Toyota Corolla Reliability Report (Problems & Recalls)

The Toyota Corolla is known for being a long-lasting car that provides comfort, reliability, and good fuel economy. Because of this, they’ve been a top choice when looking at both new and used cars for many years. However, there are a few common problems Corolla owners tend to experience.

The most common problems of the Toyota Corolla include oil leaks, bad head gaskets, creaking front suspensions, and shifting issues that can be a sign of the transmission failing. It’s also common to run into issues with the radio not working correctly. In addition, there have been numerous recalls regarding the airbags in various models.

While some of these problems may sound intimidating, several have a simple solution. This article will cover the possible solutions to these problems and how much you can expect them to cost. You’ll also find everything you need to know about the reliability of the Corolla.

Toyota Corolla Issues?

Like any other car, the Corolla has a few problems you’ll likely run into at some point. Some are simple fixes, while others may be slightly more challenging.

However, even with the issues you may run into, the Toyota Corolla is still a reliable car overall.

How Reliable is the Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla has ranked number one in Repair Pal’s yearly reliability rating for many years, including 2022. In the 2022 ranking, the Corolla is rated at 4.5 out of 5 and ranks number one out of 36 other cars.

It’s also estimated to have below-average ownership costs. The average ownership cost of the Corolla is estimated to be around $362 per year, while the average for compact cars is $526.

In addition, J.D. Power has consistently rated the Corolla well over the years. Most models have received at least an 80 out of 100 in this rating.

Overall, the Corolla is affordable to maintain and will last many miles as long as you keep up with the maintenance. Most well-maintained Corollas can easily last up to 300,000 miles.

Most Common Issues with the Toyota Corolla

1. Oil Issues

Some Corolla models are known to have problems with oil leaks. This problem is most common in the 10th-generation Corolla models. In most cases, the issue results from faulty pistons and occurs at low mileage.

The faulty piston rings, which oil to leak into the crankcase, where it burns away. Many owners complained that their cars used excessive oil that they could not account for.

In addition, 2019 and 2020 models have been recalled because of engine cracks that can allow oil and coolant leaks.


If you have a 2019 or 2020 model, there’s a good chance that your car isn’t included in this recall, as it only involved a small number of these cars.

To find out for sure, you can have your local Toyota dealership check the serial number on your engine. If the recall applies to your car, they will replace the engine free of charge.

Replacing the piston rings on your Corolla will not be as simple. This is because replacing them requires the upper half of the engine to come out to access them.

On average, a set of piston rings for the Corolla is between $100 and $120. However, with labor, it’s likely to cost between $1000 and $5000 to have them replaced.

2. Transmission Problems

Another common problem with the Corolla that can potentially be costly is the transmission issues. Many Corolla owners have experienced shifting problems and transmission failure.

Improper shifting is common across a wide range of Corolla models. Around 150,000 miles, many owners begin to experience rough or delayed shifting. This problem is usually related to a bad shift solenoid or throttle position sensor.

In addition, the 2003 Toyota Corolla is known for transmission failure. As a result, many 2003 owners have reported having to replace their transmissions at low mileage.


Most shifting issues are accompanied by a check engine light. If your check engine light is on, you can use an OBD-II scanner to read the code. This will help you pinpoint the exact issue.

If your transmission fails, you will have to replace the transmission, which will cost between $1300 and $3500. When you add labor costs, the price will go up to approximately $5000.

3. Airbag Recalls

While not as expensive to fix, the various airbag recalls for the Corolla could pose a significant safety risk if left unrepaired. According to, there have been over 4,200 complaints from Corolla owners regarding airbag problems.

Many Corolla models have been recalled for airbags that deploy incorrectly or do not deploy when needed.

For example, specific 2013-2019 models were recalled because of a faulty airbag control module that could prevent the airbags and seatbelt pretensioners from deploying if you crash.

Additionally, A recall was issued for 2003-2013 (10th generation) models because of a faulty inflator, which could explode and disperse metal fragments.


It’s important that you check for any recalls that may be open for your Corolla. In addition, if your airbag comes on, you should have it inspected by your local Toyota dealership or your regular mechanic to be on the safe side.

If your used Corolla has one of these airbag recalls, having a professional inspect is recommended to ensure the required repairs have been made.

You should also keep in mind that most airbag repair jobs can be dangerous. So, it’s always best to seek professional help when you have an issue with your airbags.

