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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,276 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 #7

Apr 072004

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Car in for brake work at local dealer recently. (had previously had 90,000 mile service there in Dec 2003, nothing noted.) at time of brake work, told that top engine noise (ticking/rattle) needed to be checked, $600 just to look inside and see what problem was. Took to dealer where I purchased car for a second opinion. They told me I needed a replacement engine. I'm only at 98,000 miles, and have followed manufacturer's service recommendations/changed oil regularly on schedule. I shouldn't need a new engine, this is caused by a design flaw. Dealer suggested that I hadn't changed the oil on time. Rod or piston that was about to go is thought to be the problem. My brother is still driving a 1985 Camry! mom has a 91 Camry still in good condition, high mileage. Didn't expect to have a Toyota give out so early. Will be asking for reimbursement from Toyota. Replacement engine totaled $2736.88 including labor, for a used engine with 36,000 miles. No documentation verifying engine mileage except on bill, so odometer still says 98,000 miles.

- Edmonds, WA, USA

problem #6

Nov 192003

(reported on)


  • miles
Vehicle's inner rod broke causing engine motor to blow. While driving the consumer noticed a ticking noise. The vehicle was pulled over when the consumer notice smoke coming from the engine. The vehicle was towed to the dealership where it was determined that the inner rod broke and caused the engine to fail. The consumer requested an explanation and reimbursement.

- Springfield, IL, USA

problem #5

Nov 282003

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
Of the eleven (11) vehicles that I have owned thus far, at least eight (8) has been Toyota, one a Ford, and two were Nissan's. all the Toyota's gave me excellent service, except the last. This was a 1998 Toyota Corolla ce that was regularly serviced and well taken care of. So much so, that we purchased a smart choice warranty for twelve hundred dollars ($1200) to give us an added piece of mind. This vehicle was puirchased for my college going daughter, based on the premise that this brand is based on reliabilty, economy and durability. These are well known toyotra attributes.on 11/28/2003 the oil light kept coming on at intervals. I did my own diagonistics as a responsible Toyota owner and found that everything was normal. I then left work to take the car for a second opinion and was told after hours of examination that the oil pump needed replacing. I couldn't believe this as the vehicle had regular services. At this I contacted smart choice, only to learn that they had filed for bankruptcy. This was a major setback for me. The estimated repair costs at this stage was approximately $530. Upon further examination by my mechanic, I was told that this engine had large deposits of sludge and that it had a short lifespan. Based on this I was advised that the engine needed a replacement. It is against this background that I lodge this legitimate complaint and request an official from the manufacturer to contact me at the soonest.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #4

Apr 092003

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,888 miles


My car '98 Corolla that has been regularly maintained as per manufacturers recommendations blew its engine while driving on the highway. I was in the fast lane and had to dangerously veer the vehicle to the shoulder. The car had done only 50,000 miles. The engine breakdown was caused by sludge and excessive engine wear and tear that developed in the car when it had done just 36,000 miles. This was brought to my attention by Suburban Toyota of troy, mi. I have been regular with oil change and preventive maintenance and have receipts to prove that. I finally paid $4500 for full engine replacement and sent the receipts and maintenance records to Toyota. Toyota has refused to reimburse this amount.

- Wayzata, MN, USA

problem #3

Mar 172003


  • 60,000 miles
A loose bolt within the engine caused an oil leak.

- Lake Jackson, TX, USA

problem #2

Aug 312002

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,045 miles
Vehicle was leaking oil. Dealership found the plate for the timing gear cover was leaking. Dealership replaced gasket and timing chain tensioner. While driving 71 miles later, the cam gear pin sheared off, the vehicle died out and internal damage occurred. Dealership not willing to take responsibility.

- Springdale, MD, USA

problem #1

Oct 051999


  • miles
Towed to nearest dealer who contacted Toyota...although still under warranty dealer and Toyota refuses to repair. Said that car was abused, but oil changes were made and documented. Cam seized.

- Round Rock, TX, USA

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