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The Toyota Corolla compact car has a much-deserved reputation for high-level reliability. Corolla models are often still on the road after 10 years — and in some cases, last over 300,000 miles. However, no vehicle is completely immune from issues. Here are the three most common Toyota Corolla problems reported by many real owners. 

What are the most common Toyota Corolla problems? 

Rear angle view of black 2023 Toyota Corolla, showing the most common problems reported by real owners
2023 Toyota Corolla | Toyota

To determine the reliability and the most common problems for the Toyota Corolla, RepairPal collected data from real owners. This includes data on the frequency, severity, and cost of repairs. This method of analysis is advantageous, for contrary to some other automotive entities that rely on their own testing, it reflects real-world scenarios.  

Here are the three most common Toyota Corolla problems reported by owners:

  1. Check engine light due to EVAP system fault
  2. Automatic transmission may not shift correctly at high mileages
  3. Vehicle won’t crank due to starter

It’s important to note that most Corolla models are not affected by these three problems. However, they were the most frequent ones reported. Let’s dig a little deeper and discuss the details of these issues. 

Most common Toyota Corolla problem is an illuminated check engine light from an EVAP system defect

Dashboard in 2023 Toyota Corolla, showing the most common problems reported by real owners
2023 Toyota Corolla | Toyota

According to RepairPal data, the most common Toyota Corolla problem reported by real owners is a check engine light that illuminates as a result of a defect in the evaporative emission (EVAP) system. Technicians that addressed this EVAP system problem stated that it is often difficult to diagnose. 

However, a frequent cause is a failed charcoal canister in the compact car. Also, a loose or worn gas cap is sometimes to blame. Getting to the bottom of the issue typically requires a general diagnosis of the Corolla, with an average cost between $88-$111.

For high mileage models, the automatic transmission might not properly shift

The second-most frequent Toyota Corolla issue reported by owners is the automatic transmission not correctly shifting. This shifting issue is more problematic for models with high mileage (over 125,000 miles). 

Fortunately, resolving the problem does not typically require a replacement or major overall of the transmission. One of the causes of the compact car not properly shifting is the throttle position sensor. It just needs to be adjusted. Another cause is a broken shift solenoid, which might need to be replaced. 

Broken starter results in the engine not cranking

The other common problem for the Toyota Corolla is the engine not cranking as a result of a broken starter. The starter of the compact car tends to fail after around 100,000-125,000 miles. While the starter solenoid is sometimes the cause, rectifying the issue usually requires the replacement of the complete starter system. The average cost to replace the starter is between $316-$427.

How reliable is the Toyota Corolla?

The Toyota Corolla is very reliable. RepairPal gives it an “excellent” reliability rating of 4.5 out of five. Also, out of 36 compact cars evaluated, the Corolla ranks the best for reliability. Plus, compared to other vehicles, the repair costs are very low. The average annual cost of repairs is only $362.

RepairPal isn’t alone in highlighting the Corolla’s reliability. On Consumer Reports’ list of most reliable cars, the standard Corolla model is seventh, while the Corolla Hybrid ranks as the most reliable car of all.

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