• car maintenance

Toyota Corolla 5 most common repairs

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Updated 11 Oct 2019

Joel Ilton

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The Toyota Corolla has been a household name since first being introduced in 1966. Synonymous with reliable, safe motoring, the Corolla is the most popular vehicle ever produced - it surpassed the Volkswagen Beetle for this title back in 1997.

In its 50-year history, more than 44 million Corollas have been sold worldwide and they continue to be a bestseller here in Australia, ranking in the top three new cars sold for 2019 (as of August 2019)

For the 2007 Corolla lineup, Toyota introduced a new 1.8-litre engine (engine code 2ZR-FE) featuring dual variable valve timing, which was more fuel efficient than the previous 1.8-litre engine used in earlier Corollas. A new six-speed manual gearbox was also introduced, although the four-speed automatic remained from the previous generation. These options would last until the next model update which came in 2013.

With the average age of the Australian fleet sitting at just over 10 years old, many Corollas are starting to reach the age when mechanical gremlins can raise their ugly heads and the tremendous reliability of the Corolla is challenged.

Although better than many cars on the road, there are still a number of common issues that can arise on the Corolla, and using the repairs and servicing information here at AutoGuru, we have put together a list of the 5 most common repair requests for the Toyota Corolla ZRE150 and ZRE152 series from 2007 - 2013.

Note: This list does not include normal wear and tear items such as tyres and brakes or servicing costs, as these are applicable no matter which vehicle you drive. If you are interested in service pricing for the Corolla, you can click here.

1. Alternator Replacement

The alternator on the Corolla is one of the parts that can fail over time. The brushes in the voltage regulator wear down, reducing the output of the alternator. This is signalled by the battery light appearing on the dashboard, or by a more common symptom where the power steering reduces assistance or stops working completely.

The ZRE150 and ZRE152 Corolla series is fitted with Electronic Power Steering (EPS) which relies on electric current to operate correctly. If the alternator is failing, this voltage will be reduced and cutting out or complete failure of the power assistance may occur.

2. Ignition Coil Failure

The 1.8-litre engine in the Corolla utilises individual coil packs for each cylinder to provide the voltage for the spark plugs. This is known as Direct Ignition or a coil-on-plug setup. Over time, the heat build-up and stresses of operation can cause the coil packs to fail and they will need to be replaced.

As they are individual, replacement of a faulty coil pack is quite straightforward. However, it is best to replace the faulty coil pack with a quality aftermarket item or genuine part as some of the cheaper products may fail shortly after replacement. Signs of ignition coil failure include misfiring, an engine light flashing on the dashboard, or increased fuel consumption.

The Toyota Corolla Hatch and Sedan

3. Headlight Combination Switch Replacement

A fault that has carried over from previous model Corollas is a problem with the headlight switch on the right hand side indicator stalk. Constant use can cause failure of the contacts inside the switch and Toyota also advise any use of interior cleaners or detail products that contain silicone can also affect the switch contacts.

Symptoms of a failed headlight switch are no operation of park lights, headlights or dashboard lights, but the high beam operation is still functional. It is possible to remove the switch, clean the contacts and reassemble but, in most cases, replacement of the complete indicator stalk is the best course of action.

4. Water Pump Replacement

The water pump on the 1.8-litre engine is driven by the serpentine belt and is located on the front of the engine. It is sealed to the engine with a gasket which is the main cause of the water pump leaks as it deteriorates over time. Failed bearings in the water pump are another cause for replacement as they become noisy and prone to complete failure.

Replacing the coolant at the specified intervals and using the correct coolant is the best way to prolong the life of the water pump.

5. Air Conditioning Compressor Clutch Failure

The air conditioning compressor fitted to the Corolla runs a magnetic clutch which is designed to allow drive to the compressor when the air conditioning is switched on. This drive is provided by the serpentine belt. The clutch magnetically disconnects from the compressor when the air conditioning is switched off, to reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency.

This compressor clutch is known to fail in toe-off position, which renders the air conditioning inoperable. Thankfully, the compressor clutch can be replaced without having to replace the compressor itself. However, correct diagnosis is crucial to ensure the compressor clutch is the culprit for inoperable air conditioning.

As one of Australia’s - and indeed the world’s - best-selling cars, the Toyota Corolla continues to be regular sight on Australian roads. With the Australian market moving towards smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, Toyota have introduced a Hybrid version of the Corolla to go alongside the Camry hybrid to promote a greener motoring future.

Should you be having any trouble with your ZRE150 or ZRE152 model Toyota Corolla, help is just a few clicks away! An experienced Autoguru technician will be able to provide quotes to carry out any repairs on your Corolla and get you back on the road in no time.

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Written By

Joel Ilton

Finding a passion for cars from a young age, Joel carried out work experience as a mechanic whilst at school before starting an apprenticeship after finishing year 12.

After almost 10 years on the tools and in customer service, he moved into the IT realm as a Data Analyst and In-House mechanic at AutoGuru.