1996 Toyota Corolla DX from North America - Comments

20th Jun 2012, 20:42

Original Reviewer.

At 205,000 miles now. Have had some issues with preignition. Thought it was bad fuel, so I switched to premium with no luck.

Tried cleaning the EGR and checked it for proper function, everything was working as it should there.

So I tried checking the timing, which was right on the money.

Checked the timing belt, which was off a tooth in advance on the cam (my fault, I installed the timing belt). Re-adjusted that, and still had pinging and heavy knocking when climbing hills. I tried running both Marvel Mystery Oil and Seafoam through the engine (by letting the car suck them up through a vacuum port until it chokes, then let it sit for awhile with the stuff in it, and then started up and watched it smoke like heck for 20 minutes) no help, still pinging.

So, in one last attempt to stop the pinging, which I was hoping was due to carbon build-up (which these high compression engines are known for. Checked the compression by the way, and found it to still be at the 190 PSI it started out with when it was new according to specs) I filled the intake with transmission fluid. This isn't great for the engine, but transmission fluid eats away carbon like nobody's business. I will say this definitely decreased the pinging and improved throttle response... but... still pinging.

Oh, I checked the knock sensor too. No issues there either. And the O2's are working correctly too (lean to rich to lean cycles are normal).

So, this leaves just one more possibility. A hot spot in the cylinder. Perhaps a valve is starting to go even. But, here's my theory. With it pulling stock compression, having no hesitation, no check engine light, no other problems of any kind, I'm gonna let it ping until something does go wrong. It's still getting 37-40 MPG for crying out loud.

At 205,000 miles I expect some issues, especially from a car that may not have always gotten the service it needed from previous owners. But with it still running completely fine, despite the pinging, I just can't justify spending the money to chase down this problem. My brother needs the car to finish high school, only 2 more years, and then maybe I'll do something with it. Or, maybe it will finally get put to rest. The New England road salt certainly isn't helping it.

It's showing its age for sure. Almost 17 years old and 205,000 miles is very good for a car that's been in the northeast its whole life, so I have no complaints for it.

It's been the best car a teen could ask for. Always gotten me wherever I needed to go. Both me and my brother have learned how to drive in it, and got our licenses in it. It's been used as a second car for everybody else in the family, whenever their car needed repairs.

It's carried me and my friends thousands of miles. It's not cool. It's not fast. With an aging black primer paint job, faded green bumpers and mirrors, extremely hazed over headlights, rotted out rear rocker panels, a dent in the front fender from somebody backing into it and a muffler that's hanging on by a thread, it certainly isn't pretty. But, like any first car (and my Neon was so short lived, I consider this my REAL first car), it's been the best car in the world.

21st Jun 2012, 20:08

Yeah, these older Corollas were and mostly still are great cars. A real shame Toyota has thrown away its reputation for quality cars. Instead of being obsessed with becoming the world's biggest manufacturer by volume, they should put the focus back on reliability.

22nd Jun 2012, 10:17

If Toyota's quality had fallen in recent years, they wouldn't still be at or near the very top of the reliability lists, would they?

23rd Jun 2012, 13:58

So what, those reliability lists can claim what they want, it still doesn't mean Toyota quality didn't drop, because indeed it did.

16th Aug 2013, 20:19

Original Reviewer

What a sad, sorry state of disrepair my younger brother has allowed this once great little car to get in.

At 218,000 miles, it has now been totaled in 2 separate accidents. Neither of which, believe it or not, were my brother's fault.

The first accident occurred at my brother's high school. Another student who had just gotten his license, was driving his fathers Ford F-350. It was a big one, dual rear wheels, diesel engine, way too much truck for a brand new driver. He cut the wheel too soon leaving the parking space next to my brother's car and literally DROVE OVER IT. It was all on camera. The right rear wheel came off the ground!! Somehow the tire didn't pop and the car actually drove fine! It was missing a front fender, the bumper was hanging off and the headlight was gone, but it still moved right along like nothing had happened!

It was deemed a total loss after that. We bought it back from the insurance company and I repaired it with some used parts from the salvage yard. Minus the fact that the new fender was a different color, the car looked like new again after I finished repairing it. Drove great!

A week later, while in traffic, my brother drove through a GREEN light. A white sedan coming from the side blew the red light and smashed the front of the Corolla (right in the SAME EXACT spot I had just repaired!!) The larger car (we don't know what it was and still don't, the driver fled the scene of the accident and still hasn't been found) pushed the Corolla into a 180 where my brother finally came to a rest against a large curb (which blew out both tires).

My brother was completely unharmed. He walked away from the accident without so much as a scratch. I thought the car was pretty much done for though. I used the rims I had the snow tires mounted on and mounted 3 new tires. The front frame section is in fact a bit tweaked, but not nearly as much as I would have expected for such a heavy impact. The bumper and fender are held on with some sheet metal screws and zip ties and... IT STILL DRIVES GREAT!!

Returning approximately 35 MPG. The "CHECK ENGINE" light will be on forever now, as the pipe with the catalytic converter failed and I wasn't about to put a new cat in it, so a piece of straight pipe was welded in place.

This car is literally TOUGHER than nails. It just won't die! It refuses! No matter what hits it, or what my brother does to it (because he is actually quite hard on it. Much more so than I ever was) it won't give up the ghost. And so we continue to use it everyday. Now we're just waiting to see what the world will throw at it (literally) next!

22nd Mar 2014, 21:59

Great read!!! Any new updates? It's true Yota don't build them like they used to, but I think with all the problems they had the past forgettable years 09-12, I think with Akio Toyoda in the helm to steer it back to its heritage accountability, and going back to basics, they will once again focus on building ever better cars.

24th Mar 2014, 23:15

Your brother might consider a new way to work. I was in an accident that at first I appeared unhurt, but am now paying for its lingering effects years later with chronic neck and back pain. Cars that have also been in severe accidents aren't always safe after.

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