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1994 Toyota Corolla Speed Problem


I have a 94 Corolla and it struggles to accelerate and go at high speeds. When taking off from a full stop, it takes a while to start gaining speed (at the anger of the cars behind me lol). Also taking it up to 60 mph is very frightening as the engine begins to make very, very loud sounds.

I don’t know if there’s a problem with the car because it’s old and the idle speed and acceleration just isn’t there compared to other modern cars, or if I’m just not pressing hard enough on the pedals.

I’m suspecting it’s the fuel filters or even the transmission.

Any help or suggestions as to what the problem may be and how to make the car faster is greatly appreciated.

99,000 miles
Base Model
1.6 L Engine
Has not received any tune ups or real maintenance besides oil changes :upside_down_face: (my parents really don’t care about maintaining cars)

Describe the very, very loud sounds.

It just sounds like if I were to go any faster the car would just stop. It sounds like the RPM is going off the charts. I can’t see the RPM because there’s no gauge

My understanding of what you wrote is that the engine is revving but the car fails to pick up speed as expected. If that’s the case, have you checked the transmission fluid? The car is also way overdue for a transmission fluid and filter change.


Thank you for your suggestion. I had a feeling it had something to do with the transmission. Is a transmission fluid change and filter change something I would be able to do or is that something I should bring to a mechanic?

The job requires a safe way to lift the car, socket wrenches, and a large pan to capture the old fluid. You will also need to properly dispose of the used fluid. Not rocket science by any means. Be sure to use the fluid specified by Toyota.

However, the first step is to check the fluid level as per the owner’s manual procedure. Give the fluid a sniff. Does it smell burnt? Is it black?

Actually, I neglected to ask an important question: manual or automatic transmission?

It’s an automatic transmission and the transmission fluid is black

That’s bad news. How was the fluid level?

Yeah, black transmission fluid is not good.

I’d go get the transmission fluid changed at a shop ASAP. That’s be a good first step.

And, in view of the following disclosure, I strongly suggest that other maintenance procedures be done right away:

Specifically, this car needs to have the spark plugs and plug wires replaced, along with the air filter and fuel filter, and it also needs to have the brake fluid changed. There are almost surely other items on the mfr’s maintenance schedule that have been ignored over the past 24 years, so I strongly suggest that you peruse the maintenance schedule and make a list of all the service items that have been skipped by your foolish parents.
Be prepared for a very large bill…

Unfortunately, a slipping transmission with black fluid may be trashed.

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Do the trans fluid (and filter if present) change and see if the car works.