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Toyota Corolla



  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Our round-trip from Sacramento to Ashland OR went very well, confirming that the '03 Corolla is an excellent road warrior. The combination of the excellent ride and much bigger trunk made us feel as if we had not given up much in the transition from our Accord. With the engine still pretty green [we had 1100 miles on the odo upon return to the house] and speeds between 65 and 80 mph, overall fuel use continues to hover around 32-33 mpg.

    We could hardly be happier with the car - it gets my recommendation for anyone shopping in this class, and deserves some thought even for people who think they need an Accord / Camry, but don't carry 4 people in the car that often [which describes us pretty well]. It feels extremely solid and well-planted at freeway speeds, and the ride/handling compromise seems to me to be just about ideal. Beyond the glovebox looseness that I fixed myself on the first day, we have had no new issues [knock on wood].

    One more observation: the speedo on our car is spot-on, according to at least two different mobile radar displays. This contrasts to the well-known habit of Honda to build in a lot of slop in their speedo readings [our '96 Acura RL was off by a full 7 mph at an indicated 80]...I have had to be very careful not to assume that we are really traveling at least 5 mph slower than the dial reads, as has been a safe assumption with our Hondas. Don't need any visits from the CHP as part of the break-in process...
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    I called and spoke to the service manager. She just called back and already started the process and called it a good will gesture. Phone just rang... part will be in on thursday nite and I'm to be there friday at 7am. Very cool. You best believe when that survey card comes in, I'll give them all excellents! Toyota has just renewed my faith!!!! Wow!
  • vicarouzavicarouza Posts: 18
    I bought a 2003 Corolla LE (without even test-driving it - blind faith in Toyota - big mistake)and the car has a very odd distrubing problem and I get no help from the dealership (SOUTH BAY TOYOTA in TORRANCE, CA) nor Toyota. They simply refuse to acknowledge the problem saysing that "it's just the way they're made". AND I KNOW THAT'S NOT TRUE AT ALL...I've driven several vehicles and this is the first time I've noticed anything like this. The steering system feels very loose and unconnected resulting in DRIFTING on the freeway from left to right at the slightest provocation. I have to constantly keep correcting it (hanging on to the steering wheel) and a very odd feeling when the steering wheel is CENTERED (turning the wheel slightly to the left or right gives a feeling as thought it's connected to the wheel by "rubber bands" - or like some "strained freeplay" - that is the wheels turn then it feels as though there's "a stretch" and then the wheels follow. Sometimes when I go on uneven road, the wheels change direction SLIGHTLY but no feedback to the steering. I rented a Corolla (but that was a CE) and did not get that feeling from it. I have also asked several of my friends to drive my car to see if they observe this and they said "it doesn't feel right" but cannot exactly put a finger to what they're feeling. I'm totally dissapointed with Toyota and the dealership and feel helpless!! Can anyone give me their thoughts on this and what recourse do I have??
  • is300tm7is300tm7 Posts: 20
    take it to your dealer or other toyota dealer and have them test drive with you inside the car..
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Check the tire pressure! Also - how windy was it while you were driving - this is a tall vehicle.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...and get a good alignment job, ASAP. For less than $100, you could be happy with the car...we certainly love ours, which exhibits no symptoms remotely like you're describing. Also consider moving the front tires to the rear and vice versa; a bad tire can cause this kind of jumpiness.

    Most likely suspect: wheel alignment.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Yes try swapping tires. A bad tire can do many strange things to a cars handling.

    The dealer should be doing all of this for free - if for no other reason than to satisfy you. Regardless of wether they think it is a problem. Just say the car pulls I want you to check the alignment - they can't really say no.
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    Vica-It seems that your car has the symptoms too. Look at recent posts on the Camry board here for the information. It's something about 4 screws attaching the steering to the drive gizmo. I don't know much about the mechanics of cars...but if all 4 screws come loose or off, the car can't be steered. One screw will cause what you are experiencing. Look for more information on the recall and call your dealer. If the recall is for real, then you can definitely get it fixed and it should be as good as new.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...attachments to the steering. We are talking about NUMMI cars produced in Jan/Feb that might have REAR axle hub attachment bolts that were not torqued enough at the factory.

    This problem should not produce the symptoms as described, but the fix is a simple one that only takes a couple of minutes with the car on a lift at the dealership. There are four bolts that hold the wheel hub [NOT THE WHEEL ITSELF - THIS IS WHERE THE HUB ATTACHES TO THE REAR AXLE] to the axle in the rear. These need to be retorqued on the recalled cars. You can see them from underneath if you get the car jacked up and look at the "back" of the hub area of each rear wheel.

