Coolant temperature sensor needed replacement, a week later had to replace the thermostat. Records by the previous owner revealed thermostat had been replaced just 5 months earlier!
Was told the head gasket is going by a friend who runs a shop, but have been watching the coolant level, oil level, and heat gage, and so far nothing...
Engine smokes... Burns AND leaks a LOT of oil. I literally go through a quart and a half every 5 days.
Has this odd idling issue. At idle in park or neutral, the car runs smooth. Once you apply the brake and put it in gear it runs much rougher. It will do this in reverse or drive, doesn't matter. Shakes a little bit (some days worse than others) - one day after a 70 mile trip on the freeway the car shook so much it stalled out on me at the park and ride. It felt like it was sputtering out by force.
We have only owned this car for about a year, and already it has made me feel a little different about older toyota's. My best friend had an 89 Toyota pickup, he beat the thing to a pulp, and the day he sold it was still moving despite a completely ruined automatic transmission, he had never spent more than $500 on it over the 4 year period he owned it on routine maintenance. Made me wish the same for this vehicle.
The car handles great, it's a little narrow though. Braking times could be a little bit better, tires are so small-- acceleration on the highway feels like a chore for the poor thing but we do enjoy the 38 mpg on the highway.
Forget about driving it on long trips. My legs fall asleep after an hour of driving from the seats being rather cheap and lacking in the cushion department.
I love Toyota, don't get me wrong they are great reliable cars. I'm just waiting for the day this thing will finally give up, which if I don't take care of the oil problem (either a crank seal or rear main) will be soon.