The Toyota Corolla is a compact car established in 1966. It is Toyota’s bestselling model and was the highest-selling vehicle in the U.S. for several years.
The Corolla has a long list of outstanding qualities, but is longevity part of them? Let’s find out.
How long do Toyota Corollas last?
With proper maintenance, the Toyota Corolla can stay in excellent condition for up to 300,000 miles. The Federal Highway Administration states that the average American drives 13,500 miles per year. It means you can drive your Corolla car for a whopping 22 years.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Toyota Corolla?
Many reports show that you can expect up to 300,000 miles of service life from your Toyota Corolla.
This may seem impossible for most cars, but Toyotas have always lasted long, thanks to some reliable engineering.
In 2010, the story of a high-mileage Toyota Corolla S dominated the airwaves. This particular vehicle had clocked 603,500 miles in just five years.
Other factors may influence the longevity of your Toyota Corolla. In particular, your driving habits and maintenance routine will determine if your Corolla will last long or not.
Aggressive driving strains vehicle components and reduces service life greatly. Irregular maintenance will lead to problems on your vehicle, causing frequent breakdowns.
Proper maintenance and gentler riding style will limit wear-and-tear and ensure your Corolla runs properly for long.
Also read our article on Toyota Corolla in Snow & Winter Driving?
How Soon Should You Expect Rust on A Toyota Corolla?
Based on our research, you can expect rust on your Toyota Corolla within the first six years of ownership.
This can vary across individual owners based on different factors. For instance, drivers living in the Rust Belt are likely to rust earlier compared to others.
If you own an older Corolla model, rust is something you should always be on the lookout for. Models from the ninth generation (2000 – 2007) are especially notorious for rusting.
On a forum, we came across various 9th gen. Toyota Corolla owners complained of rust around the wheel wells and rocker panels. Many of them said they noticed bubbling/blistering paint on those parts. Owners with more severe rust-related problems said the rust had eaten through the rocker panels and wheel wells.
According to reports, the sunroof is another rust-prone part of Toyota Corollas. The rust often occurs around the edges of the sunroof area and can spread rapidly. If it does, you may have to replace the entire sunroof panel.
In milder cases, rubbing the surface rust and treating the area with an anti-rust solution can solve the problem.
How Long Does Toyota Corolla Last Compared to Similar Car Models?
No doubt, the Toyota Corolla is a durable vehicle.
However, how does it stack up to the competition in terms of longevity?
Below, we compare the Toyota Corolla to some of its rivals:
Toyota Corolla vs. Honda Civic
Both popular models, the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic have redefined the word “reliability.”
Unsurprisingly, the two models will last you about the same time: the Toyota Corolla can reach 300,000 miles, the same as the Honda Civic.
Additionally, the two models are as reliable as the other: RepairPal gives both a 4.5 Reliability Rating. Repair costs are hardly different: it is $362 for the Toyota Corolla and $368 for the Honda Civic.
We included this as maintenance costs often influence how long an owner keeps his vehicle.
Toyota Corolla vs. Ford Focus
The Toyota Corolla lasts longer than the Ford Focus.
While the Toyota Corolla can get up to 300,000 miles, the Ford Focus can only manage 250,000 miles.
From RepairPal data, the Toyota Corolla is more reliable compared to the Ford Focus. The Focus has a 4.0 Reliability Rating and ranks 27/36 in the compact car segment reliability wise. Conversely, the Corolla has a 4.5 reliability rating and places 1/36 in the compact-car reliability ranking.
Moreover, maintenance costs often determine how long you keep a vehicle. If it is expensive to keep your car running, you may be forced to abandon it.
The Toyota Corolla costs $362 annually to maintain; the Ford Focus costs $569–that is a difference of $200.
Toyota Corolla vs. Hyundai Elantra
Although the Hyundai Elantra is a fairly reliable vehicle, it cannot match the Toyota Corolla’s lifespan.
The Elantra can give users around 250,000 miles, 50,000 miles lesser than the Toyota Corolla’s maximum mileage offering (300,000 miles).
Also, the Toyota Corolla has lower maintenance costs in contrast with the Hyundai Elantra: it will cost $362 to maintain a Corolla yearly while doing the same on the Elantra will cost $452.
Besides, only 7 percent of repairs on Corolla models are severe as against the Elantra’s 9 percent.
How Reliable Is a Toyota Corolla?
The Toyota Corolla is among the most reliable models, both in the compact car category and across the car industry.
This explains its continued dominance atop the sales charts: people know it is reliable and keep buying it.
