The Most Annoying Toyota Corolla Problems Owners Complain About

With its great crash test results, affordable price tag, and features such as distance pacing and a driver footrest, the Toyota Corolla is one of the world’s most popular cars. While it may be widely driven, however, the Corolla isn’t free of problems — and there are some things you should be aware of if you plan to drive one. RepairPal has collected some of the most common problems reported by drivers of this vehicle.

EVAP problems in the Toyota Corolla trigger the check engine light

The Toyota Corolla being unveiled in Tokyo, Japan
The Toyota Corolla | Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

There are plenty of issues that can cause the check engine light to illuminate, but a common problem on the Toyota Corolla is this light coming on in response to problems with the evaporative emission (EVAP) system.

This can be an incredibly frustrating issue for drivers as EVAP problems are frequently difficult for technicians to diagnose. According to RepairPal, two of the most common issues are loose or worn gas caps and failed charcoal canisters. This problem could cost anywhere from $88 to $111 to repair.

The automatic transmission may not shift correctly

If you’re driving a Toyota Corolla with higher mileage — somewhere around 125,000 to 150,000 miles — you may experience problems with the automatic transmission not shifting properly. This issue was reported by nearly 300 people, and there are a few potential causes. You may need to replace a shift solenoid, or, alternatively, the throttle position sensor may be out of adjustment after so many miles of driving.

Fortunately, this is generally not a problem that requires the entire transmission to be replaced, but it is still important to be aware of when driving a slightly older vehicle.

Daytime running light issues

One of the safety features that comes with the Toyota Corolla is daytime running lights, which dimly illuminate the vehicle’s headlights during daylight hours to increase visibility. However, many people report problems with these lights.

Some common issues include the lights flickering or dying, the lights turning on randomly and draining the battery, and the lights not switching off after the car has been turned off. RepairPal estimates the cost of repair to be between approximately $94 to $114.

Faulty mass airflow sensor

One of the pricier problems you may face when driving a high-mileage Toyota Corolla is a faulty mass airflow sensor. There are two main ways to identify this problem: the check engine light may come on, or the acceleration may become slow and sluggish.

This problem is simply due to the age of the sensor and can often be solved by cleaning it. In some cases, though, the airflow sensor needs to be fully replaced. This repair can cost anywhere from $251 to $351.

Vehicle won’t crank

Starting at around 100,000 miles, the Toyota Corolla engine can begin having problems cranking over. This is most frequently an issue with the starter, which can begin to go out on higher mileage vehicles. In the best-case scenarios, it’s just a problem with the starter solenoid, but more frequently, the entire starter needs to be replaced. This problem can cost approximately $284 to $496 to repair, depending on the severity of the problem.

What you should know about the newest Toyota Corolla

While all of these problems are frustrating — and some are quite costly to repair — they generally impact higher mileage vehicles from past model years. If you have your heart set on a Toyota Corolla, the standard 2020 model starts at about $20,555, gives you 139 hp, and gets 30 miles per gallon.

Like any vehicle, the Corolla has its own quirks and problems. Knowing about these issues in advance can save you a significant amount of time and stress, and that allows you to make the best choices for you and your car.