Toyota Corolla Years to Avoid Complete Guide

toyota corolla years to avoid

Toyota Corolla hit the U.S. in 1968. It has a long history of credibility and reliability; prominently, it is the most selling automobile in history. Although it is “The Best” vehicle, some models will not be up to your standards. So it is essential to know what kinds of vehicle models and years to avoid when buying a vehicle so that you can buy the best one that will serve you for many years.

If you want to know more about the Toyota Corolla, its best years as well as avoided years with common problems, then read the full article.

Years of Toyota Corolla You Can Avoid 

Here are the years to avoid Toyota Corolla given below.

  • 2000 Toyota Corolla
  • 2001 Toyota Corolla
  • 2002 Toyota Corolla
  • 2003 Toyota Corolla
  • 2009 Toyota Corolla
  • 2014 Toyota Corolla

2000 – 2002

Corolla 2002 Model

2000-2002 year Corolla models have excessive engine problems, including tapping noises, oil consumption, engine failure, and buzzing sounds during acceleration. Even you may face these issues with the barely new models of that year. 

Excessive oil consumption problem is a real pain for the owner, so to fix it, you may have to replace the piston rings or you can use thinker oil. If this is not working, then you have to replace the engine, which is the most expensive fix, so it’s good to avoid these year models.

– Customer Reviews

Bonedoc says, “Like other users have remarked, my Corolla burnt tons of oil, then at 135k miles, the engine blew. Was a decent car up until that point?”


– Total Complaints

This model has 98 + 66= 164 total reported complaints.


Corolla 2003 Model

The 2003 model year of Corolla was also good to avoid. This year’s model has transmission problems. The Transmission problem mostly occurs in the Toyota RAV4’s Second-Generation Car. Most of the complaints were about clunking and grinding transmissions that caused the engine transmission failure.

This issue is mainly in the S variant that has a five-speed manual transmission. The transmission failure was caused primarily by the bearings malfunctioning. You can fix this issue by rebuilding or replacing the transmission.

– Customer Reviews

AS says, “I loved my Corolla, but the transmission died at seven years/80,000 miles, and it would have cost as much to replace as the car is worth. No more Toyotas for me.”

Rose Milton says, “I recently bought this car. I’ve already had to replace the timing chain and catalytic converter. This car does have great gas mileage, 30 miles per gallon.”

– Total Complaints

This model has 111 total reported complaints.

2009 – 2010 

Corolla 2009-2010 Model

The 2009 model of Corolla is called the worst model year that received the most complaints ever. Just like the 2001-2002 models, these year models also had excessive oil consumption issues, but this time, it was more lethal than ever.

These models also have steering drift, unintended acceleration, engine noise and water pump problems. Most of the issues can be resolved by replacing the defective part, but for the oil consumption, you can use thicker oil or replace the piston rings.

– Customer Reviews

Roxanne A says, “Rusty needs wheel alignment; it has AC and a heater. It looks and feels like it was in a flood. Lights are dim.”

J Flowers says, “This must be the only crap car Toyota ever made.”

– Total Complaints

This model has 253 + 126 = 379 total reported complaints.


Corolla 2014 Model

In this model year, the main problem was a questionable interior design and accessories that would stop working, for instance, died radio and lights. There are some issues with the engine as well, but most of the objections circled around poor build quality.

Rattling noises from different areas of the car, especially from the dashboard, makes its driving annoying. All of these problems are common, but let me tell you, the repair cost will blow your mind, and it’s good to avoid this model.

– Customer Reviews

Nester says, “At 75K miles, I had to replace the charcoal canister, and the air conditioner is giving me trouble. Other than that, it is good.”

Anonymous says, “The navigation system stopped working. It’s a manufacturer’s defect, but they will not fix or repair it. They want $1,500 to replace their bad design. I loved Toyota, but that is not acceptable. My next car will not be a Toyota.”

– Total Complaints

This model has 109 total reported complaints.

Common Problems in Toyota Corolla Cars

The Toyota Corolla has multiple issues across model years despite its legendary reliability. Here are the top common Toyota Corolla problems you should look out for:

– Excessive oil consumption

One of the most common problems with the Corolla is the excessive oil consumption of fuel. It mainly happened with the 2001, 2002, and 2009 models. These models will consume double the amount of fuel than a standard Corolla. So it’s good to fix this issue as soon as possible unless it will empty your bank account. You can replace the piston rings, or if this does not work, you have to replace the entire engine in order to fix this issue. 

