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Toyota Corolla Maintenance and Repair



  • I have a 94 Geo Prizm (mechanically identical to Toyota Corolla). over the past few months it has been making a strange noise which has gotten worse. While moving slowly, it sounds like a sort of rubbing or scraping and while moving faster it turns into a sort of whine. It sounds like the noise happens every time the wheel goes around, and it's coming, as far as I can tell, from the front wheels. Happens almost always when I am turning, almost never when I am going straight. Also it almost always happens when I am coasting with the clutch in, although occasionally I will hear it when accelerating or coasting with my foot off the clutch. It has brand new brake pads on all four wheels... has been in to the dealer once for this problem and they weren't sure what the noise was, but said to wait and see if it goes away. Three months later it's getting a lot worse!
  • Maybe it is the wheel bearings or the CV joint. I would take it to Midias and they will check it for free and tell you how much it would cost to fix it.I think it is the CV joint.
  • gusgus Posts: 254
    #33> The extreme driving service schedule for the Corolla recommends a 60K timing belt replacement. If the belt is anything like the quality belts Toyota uses for the Corolla, you should be ok until about 80K. Think about doing the water pump at the same time as the timing belt, because you need to remove the timing belt in order to get to the water pump.

    Otherwise, you're looking at a complete rebuild on the engine if the belt goes. And that's around 4 to 5 grand.
  • Risk consists of probability/likelihood and consequences. Here the probability is small, but the consequence of being wrong is very large.

    You end up spending the money at 80K or 60K, either way, from Gus' advice.
  • gusgus Posts: 254
    These engines are not interference engines. A broken timing belt will be an inconvenience, but not a disaster. You will not bend valves or crack pistons.

    Conference Host
  • I talked to a mechanic about the Corolla. He said it was a non-interferance engine.
  • I have a 98' Corolla CE.
    I have noticed one problem.
    When I start driving my car in the morning after starting and allowing 30 secs for engine to warm-up, I get some noise from the brakes when I apply the brakes.
    Can anyone tell me why this is?
  • My sister's new 99 Corolla as a paint job that is very easily scratched. Lightly dusting the car with a clean rag caused scratches down to primer. Dealer doesn't see any problem, local body shop concurs saying "black" is a difficult color to paint and this is normal. I have some background in polymer science and I know that this paint job is much worse than normal or what should be expected despite any difficulty the particular color might cause.

    My sister contacted the "zone" manager and got the same story. I want to escallate the problem to the next level - does anyone have any advice? Who is the next level? How can I get Toyota USA to notice (rather than being ignored by the dealer)? Post here or at TIA
  • timing belts. OK, so it is a non-interference engine - how much is a break-down by the side of the road (maybe) worth to you.

    You'll spend the money this year, or next year. Even if one is in a financial situation whereby it takes an extra month or two to pay for the maintenance - is THAT amount worth the relative risk.

    It all depends on the person, I guess. A lot of people carry minimal disability, or home, or liability insurance. And, on average, they're OK without it. But, by definition, some portion of the people have their lives destroyed, financially. As I said, it depends on the person.
  • yjinyjin Posts: 10
    Hi all,

    I just notice some noise when I was driving my 200 0 Corolla. When I start slowly, there is no such noise. But when I press the pedal harder, there is some noise, more like hissing noise coming under the hood. It is not smooth hissing noise, but it is also not knocking noise. But it is something other than engine whining.

    Did anybody experience the same/similar thing?

  • Hi,

    Can some body tell me what kind of oils (I am sure there are some numbers) to buy for my Toyota Corolla 1994 model.

    For the first time I wanted to fill all the needed oils, and went to Pep-boys to buy. I must confess that I was puzzled to see arrays of different numbered oils. Unfortunately, I don't have my car manual to help in chosing the right oils for the following FIVE.]
    1. Power steering fluid
    2. Break fluid
    3. Transmission fluid
    4. -------------(One more, I donot know its name)
    & 5. Engine oil

    I am planning to buy Chilton Repair manual to help me with all the needed info. But before it could arrive, I shall need this information.

    Hope some body would help me.

  • My brother has a 1999 Toyota Corolla, which he purchased in January. There are 14,000 miles on the car. He just recently went on a long trip (about 300 miles) and said he hit a cone in the road going about 25-30 mph (construction zone). He said that the car runs and rides fine but he just recently noticed a slight noise when braking and turning at a low speed (ie parking or turning into a neighborhood. He said there was quite a bit of rain on his trip and suspects the brakes might have been wet, but he is a little concerned and would like to know what the problem may be. Also, how would you rate the 185/65 Goddyear Integrity tires on this car. I rode with my brother and the tires seem quite noisy.
  • Yes, I have the same whining noise. Almost a buzzing sound above engine noise, only noticed it with radio off. Most noticeable around 20-35 mph. I have a 1999 Corolla CE. Haven't decided if I need to take it in yet. Any suggestions?
  • yjinyjin Posts: 10
    Yes, "buzzing noise" might be the better word to describe it. Many others notice the same thing. Maybe we should to contact Toyota first to see if they can give some explanation.
  • 130130 Posts: 7
    Well, I have a 99 Prizm and its engine whines too, it's most noticeable when accelerating from stop, between speeds of 20 - 40 mph. I took the car to two Chevy dealerships so far. The first dealer told me that it's just the air rushing in, the other that the noise is normal for this type of engine. I asked them both why other 99 Prizms don't have this problem and they couldn't answer the question. They seem very reluctant to do anything about it.

