Worst Toyota Corolla Years To Avoid (6 Major Problems)

The Toyota Corolla is a legendary compact sedan with a high reputation for long-lasting reliability and dependability. No doubt, the Corolla is a ride that’d impress anyone who owns it. Toyota Corolla is available as a compact sedan and a subcompact hatchback.

Ever since the Corolla debuted in 1974, it has remained one of the best-selling cars worldwide, thanks to its unwavering reputation and remarkable fuel efficiency. However, there are Toyota Corolla years to avoid because they are quite problematic and do not hold up like the “typical” Corolla, you know.

But before we dive into discussing the worst model years of the Toyota Corolla, here’s a quick overview of the ride.

Toyota Corolla Overview

The Toyota Corolla first appeared in 1966, and production started in the same year. Over the years, the Corolla has undergone several major redesigns and facelifts. Also, different versions of the Corolla have been produced, including hatchback versions, hybrid versions, and special editions.

Early Corollas were built as rear-wheel drives, but with time, Toyota made them available as front-wheel drive, and today, there are equally all-wheel drive models. The Corolla is one of the oldest automobile lines offered by Toyota, and the sedan has enjoyed many awards and recommendations globally.

Currently, the Toyota Corolla is in its twelfth generation and is still being majorly designed in three major types: a sedan, a hatchback, and a station wagon. Of course, the Corolla is also designed differently for different markets.

Whether you’re buying a brand new or used Toyota Corolla, you’re certainly buying a good car, but you should be careful not to buy from the “bad” model years if you really want great value for your spending – in the long run.

See Also: Worst Toyota Camry Years to Avoid

Toyota Corolla Years To Avoid And Why

The chances of seeing a first-gen to seventh-gen, or even eighth-gen Toyota Corolla model is very lean.

But just in case you come across those older models, it is best not to buy them; well, it’s not because they are “Not Good,” but because they are “Too Old” to be driven in these recent times – they are not even appealing anyways.

If you’re considering buying a Toyota Corolla, your choices should start with the fifth-generation models. In other words, you should consider Corollas made from the year 2000 and upwards.

Why choose from the 2000 Toyota Corolla upwards? The design and build suit the “modern-day” automobile demands and “style.”

Now, between 2000 and now, which are the worst model years of the Toyota Corolla, and why should you avoid them? Hereunder is a quick list of the model years flagged in the “Worst Years” category.

  • 2002 Toyota Corolla
  • 2003 Toyota Corolla
  • 2005 Toyota Corolla
  • 2009 Toyota Corolla
  • 2010 Toyota Corolla
  • 2014 Toyota Corolla

However, although these years are indicated as the worst ones, some people still own and drive Toyota Corollas made in those years, and they are quite “Okay” with them.

Being flagged as the worst years simply means that these years received a high number of complaints submitted to the NTSHA and other relevant websites that allow car owners to log complaints. So, what are the common problems with these Corolla model years?

Common Toyota Corolla Problems and Repair Cost

1. Engine Problems

  • Affected Models: Mostly reported on 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, and 2009 models.

Although 2000, 2001, and 2006 Corollas did not make it into the “Worst Years” category, they have a high number of alleged engine problems. The 2009 Toyota Corolla had the highest number of complaints, according to CarComplaints reports.

Well, the engine problems reported on these indicated Toyota Corollas are excessive oil consumption, loud noise while driving, unintended acceleration, engine surges while stopped, and fatal engine failure.

Interestingly, these problems reportedly occur from 100,000 miles upward, and some helpful solutions include replacing the pistons, using thicker oil, and in some cases, replacing the engine. The average repair cost of Toyota Corolla engine problems is $3,500.

2. Transmission Problems

Affected Models: Mostly reported on the 2003 and 2009 Toyota Corollas.

Transmission problems were only common in the 2003 and 2009 models of the Toyota Corolla. Common issues include rough/unintended gear shifting, transmission, and differential failure.

Again, these problems reportedly occur after 120k miles, and the average repair cost is $2,200 (replace the transmission).

3. Interior Accessories Problems

Affected Models: 2009, 2014, and 2015 model years.

Rattling dashboard, malfunctioning radio system, power lock failures, and inaccurate readings are some of the commonly reported interior accessories issues on 2009, 2014, and 2015 Toyota Corollas.

These errors occur at random intervals, usually after hitting 30,000 miles, and the average repair cost is $1,100.

4. Body and Paint Problems

Affected Models: Mostly reported on 2005, 2006, 2009, and 2010 model Corollas.

You definitely won’t like when your car’s paint starts peeling away. For the indicated Corolla model years, the owners allege that they had to repaint the car(s) after a few miles because the body paint chipped off/peeled off.

Also, there were reports about rusting of the car’s body, especially on the trunk/bumper sides. To fix these problems, most of the owners had to flash paints on the affected areas, costing an average of $1,000.

5. Brake Problems

Affected Models: 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2016 Corolla models.

Any issues with the braking system are critical and should be treated with urgency. The 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2016 Toyota Corollas seem to have a few problems with the brakes.

According to people who owned these Toyota Corolla model years, they allege that the brakes make a grinding noise when applied and that causes it to wear out faster. Also, there were a few complaints about the brakes slipping off and the car accelerating as you match the brakes.

These indicated brake problems allegedly occur at low mileage, and the average repair cost could get up to $4,000 if the brakes had failed completely before you went for a fix.

6. Other Note-Worthy Problems

These problems weren’t reported on many models; they were reported randomly on different model years, so it’s important you get the heads up. A good number of Toyota Corolla owners allege that they experienced AC/heater problems, steering problems, and multiple electrical problems.

What Are The Best Toyota Corolla Years To Buy?

We’ve discussed the worst model years of the Toyota Corolla to avoid. What about the best years to buy? For sure, there are many recommendable Toyota Corolla model years to buy, including older models from the early generations.

Hereunder is a quick rundown:

  • 2000 Toyota Corolla
  • 2001 Toyota Corolla
  • 2004 Toyota Corolla
  • 2007 Toyota Corolla
  • 2008 Toyota Corolla
  • 2011 to 2013 Toyota Corolla
  • 2016 to 2021 Toyota Corolla

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Common Problem Of Older Toyota Corolla

The 2000 thru 2006 Toyota Corollas typically have the problem of using too much engine oil. They also have other problems such as electrical component failure and transmission slipping; these are the common problems of older Toyota Corollas.

What Is High Mileage For a Toyota Corolla?

Toyota Corollas are strong and reliable; definitely, you can get over 300,000 miles from a well-maintained Corolla. However, 200,000 miles is considered high mileage for any sedan – not just the Corolla. But some Toyota customers wouldn’t mind buying a high-mileage Corolla.

Are Toyota Corollas Reliable?

Not just reliable, Toyota Corollas are dependable; it is completely advisable to buy a Toyota Corolla as your first-ever car. RepairPal scores the Toyota Corolla 4.5 out of 5.0 and ranks it number one in the subcompact category.

Also, the Toyota Corolla is inexpensive to maintain; the average annual maintenance cost is $362, which is below the industry’s average of $526 for compact cars.

See Also: Worst Harley Road King Years to Avoid


Summarily, what are the Toyota Corolla years to avoid and why? The 2002, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2014 model years are typically problematic and should be avoided; the rest of the model years (preferably the newer years) are recommendable to buy.

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