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If you had to guess, you would probably think that the best-selling car in the world would have to be affordable and reliable. If that’s what you guessed, you would be correct because the best-selling car in the world is none other than the Toyota Corolla. In 2022 alone, Toyota sold over 1.12 million Corollas worldwide and over 222,000 in the U.S. alone. It’s obvious that the car is popular because it’s affordable and reliable, but just how reliable is it?

The best-selling car in the world can most likely make it to the moon and back with no issues

The distance from the Earth to the moon is about 238,900 miles, which is a far distance. But we’re certain that the average Toyota Corolla – either new or used – could cover that distance and back without any major issues over the course of its lifetime. Of course, that estimation is provided that you maintain the car properly by following the service schedule and keeping up with its routine maintenance.

Regarding total life expectancy, Vehicle History says that “Toyota makes six out of the 10 leading vehicles in a 2020 study of still-running cars with more than 200,000 miles on the odometer.” That means that you can easily expect at least 200,000 miles out of nearly any Corolla. However, some diligent Corolla owners have squeezed out 300,000 miles, and a dealership in Florida displayed a 1991 Toyota Corolla with nearly 1,000,000 miles on the clock.  

What type of maintenance is needed to make a Toyota Corolla go the distance?

New 2023 Toyota Corolla on road, cheapest Toyota car in 2023 and one of safest with IIHS Top Safety Pick
2023 Toyota Corolla | Toyota

If you’re looking to get the best mileage from any Toyota Corolla, some basic maintenance is needed. This maintenance means following the maintenance schedule, which generally includes:

  • Every 5,000 miles: Brake inspection, oil and filter change, tire inspection, and tire rotation
  • Every 15,000 miles: Check the cooling system, fill coolant, check ball joints, inspect the brake system, examine steering components, and inspect the exhaust system
  • Every 30,000 miles: Replace the cabin and engine air filters, inspect the front differential oil, and check the fuel system
  • Every 60,000 miles: Inspect the drive belts and change the transmission fluid
  • Every 100,000 miles: Replace the coolant and the spark plugs

What Toyota Corolla model years do you want to avoid?

The 10th generation of the Toyota Corolla compact sedan, spanning the 2009 to 2013 model years
2009-2013 Toyota Corolla generation | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

If you plan to look for a good Toyota Corolla to take you to the moon and back – or at least run errands reliably for years – then avoid the 2009 and 2014 model years. The website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists 1,518 complaints about excessive oil consumption in 2009 models. In contrast, the 2012 model has around 400 complaints.

As for the 2014 Corolla model, there are 226 complaints, mainly citing involuntary acceleration, the transmission getting stuck, and the transmission needing a replacement. In that case, you may want to void the 2009 model completely and take caution when shopping for a 2014 model. No matter which Corolla you intend to purchase, it’s a wise idea to have a pre-inspection done.

Ultimately, it’s no surprise that the Toyota Corolla is the best-selling car in the world or that it’s so reliable. However, you may end up with a surprising amount of repairs without the proper care and maintenance.