Toyota Corollas ARE domestic. They are made at the NUMMI plant in Fremont, California. Last time I looked, California was part of the U.S., did they move it???
I wrote this review, here is a bit of an update.
The car now has 46k on it, car now requires its fourth set of front brake pads. Nothing has gone wrong with it though... Except once while heading up the Grapevine, a several thousand foot climb north of Los Angeles, the engine started making a horrible high pitched squeal that was linear to the acceleration, at about anything over 3.5k rpm's. Went away on cool-down, haven't heard it since. Wasn't overheating, but the oil was really black afterwards, so I changed it.
While at the dealer, the parts guy asked me if I heard the good news, a service bulletin now says if you are using synthetic oil (which I am) you only have to do an oil change once every 10k... no thanks, not taking any chances with this motor, especially because they have been known to burn oil with this first revision firmware for the vvt-i.
"The car now has 46k on it, car now requires its fourth set of front brake pads."
Imports always wear out brake pads three to four times faster than domestics, but this is ludicrous. Even our poorly built and under-engineered Honda got nearly 30,000 miles out of brake pads.
I've never changed pads on any domestic before 70,000 miles. Our current GM is 9 years old and has 90,000 miles on it, and has yet to have the pads replaced. I just checked the wear on them and they are easily good for another 20,000 miles.
I totally agree with comment 18:51, however I am wondering if you are being taken by an unscrupulous dealer service department or brake shop. In this bad economy, 90% of shops are lying to customers about needed repairs in order to make money. How do you KNOW you really needed brake pads? Did you check the wear yourself? (it's very simple, just remove a wheel and look at the thickness of pad left).
You can actually go FURTHER than 10,000 miles on synthetic without any harm. Synthetic does not degrade and form sludge as cheaper oils do. I never change mine before 10,000 miles and have gone as long as 22,000 miles. I have a friend with a Cadillac who only changes every 25,000 miles. Full synthetic oil is the best investment you can make in a car's life. When synthetic oil came out, they openly advertised 25,000 mile change intervals, then realized they were hurting their own sales and dropped the limit to 10,000 miles in order to make more money. 10,000 miles is really more often than required for full synthetic.
"Imports always wear out brake pads three to four times faster than domestics"
Do you like riding the pedal in imports? The only vehicle I've ever owned that required brake pads every 30,000 miles was a FORD FOCUS. All of my imports (most of which were Honda's) all went at least 75,000 miles on front pads. Rear, 100,000.
"I've never changed pads on any domestic before 70,000 miles."
Um, I had to change the pads on my Focus twice (and the rotors once) before 64000 miles, which is the mileage at which its transmission failed and I traded it in for a Corolla. It also ate tires like no tomorrow, no matter how gingerly I drove it.
The Focus was a GREAT car in all respects, except for reliability. In fact, aside from reliability, it was AS GOOD OR BETTER than the Corolla. HOWEVER, I bought an econoobox to get me to work reliably. If it can't even do that, it isn't doing its job, no matter how nice it rides or how responsive and "European" the steering is.
"The Focus was a GREAT car in all respects, except for reliability."
Our Focus never required a single repair. I suspect the commenter may have been misled by an unscrupulous brake shop wanting to make money. Three sets of brake pads in 60,000 miles is ludicrous.
"Um, I had to change the pads on my Focus twice (and the rotors once) before 64000 miles"
My Focus did the same thing. It required new pads every 25,000 miles. Rotors usually lasted about 50,000 miles. The dealer wasn't ripping me off, I do all my own work and have done so on every car I've owned for decades. These pads and rotors NEEDED replacement. No other car I've owned has ever needed brake pads this frequent. My imports went 70,000 miles on pads easily!
Minus the brakes, my Focus was fairly reliable. It went 143,000 miles without any major repairs. It still stands as the first and only domestic vehicle I've ever owned that made over 100,000 miles AND that did it without any major repairs.
It's not the synthetic that's the weakness, it's dirt and the filter. I change at the same intervals as before. I have a 40 year old Vette on synthetic, and a newer C5. Also my Silverado is also on synthetic. It tows. The older Vette has heavier synthetic, and I also use Startron in every tank with ethanol today. I also use Stabil in the winter and Techtron with spring startup. I also use good gas, my favorite is Shell. I also use Stay cool in my radiator. Not everyone goes to this level but my cars last.
Reply to 28th Jun 2010, 12:46:
I only went though two sets of pads - one at 28,000 miles, and the second at 60,000 miles. The squealers were sounding both times. I needed rotors the second time around.
After having my transmission flushed, and brake pads changed (60k service at dealership), my transmission started slipping horribly. The car was out of warranty, hence me trading it for the Corolla. Sorry about the confusion.
I've known people who have had great luck with their Fords. I've just personally been burned one too many times. I wish you the best of luck with yours though.
"It's not the synthetic that's the weakness, it's dirt and the filter."
Modern engines have very tight tolerances and use clean-burning unleaded fuels. There is no "dirt" in a modern engine to speak of. Generally synthetic oil is good for 25,000 miles between changes. I just changed the oil and filter in my GM at 10,000 miles and the oil was dark, (which is normal), but there was no trace of any dirt or particulate matter. There just is no way for such things to get into a modern engine anymore.
"I just changed the oil and filter in my GM at 10,000 miles"
I'm a mechanic. A few weeks ago I changed the oil in a Cadillac. The owner requested synthetic oil, as he had been using it since he bought the vehicle. He also wanted me to look into a knocking sound, and the oil light coming on at idle. I suspected crankshaft bearings. My guess was confirmed when I went to drain the oil, a sludgy mess.
I asked him how often he changed his oil. His reply? About every 10,000 miles.