Toyota Corolla used car buyers’ checklist

The Toyota Corolla is a really hardy car and with just minimum maintenance can go on for thousands of kilometres. Getting a used Toyota Corolla for cheap is actually quite a tough task, because most owners aren’t willing to part with it willingly, or the price is quite steep.

If you are looking for a used Toyota Corolla (not the Altis), here are some things to keep in mind. The Corollas as been in India for nearly 10 years, first coming in late 2002. The earlier Corollas were only available in petrol, and it’s only after the successor, the Toyota Corolla Altis came in about four years ago that a diesel engine became available. Even after the earlier Corolla was discontinued and replaced with the Altis, prices of the Corolla in the used car market have not dropped significantly.

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Prices of Used Toyota Corolla

Model 2002-2003: Rs. 2.5 lakh – Rs. 3 lakh

Model 2004-2005: Rs. 3 lakh – Rs. 4 lakh

Model 2006-2007: Rs. 4 lakh – Rs. 4.75 lakh

Model 2007-2008: Rs. 5 lakh – Rs. 5.5 lakh

Toyota Corollas are sturdy cars and the engine usually gives no trouble at all for 2 lakh plus Km if regular service is followed, but there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when buying a second-hand Toyota Corolla. Also read: Buying a used Honda City

Engine

The Toyota Corolla came with a 1.8 litre (1794 cc) petrol engine that put out 125 bhp of power and 158 Nm of torque with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission. The automatics are completely troublefree cars that go about their business in a city like an appliance. The only maintenance required is a transmission fluid change every 40,000 km or so. The engine is smooth and refined. One thing to watch out for is any sign of bearing noise which could indicate a car that has been abused. Another thing to look for is jerky acceleration which could be a faulty fuel pump. It is not very expensive to replace.

Clutch

The Corolla has a fairly light clutch and gearshift. Nothing goes wrong with it with normal use. But watch out for clutch slippage, lack of pick up or the engine revving high when you accelerate before the car picking up. This could be a sign of a car that has been badly driven and needs a clutch plate change.

Brake pads

Brake pads on the Corolla, especially in the automatic variant tend to wear out quickly. It comes with disc brakes all around and sometimes the brakes can get noisy, especially at the rear. Automatic Corolla variants that have seen extensive city use will usually have their brake pads replaced between 20,000-25,000 km. Manual variants could go up to 35,000 km before needing a replacement.

Suspension

The front suspension in some Corolla variants tends to get noisy, making a clunk sound when going over potholes. Toyota had raised the suspension for the Indian market for more ground clearance. The bushes on the front McPherson strut and on the anti-roll bar tend to wear out with age and that leads to clanging noises. Get this checked and replaced. It’s again not a very expensive repair.

Peripheral parts

Parts like headlamps, bumpers and tail-lamps for the Corolla are slightly on the expensive side. So if you find these damaged, insist on it being replaced before you buy the car. Spares for the Corolla are still available, and will continue to be so until 2018. If you plan to buy and use the car till then, it’s a good buy. Also read: Buying a used Toyota Innova

Overall, the Toyota Corolla is a good car to pick up in the used car market. Prices haven’t dropped significantly even though the car has been discontinued since 2008 and replaced with the Altis. That goes to show just how reliable and in demand the car continues to be.