4. Check Engine Light Issues

There have also been numerous complaints from Corolla owners regarding the check engine light. In addition to the check engine light, you may also notice decreased or delayed acceleration, rough idling, or engine noises.

In most cases, this is related to an issue with the EVAP system. When this is the case, an OBD-II scanner will give you a “system to lean” code (P0171 or P0174), meaning that the engine control module measures too much air and not enough fuel. 


The most common reason for this code is a vacuum leak in the EVAP system. Fixing a leak of this nature can cost up to $600, depending on where the leak is.

This issue can also easily result from an overly dirty air filter. If you look at your air filter and it looks like it may be clogged, replacing it could solve the problem. The average cost for a new filter is between $29 and $60, and it is easy to change on your own.

Various other things could cause this issue, including a bad catalytic converter or faulty O2 sensors. Unfortunately, both of these things can be rather costly to replace.

So, before replacing anything too expensive, you should check your mass airflow sensor (MAF).

5. Air Flow Sensor Issues

Toyota Corolla models 1998-2010 are known to have faulty mass airflow sensors. The problem usually occurs at higher mileage.

If you’re having issues with acceleration, idling, or your engine stalling soon after you start it, there’s a very good chance your problem is your MAF.


When you start reaching a higher mileage, it’s not uncommon for the MAF to be dirty. So, you can likely avoid replacing the sensor by cleaning it with a sensor cleaner.

However, if it doesn’t work, you’ll have to replace it. A new sensor will cost between $60 and $100. If you’re not able to replace the part yourself, labor for this repair is generally between $60 and $80.

6. Suspension Problems

Another common complaint among Corolla (and even Rav4 Hybrid) owners is that the front suspension begins to squeak or creak at low mileage. In many cases, this occurs before 50,000 miles and is most common in 2014-2019 Corollas.

This is because of a fault in the lower suspension arm assembly, which is a common issue for these models.

However, some Corolla owners have run into this problem only because the bushings were dry. Many things can cause this, and it’s pretty simple to fix.


If your suspension arm is the problem, you’ll have to replace it. You can expect that part to cost between $100 and $250, with labor costs ranging from $250 to $350.

If this isn’t the problem, you should check your:

  • Ball joints
  • Bushings
  • Tie rod
  • Struts and strut bearings

However, some owners have been able to fix this problem by greasing their bushings periodically if the problem was only dry bushings. 

7. Problems with the Radio

It’s also common for the 2014-2019 models to experience problems with the radio, including the radio constantly rebooting. Additionally, several complaints state that the radio gets stuck in a reboot loop, making them unable to use their radio at all. 

The most common issue with the Corolla’s radio is that the touch screen goes out. The first thing you may notice if your screen is going out is a delayed response to touch. Once this starts, it’s likely to worsen until the screen doesn’t work at all.


If your radio is lagging, freezing, or rebooting periodically, resetting it or updating the software could be an easy and free solution to this problem.

To update the software, you can visit and enter your VIN or your car’s model and year to see if there’s an update available. If so, you’ll download it to a flash drive, then plug the flash drive into to USB port in your car to install the update to your radio.

Once you install the flash drive, you can go into the settings menu and locate “software update” to complete the process.

Unfortunately, if the problem is with the touch screen, you’ll likely end up having to replace the radio. Replacing it with a factory radio could exceed $1000. However, there are cheaper aftermarket alternatives.

8. Head Gasket Issues

In addition to the other common issues with the Corolla, all models are susceptible to head gasket issues miles are added to the car. These issues can range from minor leaks to a blown head gasket.

The head gasket is an essential factor in the way your car runs. Put simply, the head gasket seals the combustion chamber to provide engine power. The seal also prevents coolant from leaking, which keeps your car from running hot.

If your head gasket is going bad, you may experience any of the following things:

  • Rough idling
  • Overheating
  • Smoke from the exhaust pipe
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Misfires
  • Engine knock
  • Compression loss

Another sure sign of a blown head gasket is a milky build-up underneath the oil cap. This milky substance is the result of oil and coolant mixing.


If you suspect a problem with your head gasket, keep in mind that continuing to drive the car could cause more severe and expensive damage to your vehicle.

The best way to test your head gasket is to take it to your mechanic so they can perform a compression test. If they find that the head gasket is leaking, you’ll have to replace it.

Head gaskets for the Toyota Corolla are priced between $600 and $630, while labor costs for this repair range from $1000 to $1500.

What Years Did the Toyota Corolla Have Problems?

