1989 Toyota Corolla Base from North America


Great vehicle


The coil went bad, which is common for the age of this vehicle, which is why the car will crank, yet not turn the engine over and fully start. After the replacement of the coil, the motor was steamed and it caused the alternator to fail in my best guess, which in turn overcharged the battery and ruined it as well.

Now the BRAKE and CHARGING WARNING LIGHTS stay on at all times while car is running. The car runs fine like this until the warning lights both begin to dim and then fade completely, and the car dies shortly thereafter.

I've replaced the back end of the alternator, and still both brake and charge lights remain on the dash panel. I'm going to replace the battery and see what happens next. If anyone has any suggestions for me, I would greatly appreciate the input.

General Comments:

The car has been extremely reliable til this point, and I hope to resolve this issue.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th December, 2010

16th Dec 2010, 05:37

Replace your whole alternator. That's the problem, it's not charging your battery or keeping the car running.

25th Jan 2011, 18:23


I have the same problem.

The brake and charge lights do not turn off.

I checked the alternator output, and it is 12v, but when I turn on the headlights and the heaters, it goes to about 11.3v and does not go back up.

Do you know what the problem is, and how I could fix it?

Could you email me back at exzackery@shaw.ca

Thanks a million!


31st Dec 2012, 16:57

Your output at the battery while running should be over 13.5V-14V with the lights off, and just over 13V with everything (lights etc.) turned on... 11.3V is a dead alternator and will kill the battery, since its output isn't enough to both run the cars electrical accessories and charge the battery... The alternator runs the entire electrical system, and the excess voltage charges the battery and keeps it charged.

13th Apr 2017, 21:46

If I am not mistaken, the voltage regulator is built in the alternator; you need to replace that alternator completely, the undercharging will also damage cells in your battery.

1989 Toyota Corolla GTS 1.6 4A-GE Twin Cam from North America


Trustworthy, economical, quick


One fuel injector failed.

Drivetrain has some slop.

Oil leaks from distributor and transmission.

Rear shocks worn from years on a long gravel road.

Cruise control doesn't work.

Lifter tick.

Milky oil, changed head gasket to discover that it had just been condensation under the valve cover from driving short trips in winter.

Check engine light comes on occasionally for faulty EGR valve.

General Comments:

Has been a reliable daily driver since I bought it. Yes, I bought the car with 290,000 miles. I figured that if it had gone that far, why not a bit further?

Previous owner was a Toyota certified mechanic, he rebuilt the engine and replaced the transmission.

I average 30mpg, the tiny 10 gallon tank lasts me several weeks.

So far the largest expenses have been my fault, I misdiagnosed the failed injector as bad CV joints (shuddering at speed), so I replaced the joints to no effect. Once I figured out the real problem, a new injector was easy to install. I bought new shocks, haven't installed them yet though. Changed head gasket for no reason, milky oil from condensation that I misdiagnosed as blown head gasket, only cost a few bucks and a weekend though.

On a positive note, this thing is quick and fun to drive. Power sunroof works fine, heater is powerful, good sound from factory system, seats are comfortable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st August, 2010

2nd Oct 2010, 14:40

Update: Odd problem when weather is damp, the instrument cluster lights up when I hit the brakes, even if the car is off! I suspect the brake light circuit is energizing the running light circuit via bad connections in tail light cluster. Think I may have fixed it, with new bulbs and liberal use of sandpaper, silicone sealant and WD40.