1989 Toyota Corolla SR-5 4 cylinder from North America


Awesome, and we love it!!!


The paint job is faded after 20 years. No repairs at all. Have done only scheduled maintenance.

General Comments:

We love the 1989 Toyota Corolla SR-5 2DR coupe... The last year they made it!! My wife bought it new off the dealer lot.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st February, 2010

27th Feb 2010, 08:13

I agree. Bought my 1990 SR5 in 2004 "in the land of salt n snow" and after a body job in '06 still looks good. At 298000km, if you take care of it, it will take care of you.

1989 Toyota Corolla SR5 Wagon from North America


An amazing all weather car -- totally reliable


Coil went out twice.

Rubber seals around doors have slight leaks.

Rust. Especially notable near sunroof. Very minor leaks, though enough to cause minor mildew inside sunroof seal.

General Comments:

Kind of amazing to think how steady this baby runs, still.

I'm going to sell it now, just because my allergies react to the minor mildew issue. Otherwise, I'd drive it into the ground!

Also, I can't hardly get it to slide in the snow. I drive in full out snowstorms without hardly having to use the 4WD. Incredibly stable and reliable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th August, 2009

1989 Toyota Corolla AWD Wagon not sure, 1.6 Liter? from North America


I LOVE THIS CAR and when I look at new ones, I cringe at the thought of how cheaply made they seem!


The alternator tends to go out around 70,000 - 75,000 miles (as was told to me by the previous owner who had owned the car from 35,000 miles. He has owned three of these cars and had nothing much to complain about.

I paid $1500 for the car three years ago. It was in mint condition. EVERYTHING worked, air, cruise, etc. It did have a strange sound from the drive line (has the push button All Wheel Drive engagement). I was somewhat concerned, but this person had all the paperwork on the car and he assured me it was fine. And it was.

Have replaced the CV joint on right and both CV boots and a new Toyota battery (pricey, but the original battery was still in there according to the mechanic).

The drivers seat has depressed foam, so I bought a great looking (and very comfortable) kitchen chair pad to put me up in the proper position.

For the last year or so, on occasion I put one of the original keys (3 keys) in the ignition to start it and there is dead silence. NO click, etc. I then do the battery cable thing with my pickup running and immediately the car with start like normal. Had everything checked out. NO problems could be found, but the car continued to do this on occasion.

Christmas Eve 2007, in a blizzard, the battery light and the emergency brake light came on and stayed on for 40 miles or so. No power loss or performance problem during the drive in the blizzard. Didn't see them again for a day or two, but periodically, they come back on and eventually, the car did lose power when the lights came on, but then I could drive it again with lights on and no power problem. I had everthing (battery, alternator, etc.) checked by the mechanic (non dealer) that has been working on the car for the entire time I have owned it.

Two weeks ago, I stopped on a country road to visit with a neighbor and we left our cars idling for about ten minutes (I had driven ten miles from my home, no problem, but the lights were on). Eventually the car started to sputter and choke and when I pressed the accelerator pedal it died. It would not start and I called the tow truck. When the mechanic got in it again the next day it started right up.???


I live in central Wyoming and the car has been here all its life.

General Comments:


It has zip, cruises nicely on the Interstate 70-75 miles per hour and barely slows down on the really BIG pulls.

It is quiet, with little vibration or sounds other than the very slight low pitch "whine" of the drive line and transfer case (?). Of course wagons always have sort of an echoing sound compared to sedans.

It consistently gets 30 mpg and is absolutely FUN to drive and park. I live on a high bluff with 300 yards of gravel road that is steep and can be difficult even when dry. My four wheel drive 1/2 ton, can't make the hill, unless I engage all wheels. This car buzzes up that hill without engaging all wheels! AMAZING for something with more than a quarter million miles on it, eh?

It is stable around corners and heavy enough that I feel very safe in it.

I want it to LAST another ten or more years! Any ideas on how to FIX the electrical issues?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd March, 2008

26th Aug 2008, 19:10

I've not had quite that odd problem, though check the distributor spark plug wire or the carburettor diaphragms, they tend to get worn and sometimes get stuck.

I agree that it's a good car, unfortunately mine has seen better days, the engine has gone on the bottom end, mainly the last cam and rings, probably also the cylinder and head, blowing a lot of blue black smoke, car juddering whilst driving before giving out.

Changing and checking spark plugs and HT leads helped a while before burning oil, but then started hunting when idling.

It's a 4a-f engine, can't get a replacement and the bodywork has been getting worse.

Points to look out for that deteriorate are:

Sun roof front edge corrosion

Front wings corrosion

Back wheel arches corrosion

Foot-wells and bulkhead water retention and corrosion

Rear windscreen wiper mounting

Rear fog lamp (if separately fitted) connection and corrosion

Hydraulic oil levels

Brakes, pads caliper's and shoes


Rear window electronics

Bonnet (hood) catch and handle

Fuel filter, air filter, radiator

Most of the corrosion sites mentioned are common to these cars, so keep those areas well protected by prevention treatments.

I live in the UK and I've not seen many around. It's been the best car I have ever owned. It's had six previous owners and I didn't get much history about it from the seller when I obtained it.

Sadly it's being weighed in for scrap next week, though only after I have cannibalized the parts I will be taking off and putting on e-bay for other owners, wherever they may be.

Look after your car, I hope you find a solution to your intermittent problems.

Former 1988 Toyota Corolla 4wd estate (wagon) owner (UK).

25th Apr 2009, 23:50

I had that same problem with mine (intermittent battery light and no start). Just had to clean the positive battery terminal and tighten it back on, and never had a problem since.

5th Dec 2009, 05:31

Brake light and Battery light on at the same time = Alternator problems, VERY common in Toyotas. Need to check the alternator diodes (easy to do with multimeter) and brushes & voltage regulator, instructions online or in a good repair manual, or a TOYOTA mechanic knows now (more than just output voltage check). Almost always new brushes & diodes will fix it up, very rarely does the actual alternator go bad.

The starter contacts wear down after a while too, but there's usually a "click" but no start. The contacts aren't hard to replace either, after taking off the starter that is.