2010 Corolla Automatic Features

I have a 2010 Corolla with a few automatic features I’d like to have control over.

I accept that I can’t fix the electronic throttle (though I don’t like it), and I know there is a brute-force-esque way to disable the headlights.

The other main ones that have been bugging me:

Air conditioning coming on when I use the front defrost feature.

Recirculating air reverting to outside when I use the front defrost feature.

ALL door locks unlocking when I try to lock the driver door with the key in the ignition.

To try to fix the AC problem, I simply unplugged the wires from the compressor. I’m hoping that it takes juice to engage the clutch, not to keep it disengaged. I guess I’ll find out soon enough. I’d rather there be a real way to do it, so that if I do want to use the AC, I don’t have to plug it back in.

I know these features probably have good intentions, but I don’t like them. If I wanted my car to think and do for me, I would drive an automatic.

Air conditioning coming on when I use the front defrost feature.
Recirculating air reverting to outside when I use the front defrost feature.

It is to save owners from their ignorance that outside air defrosts your windshield faster than interior wet air. Also the AC beside cooling down temperature in a vehicle removes moisture from the air.

I agree with andrew, and I suggest that you allow the A/C system to operate as it was designed to do.

As to, “I know there is a brute-force-esque way to disable the headlights”, I assume that you are referring to the Daytime Running Lights (DRL), which operate your headlights on reduced voltage. Just as the A/C system is designed as it is in order to enhance your safety, DRLs have been proven in many studies over the years to reduce collisions.

Why would you want to remove or deactivate a proven safety feature?

It involves cutting a wire or two somewhere behind the glove box. I’ve yet to do it. Supposedly it disables the DRLs and automatic headlights. If I were to do it, I would probably add a switch so that it could be reenabled if I so desire. It’s not so much the feature that I don’t want, but rather the lack of [at least optional] control.

Why’d You Buy It ? Didn’t You Test Drive It Or Check It Out ? Sounds Like A Real PITA For You.

Are you sure about the A/C / Defrost problem. Our cars (not Asian) don’t operate the A/C with defrost when ambient temperature is below 40F.


I really appreciate the value of a test drive now. If I ever buy new again, I would like to be able to have an extended test drive. For example driving the car for a week or month or so. I’d be willing to pay for it - I’m not trying to get free use of a car, and it doesn’t have to be brand new. There’s a lot of little things that you don’t notice during a typical test drive for various reasons (situation never arises, focus is on something else, etc.).

I wish I could say it was specific to a certain make or model, but I learned to drive on a 1997 of the same model. I suspect the entire industry has moved in the general direction. I looked into a Civic (I had driven a 1995 for 6 years or so), but didn’t like the new ones. My old one (and the one I learned on) got much better gas mileage (even without all the new features claiming to improve efficiency).

Yes, buyer’s remorse. The only finger I’m pointing is one straight at the mirror.

I Just Picked Up An 09 Impala (10,000 Miles) For My Wife. I Took It From The Dealer On A Wednesday For A Test Drive. They Called Monday To See What Was Up. I Told Them I Wanted It And Paid Them On Tuesday.

If I can’t get an extended test-drive then I’m not interested.

Many on this site recommend renting a model similar to what you’re looking for if a long test drive isn’t an option.

Give those headlights a chance. My wife and I both like never having to touch a headlight switch on our cars, ever, to have lights to see with at night and lights to be seen by during the day.

I believe DRLs are a top option choice of new car buyers.



I am glad to hear that someone else shares my feelings re: those automatic features. There are health and safety downsides, as well:

  1. Outside air allows pollen, pollution, etc. into the car. For those who have allergies this often causes a sneezy, eye-watering reaction.

The outside air & A/C are required only briefly to keep the front window defogged while defrosting. However, I usually run it all the time to keep car comfortably warm without overheating the rest of my body.

  1. Re: safer to automatically turn on headlights … it ALSO immediately alerts everyone in the area to the car that is occupied. I do not like this when in expansive or urban parking garages. I feel it draws attention to my car, makes it a target and makes me, personally, less safe.

              Please be careful re: throttle issues.

I have been told the 2010 models are same as 2009’s & my 2009 Corolla, which I owned for 2 1/2 years, was full of them:

Cruise control disengaged at random; plus, the engine would race & the tacometer exceeded 5 when I would adjust CC using button on steering wheel;

My Brakes were always slow to engage & failed on a long Interstate exit ramp after engine raced due to cruise control and I tapped brake to disengage CC. I finally stopped, with both feet pressing brake as hard as possible, by colliding into vehicle ahead of me in my lane. No one hurt, slight damage to bumper of older Ford truck & $14,000 damage to my brand new car; air bags did not engage.

The control for anti-skid on ice caused car to accelerate rather than de-celerate when on icy surface; … and engaged repeatedly last Aug. 14th, a sunny, dry, day. I was passing an 18 wheeler and had to apply brakes b/c trucker pulled in to my lane.
The rear end of the car began fishtailing, as if on ice, so I let off the brake, moved onto the berm. When I thought trucker saw me I pulled back onto Interstate & my car spun around so that I was facing oncoming traffic. I quickly corrected my car and proceeded East;

Truck driver continued moving in to my lane so I had to do same thing again, b/c of oncoming traffic - this time driving on side of ditch. Truck driver finally saw or heard my car, moved back to his lane. When I pulled back on to I-80, my Corolla spun around 2X & when it stopped I was, again, facing oncoming traffic. BUT, very very lucky for me … the oncoming traffic had come to a complete stop (approx. 10 cars/trucks had slowed from the speed limit of 75 to a complete stop!); I was quite shaken, but had managed not to collide with anything so corrected the car, proceeded East & got off at the next exit for some R&R. Very Scary experience.

