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Shopping For A Used Toyota Corolla - Here Are The Problem Years And Colors To Avoid

The Toyota Corolla can be a great used car buy. Just watch out for these issues and trouble years.

Toyota’s Corolla is a used car icon. It is well-known as a great used car purchase. Toyota’s legendary durability, reliability, and quality have earned the Toyota Corolla the status of a sought-after used car. Now that the accolades are complete, let’s face facts; Some years of the Toyota Corolla have proven more reliable than others. If you are shopping for a used Toyota Corolla, here are some problems and some years to be aware of.

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Used Toyota Corolla Problems To Be Aware Of When Shopping
The Corolla is a relatively simple car. Particularly when it comes to in-vehicle electronics and features. Hey, look at the upside – it’s less stuff to break. So what does break? To find out, we turned to CarComplaints. The site is a listing of owner-reported problems for specific models and model years. It is a valuable resource for those shopping for a great used car. By scanning the volume and grouping of the complaints owners took the time to report, one gets a sense of the things to watch out for and the years to avoid.

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One problem that some Toyota Corollas have suffered from is excessive oil consumption. This can lead to engine failure and high costs. The typical cost is over $2,600 and it start around 97K miles. Here’s what one owner reported to CarComplaints with the colorful language edited out : “Wish I had known this was a problem before I replaced the first engine because now having the same problem with the replacement! My daughter bought this car new and the engine blew at 58,000 miles (one month out of warranty). We replaced the engine and I got the car from her when she bought a new minivan. Now the car has 20,000 miles on the used replacement engine and uses excessive oil every 300mi or so. I've used only full-synthetic and just holding my breath until this engine blows.”

Shopping for a used Toyota CorollaUsed Toyota Corolla Years To Avoid When Shopping
Owners have reported the Corolla’s engine problems as far back as the model year 2000 cars and as recently as the 2009 model year. That is a pretty long span, but the complaints are not linear. The most occur in years 2002 and 2009. Both years have been branded with the “Beware of the Clunker” stamp of disapproval by CarComplaints. We would suggest that shoppers use caution when shopping in this span of years and avoid the 2002 and 2009 model years. With millions available, why purchase a car from the peak years of trouble reports?

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Why You May Want To Avoid White Corollas
Another issue to be aware of if you are shopping for a used Toyota Corolla is the Blizzard Pearl and Super White paint. There is a known paint defect that causes it to fall off on some cars. Toyota is offering help to owners of some years to deal with the problem. Rather than wade into that, why not just buy another color?
If you have a Toyota Corolla and have had any of the above-mentioned issues please tell us what your experience has been. Your comment below may help a fellow owner.

John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career and dedicated himself to chasing his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and connect with him at Linkedin.


Katherine (not verified)    August 31, 2020 - 8:25PM

I own a 2009 Toyota Corolla and up to date have no issue at all. I am thinking of upgrading another Toyota and thanks for the comments on car complaint. Definitely not the white colour

Keith Keehn (not verified)    December 10, 2020 - 6:10AM

I own a 2009 Corolla that has 251,000 miles on it . I've had to replace a water pump and alternator and then just regular maintenance items ( Belt , battery , tires , wipers , etc.. ) , very pleased with my Corolla

J. Moro (not verified)    January 2, 2021 - 4:35PM

In reply to by Keith Keehn (not verified)

I believe your 09 Corolla is one of many exceptions.
My 06 Corolla hit 251 K and now retired

My 2015 Subaru Forester has many complaints , I've yet to encounter any , hoping my vehicle is an exception and trouble free for years.

IM willing to bet that there are good years that produce lemons.

Paul Cambell (not verified)    January 24, 2021 - 12:24PM

I would like to make an inquiry in regards to some ( Toyota Corolla Engine 2015 and up ) I want to order. Can you give me a list of the types you have available and their respective prices? Do you take credit card payment?

W C Barlow (not verified)    January 30, 2021 - 9:44AM

Have had relatively inexpensive experience with my 2014 Corolla. The only issue was the radio which stopped working at around 4 years. It was really expensive to replace but I was able to find a reconditioned unit to replace it. Which was still fairly expensive.

harry (not verified)    March 14, 2021 - 1:57PM

like info from Toyota owners. I have 2008 1.6 advance and a 2008 Toyota 1.8 6 speed .using a bit of this normal. the 1.8 has done 300,000 km

Harischandra Sukha (not verified)    March 14, 2021 - 2:03PM

I have a 2008 Toyota 1.8 6 speed .300,000km using a bit of oil,what oil is recommended. currently using synthetic oil

Tapdaddyblue (not verified)    May 31, 2021 - 6:31PM

I have 2013 accord with over 175k miles, I've replaced 2 batteries and 1 starter. $800.40 for starter replacement, which is runs excellent with that overly expensive starter.

FOUAD AL ROBAIEE (not verified)    June 8, 2021 - 4:59PM

I love Toyota Cars. I lost Corolla 2010 after accident. The car was horrible. I changed most parts of the Auto Gear at 102,000 miles. Plus the wheel bearings,Alternator, cooling fans and modular. The silver color started peeling on roof. That was worse Toyota car I bought.

Jacob Martin Miller (not verified)    August 17, 2021 - 11:04PM

In reply to by Harvey H Hyde (not verified)

I have a 2002 Corola and it stopped reading the miles at 299,999 two years ago. I drive it around for residential sales in the metro area six days a week. It will drink one quart of oil every 1,000 miles - every two weeks. I love this car because it will not die!!!!!!

Steven Marks (not verified)    May 30, 2022 - 8:12PM

I have a 1998 Toyota Corolla and it has 181,000 miles and runs perfectly. Just put a new tranny in and expecting to glide into 300,000….

Stephanie L Ryder (not verified)    June 30, 2022 - 12:32PM

I own a 1999 Toyota Corolla. I had a new starter put in in 2009. I’ve had brakes, routers, all around. Today, I put in a new gas tank put in. Car has 80000 miles on it. Interior is falling apart but I don’t care, I’m not buying a new car! Toyota makes a good car!

Cheryl (not verified)    December 2, 2022 - 10:48PM

I have a Grey 2003 Toyota Corolla CE which the paint on the roof slowly started peeling away. Does anyone else have paint issues?

Chester Steed (not verified)    April 1, 2023 - 12:25AM

I have a 98 Corolla le and the only issue I've encountered is with the interior head liner and the plastic parts. I am in the process of putting new struts and sway bar links other than that I have no engine problems and I really love the car so much that I am in the market to buy another one