If the used car market were compared to a farm, the Toyota Corolla is the cow. Everyone has seen them, are bored by them and as we drive past paddocks full of them we are preoccupied with ridiculous numberplate games hubby has made up to play with the kids for the following four hours. We don’t notice them as we pass paddocks full of them.
We live in a world in which playing it safe is the greatest risk you could ever take, but the Toyota Corolla breaks all these rules. A car that is so boring, predictable and unimaginative no one should really want to own it, keeps hitting the nations top selling cars list year after year.
When you arrive at the airport and are strolling up the the rental car counter no one is saying “I hope I get a Corolla.” It’s a car that is about as charismatic as Prince Charles, yet upon returning a Corolla to the rental car place no one ever complains either. Toyota have somehow created a vortex in the car market.
A safe, predictable, unexciting car that fails to disappoint and to add to the whole equation they have managed to do this model after model for the past fifty years. How Toyota consistently sell huge quantities of a car that is about as exciting as a Jehovahs Witness themed fancy dress party is mostly due to fifty years of great mechanical quality coming out of the Japanese based company.
Whilst the ZZE122R may be a little bland and everything is exactly where you would expect it to be, there is very little that goes wrong with these mechanically. What are the common things to keep an eye out for? Lets take a look.
Manual transmissions: The manuals in the trusty Corolla seem to give a lot more trouble than most small cars. Several in recent years have given problems with excessive bearing noise. The bearings that seem to fail are internal bearings inside the transmission. Not to be mistaken with the clutch release bearing which is a part of the clutch operation and should be replaced whenever a clutch is.
Oil leaks from timing cover. The ZZE112R Corolla does not have a timing belt, this is a huge maintenance cost saved by not having the 100,000Kms service needing a timing belt. The Corolla runs a timing chain instead which is maintenance free. The metal casing that seals the chain inside this engine is known to leak oil.
Automatic transmission oil and Power steering oil. Whilst the Automatic transmissions in these cars very rarely give trouble, for some reason the Toyotas go on some crusade against the oils used in them. Every Toyota coming through the shop discolours the auto oil and power steering oil very very quickly. This results in more frequent fluid changes required to keep the internals of the automatic transmission and the power steering in good working order.
Toyotas across the range are known for power steering pumps leaking, the ZZE122R is actually marginally better than its dorky brother, the Camry, when it comes to this. However they are still semi common for power steering pump leaks.
In summary, you can’t go wrong with one of these. The fuel consumption on them is very good, they don’t give much trouble and are very reliable. They just look like everyone else’s Corolla. The biggest problem you will have is you will lose your car in the shopping centre car park.