2011 Corolla transmission problem?

I have a 2011 Corolla LE with the automatic transmission. When traveling at a constant highway speed (i.e. 60 mph), the tachometer will start jumping around. It will jump up than down by anywhere from 200 rpm to 1000 rpm. It only lasts a few seconds then returns to normal. The dealer is saying that is just the electronic controlled transmission selecting the correct gear. I have never heard of this in any other car. Does any know if this is normal or not?

You told us that you are driving at a constant speed, but you did not tell us if the grade of the roadway changes at all when this happens. If you encounter an uphill grade, it is very possible that the transmission does have to downshift in order for that small, fuel-efficient engine to maintain itself in its “power curve”.

On the other hand, if this is happening on a road that is as flat as your kitchen table, then there is something wrong with the car.

If you feel that you are not getting proper attention to your complaint from the dealer, then you need to “kick it up a notch” by contacting Toyota at the corporate level. In your Owner’s Manual, you should find the toll-free phone number for “The Toyota Experience”, or whatever euphemism they are currently using for their customer service department.

Thanks for the reply. The issue usually happens on a level road or slight down slope. It never happens on an up slope or an steep up/down hills. It also doesn’t happen all the time. Just sometimes. Also as mentioned it only lasts a few seconds then it stops.

If this is happening on level roads there may be a problem.

Keep going back to the dealer and document EVERYTHING in case there is an eventual warranty claim.

How many miles on the car now?

The car has about 1000 miles on it.

When this happens, can you hear the engine speed changing or is it just the tachometer needle jumping with no increase in engine speed?

If the transmission is shifting you should be able to hear the engine speeding up along with the tachometer jump.

Yes I and hear and feel it. It feels like it is shifting. My thought is a sensor maybe faulty. Similar to a darkness sensor that causes a light bulb to blink rather then stay on or off. I have 5 toyota’s (3 camrys, tundra, and now a corolla) and none of the others have this problem.

The transmission should not be hunting for the correct gear on smooth pavement and level road. If that is what it is doing, there is a problem. Is the cruise control engaged when this occurs?

No, the cruise control is not engaged. I checked that. One thing I have noticed is that when I take my foot off the accelerator (at any time) the RPMs do not change much and the car continues at roughly the same speed. After a few seconds the car will begin to slowly slow down.

Could be the torque converter locking and unlocking.

Sorry, I don’t enough anything about the torque converter to know.

At this point, I have not actually had a tech look at it. I talked to the service guy and he said it was normal. I’m not sure if I believe him. Based on the responses, I think I will take it in have someone check it.

The service writer isn’t a mechanic, have them take a look at it, expect to pay for a diagnostic regardless. If they keep pressing that it’s normal, ask to take out several other models and drive your route to see if it really is normal or not.

Hi tjn_abc,

I just want you to know that you are not alone. My wifes brand new 2011 Corolla does exactly the same thing. At highway speeds the RPM drops 3 or 400 and it when it does it sort of like drags the car, difficult to explain, then the RPM pops back up to where it should be. On down grages the RPM stays up and the car coasts way to fast. I do not belive it is the transmition hunting for the right gear but something to do with the electronic throttle control. The service advisor treated me like I was nuts. Feel free to contact me at like2angle@dslextreme.com. Steve

I will second bscar about the service writer not being a mechanic. Very very few of these people have much if any mechanical aptitude. They’re paper shufflers, keyboard pokers, and generally sales people for the most part.
You will not find one service writer admitting to the customer they don’t know squat.

A couple of years ago after botching my youngest son’s transmission fluid change and leaving him with a car that was flat undriveable due to shifting issues the service writer at the Ford dealer there told him that “new transmission fluid has to be broken in for a few hundred miles before everything becomes normal”. That kind of utter BS can be the norm.

I just bought a 2011 corrolla LE. It now has 250 miles on it and I have noticed that driving on flat terrain around 60mph the tachometer will decrease from about 2400 to 2200 to 2000 mometarily, then shoot back up to 2400. This will cause the car to mometarily hesitate. At first I thought it was just me getting used to the sensitive gas pedal, but this continues to happen even when I deliberately keep my foot steady on the pedal. What is happening sounds exactly like what the others are reporting on this site. I have an appointment today with the Toyota dealer so will be interested in seeing what they say. I will begin compilying a papertrail regarding this issue, as I have a feeling it may come in handy in the future.

I also have this problem with the transmission trying to find a cruse gear when running at 40 - 65 mph. After a dealer test drive they confirm, and state Toyota is aware of the problem and are developing a computer upgrade to solve. The car is brand new less than 500 miles. Sooo… they sold this car to me knowing of the failure??

“Sooo… they sold this car to me knowing of the failure??”

That Is puzzling. How could they miss something like that if it is indeed a defect ?

Do these cars do this “right out of the box” or does it take some miles on the car before the problem begins ?


Perhaps Toyota has been in a business partnership with GM for too long and are starting to pick up their habits.

Yep…brand spanking new, less than 100 miles when we noticed this.

“Perhaps Toyota has been in a business partnership with GM for too long and are starting to pick up their habits.”

I don’t think that’s it. We’ve got a driveway full of late model GM cars and none of them had or have problems. I think Toyota has been working at developing these all on their own (as evidenced by the ever increasing number of recalls they’ve had in recent years).

Putting the cars out there ASAP and then bringing them back to “finish” them works, but it’s inconvenient and sometimes dangerous.

Remember the reputation Toyota used to have for building reliable cars ? Looks like lots of folks who come here are starting to have second thoughts.

Buyers of new Toyotas:
"I will begin compilying a papertrail regarding this issue, as I have a feeling it may come in handy in the future.

"Sooo… they sold this car to me knowing of the failure?? "

“I have never heard of this in any other car.”


P.S. I do hope these owners get the problems resolved quickly and I wish them the best.