Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
93,399 miles
Total Complaints:
53 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (25 reports)
  2. replace engine (13 reports)
  3. never ever buy a toyota corolla (11 reports)
  4. dealer honoring warranty (2 reports)
  5. use thicker oil (2 reports)
2002 Toyota Corolla engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Toyota Corolla Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #33

Mar 132011

Corolla CE

  • Manual transmission
  • 102,400 miles


Recently purchased my first Toyota Corrolla CE 2002 with 102,000 miles from my co-worker. It came with engine oil consumption problem. According to my co-worker, his Mechanics has told him that oil consumption is related to the Valve or Ring/Piston problem and it is expensive to fix it. I have to use 1 qt of oil every week with my driving no more than a 100 miles a week.

2nd problem I discovered is rubber around the steering wheel is loose.

What happened to Toyota's quality and service.?? Now I have to think twice before buying my next car...

- , Frederick, MD, USA

problem #32

Mar 132011

Corolla CE

  • Manual transmission
  • 102,400 miles

Bought my first Corrolla 2002 CE from one of my co-worker. It leaks oil from the day I bought it. According to my co-worker, the problem started after 90,000 miles. His mechanic has told him it is valve or Ring/Piston problem. I talked to my mechanic about the problem, according to him this is a known problem with every Toyota. It will start burning oil after 90 thousand miles and it expensive to fix. Question is what happened to the reliability of the Toyota which was build to keep running without any problem. Now, with this problem and reading all the problems people reported on the web I have to think twice before buying another Toyota....

- , Frederick, MD, USA

problem #31

Jul 122010

Corolla CE 1.8L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,050 miles

My wife bought this second hand about a year ago as a replacement after an accident. I think it's been using excessive oil since the very beginning but I don't drive a lot (maybe a couple of short trips per week) so I haven't really noticed. I recently took the car on a 4000km trip and noticed that it was using 1L of oil or more per two tanks of gas. I brought it in to a mechanic and he checked the compression etc. but couldn't find a problem (he thought it could be due to clogged oil rings). The mechanic suggested I just keep driving it the way it is, but, I'd really like to find the source of the problem.

Also, the car started losing power and stalling whenever the heater fan is turned on. This is not an alternator or battery problem. If I have the car running and turn the heater or AC on it just stalls. If the fan is on when I try to start the car I just can't get it going. If I am driving and turn on the heater/AC fan the car noticeably loses power. The problems with this car are getting really irritating and I'm thinking of trading it in for something else.

Before this I had a 1987 Supra, it still runs great!

- , Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada

problem #30

Jul 122010

Corolla S 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,000 miles


Bought the vehicle from a dealership a month and a half (3000 miles) ago. Three weeks ago I had the car serviced at my local garage for an unrelated issue and they discovered that the vehicle was over a quart short of oil. I had the oil topped off and went on my way. I took the car in today to the dealership today for my first scheduled oil change as the owner of this vehicle. The technician told me that the oil level was so low that it didn't even register on the dipstick. They think it might be the head gasket. THANK GOD FOR EXTENDED WARENTEES.

- , Mequon, WI, USA

problem #29

Jul 062010

Corolla LE 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

My 2002 Corolla is burning oil.I bought it new and took great care of this car.Dealership repair shop tells me I need a new engine for 4-6 thousand dollars, or trade in car for a new one.Will give me 1,000.00 off new Toyota.Never again. Toyota really going downhill.If their is a class action suit count me in.

- , Fair Lawn, NJ, USA

problem #28

Dec 102009

Corolla LE 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

My corolla is going through about a quart a week. I tried Lucas oil treatment and I didn't smell it burning as much. Does anyone know if another treatment will help or if it is just a waste of time?

- , Vernon, CT, USA

problem #27

Jan 102010


  • Manual transmission
  • 56,000 miles


I own 2002 Toyota Corolla, a station wagon, manual transmission, and I noticed an extensive oil leakage. The car has been regularly services and oil change was done every 3-5K miles. I am the first owner and I took good care of it since the beginning. However, several month ago I've noticed that it has started using more oil. I took it to a mechanic who suggested to use slightly thicker oil than Toyota advises for new cars. So far it appears that it has fixed the problem, and I don't see any performance issues (at least yet).

