Notes: There must have been something in the water at the plant where they built the eighth generation Corollas, especially the 1998 and 1999 model years.

Outside of airbag problems being reported to NHTSA, this is about as dependable a car as you’ll find. But good luck finding one; owners say they want a new car, but can’t justify trading in their Corolla because the darn thing just keeps rolling.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
89,650 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Toyota Corolla engine problems

engine problem

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1998 Toyota Corolla Owner Comments

problem #2

Dec 242004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,300 miles


Consumer was driving at 55 mph and suddenly the engine made a noise. Then, vehicle slowed, and the serpentine belt came off. Consumer had a mechanic examine the vehicle, and it was discovered the bolt connecting the serpentine belt to the engine broke. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and the same defect was found.

- Valley Lee, MD, USA

problem #1

Mar 082004

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles
The engine of a 1998 Toyota Corolla died while driving on the highway. The germain Toyota of columbus examined the car and identified the timing chain tensioner failure as the cause of the engine damage. Replacement engine is needed. Toyota refuses to pay for the repair because they consider this wear an tear and also because the failure happened after warranty has expired. This type of wear an tear is not common on a 1998 Toyota with 82000 miles. Furthermore, Toyota's owner's manual supplement does not mention any maintenance requirement on timing chain tensioner. The only reference is in page 45, 90,000 miles maintenance log under "additional maintenance items for special operating conditions", which indicates 'replacing timing belt except for Corolla'. the manual specifies maintenance requirements for up to 120,000 miles. A consumer should not be held responsible for wear & tear of a component when the manufacturer does not specify the need for maintenance. I believe this failure is caused by a manufacturing defect or a design deficiency. Paid 2375 for a used replacement engine.

- Troy, MI, USA

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