Toyota Corolla Problems

No car is perfect, but we've gathered everything relating to the Toyota Corolla reliability here to help you decide if it's a smart buy.

I am thinking of getting a 2012/2013 Toyota Corolla but it has done close to 400,000km mileage. What are the things or replacement costs I need to consider?

Answered by CarsGuide 10 Aug 2022

That’s an awful lot of kilometres for a 2012 model car. Do you know the history of it? Was it a sales rep’s car? Those are really the first questions you need to answer as the car’s background might give you a good idea of how it’s been looked after.

Put your detective’s hat on and take a close look at the car. Does the rear seat look pristine or is it about as worn as the rest of the interior? If it’s the latter, you could be looking at an ex-Uber taxi. Does the car have a permanent smell of pizza? Guess what? Basically, if the car is simply a high-miler with a good service record, then maybe it’s worth a punt. But if its history suggests a raft of different (but all underpaid) drivers and lots of stop-start city driving, then it could well be a liability in the short term.

To be honest, the fact that it’s already done almost 400,000km and is still going suggests that the previous owner has, in fact, cared for it and serviced it properly. But even so, if the car is an ex-rental car or delivery vehicle it’s probably not a great car to own as it heads into its sunset years. And if it’s an ex-car-share vehicle, run in the other direction as fast as you can.

The other documentation you’d really want to be able to examine would be the service history. Any skipped services over that period are bad news and will lead to problems down the track.

As for what might need replacing; at that mileage the short answer is just about everything. It’s not just engines that wear out with kilometres, transmissions, suspension, brakes, bushes, bearings and everything else that can wear, will have begun that process. Again, how close it is to the car’s use-by-date being up will be down to how well it’s been maintained till now. At least parts for a Toyota Corolla will be relatively affordable compared with some of the competition.

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I am replacing my 2006 Toyota Corolla for a different car that has lighter steering and with a high safety rating would be important. Do you have any suggestions?

Answered by CarsGuide 2 May 2022

The world is your oyster here, Myra, and there are literally hundreds of makes and models that will do what you want as well offer the five-star safety rating you’re looking for. Your priorities are spot on, too; safety and the driving characteristics (in this case, steering weight) are very important in how you relate to the car and enjoy driving it.

Since you’re not too concerned with what brand you buy, the best advice is to short-list a few cars that fall within your budget and then go and test drive each one, checking that it steers the way you like it. Even small hatchbacks nowadays have the safety and performance to take you pretty much anywhere the road goes. But for longer journeys, you might appreciate features such as cruise control and a full-sized spare tyre.

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How do you connect Bluetooth in a Toyota Corolla?

Answered by CarsGuide 19 Oct 2021

When it comes to Bluetooth Toyota Corolla hasn’t always had a great track record with its factory installations. For years, many Toyota owners complained that the Bluetooth fitted to their cars was lousy with poor connection, frequent drop-outs and a lack of calling clarity. These days, those problems have been addressed thanks to Toyota’s troubleshooting and the Toyota Bluetooth systems are more or less the same as everybody else’s.

Toyota Corolla Bluetooth pairing (for either iPhone or Android) is a pretty simply process and involves following the on-screen prompts in the phone setup menu after the car has 'found' your phone (make sure your phone is in 'discoverable' mode). From there, you need to confirm that the security code displayed on your phone matches the one on the screen and you’re good to go. Once you’ve worked out how to connect Bluetooth to Toyota Corolla the first time, the system should automatically recognise your phone from then on. If in any doubt, follow the instructions in the how to pair/how to connect phone a phone section of your owner’s manual.

There’s a very good factory website at https://www.toyota.com/connect/ that can lead you through a list of what phones and apps are compatible with Corollas of the last few years.

All the current model Corollas feature Bluetooth connectivity, with the 2019 upgrade also extending to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility across the board. The previous model Corolla (2012 to 2018) also had Bluetooth from the entry-level model up, and the Corolla before that (2007 to 2012) featured Bluetooth on all but the base-model Ascent version. Prior to that, Bluetooth was not a factory fitment on any Corolla, but many owners added it with an aftermarket stereo head unit for better music quality.

 

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Does the Toyota Corolla have Apple CarPlay & Android Auto?

Answered by CarsGuide 2 Oct 2021

Toyota Corolla Apple CarPlay and Toyota Corolla Android Auto are standard fitments to each and every model in the current Corolla line-up for Australia.

The stereo system in all Corollas starts with a six-speaker arrangement with an upgrade to eight speakers in the top-specification models which cost more. Bluetooth is also standard in the Corolla now, and the latest system is much better and easier to connect with than previous Toyota versions of this technology. The Corolla also offers digital radio across the board, putting it ahead of many of its competitors and the same price-point.

To retrofit the new system into an older Corolla would be costly and difficult. Most owners of older cars find that an update to an aftermarket head unit is a better, cheaper solution for adding Apple CarPlay and Android to their vehicles.

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Is the 2021 Toyota Corolla air conditioning system reliable?