Also - 3 times the car would not start - after I had been driving it! One time I had just driven 500 miles out of a 1,000 mile trip. I gassed up, napped for 45 min. in car & then Radio, lights and heater would operate but engine would not even hint at turning over - for approx. 1 hour. After a 1 hour rest it started right up!

Also - lowest fan setting of A/C did not work, A/C failed to blow cold air & had to be repaired once.

Bottom Line: The dealer agreed to buy back the car. I took a loss but am feeling safe in my new Honda Accord (I had an Accord before buying the Corolla.)

Good luck with your Corolla!

I fully understand how the thermodynamics/chemistry of how it works. But I am also capable of pushing a button or two if I want it to work in a certain way. Heating the windshield to prevent condensation on the outside does not need the air to be dry, just warm. Like I said, I don’t like my car thinking/doing for me - I’d [at least] like to be able to override it as I see fit.

Maybe it would be better to deal with people’s ignorance by educating them, rather than enabling their ignorance. Personally, if someone can’t handle turing on a light switch, or doesn’t quite get how to defog their windshield, I have some serious reservations about them piloting a ton plus (sometimes multi-ton) death machine down our roads and highways. Just a thought.

Ah well, what’s done is done. What you did was a good idea (I’m still kicking myself for not doing it). Is it all that much of a burden to turn on headlights consciously?

The throttle doesn’t bug me from a safety perspective (a. I don’t use cruise control - not a fan of the car thinking for me, and b. if the car started to accelerate on its own, it would never get far), but rather a fuel perspective. After the engine is warm, it will rev up however it seems to want to. I spoke to the guy when I took it in for an oil change, who attributed it to ‘lag time’, essentially a delayed response to releasing the accelerator while you shift - which wasn’t quite what I was talking about. I also asked him what the benefit of the electric throttle was. I know he wasn’t on the design end but figured he might have some insight. He said that it reduced the amount parts that can go bad (in a few months with the electric, I’ve already had more complaints than with 6 years of perfect functionality of a cable). I didn’t buy it but I didn’t want to bug the guy too much.

The delay in the brakes seems weird, because the brakes and steering, though power assisted, still maintian their mechanical connection (thankfully). You lose me a little when you say that cruise control disengaged and then you disengaged it using the brake. Maybe I’m looking at it from the wrong angl.

Maybe I’ve had Windows freeze up on me a few too many times, but the idea of a computer having so much control (and the pilot - all we do is steer, the engine drives the car - so little) concerns me.

No, But One Could Forget DRLs Or Headlights In Weather Of Poor Visibility (Being Seen). I Did That In The Past.

Our automatic headlights work flawlessly.


I was always in the habit of turning my headlights on in my old car as soon as I started the car. Now, with my new car, I haven’t touched the headlight knob in about a month or so; it automatically turns them off after 30 seconds of the engine shutting off. I feel naked if I don’t have my headlights on, even in broad daylight.
You could test this out for your car. Turn them all the way on “ON”, should that be an actual option, drive around a bit, then shut the engine off when you get somewhere and wait for about a minute to see if they shut off. If they do, leave them in the “ON” position and forget about them

Try to use outside air all the time in a Toyota. Their interior glass used to get a foggy looking gunk on them. They were bad for that in 1992. Tercels and that sporty looking outhouse derived from it were bad for that. Corollas used to be the grand champions of non-defogging cars.

On my 2006 Matrix/Corolla I can lift the parking brake lever one click to disable the DRLs and auto headlights.
Yes, I carefully checked to make sure the brakes don’t drag.
I see no point having headlights on in broad daylight city stop-and-go traffic.

“Maybe it would be better to deal with people’s ignorance by educating them”

The problem with ignorant people is that they ignore attempts to educate.
Just look at how much could be learned by perusing the Owners Manual. But few do.

Well, cars have been turning on the AC with the defrost for a very long time now. That’s not new. And I’m not sure why you consider it an undesirable automatic function. I mean, are you also planning to add a manual choke to bypass the automatic one? Maybe you’d like a lever in the car so you can control the throttle body butterfly valve yourself too :wink:

Auto-lock doors can often be disabled - check your manual. DRL’s are annoying but you can always remove the bulb, assuming your DRL’s are separate from your headlights.

And I’ll agree with you about automatic headlights. I’m surprised they put that feature on cars with HID lighting, because the best way to prematurely wear out an HID bulb is to keep flipping it on and off over short periods of time, which is what happens with auto headlights if you park in a garage or go under a bridge.

Are You Sure It’s The HIDs That Are Lit Or Could There Be Another Light Just For The DRLs ?

Apparently the DRLs don’t have to be all that bright. My car operates headlights at reduced power.


That’s why I leave my lights in the on position, they’re HIDs. I don’t really like how it’s arranged on my stalk; Off, auto, parking lights, on. If I turn them to “on” then I’m turning them on, off, then back on when it’s dark.

That’s pretty dumb. Auto should be between parking lights and full-on. Does it have an off-delay built in so that they don’t actually turn off as you flip the switch through the park setting on the way to on?

…my 2000 Chevy Blazer does not engage the compressor when the ambient temp is below about 27*. As I recall my old VW and my old Ford did the same things… in fact, I’d guess that’s something that has always been present for air conditioning, it prevents damage to the compressor in very cold temps.