Abused Corolla

Former coworker that is from another country bought an 01 Corolla. Nicest lady but her and her husband keep allowing themselves to get screwed for various reasons.

They got the Corolla in May 09 for 2100 dollars. The price seemed a little low but I didn’t think anything could be terribly wrong, the miles were fairly low so I figured the car had not suffered too much sludge damage, Which I know was a huge problem in this generation. What they didn’t tell me was that the check engine light was on the first time that they looked at it. Before knowing this I told them to get a prepurchase inspection but they didn’t want to spend the money. Then the thing just started squirting oil everywhere, myself and three different shops could not find the leak. It would be fine for a few days, weeks, or even months and then just drop all four quarts randomly. A few days after they bought the car it started throwing a code which came back as cylinder 2 misfire. They have drove the car without oil for days at a time and now they have been driving it for the past couple of months with the check engine light flashing and the engine missing so hard that the car moves with the brake on at stop lights. They have just completely trashed this car.

I didn’t need to go into all that but I felt everyone would get a kick out of the horror story. But the real question is her husband claims he found a belt on the ground and the car is still running. I am not sure I believe that he just found the belt laying there but I guess it could happen. I know for a fact the belt was not squeaking or making any noticeable noises because I was just there a week or so ago. If it is the accesory belt how long does it have before it overheats or the battery dies from the alternator not working?.. I really want this thing to die… Could have been a great car if they hadn’t trashed it.

That is a sad tale. What I usually see is people think it is a Japanese car so has a reputation for durability, only thing they leave aside is the necessary maintenance, so why not wait a little bit more for oil changes, replacing belts, spark plugs and so it goes. A car is a big investment but not everybody does care since most just trade in in a couple of years…

Let us know when the owner finds the engine lying on the ground, but still running…

First of all, I’ve never heard of sludge problems in the Corolla. Other Toyotas, yes, but never the Corolla.

Oil is “squirting everywhere” but no one can find the leak? Pretty hard to believe. Sorry, but pretty hard to believe. Oil just doesn’t “squirt” from nowhere.

No engine, not even a Corolla’s, can be driven without oil for days at a time.

Low on oil? Yes.

No oil? No

You’re exaggerating.

As far as I can tell the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt, as is the alternator, so if the belt the guy found came from his engine (he didn’t open the hood and look, did he?) then the engine won’t last much longer.

All of this is a testament to the durability of the Corolla. They’re hard to kill.

It also tells us a lot about the mechanic; “I really want this thing to die.”

They did get screwed. They screwed themselves and are apparently continuing to do so but not for much longer it appears.
I think the belt is irrelevant from the sound of things but if drives the alternator they won’t be going much further.

That’s a pretty tragic tale and unfortunately, it’s not that rare either.

Yea the first problem was the check engine light came on 2-3 days after they got it. I changed the plugs and flipped the igniters around. That didn’t help so I told her to take it in because a misfire is going to be just a mess and throwing lots of parts around without being able to hook it up to anything. She didn’t take it in because she “had no time” They worked 84 hours per week, 12 hrs a day 7 days a week. Then one day her husband said the engine is loud and the light has been on for two days. At first I thought he meant the check engine light and then I realized that he meant the oil light. It was bone dry and we put two quarts in just to get them to a store with cheaper oil. Her husband decided to take it to the dealer to get the oil changed and they said that there was oil everywhere. He took it back a few days later to get it diagnosed and they wiped off the oil, charged them seventy five bucks, and said come back in 1,000 miles and then we can find the leak. Three days later they started it and the oil all squirted out in their parking space. They filled it up and I couldnt find the leak there was oil all over, it held that fill of oil for about 2 weeks before it squirted it out and then she drove it for a few days with nothing. By then the engine had suffered damage and she finally took it in and they said “the plugs are bad and that’s why the light is on” so they changed the plugs for 70 dollars. I just changed the plugs within the past 2-3 months. Then when the light came back on the shop told them “the lights on for another reason.” Ever since then the engine just keeps getting worse and they keep on driving it.

Yes the neglect and abuse since purchase has probably ruined the care. You are forgiven for everything after suggesting a pre purchase inspection as it is on their shoulders. Sure maybe the oil filter had 2 gaskets, one old and one new, that sprayed oil intermittently (guess). But There are some situations where people dig themselves into a black hole and it is best just to stand aside and wave goodbye.

At least they are only out $2100 and are able to use over the last year.

$2100 while a decent sum is not the end of the world…

Did they ever tell you what that “another reason” was?

By the time I got to read the dipstick there was not a drop on it.

The oil leak would occur randomly. The car would not use any oil for a day or a month and then one day upon start up it would start dumping the oil out. I tried numerous times putting cardboard underneath and there would be a small amount of oil on the cardboard but as they backed up the car the puddles turned into rivers. Even the dealer could not find the leak because the leak was so sporadic and heavy.

I want this car to die because I am sick or arguing with her husband about this. He swears the engine is still good even though I told him it is severely damaged. There is a still an ongoing arguement about him blowing the engine on the lawn mower as well (1 year old mower with briggs engine) because he was using two cycle gas and blew the exhaust gasket.

Agreed. Thanks

I never went to the shop. I did call and the guy got extremely angry when I started telling him all the work I did and that it was throwing the same code. I think he was upset because he thought they were foreign and could make a quick buck.

If the belt he found on the floor is the car’s serpentine belt it,ll run until the battery drains, typically about 10 to 20 minutes.

I would think you’d want to help your former coworker rather than wanting the poor car to die.

Ten to 20 minutes??? I remember the 69 Dodge I had. The charge meter dropped to zero on the way into Chicago, 265 miles. I turned off the a/c, of course.

In O’hare, I checked it out but could not see the problem. It was on Sunday.

I drove in, turned around and drove back to the Mississippi river, stopped at a K-mart and had them charge the battery, then on home. The next morning, I opened the hood, and in plain sight was the burned wire on top of the motor. I patched it, and it ran fine. I made it over 300 miles on one charge by K-mart.

I don’t understand why the battery would only last 20 minutes. Not saying you are wrong, it just violates what I have seen personally.

As far as helping his fellow worker, it has been established they are not capable of being helped.

I’ve driven a more than a half-hour without an alternator belt in two different cars, each carbureted. Each car had enough battery power to start on its own after I replaced the belt. However, newer cars have electric fuel pumps and injectors and computers and always-on lights and whatever other electric gadgets and gizmos. I suspect that would significantly reduce the amount of time a car could run without an alternator.