Avoid if buying used over 100k miles
By taylorc42633 on Saturday, May 23, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 148,000
overall rating 6 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
Pros: "safe, reliable, economic, gas mileage"
Cons: "engine flaw, rust, cheap plastic parts, cup holder"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought my 2002 Toyota Corolla new off the lot in 2003. For several years I have not had any problems out of this car. I gave it routine maintenance, and that's all it needed.
It has only been in the past year that I've had a problem with the engine. This was around 140k miles. The engine consumes a completely abnormal amount of oil, and it's burning off through the tail pipe. You can put your finger in the pipe and it will be pitch black like a diesel engine. Come to find out, this is the only model that has an engine flaw with the pistons and rings causing engine oil consumption and eventual engine failure. Other years of Corollas don't have as bad of an issue as the 2002. The only two solutions is to rebuild the engine with the modified pistons and rings from Toyota, or replace the engine. Both will set you back around $3k, easily. If you're out shopping for a used car, avoid the 2002 Corolla like the plague. Go for a different year.
Rust has been a nightmare for this car, too. The clear coat started peeling off years ago, and rust has overtaken the top of the car.
The driver's side power window stopped working in 2012. The interior plastic molding has cracked away significantly around the doors. The dash is fine. The cup holders are broken.
The trunk lock refuses any key that was cut from the original, which is long gone now. Also, if the key wears down, the ignition will not accept the key. Maybe that's true for all cars, but it has happened more than a few times with this car.
With all of the negative stuff being said, I have to be fair and admit that this car had never left me stranded, save for the occasional blown tire, and once when the engine drank all the oil and shut itself down, which is how I found out about the excessive oil consumption issue. I have treated this car very badly, and it has still held up at almost 150k miles. The a/c and heat still work very well.
Back in 2003, the same year I bought this car, I almost totaled it on ice on the highway. Everyone walked out unharmed despite rear ending an idling car at 50mph. The front end took the brunt. The accident didn't feel very bad, no injuries whatsoever. The airbags didn't employ, though, but I wonder if it's because the impact wasn't harsh. We fixed the car up and it was back on the road with no problems at all. Well, not until last year now that it's old. It's been a good ride, but it's time to retire."
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