, the drivers window gasket falls out every time I lower the window, the passenger side sun visors falls out of the head liner, yes the doors sound extremely tinny, and the CD player makes a grinding noise when I brake. I will be returning this for repairs asap. I also hate the auto light function. Toyota is falling into the American car manufacturer mode of the 70's and 80's.
  • I had the same problem in my 2003 Corolla LE J. I brought it to the dealer and they changed Air Flow Meter. I'm driving it for a week now and no smell so far. Also I was getting 26 MPg that not good for this car. They said the new Air Flow Meter will help with this problem too.
  • I own an older model Corolla. Kept on top of all maintenance, to include recent oil change, fuel filter replacement and new spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor. My problem appears to be, while driving, instead of smoothly pushing along it feels like I am pulling or tugging something, along with slight loss of power. I was wondering if one spark plug may be misfiring or possibly air/fuel mixture being off. Any suggestions here or to my email address would be greatly appreciated.
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    After my timing belt and water pump were replaced in november, I noticed a decrease in the gas milage. Turns out the O2 sensor wasn't working right and had it replaced on wednesday. Now the milage seems to be back up where it should be. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but after the work was done in november, I noticed the gas gauge moving at a more rapid rate. Had the mechanic check it out, I evened asked if it could be the O2 sensor. He checked it, it was, and he replaced it. Now the problem is solved!
    Very happy camper now. With 66k on the odometer, am hoping to keep this puppy another year or so.
    One last question, I think I need rear struts. Anyone else replace them and what's a good choice? Had the fronts done under a TSB at the dealership at 23k, some kind of groaning front end TSB. Any help would be appreciated.

    The Sandman :-)
  • They changed Air Flow Meter and I don't smell rotten egg inside the car any more. But other day I got out from my car and could smell sulfur outside. It means exhaust still producing this smell it just not getting inside the car. I saw bulletin about this problem on NHTSA web site
    Number 001/5884. Let your Toyota mechanic know about it.
  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    I looked up the nthsa and found the TSB under 2003 Corolla.

    NHTSA Item Number: 65609
    Date was 2/83

    Did not find anything under Matrix, nor Vibe.

    Good info on using the correct Automatic Tranny Fluid though.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    to have the dealer rip out the twilight sensor when I get a second to have this car (Matrix XR) serviced at 15K. If they cannot do it under warranty, I will pay them to engineer it so as to bypass this sensor. Today, in a 10-minute drive from work to home at noon, the lights turned themselves on and off 8 times (4 cycles)!!!! On, off, on, off, I am SO SICK of it.

    And this on a bright sunny day. Oh yes, the Toyota engineers have outdone themselves with this "helpful" feature.

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

  • fgf001fgf001 Posts: 98
    There is a TSB out for the Corollas involving a bad headlight switch. It might be worth your while to investigate this to see if it has any bearing on your problem.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Thanks, but I had the sensor checked when it was brand new, and it was "operating within normal specifications". It is just unfortunate that normal specifications stink for this annoying system.

    As I say, I am going to pay if necessary to have it removed.

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

  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    You can remove the sensor in 2 minutes or less.

    1) Take a small flat tool - like a screw driver, but thinner if possible.

    2) Carefully pry the sensor up. There are two small retainer clip.

    3) Disconnect the connector.

    This would remove the twilight feature.
    DRL would work the same.
    You would need to turn on/off the lights manually.

    Disclaimer - I read this somewhere, But have not done it yet.
  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    Have an O3 Pontiac Vibe - same engine as the Matrix and Corolla.
    About 1500 miles so far.

    I do not believe I smelled this.
    I'm in the NY/NJ area.
    Use regular gas.

    Sounds like those cars that smells, smell real bad. Otherwise, there is no smell?

    Something smells rotten here, and it's not normal.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    from the dealership about how if the sensor is removed from the circuit, the lights will not work at all, with or without the switch. Can you please try this out if you are still of a mind to, and let me know what happens? if it works, I will find five minutes sometime to take great pleasure in ripping this thing the heck out of my dash!

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

  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    Twilight Sentinals...

    hint - Show active threads from last "ALL"

    note -
    So if you damage it, and want a new one, the part is listed at $129.

    Standard Disclaimer - You are young at heart, but still an adult. All damages are done by YOU, and you cannot blame anyone.

    Good Luck - let us know how'd it go.
    Too cold to do this now.
  • bear39bear39 Posts: 1
    I just want to let some people know all the things I've read about the Corollas. I just traded mine in after hearing so many bad things about them I was scared to keep it any longer. I had 83,000 miles on it, granted thats a lot, but I took great care of that car. Two days after the dealership sold the vehicle to a customer the engine blew up. I can only count my blessings that I listened to everyone else telling me about the problems with the engines in these vehicles. Every experience I ever had with toyota has been a nightmare. I've had the car serviced 5 times and only one of them was covered by the warranty. The sales departments, service departments, they were all digging into my pockets. If someone were to ask me how I felt about them buying a Toyota Corolla of any year, I'd tell them to pick any car but that. We all find a car that is good for us, that car wasnt good for me. Watch your engines if you own a corolla, make sure you get them flushed when you are supposed to and keep your eye on them, the newer models are beginning to show their true unreliablitly.
  • dcddcd Posts: 25
    The 03 Corolla I test drove last weekend had the smell that you all are talking about. It had about 350 miles on it and smelled bad when I got in it and drove it, but smelled even worse once I parked it and shut the engine off.

    Some have mentioned that all new vehicles are now having this smell, but the 03 Honda Civic I ended buying does not smell, and neither does the 03 Explorer I bought a few months ago (which uses twice as much sulfur gas).
  • laksjlaksj Posts: 19
    The above message (#815) is probably the second or third time I read about premature engine failure in recent Corollas (1998-present) with the new 1.8 aluminum engine. Therefore, I think it's a good idea if owners of Corollas of those model years and who have accumulated high mileage (say 80k+) posted their mileages as well as any engine problems they may have encountered, if any.

    I'm getting a bit worried about the long-term reliability of my Corolla..
  • I have an '03 Corolla with about 500 miles on it. I'm getting about 18mpg city, 25 hwy (no leadfoot driving!). The dealer says to let it break-in more. I have an '01 Echo, which has never gotten below 32mpg, even in the city, and when new.

    Anyone have any similar experiences/thoughts?
  • I too have had such poor gas mileage since day one in May 2003. the Max I have ever received is 28MPG over the summer. I drive mostly highway using cruise no lead foot either. This is unacceptable. Between my husband and I we have owned over 13 Toyota's - We are (were!) Toyota Snobs. This may be my last one. We too were told this is normal and within range, that it may be in the computer chip, when the 2004 are updated maybe Toyota will offer a retrofit for it. My 93 Corolla had over 165K and was still getting 38MPG. I miss that car!

    I have not had the sulphur smell though, but boy is it buzzy, sluggish, and handles poorly. You can't get a comfortable driving position and not good in the snow with 4 Snows on it. I never had to put snows on my 93.

    I am very disappointed in Toyota.
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