Corolla needs new transmission after only 67K

toyota
corolla
transmissions

#1

I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla that I bought new in 2002. It drives well and the gas mileage is great, but I’ve been really disappointed by the number of problems I’ve had with it. The most recent is that the entire transmission needs to be replaced (metal filings in the transmission pan). Unfortunately, as these things go, the extended warranty expired a week ago.



For lack of a better option right now I’m going to pay to fix it and then look for something else within a few months or so. I considered trading it in as-is, but don’t want to be rushed into a decision on something new.



My number one concern now (as it was then) is reliability. I thought I was making the best choice possible by purchasing a Toyota but in the end, it’s been more trouble than my old Buick Skylark.


#2

Was the transmission properly maintained? (Fluid/filter/screen changes.) If so, with the warranty being expired for only a week, I’d still check with the dealer; who knows, you may get a goodwill repair, especially if the extended warranty was sold by Toyota and not some warranty company.


#3

I would, at the very least, attempt to argue that the damage to the transmission happened while the vehicle was under warranty. I would not hold my breath for a favorable solution, but I have often heard of companies working w/ people on things like this. (Not US dealers/companies, mind you - but maybe Toyota).


#4

Was the transmission acting up? Or they just found the shavings during a regular oil change?


#5

People on this board will disagree. Any brand can have problems and serious ones. Some owner inflicted while others just sheer bad luck. All makes are pretty reliable with the minority having issues. I think with Toyota & Honda 5-15% have problems of varying degree and the balance decent. Domestics are something like 5-30% dependent on what you pick. I think Euro brands including the notorious ones like VW are only like 30% with issues.

Basically all said the majority of owners no matter what you buy don’t have issues.

Who is giving the opinion of new transmission and what symptoms are you hitting. With an expensive repair/replacement like that find another independent transmission shop to evaluate it too.


#6

Yeah, I also would be suspicious if the transmission works perfectly, and someone says it needs to be replaced because of metal shavings.

Scout around on this URL and find Mechanic Files, and see if there is a highly rated mechanic in your area to check this out for you.

Do you have a friend who is really good at cars? Talk to him/her and tell exactly what your maintenance program is, and ask if you need to make changes to it.


#7

I think you are being scammed. For all those who are not familiar with this model, Toyota does not require any PM on this transmission. Except for extreme conditions, and I do mean extreme, this is supposed to be a lifetime fluid.

But it’s not. It does need to be changed and I would recommend every 30k miles, 50k if you do a lot of highway miles. If you drop the pan, you will see tiny gold colored pin flakes. These will be very tiny. That is normal wear of friction material and not to be concerned about. If this is all you are seeing, you need a new mechanic.

You need 4.1 qts of Toyota T4 fluid to refill. The filter does not need to be changed but the pan needs cleaning and be sure to put the magnets back. I’m sure thats where most of the metal filings are.

BTW, I went through the same thing on my daughters 03 Corolla. It now has almost 120k on it and the transmission is going strong. The transmission fluid was almost black at 70k when I changed it and the transmission was just starting to slip. As soon as I changed the fluid, it started working like new again. Changed it again at 90k and I’ll be doing it again real soon, with the 120k oil change.


#8

People on this board will disagree. Any brand can have problems and serious ones. Some owner inflicted while others just sheer bad luck. All makes are pretty reliable with the minority having issues. I think with Toyota & Honda 5-15% have problems of varying degree and the balance decent. Domestics are something like 5-30% dependent on what you pick. I think Euro brands including the notorious ones like VW are only like 30% with issues.

I don’t agree with the second line “Any brand can have problems and serious ones.”

I think the Honda’s/Toyota’s have a much higher reliability rating then the Domestic Brands. I think you were far too generous…but that’s just MHO.

As for the transmission…Do what Andrew and others have said…Find another mechanic…From what I’ve heard so far I’m not convinced you need a new transmission. There are many many unscrupulous dealers/mechanics out there. I’ve ran across them on more then one occasion.


#9

I’m interested to know the resolution of this story as I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla 5-speed with 114K whose transmission completely went out on me during vacation, I barely got it home with 4 of its 5 gears intact with a lot of noise and even more stress. When I made my first emergency stop, the mechanics at the service station dropped the pan and drained the oil, determined it was its original oil (it was a grayish color as I watched it drain out), but it didn’t smell burnt, it was at the correct level, but there were small metal shavings in the drain pan.

Samantha - what did you end up doing?


#10

Nobody has yet asked whether this is a manual or automatic. OP. which is it?


#11

I’m assuming it has an automatic. (metal filings in transmission pan). I’ve yet to see a manual transmission with a pan.

Tester


#12

Touche. Good point.

As always, the correction is welcomed.