Answered by CarsGuide 27 Aug 2021

The CVT you’re referring to is actually the car’s transmission rather than its engine. And since the engine is what drives the air-conditioning compressor, it’s the engine’s power and torque that determines whether the car still drives nicely with the air-conditioning switched on, not whether the transmission is a CVT or any other type.

But I think I know what you are referring to. And that is how well the car’s engine and its CVT transmission are matched. Sometimes, a transmission can gobble up a fair bit of horsepower and torque and that can take the edge off performance. Throw the switch on the air-conditioning and there’s even more load on the engine, making it feel even less perky. In that sense, I think the Corolla as the newer design would have a more efficient transmission and that could mean that it feels the load less than the older Honda might and, therefore, holds on to more of its original performance.

But the second thing you mentioned, that your car’s air-con doesn’t really keep up at temperatures over 30 degrees is more likely to be a problem with the air-con itself. You might find that a five-year-old car (such as your Honda is) is ready for the air-conditioning system to be serviced and perhaps even re-gassed, which might just return it to better health. For the record, Toyota’s have always had some of the best-performing air-conditioning systems in the business over the years, and I very much doubt that a 30-degree day would tax the air-con in a new Corolla one iota.

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What is the weight carrying capacity of the roof of a 2020 Toyota Corolla?

Answered by CarsGuide 8 Jan 2021

The answer will depend on what brand and type of roof rack you use. Different brands of racks have different ratings, but most seem to be able to cope with between 60 and 75kg.

That then switches the question to what size kayaks you have. A small, single kayak is likely to be around the 15kg mark, while a large, double kayak can weigh anything up to 45kg. You need to weigh your kayaks together and then work out if they’re suitable for roof-rack transport. Either way, a quality rack will always be a safer bet than a cheap one. Make sure, too, that the rack you choose has fixing points appropriate for the load being carried.
 

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What car should I buy to replace my 2006 Toyota Corolla?

Answered by CarsGuide 2 Dec 2020

There are still plenty of great small cars around within your budget, Agnes, and they all have good safety packages (or we wouldn’t recommend them). Look at offerings such as the Suzuki Swift Navigator (with the optional autonomous emergency braking) for around $17,000 (plus on-road costs) or the Kia Rio S at around $19,000 or Kia Picanto S (one size smaller than the Rio) at closer to $16,000. Both the Kias also feature the brand’s excellent seven-year warranty, capped-price servicing and free roadside assistance which is great peace of mind.

The Volkswagen Polo is a classy drive but a little more expensive at closer to $21,000 for the 85TSi Comfortline. Actually, to be honest, you’ve missed the boat on bargain small cars by a couple of years. Firm favourites such as the Toyota Yaris and Mazda 2 have both been updated relatively recently and have recorded big price jumps in the process. The cheapest Yaris with an automatic transmission is now around $23,000 (it was less than $17,000 back in 2018) while the Mazda 2 Maxx went from being a sub-$17,000 proposition in 2018 to a $23,000 car by the time you add an automatic transmission in 2020.

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Do the Toyota Corolla hybrid tyre repair kits actually work?

Answered by CarsGuide 20 Nov 2020

Toyota’s approach to this matter is interesting. When it comes to the hybrid versions of the new Corolla, the SX variant gets a space-saver spare while the ZR hybrid gets a repair kit. But some of the other petrol-only and entry-level models get a space-saver and a repair kit.

The repair kit will work provided you’re familiar with how to use it and the leak in the tyre isn’t a huge, gaping gash in the sidewall. If that’s the case, you’re snookered. But if it’s just a nail you’ve run over that’s causing the leak, the repair kit will work. Even so, your next destination should be a tyre shop to have the puncture repaired properly.

Space-saver spares are another matter. While they’ll get you going again after a flat tyre, they can make a vehicle very unstable to drive at any speed and over any distance. That’s why they have an 80km-at-80km/h limit applied to them. But as an alternative to walking home, they’re better than nothing. But since some Corollas come with both a space-saver spare and a repair kit, why not lean on the salesperson when doing the deal and asking them to include one of each? Make it a condition of the sale and I bet you’ll get what you want.

The other thing to think about is what you’re likely to do if you get a flat tyre. Are you the sort of person who’s going to change a flat tyre themselves and continue on, or are you the urban-dwelling, roadside-assistance type who will call for back-up? If you’re the latter – and there’s no shame in that - then none of this stuff matters in the first place.

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How to replace the key battery for a 2012 Toyota Corolla?

Answered by CarsGuide 24 Sep 2020

You should be able to prise open the key’s plastic body and then gain access to the battery-case within. But be careful, as older plastics become brittle with age and you don’t want to snap any of the locking tabs or the body itself (if you do, replacement keys are available online). If that all sounds a bit difficult, you could take the key to a shop or kiosk that cuts keys (and sells watch-bands and batteries) and they should be able to supply and fit the new battery for you. If you do it at home, make sure you dispose of the old button-battery safely as these pose a real threat to babies and toddlers.

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Does the 2012 Toyota Corolla have a timing chain or timing belt?

Answered by CarsGuide 15 Sep 2020

Good news, Amy; your Corolla has an engine with a timing chain rather than a timing belt. While a timing belt needs periodic replacement, the timing chain should be good for the life of the engine.

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