Toyota Corolla Transmission Problems & Overview

First introduced in 1966, the Toyota Corolla was a no-frills transportation device that was as reliable as death & taxes. In the half-century that followed, over 40 million people bought a Corolla, making it one of the best selling cars of all time. The current Corolla is considerably larger than the original, but it packs more features than the finest luxury car of 1966. It’s also a lot safer, thanks to 8 standard airbags, a high-strength steel body structure, and Toyota’s Star Safety System.

A new CVT transmission is also being offered in the E170 Corolla, and they say it’s the most advanced gear-less gearbox to date. Dubbed CVTi-S (Continuously Variable Transmission intelligent-shift), it comes with an ATF warmer to bring the transmission up to temperature faster, reducing harsh operation after a cold start.

The transmission pump has also been carefully thought out, and now provides the optimum amount of fluid pressure to avoid drive belt slippage, while using 25% less torque to operate. But on a more interesting note, Toyota gave the new CVTi-S a Sport Mode which creates 7 simulated shift points as you accelerate. A manual gate allows you to change the imaginary gears yourself, and the sporty Corolla S even gets paddle shifters to do the deed.

We know a good transmission shop in your area.

Does something seem wrong with your Corolla? Let’s look at some of the most common Toyota Corolla transmission problems, and see what you can do to get your car back on the road.

Recalls

No transmission-related recalls.

Toyota Corolla Technical Service Bulletins (TSB)

– 2004-2005 Corolla – TSB TC008-04

Problem:

Corolla’s equipped with the 1ZZ-FE engine may experience a dash warning light with the error code for torque converter clutch solenoid performance (P0471).

Solution:

This problem could stem from a faulty speed sensor, ECM, transmission, or torque converter clutch assembly.

– 2005-2007 Corolla – TSB TC015-07

Problem:

On 1ZZ-FE engine equipped versions of the ’05-’07 Toyota Corolla, unusually harsh shifts are common, along with the error code P2716.

Solution:

Replacing the Engine Control Module with an updated unit should solve this problem.

– 2003-2008 Corolla – TSB TC012-05

Problem:

Cars equipped with the 1ZZ-FE engine and an automatic transmission may emit a “whistling” or “hoot” noise under light throttle between 35-40 mph.

Solution:

Revised transmission fluid cooler lines are available to correct this condition. Part # 32941-12360 (inlet) / 32942-12140 (outlet)

How to Diagnose & Fix

  1. Check the OBD Codes
  2. Check the fluid level
  3. Test transmission pressure
  4. Drop the transmission pan
  5. Repair, replace or rebuild

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4 thoughts on “Toyota Corolla Transmission Problems & Overview

  1. Hello I have 2008 Toyota Corolla Axio. The other day my friend was driving it and check the engine light came on and when he took the car for diagnosis he was told the code showed back 2 sensor (Which the mechanic said was the oxygen sensor) I took the car to a second mechanic and after scan the report said Code P282B Solenoid ‘K” Electrical. I am not experiencing any gear shift problems. Kindly advise. I do not want to waste money on the wrong problem. I am still driving the car though.

  2. Here is my problem. I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla. About 119k miles on it. About 10-15k miles ago I had a problem with the transmission. When the car warmed up, the car seemed to be stuck in neutral. So, my mechanic put all new tran. fluid and filter. Ran great. The most recent problem happened when I was on the highway going home from work. Came to a stop light, and the car stalled. Turned it back on, put it in gear, stalled again. Putting it in drive or reverse did the same thing.

    Had it towed to my mechanic. He didn’t really do anything but it started working again while he had it. His thought was the torque converter was locked up and unlocked by itself. It gave no codes at all. It shifts fine but there is a whining sound and you can hear it when accelerating. The RPM’s are high while idle in Park. As soon as you put it in gear the RPM’s drop but the whining is still there. Also there seems to be some strange clicking noises but I can’t tell where they are coming from.

    So, I decided I better shop for a transmission. Found a shop that would replace it, but I wanted them to look at it first. They could find nothing wrong and said it could be a solenoid. They suggest I take it to an actual transmission specialist. That’s where I’m at. Any suggestions?

  3. I’m having a problem with my 1990 Toyota corolla transmission. There is a delay between shifting from 1st to 2nd to 3rd. My mechanic dropped the transmission pan and there wasn’t any large metal chunks, other than the usual small shavings. We changed the fluid and the filter, but it’s still having that same problem. Someone suggested to adjust the bands, but I dont know if that will solve the problem. Any suggestions?

  4. I have a 1997 Toyota Corolla DX automatic with 210,000 miles on it. It started making a grinding noise in the front end (driver’s side) and I noted that the CV needed to be replaced given that the boots were shot and fluid was all over the wheelwell. After replacing the half-shaft, it still makes the same noise, a grinding which increases with speed. Transmission seems to be shifting ok, I replaced the fluid thinking perhaps it is the transmission. Do you think it could be a wheel bearing causing the noise, and if so, how do I check it? How much should I expect to pay to replace if needed?

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