Toyota Corolla Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Toyota Corolla as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

At higher mileages, an anti-lock brake system wheel speed sensor may wear out and illuminate the ABS warning light. It is recommended to replace the sensor with a factory part and be sure to clean all rust and debris from the mounting area because the mounting distance is critical. Failure to do so may result in the new sensor setting false trouble codes.


It is important to regularly check the valve clearance as the exhaust valves may become too tight. This will lead to valve failures which are expensive to repair.

Front brake rotors can wear causing a pulsation felt in the brake pedal. Our technicians tell us this condition is best corrected by replacement of the front rotors and brake pads.

Brake fluid can become dirty and may cause problems in the brake system; it should be flushed every 60,000 miles.

Occasionally, the timing chain and sprockets need replacement due to premature wear and problems with the variable valve timing system (VVTi).

The timing belt tensioner may make a rattling noise at a higher mileages. This is due to the adjustment being at its limit. Our technicians tell us the range of the adjuster may be lengthened by elongating the slot where the spring attaches by 2-3 mm to remedy this problem.

The Throttle Position Sensor can get out of adjustment due to wear in the throttle body or due to carbon build up. This will cause the idle timing to advance more than 30 degrees which will cause very high HC and NOx emissions. Conversely, the Throttle Position Sensors can wear out and not properly advance the timing which causes a lack of power and poor fuel economy.

A rough idle and even an emissions inspection failure for high HC and CO can be caused by improperly adjusted valves. Also, exhaust valves may become to tight which can lead to valve failures. Our technicians tell us that regular valve adjustment inspections are a must.

On vehicles with a manual transmission, worn shift bushings can cause the transmission to pop out of gear, especially when coasting down in 1st or 2nd gear. Replacing all the shift linkage bushings is pretty straight forward and not expensive and will commonly correct this concern.

Usually by 150,000 miles the AC system will need some attention, especially in climates where it is used often. Our technicians tell us that it is best to service the AC system every 2-3 years. This keeps the moisture in the system at a minimum which extends the life of the components.

Some of the fuel/temperature gauges fail and read maximum at all times. Our technicians tell us that there is a gauge cluster replacement that includes the little voltage regulator as well.

A squeak or groan noise may be noted from the front or rear suspension. Spraying a light lubricant on the suspension bushings 1-2 times per year may help eliminate the problem.

The idle air control motors tend to become carboned up at around 100,000 miles and can cause a start and stall and/or stalling at stop sign problems. Our technicians tell us that many times these motors can be cleaned, however, the sure bet is to replace the idle air control motor and clean the throttle body.
By 100,000 miles the ignition key tends to wear out and should be replaced or it may not work as well in the door locks or ignition switch.