    I had the rear tires on mine off today to install the mudguards, and was easily able to eyeball the bolts they are talking about. [Our car was produced in March and thus is not subject to the recall].

    And yes, I agree that any competent dealer should handle a wheel alignment as a warranty claim when there are clear symptoms indicating a problem.
  • vicarouzavicarouza Posts: 18
    ........sadly, however, they performed a 4-wheel alignment when I took it in the first time and this has not resolved anything. Then I also got the recall notice and they tightened the rear hub bolts (no difference here either)......finally I changed my Firestone tires to a set of brand new Michelin X-ones (at my own cost) - nothing , no improvement. I cannot pinpoint if the problem is with the suspension or the steering (body sometimes leans more towards the left - drivers side and is kinda "jiggly" when aggresive cornering (right turns only) - I cannot say if this is causing the "drifting" on the freeway or something inherent in the steering system itself.....but seat-of-the-pants feeling tells me it is probably some fault in the power-steering-system (as if the boost were not smooth and linear, but there was a slight "tugging" and then the steering responds)

    Biggest problem is the dealer does not "see" the problem or at least pretends not to see the problem, because the problem is intermittent and very subtle it is very easy for the dealer to just dismiss it :(
  • civicwcivicw Posts: 135
    Vic, just wondering what car you had before the Corolla? The Corolla has always been known for a numb steering and one that needs constant corrections, but from what I've read this was improved for the 2003 model. If you are used to driving a more nimble car, the new Corolla may be unsatisfactory. I like the Corolla's styling and fit/finish though.
  • vicarouzavicarouza Posts: 18
    a 1998 Toyota Corolla (bought it brand new in April 1998) - I don't recall feeling anything like this (in fact THAT car was drumtight with not a single problem), I've owned a 1997 Toyota Tercel which had over 90,000 miles on it when I sold it - again never felt anything like this in all the time I had it.....I've also co-owned a 2001 Toyota 4-Runner and a 2000 Acura 3.2TL (which of course was much more responsive) These were my recent vehicles I've driven many Toyotas prior to this (mostly Corolla/Camry type vehicles) and this is a first......I'm totally convinced there is some sort of FREEPLAY somewhere - I don't know loose joints or some "air" in the power steering fluid system causing this "lag" (The 2003 Corolla CE I rented did not behave this way

    Anyways as the dealership could not identify or "see" the problem I called Toyota and they've set me up for arbitration......have to see what happens there
    Thanks for all your responses and help!!
  • w2323w2323 Posts: 60

    I have a 1995 Toyota Corolla, I had a used engine put in that cost me $1900.00. When I received the car back the mechanic told me they had to remove the transmission because they forgot to shim the engine and it was faster to remove and shim the transmission.

    I drove the car for about 2 hours and the transmission stoped functioning. I brought it back and they didnt want to hear about the transmission problem, told me they put an engine in not a transmission.

    What I'm asking is should they even remove the transmission at all when they put in an engine? According to my Haynes repair manual, you shouldnt have to.

    Can anyone help me on this one. Its impossible to get a local mechanic to look at the car unless they open the trans for 6 hours of labor.

    I guess what I'm asking for is some feedback, and perhaps if possible a statement from a mechanic saying this should not have been done this way.

    To me it seems to be very apparent what has occured, but all of the dispute people I spoke to give me problems.

    If anyone can help me I'd appreciate it. Please email me at

    Thanks for any assisance,
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...I couldn't be happier with our '03 LE. I guess it's possible our experience is unique, but I doubt it.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    At 09:15 am on April 14, 2002,laksj posted this message to vicarouza:
      "Go to the following link to read more reviews of disgruntled 2003 Corolla customers, some of whom indicated the steering problem. It seems the new Corolla teething problems are more profound than would be acceptable from a company renowned for its reliability like Toyota."
    Click here to see the article laksj linked in the message.

    I reformatted the link because it was too long to fit on a display using 1024x768 resolution - when this happens, folks using that resolution (or lower) must scroll from side to side to read every single line on the page containing the long link.

    FYI, you can go to pat "Lost in the Town Hall? Ask the Sedans Host for directions!" Apr 13, 2002 10:25am for some information on how to deal with long links in a way that does not skew the page display.

    Feel free to post a message in that discussion if you have any questions about the linking process.

