1990 Toyota Corolla 1.6 from North America


Great, reliable, efficient basic transportation


One constant velocity boot was replaced at 122,000 miles, the other at about 200,000 miles.

The starter went out at about 150,000 miles. I replaced it with a rebuilt one.

The radiator sprung a leak at about 160,000 miles and was replaced with a new one.

The air conditioning clutch went out at about 180,000 miles. I replaced it with a used compressor from an auto wrecker.

Replaced the alternator at 200,000 miles.

The clutch wore out and was replaced at about 210,000 miles.

Replaced the timing belt at 220,000 miles (although the old one still looked like new).

General Comments:

I love this car. When we bought it the former owner seemed anxious to get rid of it, which made me a little nervous, but the car seemed to be in great shape. After taking it home and driving it for awhile, I knew I hadn't made a mistake.

In the 108,000 miles we've put on it it's only stranded us once, and that was when the starter went out. The other problems gave us enough warning that there was time to fix it before being stranded. And yes, it has had some problems over the years, but that's to be expected with a 17-year-old car with this many miles on it. The problems it's had have mostly been peripheral things, but the engine and transmission have been rock solid (except the expected clutch replacement).

Besides being reliable, it's always gotten great fuel economy. The best mileage we've ever gotten from it was 41 miles per gallon on one freeway trip. In the city it typically gets 29 to 30 miles per gallon. Average fuel economy is probably in the mid 30s.

And even though it's just got a little 1.6 liter engine, it's got plenty of power. Even today, at 230,000 miles, I don't notice any power difference from the day we bought it. Of course it's been maintained regularly with oil changes and tune ups, which undoubtedly has contributed to that, but I think it's also a testimonial to excellent engineering from Toyota.

On the negative side it does have a lot of road noise. It is not a luxury car, but more an economical, basic transportation vehicle. The reliability and economic factors are more important to me, and honestly I don't even think about the road noise until I ride in someone else's quiet, luxurious vehicle (that usually is much less economical and more trouble-prone).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th January, 2007

10th Sep 2007, 17:49

Right on!!! My 89 corolla has 218,000 miles and is still a great ride even for a an almost antique car. The only thing I've had to repair are the cv boot joints and the exhaust in the several years I've owned it. Just one question though-i know you have 1990 corolla which is pretty much the same as the 89 I have, but when you replaced the starter motor, did you have any trouble locating it. My starter just went and for some reason I can't seem to locate the thing. Any help would be appreciated.

3rd Jan 2008, 05:20

In most Japanese model cars, the starter is usually located beneath the engine. You may have to jack the car up to get a good view of it, and more than likely to remove the starter, but you can see it from the top. It's on the driver's side I believe.

1990 Toyota Corolla wagon 1.6 from North America


I think with a little work it will be great


It was leaking transmission fluid inside on the drivers side. The fluid ran up the speedometer cable. The master cylinder needed a new gasket I think. The mechanic also replaced the heater core at this time. (I personally think it was unnecessary) The bill came to about $450.00.

General Comments:

Well, I don't think it could be any worse than my last car. The fuel mileage doesn't seem to good to me. I get 400km on a full tank (50L)

It needs some body work. Rusting at the bottom. The back bumper is not secured right.

The engine seems to run fine and the air conditioner works.

The hatch back doesn't stay up.

All in all I guess time will tell if I got a good deal on it or not.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd January, 2007