Toyota "Mystery Lever" column

Mystery Lever Benefits From a Two-Step System
Ray Magliozzi

Dear Car Talk:

Hello I am Tahsin from Bangladesh! I have a question regarding my car. It’s my first car, and I don’t know much about cars.

My car is a Toyota Starlet, model year 1992, right-hand drive. On the floor of the driver side just near to the door, there are two levers, one small one, and a larger one in front of it.

The smaller one I know is the fuel door release lever. But what is the larger one for? – Tahsin

Column says one is for the fuel door, the other is the hood release. Maybe. My 92 Corolla has similarly located levers. The smaller one is for the fuel door, the larger one is for adjusting the drivers-side seat recline. The hood release is located at the bottom edge of the dashboard. Maybe the right hand drive Starlet is different from a left hand drive Corolla, while still a sedan, 92 Starlet’s body appearance is slightly different than a US model 92 Corolla.

Your seat recline lever is mounted on the floor?

I’ll check next time I idle the Corolla. The hood release is definitely located on the bottom edge of the dashboard, nowhere near the fuel door release. There’s two levers for the seat, one to adjust it front/back on the tracks, and the other to adjust the seat recline. I might have the two seat levers mixed up, haven’t driven the Corolla since spring, 2020.

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One is for the gas door, the other is to pop the trunk… if they are inline with each other on the floor… At least every one I remember seeing on Toyota’s… But I have never seen that vehicle so who knows…

EDIT, I see it is a hatch…


lol … seems there’s a lot of possibilities. The 92 Corolla had a trunk-release option which I didn’t get. I think the trunk release lever – on cars equipped with a trunk-release – was located on the floor near the fuel door release. 3 levers in that case. Comparing a 92 US-made Corolla to 92 foreign-made Starlet may not make much sense.

I have an '85 Toyota Corolla, Left-Hand Drive, (US Version…). On the floor, next to the door, just front of the seat are two levers. As you can see in the photo, one is for the gas tank door and the other is for the trunk. If one of your levers is not working, perhaps the cable is broken or disconnected. The latch for the hood (engine compartment) is just below the steering wheel shaft on the left side…

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When I rent a strange car I just start pulling levers to see what they are for. I especially want to find the fuel door. Like someone said, it’s not a jet, no risk of an ejection seat. I got one of those three door Toyotas or Hondas once though and had to load luggage into the back seat. Never could find the trunk until the end where the owners manual was.

Three levers in that vicinity. Number 1, a small lever bolted directly to the floor is for the fuel door. Number 2, 4 inches to the rear, and up about 1 inch above the floor, looks like a bigger version of number 1, number 2 is to adjust the seat recline angle. Number 3 is an inch & 1/2 to the right of lever number 1, and 1/2 inch higher, for adjusting the fore/aft seat position. Number 3 is a J-shape metal rod.