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About RussLA

  1. Thank you, fish. That's about what I figured but I appreciate your two cents. The car is in excellent shape and now that the struts are new, everything on the long checklist of items the dealership checks each time I take the car in is rated "good" (the highest rating). It's been a great car and relatively problem-free. I bought it from Hertz Rent-a-Car with 26,000 miles in 2004. It's my first Toyota and I'm impressed.
  2. I have a 2003 LE with 180,000 miles. I've had all maintenance done at a dealer and have been very satisfied with their work. I like the car and intend on keeping it for several more years. For the last year or so, they've told me my rear struts are leaking and recommended replacing. Back when they began telling me this, my service advisor, who I've been with for several years and is excellent, told me he didn't think it was a priority to replace them yet. So I didn't. When I took my car in for service a couple of weeks ago, I had to see a different advisor because the appointment schedulers screwed up and gave me an appointment with my regular guy on a day when he was scheduled to be off. The advisor I ended up seeing took a look at my record and noticed the leaking struts. He told me the leak was a "Level 1" leak, which he said is the most severe (he said there are 5 levels, with "1" being the worst). I don't know if all dealers use this same scale and I have no idea whether he was telling me the truth about the severity since I had never met him before. It's an expensive repair--he said each strut was about $100 and the labor was $500, so it was a $700 repair. I had not noticed any lack of control in the rear of the car, but since this could be a safety issue, I decided to have it done since he characterized the leak as the most severe there is and said that all the fluid in the shocks was pretty much gone. One of my biggest regrets is that my regular guy didn't get the commission on this big sale. Would it have been safe to have gone another four months before replacing the struts so he could get the commission? In driving the car with the new struts, I don't notice any difference in the ride or handling of the car. Does replacing struts usually make a noticeable difference? Are rear struts on 2003 Corollas any kind of a known weakness? Thanks for any thoughts you have. Russ
  3. Thank you, fish. I appreciate your observations and advice. Very helpful.
  4. I have an 03 Corolla LE with 177,000 miles. Fabulous car. A week and a half ago, my check engine light came on (first time ever). Took it to an independent shop near me. Turned out to be P0420, catalytic converter. I decided to think things over, so I did not have the shop change anything. On the inspection repair order, the tech had written "DTC P0420 - catalytic converter efficiency below threshold Bank 1." I live in L.A. and had just passed a smog check back in April of this year, so it seemed odd that the cat was suddenly failing. Unfortunately, smog tests are now done pass/fail, so you can't see the test numbers like before. And it didn't occur to me to ask for the actual numbers, which I will do next time. About five days later, before I had a chance to get a second opinion from the dealer, where I usually go for service, the check engine light went out. It's still out and the car runs fine (and has run fine all along). I found another Corolland post from June 2015 from a guy with an 03 LE just like mine with a P0420 code problem. He's had all kinds of trouble. Fishexpo had a lot to say about the P0420 code in that thread, and said it's rare that the code actually involves the cat or even the O2 sensors. My brother-in-law, who does all his own car maintenance and grew up in a family that owned a car repair shop, suggested I use a couple of tanks of either Chevron or Shell premium gas. He said those brands have a cleaning additive that might help clean out excess carbon build-up. He also suggested that when getting on the freeway, to accelerate more aggressively for a few days to help with the cleaning as well. I'm assuming there's no need to do anything at this point. My next service will be due in a couple of months and I'll have the dealer check to see if the code is still there. My service advisor is very good and I'll see what he has to say. Is there anything else I should do now?
  5. Ruben, What amazes me in all this is that the dealer couldn't find anything. The car's still under warranty and they need to make you happy. If the problem occurs every 5 or 6 brakings, surely it will happen on a test drive. I'd get in the car with the service tech on the test drive and be sure he drives it around enough so it malfunctions. Then it's up to the dealer to take care of it. On a new car, you shouldn't have to lift a finger. Russ
  6. Thanks, Bikeman. That sounds more like what I might have. What I've discovered is that if it won't release, I just keep pushing the button repeatedly as I jiggle the metal insert on the end of the belt. But even that can sometimes take 15 or 20 seconds. Russ
  7. Thanks, Bob. It did occur to me to try some kind of lubricant but I haven't done it yet, mostly because it's not a sluggish button--it just stops dead a fraction of an inch higher than it's supposed to, as if it's catching on something or there's an obstruction. But looking at the button and housing, there's no room to see anything down there. I'll mention it to my dealer next time I'm there. My car has about 93K miles, so there's no warranty left, unless seatbelts have some special warranty. It works fine most of the time, but it's not a safe thing to have. Russ
  8. I also have a 2003 (LE). Has about 95K miles. I've replaced the belt tensioner twice. And I have a "moan" sometimes (not always) when I take my foot off the gas while driving. It also happens sometimes when the car downshifts. Almost sounds like a human voice. Don't know if it's the same thing you have, but in my case, I think it's the trans. I say that because when I start the car after it sits for several hours, I sometimes (not always) hear a kind of hum that starts at a low frequency and gradually increases to a higher and higher tone. Then when I shift into reverse (to back out of my garage), the tone suddenly drops in frequency. After a few seconds, the tone disappears. My hunch is that the moan and that tone are related. Russ
  9. I have an '03 LE. A few weeks ago, when I tried to take off my seatbelt, the release button wouldn't quite depress far enough so I couldn't get the belt off. I kept pushing it repeatedly and after a minute or so, it finally released. This has happened a number of times now (not every time), and of course it's a dangerous problem. Has anyone ever heard of this and is there anything I can do to fix it? Russ
  10. I've never tried this, but the host of a radio call-in show on car repairs said that Brasso will get rid of the cloudiness on the plasic lens covers. Anybody else heard this?
  11. Thanks, fish. If I can't get this figured out, I'll set up another account and do the forwarding. I'm using my work email address at the moment.
  12. I've emailed the administrators on Corolland and they haven't been able to help me, so I'm hoping some of you can help. I need advice from any of you who use as your Internet service provider. I've been a member of Corolland for several months and have just changed Internet service providers to When I changed my email address in my Corolland profile, the validation email that is supposed to be sent never reached me. I tried several times, but no luck. When I contacted an administrator of the Corolland board, he said there have been problems with Access4Less in the past at Corolland and that most email sent to Access4Less gets bounced back with a problem. I had no problem with validation emails for Access4Less at other forums I belong to. And one of them is even the same kind of board as Corolland (Invision). I've turned off all filters and spam filters in my email program. Do any of you use Access4Less and if so, how did you solve this problem?

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