Looking at the list of common problems is helpful, but it can be challenging to determine which years are the most problematic. Comparing the PPMY Index for each year model makes the comparison easier.

In addition, it gives a fair comparison between the newer and older models.

In this model, a higher PPMY means more problems.

The most problematic years are:

  • 2007
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2019

When shopping for a Toyota Corolla, it’s best to avoid these year models if you’re looking for a reliable car with few problems.

The least problematic years are:

  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002

The table below shows you the most recent recall issued for the Toyota Corolla and why they were issued.

Recent Recalls

20V682000Fuel pump may fail and cause the engine to stall.
20V024000Airbags/seat belt protensioners may not deploy in a crash.
20V012000 Fuel pump may fail.
19V877000Rear seatbelts may not restrain appropriately during a crash.
19V741000Inflator may explode and disperse sharp metal fragments.
19V627000Front passenger airbag may not inflate properly.
19V544000Faulty Electronic Stability Control System

Keeping up with recent recalls and ensuring all previous recalls have been repaired is the best way to ensure your car is safe. If a safety recall goes unrepaired, it could put you and others in the car at risk.

Luckily, it’s easy to look up which recalls are open for your Corolla. 

Check to See Whether Your Vehicle has an Open Recall

To see whether your Corolla has open recalls, you can go to, enter your VIN, and click search. 

You can also choose to enter the make, model, and year of your car if you don’t have the VIN on hand.

How is it compared to similar cars?

When shopping for a new car, it’s essential to consider how reliable the vehicle will be in comparison to similar cars.

The Toyota Corolla ranks the most reliable in Repair Pal’s 2022 reliability ranking for compact cars. This rating was determined by analyzing repair invoices over time and considering the average cost, frequency, and severity of repairs needed for each car.

All of the top 5 ranking cars in this rating were rated 4.5 out of 5. Below you can see a comparison of the reliability rating and average annual repair cost of each of the top 5 most reliable compact cars.

The Corolla’s average annual repair cost is significantly lower than the average cost of owning other compact cars. In addition, it’s not common for them to require many severe or urgent repairs.

In addition, J.D. Power gave the Corolla an 85 out of 100 in terms of quality and reliability. They base their rating on consumer data from proven owners of each car.

While these ratings show promising evidence that the Corolla is a good choice for a reliable car, you should also consider how long the car will last after you buy it.

What is the Life Expectancy and Mileage?

It’s especially important to consider a used car’s life expectancy and mileage. This way, you can avoid buying a car that will likely need significant repairs soon.

When the maintenance is kept according to the maintenance schedule, you can expect a Toyota Corolla to last up to 10 years or 300,000 miles.

Is it Worth Buying Used?

This high mileage expectancy makes the Toyota Corolla worth buying used as long as the price is fair. Because of this, purchasing a used Corolla is a great way to get an efficient and reliable car for a lower price.

On average, the resale value of a Corolla drops around 21% after five years. Aside from the car’s age, other factors, such as the trim, mileage, and physical condition of the car, play a role in the value as well.

What is Good and Bad About the Car?

Along with considering the value and life expectancy of the car, you’ll want to compare the good and bad things about the car to ensure you get everything you need from your new Corolla.

So, let’s take a look at the important pros and cons of the Corolla.

Pros of the Toyota Corolla:

  • New models have a sporty and stylish design.
  • Comfortable and quiet to ride in.
  • Maintains its value over time.
  • Good fuel economy.

Cons of the Toyota Corolla:

  • The design sits very low to the ground, especially on newer models.
  • Not as much storage space as in other options

What Do Owners Say About the Car?

“2017 with 42,000 miles, and the car stalls out almost when in drive at a red light. The rpm goes up and down, and the car shakes. Also, the cruise control is a joke you can’t even go down a hill without it revving to 5k rpm.” (2017 Owner)

“My wife bought ours in 2001, so this car lasted her 19 years and 250000 miles. Great on gas, and reliable. It’s neither quick nor stylish but that’s not why you buy it. You buy it because it will always get you where you need to go without using too much gas.” (2000 Owner)

“The Corolla is great to drive. It has many safety features. The Corolla is an extremely comfortable ride. The reliability of the Toyota Corolla is excellent! I highly recommend the Corolla.” (2021 Owner)


Most that own a Corolla are happy with their car overall, despite the common problems they run into.

Aside from the models known to be problematic, you won’t usually run into many severe problems with the Corolla, making it an excellent choice if you’re looking for an affordable and dependable car.