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #26

Jan 182010

Corolla LE 1.8L 4cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

Well it appears my 2002 LE has fallen victim to this problem as well. I bought mine early 2009 from a used dealer who had just purchased it from a Toyota dealership (Tanksy Toyota, Dublin Ohio), which still had the dealership's paperwork documenting the comprehensive used car inspection, with nothing noted beyond normal wear and tear for a 7 year old car. It had 130,000 miles when purchased, and ran well during the thorough test drive. Later that week, during a drive to a family function, I noticed the oil light lit, and pulled up to my destination to absolutely nothing on the dip stick. I'm not sure if it was the constant medium revs that a 65-70mph highway trip demands that kicked it in, but it was all downhill from there. Quick note: I'm a contractor who drives ~200 stop and go miles a day, however I make it a strict point to drive as gently as reasonable due to needing my car to last as long as possible. After filling up with new oil, I checked it every morning, eventually needing to put in a quart or two every 1.5 to 3 days to keep the level correct. I had kept this going for a few months, hoping that this was all I needed to do to keep an otherwise well-functioning car together. I was still getting ok mileage as far as I could tell, always getting at least 300 miles per gallon, even with the constant stop and go driving for my job (and a trunk often full of heavy equipment). Earlier this week, I noticed intermittent power delivery on the highway, and as I slowed down to an off-ramp light, the engine chugged to stay running as it lowered to idling RPMS. I was hoping it was just in need of new plugs or wires, but my mechanic did everything he could with new parts and it still misses and chugs. He said as far as he could tell, it was a deep internal problem and he assumed I'd be told to get a new engine from dealers & mechanics alike. He was unfortunately right. I just find it morbidly funny that among all of my (literally) weeks of research to make sure this was the solid workhorse car for me, that I completely missed this website or any others relating to the leaking oil problem. All I had to do was Google "how much to replace the engine in my 2002 Toyota corolla", and here I was. Major bummer, but if this somehow aids any future purchasers be weary of this surprisingly (seemingly) common problem, then of course I hope it serves to be helpful insight. I'm greatly disappointed that this happened to me, but I can't with good conscience suggest a blanket "steer clear from Toyota" stance, just like I avoided saying the same about my Ford which died a similar death last year. Just be thorough on your research and ask every question you have before picking up a used vehicle. The extra day or two bumming a ride to work as you make absolutely sure your decision is the right one could potentially save you from enduring much greater problems down the road.

- , Columbus, OH, USA

problem #25

Apr 172009

Corolla CE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 163,000 miles

The engine started burning excessive oil at around 60,000 miles initially (just out of warranty). I lived with the problem until 100,000 miles later when the engine stalled while driving to work. I was buying oil by the case at that time. The rear of the car near the exhaust was completely black from where burned off oil and settled on the car's bumper and trunk. There was gasoline in the engine's crankshaft assembly! I had my niece's husband (who owns his own garage) replace the engine with a used one for around $2.5k. He got a good laugh watching smoke pour out of where the oil dipstick goes. After 3,000 miles on the used engine, the transmission now won't engage. OK, engine and transmission, these are the two most costly and most important components of a car. With a Ford, I may be able to make it to 100,000 miles on the original engine and save the cost of buying 2 cases of oil a month (ie. $70 a month). I owned a 1995 Corolla and it was better although it burned alternators like crazy. At least it would've been cheaper in the long run. Toyota quality has definitely slipped and their reputation and sales will fall as a result of these MAJOR problems. I don't know what my next car is going to be, but it won't be another Toyota unless they get their act together.

- , Fort Lupton, CO, USA

problem #24

Apr 012008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

2002 Corolla using 1/2 quart oil every approx 100 miles. No blue smoke. Toyota Dealership said:

- replace engine for $5600

- check for $1800 to find cause

- they do not know of the oil gellation problem

However, there is lots of info on the web. Search 2002 Corolla oil loss and it is all there. Also search oil gellation Corolla.

Tell me your stories with this. This is not the quality I counted on from Toyota.

- , Bellingham, WA, USA

problem #23

May 302004

Corolla CE 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


Bought this car from my in-laws, thinking that replacing the PCV valve might fix the problem.The first engine locked up on them after 80,000 miles or so. Same problem. They replaced engine w/ a used prism engine, of unknown mileage. In-laws then decided to sell it to us cheap. Good thing since I have to pour nearly 2 quarts of oil into it for every 500-600 miles driven! I'm guessing that this engine has somewhere around 60,000-80,000 miles. Just like everyone else here, I cannot find oil leaks anywhere.

Maybe instead of trying to deal w/dealership, we could all try to contact Toyota Corp. directly and tell THEM our problem. If that doesn't help, maybe a class action suit? Also, check to see if your state has a Lemon Law on the books!

- , Kountze, TX, USA

problem #22

Dec 152008

Corolla 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

Per my mechanic my 2002 Toyota corolla needs a new engine due to a damaged piston. My car has never overheated, therefore its shocking to know I am having this problem. My engine light is always on. I constantly have to check my oil gauge since the piston is excessively consuming it. My mechanic is also very surprised that a Toyota corolla is having this type of problem. He stated that these cars are usually great cars. Obviously not anymore. I am very upset and disappointed. I feel they should recall these vehicles. I will stop buying Toyota's and go with Nissan's or Honda's.

- , Oxnard, CA, USA

problem #21

Mar 102009

Corolla CE 1.8L 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,500 miles

I cannot believe that a Toyota is having such a problem. Thankfully it is not as bad as some of the horror stories I've read as I am putting only a pint or so every 300 - 400 miles.

