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Toyota Corolla Reliability and Common Problems

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The Toyota Corolla is a go-to model for both new or used car buyers across the United States who prioritize fuel economy and good acceleration. It’s a reliable vehicle model that provides proficient handling without compromising overall ride quality. According to CarEdge.com, it also has excellent resale value, depreciating only 40% after five years, which trumps other Toyota models with similar features and capabilities.

Are Toyota Corollas Reliable?

With a 4 out of 5 reliability rating on RepairPal, the Corolla is considered above average, ranking 8th out of 32 vehicles in its category. Its performance holds up well through years of regular use, making it a popular and budget-friendly option for first-time car owners or used car buyers. The Corolla has a standard 5-year/100,000-mileToyota warranty. But even after your warranty expires, your Corolla can be kept in good shape as long as you maintain it regularly. If you have it serviced regularly, your Corolla can last for 10 years and run 300,000 miles.

toyota corolla car
The Toyota Corolla’s performance holds up well through years of regular use, making it a popular and budget-friendly option for first-time car owners or used car buyers.

Top Toyota Corolla Problems

Despite its reliability, the Toyota Corolla does have multiple problems, depending on the model year. Here are the most common problems for different model years:

Excessive Oil Use

Owners of the 2002 and 2009 Toyota Corollas have had issues like their engine consuming too much oil. Some of them have only been using their Corollas for less than a month. Some solutions for the Toyota Corolla oil consumption problem include replacing piston rings, using thicker oil, and the most expensive fix: replacing the engine, which can cost $2,600 to $5,000 or more. While some owners have reported that their dealership honors a standard warranty, this may be subject to vehicle eligibility.

Transmission Failure

The 2003 Toyota Corolla is known for transmission failure. Despite regular maintenance, some owners have reported that their transmission gave up in the middle of the road. Many of them described unusual grinding and clunking noises before their cars suddenly stopped. It’s a very troublesome problem that can become dangerous, so it’s important to solve it immediately to prevent crashes or collisions.The reported solutions for this problem involve rebuilding or completely replacing the transmission, which can cost you $1,200 to $2,500, depending on component pricing and different labor costs.

Slow Engine Start Up

Toyota Corolla starting problems are quite common, with some owners saying their Corollas are slow to start or won’t crank up. According to some owners, this can happen when the car hits 100,00-125,000 miles. The most common cause is starter failure, which may require you to replace the starter solenoid or the whole starter, so it would be best to consult a certified mechanic on this matter.

Other causes include a corroded or weak battery or clogged fuel filter, which may stop your car from starting up normally. This is one of the most common Toyota Corolla 2015 problems, but you may also experience this issue with other year models from 1990 to 2014.

Lit Check Engine Light Due to EVAP System

Toyota Corolla models from 1998 to 2016 have a common issue with the evaporative emission (EVAP) system, which triggers the check engine light. This particular problem may be more difficult to diagnose, but some car owners have reported that possible causes may include charcoal canister failure or a faulty gas cap. If you observe this problem, consult a certified mechanic to determine if there are any faulty parts in the EVAP system, which may cause further damage if left unrepaired.

Faulty Airbags

Toyota Corollas have had their fair share of airbag recalls. There was a recall in 2019 for 2003 -2013 Toyota Corollas for possible airbag inflator explosion, which could shoot pieces of metal at car occupants, causing injury or harm.

In 2014, some 2009-2010 Corolla units were recalled for an improperly placed Flexible Flat Cable (FFC), which made them susceptible to damage. If damaged, the cable could cause the driver’s airbag to completely deactivate and prevent it from functioning.

In 2013, Toyota also had to recall some 2010-2013 Corollas for frontal airbags that didn’t deploy when needed due to an untested passenger seat occupant sensing system calibration. During the same year, they also had to recall some 2003-2004 Corollas for faulty supplemental restraint system (SRS) circuits, which could unnecessarily trigger airbags.

Steering Drift

Some 2010 and 2009 Toyota Corolla problems include steering drift, which even prompted an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Many owners have complained that the vehicle’s on-center steering was inadequate. Owners have reported that it took extra effort to efficiently handle their Corollas. According to the investigation, this was due to the stock calibration within the electronic power steering system that affected on-center steering. There were no recalls made for this problem, but Toyota released a technical service bulletin for an optional recalibrated EPS electronic control unit that improved the on-center steering feel, which helped resolve the issue.

2010 toyota corolla engine
The MAF of 1998-2010 Corollas may need to be cleaned or replaced to maintain normal acceleration. Image source: Toyota

Bad Mass Air Flow Sensor

The Mass Airflow Sensor of 1998-2010 Corollas may need to be cleaned or replaced to maintain normal acceleration. Otherwise, acceleration may drag and negatively affect overall vehicle performance. Aside from acceleration problems, this issue may also trigger the check engine light. The average cost for Mass Airflow Sensor replacement is around $200 to $290, depending on part price and labor cost rates, so it’s best to seek professional advice to determine if your vehicle’s sensor requires cleaning or replacement.

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