Presently, RepairPal ranks the Toyota Corolla as the most reliable vehicle in the compact car category. This feat is more impressive when you realize that the segment has up to 36 models.
Similarly, J.D. Power rated the Toyota Corolla highly in terms of reliability.
The model has adjudged the second most-dependable compact car in the 2019 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study.
The Best and Worst Years for Toyota Corolla
Toyota models, inclusive of the Corolla, have a reputation for reliability and durability.
However, some model years are more problematic than others. According to CarComplaints, the worst year for the Corolla is the 2002 model year.
Owners of the 2002 model year experienced widespread engine-related problems, especially with excessive oil consumption. Also, the cars suffered from malfunctioning airbags, which refused to deploy sometimes.
The best year for the Toyota Corolla is the 2019 model year. On CarComplaints, it has only two complaints to its name, which is the lowest of any Toyota Corolla model.
What About Recalls for These Models?
Since it started production, Toyota has issued 51 recalls for the Toyota Corolla models.
Below is a list of model years and the number of recalls for them:
- 2010: 16 recalls
- 2009: 12 recalls
- 2003: 11 recalls
- 2004: 11 recalls
- 1994: 8 recalls
- 2006: 8 recalls
- 2005: 8 recalls
- 2011: 7 recalls
- 1995: 7 recalls
- 1997: 6 recalls
- 1993: 6 recalls
- 1996: 6 recalls
- 2000: 5 recalls
- 2002: 5 recalls
- 2008: 4 recalls
- 1998: 4 recalls
- 1999: 4 recalls
- 2001: 4 recalls
- 2007: 4 recalls
- 2013: 3 recalls
- 2012: 3 recalls
- 1989: 2 recalls
- 1992: 2 recalls
- 1984: 2 recalls
- 1990: 1 recall
- 1988: 1 recall
- 2019: 1 recall
- 2014: 1 recall
- 2017: 1 recall
- 1991: 1 recall
Toyota Corolla Model Year List
Here are all model years of the Corolla since 1999:
- 1999 Toyota Corolla
- 2000 Toyota Corolla
- 2001 Toyota Corolla
- 2002 Toyota Corolla
- 2003 Toyota Corolla
- 2004 Toyota Corolla
- 2005 Toyota Corolla
- 2006 Toyota Corolla
- 2007 Toyota Corolla
- 2008 Toyota Corolla
- 2009 Toyota Corolla
- 2010 Toyota Corolla
- 2011 Toyota Corolla
- 2012 Toyota Corolla
- 2013 Toyota Corolla
- 2014 Toyota Corolla
- 2015 Toyota Corolla
- 2016 Toyota Corolla
- 2017 Toyota Corolla
- 2018 Toyota Corolla
- 2019 Toyota Corolla
- 2020 Toyota Corolla
Is Toyota Corolla Expensive to Maintain?
According to RepairPal data, the Toyota Corolla is the cheapest compact car to maintain.
Annual maintenance costs on the Toyota Corolla are around $362, which is over $100 lesser than the average ($526).
More important, only seven percent of repairs on Toyota Corollas are extensive. This is good news as extensive repairs cost 3x the price of the regular repair job.
Overall, the Toyota Corolla is one of the least expensive to maintain.
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
The brake pads on your Toyota Corolla can last between 25,000 to 60,000 miles.
Brake rotors can last up to 70,000 miles with proper maintenance.
Your driving habits and adherence to maintenance instructions determine the lifespan of the brake pads and rotors.
If you frequently drive in stop-and-go traffic, the rotors and the pads will wear out faster, ditto if you don’t service the brakes regularly.
How Long Do the Tires Last?
The tires on Toyota Corollas have a service life of 25,000 to 50,000 miles.
But the general rule is to replace the tires after six years, regardless of mileage.
You should also rotate the tires at every 5,000-mile interval.
How Long Do the Transmissions Last?
The transmission on your Toyota Corolla can last up to 200,000 miles but can fail before this time, especially with poor maintenance.
Notably, flush your transmission fluid every 60,000 miles.
How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?
Spark plugs can last up to 100,000 miles before you need to replace them. However, they could wear out faster, particularly if you do a lot of stop-go driving.
What About Insurance Cost?
On average, it will cost you about $179 per month to ensure a Toyota Corolla, which adds up to $2,148 annually.
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Toyota Corolla
Here are strategies you can use to make your Toyota Corolla last longer:
- Drive in a relaxed manner.
- Adhere to the maintenance schedule specified in the service manual.
- Do not skimp on parts (avoid buying cheap, inferior components).
- Ensure you take your Corolla only to trained technicians for repair.