– Faulty transmission

The second most common issue with the Corolla is the issue with the transmission. The worst example of this issue is the 2003 year model. Most of the car owners reported that their cars died even with regular maintenance. You can resolve this issue by replacing or rebuilding the transmission. 

– Engine startup issue 

Engine not starting or slow engine startup issue is also a common issue in the Corolla, but if you have a new car and regularly maintaining your vehicle, then don’t worry; this issue will appear only after 100,000 – 125,000 miles. It is caused by a faulty starter, so you can replace it if you want to fix this issue.

– Faulty mass airflow sensor

Although faulty airflow sensor is not so common, but several users are complaining about this issue in their 1998-2010 model year car. If your vehicle has a faulty mass airflow sensor, then it may affect engine performance or acceleration. You can fix this issue by replacing the sensor.

– Stinky and moldy Air Conditioning system

Defective HVAC systems is also a common problem in the Toyota Corolla. If your car has this issue you can glimpse a stinky and moldy smell coming from the air conditioner. This may cause health problems to you, so it is essential to fix this issue as fast as you can.

– Check the engine light

This issue is caused by the evaporative emission (EVAP) system and is expected in the 1998 to 2016 year models. To fix this issue, you can replace the faulty charcoal canister or gas cap.

Is buying a used Corolla worth it?

Yes, buying a Corolla is worth it because it is a durable and low-maintenance sedan that is available at an affordable price. 

Best Models of Toyota Corolla 

  • 2004-2008 Toyota Corolla
  • 2011-2013 Toyota Corolla
  •  2015-2019 Toyota Corolla
  • 2020-2023 Toyota Corolla

2004-2008 Toyota Corolla

Corolla 2008 Model

If you are buying an old version of Corolla, then 2004-2008 models are the best to buy. Although 2003 is also a part of this generation, but 2004-2008 models have minimal complaints and are reliable. 2004 model has the Seal of Awesome award given by You can easily buy these models year Corolla for $4,125 – $5,500.

2011-2013 Toyota Corolla

Corolla 2013 Model

The 2011-2013 models are also recommended as they have new designs with many features, including more fuel efficiency with 1.8-liter engine, more spacious than the previous generation, and significantly quieter. All of these models are rated 5 out of 5, so you can buy any of the models at an economical price.

2015-2019 Toyota Corolla

Corolla 2016 Model

2015-2019 models are also an excellent choice to buy as they have new designs along with competitive interior space, better fuel economy than the previous generation, and are more prominent in size. All of these models are reliable and have good ratings in terms of reliability and owner Satisfaction. 

The 2019 model is the most reliable and the best compact sedan. So if you are looking for a used car, then these year models can be a good choice for you.

2020-2023 Toyota Corolla

Corolla 2023 Model

Corolla will get its new redesigned shape in 2020. These are the latest models with advanced features, including handsome looks. Although Company have compromised the rear seat space in these models, but they have a good reliability rating of 4/5 (2020) and 5/5 (2021 – 2023). 

Although it has a low-reliability rating, but the 2021 model is the most reliable on this list in terms of the engine, body integrity, transmission, and electric system and most importantly, it is the most reliable sedan of that year. All of these car models are new so, you can use any of them and enjoy their drive.


Here are some of the frequently asked questions, and their answers given below.

Which year of Corolla is most reliable?

The most reliable Toyota Corolla year is 2021. It has a high rating of reliability along with advanced safety features and fuel efficiency. J.D. Power reliability rating is 5 / 5. You will not face any mechanical problems even after hundreds of miles of drive in this vehicle.

What year is terrible for Toyota Corolla?

The 2009 year model is terrible for the Toyota Corolla as it receives the most complaints than any other model year.

Can Corolla last 20 years?

Toyota is the longest-lasting in the automobile industry, and Corolla is its most durable and efficient sedan. If you take care of this vehicle and do its scheduled services, it can easily last up to 20 years of a regular drive.

What to look for when buying a used Toyota Corolla?

Before buying a used, Toyota Corolla first checks the mileage of the car and then compare it with the age of the vehicle. Inspect maintenance records, exterior and interior, and safety features. Check if the vehicle has any repair work done; if it has, then make sure it is done by a professional. Lastly, always go for a test drive to get an idea about the vehicle’s drive.

What is the highest mileage for a Toyota Corolla? 

If you drive your Corolla up to 13000 miles per year and do its proper maintenance, then it can last up to 300000 miles which is equal to 23 years approximately. 

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