    Sedans Host
  • mpynempyne Posts: 120
    is it me or does it seem like honda and toyota quality been going down hill lately
    this is my first toyota (2002 corolla) and ive been disappointed the dealer network sucks(at least in Michigan)
    and my car is suffering from the drifting to the left problem that i see people mentioning
    also it feels like my suspension it getting worse and im losing my power steering. next oil change im going to bring it up and see what they say
  • vicarouzavicarouza Posts: 18
    Another thing I notice with my steering-related issue on my 03 Corolla LE is that the power-assist seems virtually non-existent. This car was sold advertised as having VARIABLE ASSIST POWER STEERING. I don't feel any difference. In other words it is quite hard to turn the steering wheel at slow speeds (almost like a car WITHOUT power steering, only SLIGHTLY better)......the rented Corolla CE I drove seemed to turn SLIGHTLY easier, but still felt underassisted. I am beginning to believe that there is some sort of design flaw in the entire steering mechanism or power assist components. Anyone experience this???
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    There must be something very wrong with your car. I don't think that there has been a Toyota sedan in recent history that's been called "underassisted". Any articles I have read constantly complain about the overboosted steering.
    Oh well. Good luck.
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    Does anyone know of a way to check if a car has antilock brakes? I was told my 1996 Corolla DX had them but just yesterday I thought I'd check for myself by starting the engine and looking for the ABS light. It didn't flash. I'm praying that the light is just out. How can I check to see if the car has them? If it turns out the car doesn't have them, I'm going to send the last owner a very aggressive letter of disappointment.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    An easy way to check (not scientific, but easy) is to go to a deserted parking lot, get up a little speed and slam the brakes on (better still if it is wet/slippery). You should feel the characteristic chatter of the ABS engaging. Some are more obvious than others, but I've never driven an ABS-equipped car that wasn't obvious when the ABS engaged.
  • britton2britton2 Posts: 305
    what about contacting Toyota directly and supplying them with the VIN number and asking about ABS brakes?
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    Would I contact a dealer and have them check their computers?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Look under the hood for the ABS pump and controller; if in doubt what it looks like, ask a service tech.

    As for steering problems [ or any substantive problems, for that matter ], our '03 Corolla runs, stops, tracks, steers and rides like a fine piece of work. As noted above, steering effort on all Toyotas [except maybe the MR2] tends to be below average, not above average, and our car is no exception. Our car is equipped with the GY Integrity tires, certainly nothing special except they have a very low rolling resistance and have a higher wear rating than most tires Toyota selects for OEM fitment. They contribute nothing to straight-line stability or handling, that's for sure, but I have no complaints about either in our car.
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    I just checked and I didn't really know what to look for.
  • britton2britton2 Posts: 305
    Did you find out if your car has ABS brakes? I guess a dealer could pull up the info on your car with their computer, but if not surely the headquarters of Toyota should be able to do that -
    I've never had a car with ABS brakes before - good luck
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I had no idea what the ABS pump/controller module looked like before a mechanic pointed it out to me, so don't worry about not knowing. If you are uncomfortable with the parking lot idea, just take it to a local garage- they should be able to tell you in about 5 seconds. It certainly needn't be a Toyota dealer. Good luck.
  • vicarouzavicarouza Posts: 18
    ......and the Service Advisor allowed me to take a brand new 03 LE to see if I feel any difference in the steering system. THAT ONE feels like "it's on rails" - tracks straight and true and steering EFFORT is a lot less!!! and additionally, it had the horrible Firestone OEM tires. I had these tires originally on my 03 LE, but changed the tires to Michelin X-Ones (an expensive high-performance tire in comparison), hoping it would cure the problem. The "New Corolla" the dealership let me drive also felt more stable on the freeway. THERE'S DEFINITELY SOMETHING WRONG WITH MY CAR AND THEY CAN'T GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT :(
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    The solution seems pretty simple to me. The car obviously has a problem, as you have verified. First you need to get a Toyota representative, like the dealer's service manager, to admit there is a problem and that they don't know how to fix it. You lay all this out in a letter to the dealer's manager and demand they either keep your car until they fix it (loaning you a new Corolla in the meantime) or exchange your car for a new one that works properly, one like the '03 LE you drove that tracked straight. If they refuse, take it up the chain and threaten legal action if necessary. You should also check to see if you have already taken the car back to the dealer for the same problem enough times to qualify it as a lemon under your state's lemon law (if it has one).
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363 that you are convinced that not all '03 Corollas have the problem. I have been repeatedly stating I knew that was the case - now that you know that, it's time to use the system to get Toyota to step up to the plate and either fix your car or replace it.

    I have had seat time in a total of 4 2003 Corollas [ 3 LEs, including the car we own and a rental, and one S ], and they all rode and handled admirably, with no wandering or steering issues whatsover. 3 of these had the GY tires, and one the Firestones. I felt no significant differences between OEM tires. And I certainly have to observe that if Mich X-Ones didn't solve the problem, then by definition tires are not part of the equation - these are the best out there for this class of car.
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