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Toyota Corolla Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Toyota Corolla based on complaints from 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

The EGR System tends to get restricted or blocked with carbon after 100,000- 125,000 miles which will cause an emissions test failure for NOX. If the EGR system is equipped with an EGR temperature sensor it will trigger a Check Engine Light for improper EGR flow. The repair is to clean out the EGR passages and the EGR Temperature sensor. Our technicians tell this repair is pretty straight forward and takes about 1-1.5 hours. It is also wise to verify the EGR system components i.e. the Transducer, EGR Valve and VSV Solenoid at this time.

The ignition coil inside the distributor may fail. Our technicians tell us this may result in a hesitation on acceleration, especially when the vehicle is warming up on cold, rainy days. The pickup coils inside the distributor can also fail and cause a no-start condition. There have also been some failures of the radio noise suppressors inside the distributors, which can short out. Our technicians recommend replacing the whole distributor with a complete, genuine Toyota distributor if any of its components fail.

At higher mileages, (125,000-150,000) the automatic transmission may not shift correctly. This can be caused by the throttle position sensor being out of adjustment or a shift solenoid needing to be replaced. Typically the transmission does not need to be completely overhauled.

The Check Engine Light may illuminate due to an evaporative emission (EVAP) system fault. Our technicians tell us these EVAP system faults can be difficult to diagnose but it is not uncommon to find a failed charcoal canister or a loose or worn gas cap.

There are occasional reports of daytime running light problems.

If the engine will not crank over, the most common problem is the starter. These will tend to go out at about 100,00-125,000 miles. Sometimes it is only the starter solenoid, but often the complete starter (including solenoid) needs to be replaced.

A transmission fault code of P0770 or P0773 may occur at higher mileages which indicates that the 3-way lock-up solenoid has failed and will need replacement.

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.

The bolts attaching the front door window glass to the window regulator may come loose. This can cause the window regulator to become damaged and possibly causing the window glass to break. Some 2003 & 2004 models have been recalled for the issue.

Drivers of the Toyota Corolla may notice excessive oil consumption between oil changes, even to the extent of the engine oil warning light displayed on the multi-function display.

This issue is known to be caused by infrequent oil changes causing engine sludge, or worn piston rings. 

The engine should be cleaned of oil sludge, and if oil consumption remains excessive, the engine may need new piston rings, or other internal components replaced. 

To avoid this issue, change the engine oil and filter every 3,000 miles, and ensure the proper grade of oil is used. 

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.

At 125,000-150,000 miles, the Brake Master Cylinder may need replacing. It is critical to adjust the brake pedal to Master Cylinder pushrod clearance or the brakes can drag and over heat.

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.

The AC Expansion Valve may develop a very slow leak or allow too much refrigerant flow which reduces cooling. Our technicians tell us that Toyota makes an updated expansion valve to resolve these problems if and when they occur.