Car enthusiasts agree: If you want a car that will withstand almost any abuse and probably outlive you, buy a Toyota. The car manufacturer’s reputation for reliability has sparked something of a cult following and caused Toyotas to retain their value over time. In some cases, these vehicles even appreciate. Where does Toyota Corolla reliability fall into all this? Is it as reliable as other Toyota vehicles? Is Toyota as reliable as people say, or is it just media hype?

What Is the Overall Toyota Corolla Reliability?

Toyotas are known for their reliability, fuel efficiency, and low cost of ownership. Among its rivals, the Toyota Corolla stands out as one of the most popular cars globally, offering a perfect blend of practicality and dependability.

Kelly Blue Book remarks that the Corolla lineup consistently has good reliability ratings. With results like this, it’s no wonder the Corolla has a reputation for outperforming rivals from other manufacturers for reliability.

To compare it with another vehicle in its segment, the Honda Civic is a top rival of the Corolla in several markets worldwide. Comparisons of the 2022 models are neck-and-neck, but Toyota still comes out on top. JD Power gives the 2022 Corolla 85 out of 100 for reliability, while the 2022 Civic scores 80.

The Best Year for the Toyota Corolla

A Toyota Corolla rear emblem.

Buyers vary on the best year for the Toyota Corolla, even when you narrow it down to reliability. Toyota Direct recommends the 2003 to 2008 model years for reliable performance and buyer satisfaction. It acknowledges though, that some buyers also want more advanced technical features. For these buyers, it recommends the 2014 to 2019 model years.

Does that mean newer Toyotas are less reliable? Not at all. Like all cars, Toyota Corolla reliability tends to take a minor hit after a significant redesign because so many parts and features are new. It also takes time to measure that reliability. The Corolla got its most recent redesign in 2020.

The Worst Year for the Toyota Corolla

Car manufacturers and sellers will almost always speak highly of the vehicles they sell. Consequently, to know the years to avoid, you must review what the buyers say. On that note, MotorBiscuit names 2002 as the absolute worst year for Toyota Corollas.

Not only did this year have the most reported problems, but those problems also involved costly repairs. Not surprisingly, 2001 to 2002 was a new redesign era for the Corolla. If you buy a car from this era, autopom! vehicle protection plans can help cover the cost of unexpected repairs.

Common Problems Drivers Experience

A bad year or two aside, owners are generally satisfied with their Toyota Corollas’ reliability and maintenance cost. Still, they encounter issues requiring a trip or two to the mechanic. Here are some of the most common ones to keep in mind.

Check Engine Light

One common complaint among Toyota Corolla owners is the check engine light coming on due to a fault in the evaporative emission control system. The EVAP system stops fuel vapors from escaping into the atmosphere.

Common causes for an EVAP system fault include a loose or damaged gas cap, a faulty purge valve, or a malfunctioning charcoal canister. A qualified technician must diagnose the specific cause of the problem and replace or repair any damaged components as needed.

Automatic Transmission Shifting

Some Toyota Corolla drivers have reported issues with the automatic transmission not shifting correctly, particularly at high mileage. This Toyota Corolla reliability problem may manifest as delayed shifts, abrupt gear changes, or slipping between gears.

The usual fix for this issue involves servicing the transmission by replacing the transmission fluid and filter. In more severe cases, repairing or replacing the transmission may be necessary. Regular transmission maintenance, such as fluid changes and inspections, can help prevent this issue.

Faulty Starter

Another common complaint among Toyota Corolla owners is the vehicle failing to crank or start due to a faulty starter. The starter turns the engine over when you start the car with the key or ignition button. When the starter fails, you may hear a clicking noise or a grinding sound, or experience no response at all when attempting to start the vehicle.

The usual fix for this issue is replacing the starter motor and ensuring the electrical connections are clean and secure. Regular inspections of your vehicle’s electrical system and addressing any signs of wear or corrosion can prevent starter-related issues.

How To Maintain the Corolla and Reduce Repairs

You can significantly improve your Toyota Corolla reliability by getting ahead of repairs with timely maintenance. Here are some tips for maintaining your vehicle:

  1. Follow the recommended maintenance schedule found in your owner’s manual.
  2. Check and change your oil regularly, especially if you notice excessive oil consumption.
  3. Monitor fluid levels, including coolant, brake, and transmission fluid.
  4. Inspect your brakes, tires, and suspension components for wear and replace them as needed.
  5. Address any warning lights or unusual noises promptly to avoid further damage or costly repairs.

Average Cost of Repairs Each Year for the Toyota Corolla

A man opening his wallet to pay for Toyota Corolla repairs.

YourMechanic estimates an annual average of $677 to cover maintenance and repair costs. The range starts as low as $95, with a few outliers getting as high as $2,851, looking at model years as far back as 1983.

For comparison, Kelly Blue Book estimates that car repairs average $548.32 across all manufacturers for 2023. Here are some of the most common problems identified:

  • Brake pad and rotor replacement
  • Alignment
  • Starter replacement
  • Fuel injector replacement
  • Thermostat replacement

How To Cover Toyota Corolla Reliability Failure With autopom!

A CNBC article found that 56% of Americans would not have the cash to cover a $1,000 emergency expense that arose. If you fall into this category, you could be forced to borrow money at high interest rates to cover the cost or use your credit card, which is sometimes much worse. Thankfully, these are only some of your options.

A vehicle protection plan from autopom! can cover the cost of unexpected repairs, providing peace of mind and financial security. With a variety of coverage options, autopom! offers plans tailored to your specific needs and budget.

Don’t let unexpected repair costs catch you off guard. Protect your investment with a VPP from autopom! Contact us to get a quote today just in case your Toyota Corolla reliability doesn’t live up to its reputation.

By Mike Jones, President & CEO of autopom! Insurance Services, llc