    Many other Prizms and Corollas' engines whine, it's a widespread problem. Is there anyone who took his car to a Toyota dealership because of this? Did they tell you the same BS the Chevy dealers told me?

    I think that the only way to have this problem fixed is to let Toyota know about the problem, maybe they can do something about it. Maybe if we all call/write Toyota and ask to talk to a manager there or someone in charge then we could figure out what's going on.
  • rachmrachm Posts: 2
    I got the same problem with my Corolla 2000: whining, buzzing when I start it at low speed, or from stop, especially when I'm on a upper slope. I drove it in the dealership and got the same answer as in #50. Then I called Toyato company directly and they let me to contact dealership. I think all those people who have this problem should contact Toyota to let them know and see what can be done.
  • Is the engine on a 91 Corolla an interference engine? Will a broken timing belt result in serious damage or can I take my chances and wait till it breaks.
  • I am evaluating some cars, should I go in for Corolla 2000.
  • I bought a Black 1999 Corolla LE and soon discovered acid rain damage to the clear coat. At first I thought it was water spots but after her first wash the "spots" didn't go away. Toyota said that the warrenty doesn't cover acid rain. The body shop recommends sanding and waxing but will not guarantee that the finish will not deteriorate. After some negotiation with a dealer rep the dealer is buying back the car. I'll never buy black again!
  • bobs5bobs5 Posts: 557
    This site has information on timing belts and interference engines.
  • I have a 1990 Corolla with 128,000 miles on it. The belts (timing & drive) and hoses are all original. They appear to be in good enough shape. I've read that I have a non-interference engine. People that say you should change the timing belt at 60K are looking at maintenance schedules designed for taxi cabs, police and delivery vehicles - with a lot of idleing and stop & go driving.
  • Everyone is interested in new cars and thats understandable. I am needing a second car and a very good friend of mine just passed away. They have a 1990 Corolla which they purchased new. It has 61000 miles on it. Auto trans, cruise, am/fm/cassette. Pretty standard. My friend has always been very meticulous about servicing his cars. I just wonder if this would be a reliable to and from the grocery store car? Any reliability problems?
    Any comments would be appreciated. My e-mail address is


  • You looking probably to the sort of best buy - low miles, old year (low book value) and odometer wasn't clocked. If survivors do not have another plans or asking too mach - go for it. In a shadow market (amateur dealers of classifieds) car like this would fetch in vicinity of $3k easily.
  • gusgus Posts: 254
    '90 Corolla sounds like a good buy. '91 Corolla does not have an interference engine. You will not ruin your engine, but you will be inconvenienced if the belt pops out in the middle of nowhere.

    Miller51--think about doing your timing belt/water pump/hoses soon. You're reaching the "tempting fate" part of that car's life span. Many Corolla belts and water pumps can go beyond 100K, but at 120K I would seriously consider replacement.
  • ant1ant1 Posts: 4
    does anyone know if the vvti is an interference engine?
  • I've owned my 98 LE (a/t) for nearly 2 years now after carefully evaluating all competing models on paper and on test drives. Maybe I've been lucky, but I've not seen any of the whining or noise problems reported here. I get 30-34 mpg, smooth, quiet, stable ride at all legal and above speeds. Handling is good, but it's not a sports car. Don't care much for the wet traction of the Goodyear Integrity tires, I'll change them to a better brand if they ever wear out.
  • ant1ant1 Posts: 4
    my toyota dealer is offering the 100,000 mile warranty for 1400 dollars is that insane or what? is there a better plan out there somewhere?
  • wenyuewenyue Posts: 558
    Extended warranty for $1400?! That's insane. Toyota's don't really need extended warranty. My old 87 Chevy Nova (corolla clone, now called Prizm) didn't have any problem for the first 110,000 miles. My father's 97 Geo prizm had zero problem (other than a broken ciggaret lighter) so far with about 40,000 miles on it. If you absolutely have to get exteneded warranty, go buy it from Warranty Gold or some direct company instead of getting ripped off buying from the dealer.

    As for engine whine. I keep on hearing people talk about it. But so far no one has shown that its a problem. The dealer told me that the whine at 3000 rpms is an harmonic effect from the engine. There is nothing wrong with it. My 99 corolla LE engine's noise goes from silent to a mild whine at 3000 rpms. So far I have not expereienced any problems or heard of any body having a engine problem related to it. I guess the resonance frequency of the engine is just so happen to coinside with that rpm frequency. That would seems to fit the profile that most people hear it at acceleration from 20-40 mph. No big deal.

    Beyond that little noise (you have to turn the radio off to hear it), I have not experienced any actual problems with my 1 year old Corolla. (imagined a few though) :) But if you are all hearing something over that normal noise, then by all means take it to a mechanic.

    Good luck to all my fellow corolla owners. :)
  • Take it to a mechanic? Well, I took my car to 3 different dealers and they have no clue what's causing the whining. They can't or don't want to fix it.
    The whining also occurs at rotations less than 3000 rpms and it's most noticeable when the engine is cold or when it's cold outside.
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