- , Lafayette, LA, USA

problem #20

Apr 072009

Corolla S

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

The car has always used some oil. I had the oil changed 2,000 miles ago... 4 weeks ago. The engine threw a rod yesterday. $3,000 for a new engine. There was no oil in the crankcase. What is happening to the "Toyota Quality". Had a 1986 Camry that went 400,000 miles.

- , Wendell, NC, USA

problem #19

Mar 242009

Corolla 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

The car had been making a funny noise when driving but I thought it was just from changing my driving from highway to city (moved to a new area). I needed to go in for my scheduled oil change, and made plans to go on the weekend but my oil light started coming on and turning off before the weekend came so I took it into the auto place. Found out my engine was running on dry. The engine needs to be completely replaced.

Had oil pan completely replaced a few months ago, no leaks. Mechanic said that the cause would most likely be that my engine was burning the oil.

I have taken great care of the car, followed all maintenance guidelines (i.e. regular oil filters, changes, brakes, transmission fixes, everything). In less than 3,000 miles, all the oil had "disappeared" from my car. This is awful. I called Toyota and they said that there is nothing they could do because my warranty has expired, but they would put $750 toward the purchase of a new Toyota. Not happening.

- , Newport News, VA, USA

problem #18

Feb 182009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

Wow, I am in shock. Mostly, VERY disappointed in Toyota. They need to be uncovered for the dishonest company they have become. I just bought this car like a week ago, and today I took it to a Toyota dealership...surprise surprise! The engine needs to be rebuilt because it burns oil like crazy! Not only that, but the catalytic converter is being clogged up, and they of course, will need to change that too. It's very sad to hear from the mechanic in the Toyota dealership telling me to get rid of it, and buy something else. This is my FOURTH USED CAR that has had problems.... my head is going to explode

- , Orlando, FL, USA

problem #17

Jul 012008

Corolla CE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Noticed the problem when the car began to make a grinding noise only two weeks after buying it. It was completely out of oil. When I refilled it, it only took a couple weeks to run out again. Many months later, I am still pouring lots of oil into the car, and it is deteriorating. It knocks and shakes, and the leaking exhaust is terrible. It is too expensive to fix - I was told to just replace it, but unfortunately I cannot afford either. Too bad I used almost all the money I had right after I graduated from college to buy a "reliable" I can't even fix/replace it.

- , Chapel Hill, NC, USA

problem #16

Sep 092008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Car uses excessive oil. I need to get new oil every 3 weeks!!! Get synthetic because this is a sludge problem! Also, don't buy a 2002 Toyota Corolla.

- , Wilton, CT, USA

problem #15

Aug 292008

Corolla LE 1.8L

  • Manual transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Noticed while doing my own oil changes that my 2002 Corolla LE used a lot more oil than it should have. People always asked why in hell I was changing my oil so frequently. I replied with, well it's low (sometimes REALLY low) despite only driving it 2-3K between changes. But I thought not much of it, ran great, ran quiet, and enjoyed servicing it. Then to my dismay a couple days ago it began making an awful knocking sound when I accelerated. I was planning on changing my oil in 2 days, but I thought I'd give my dealership a call and see what they had to say. They said without hearing it they could not diagnose. So I took it in. They claimed as soon as they heard it they knew the engine needed replaced, replaced, the engine needed replaced. The car didn't even get wheeled out of the parking spot I parked it in. They checked the oil level and it was EMPTY! It was driven a mere 3,400 miles! And the kicker was the oil level light NEVER came on, the check engine light NEVER came on, nor was the engine running hot. They put oil in and said I should trade it in or replace the engine. I drove it off the lot with it's fresh oil, the knocking sound is still there. I am seeking a different mechanics advice (not wanting to ever deal with Toyota again) and will drive it to the ground changing the oil every 500-1000 miles I guess.

Why am I not surprised that a corporation could care less? Is there any auto corp that gives a crap about it's cars or their customers? Who knows? But I do know one thing I will NEVER EVER buy another Toyota, Lexus, or Scion again! Nor will I allow any family member, friend, associate, or co-worker be led into this trap! Sludge for the loss!

Never buy Toyota, especially the 2002 Corolla, because it's a trap!

- , Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #14

May 202008

Corolla CE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

I had a 2002 Toyota Corolla that I purchased brand new in 2001. In may of this year, the engine light came on. Long story short, Toyota of Wesley Chapel told me there was a known sludge problem. Since they had all my service records, they agree to replace the engine as if I had an extended warranty. I paid a $500 deductible, spark plugs and the rental of a vehicle. 63 miles after getting my vehicle back, the transmission went. Toyota said someone had to be sabatoging my vehicle because this had never happened before. Long story short, I traded the vehicle in,which I lost money on due to a bad transmission. I was later told by my service adviser that when they road tested the used transmission they replaced it with, it failed as well. Today August 29,2008, I spoke with the service manager, Jason and he pretty much called me a liar as there was no such sludge problem on my year/make of vehicle and said I must have looked it up on the internet. The service adviser who and service manager who originally told me about the problem are no longer with the company. Toyota has now lost a customer.

- , Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

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