Search Corolland!

120K Mainteinance For 1997 Corolla

By chicagolander, January 4, 2012 in Pre-1997 Toyota Corolla and Geo Prizm

I am about to do the 120,000 miles mainteinance on my 97 corolla CE, with engine 4A-FE and 3-speed automatic transmission. The car was recently bought second hand and I don't know its history.

I paste below what the official mainteinance guide says, but I think that I should replace more things. Should I replace steering and brake fluids? and replace all the belts? timing-belt, alternator belt, and power steering belt?

The official owners manual seems to recommend a very minimal maintenance. The "Haynes Repair Manual" recommends to replace more things.

I plan to go to a Toyota dealer. I have never gone, but I know no other mechanic I can trust. Does anybody know how much it will cost?

Owners manual, maintenance at 120k:

  • Replace engine oil and oil filter
  • Replace engine air filter
  • Replace engine coolant
  • Replace spark plugs
  • Rotate tires

Inspect the following:

  • Ball joints and dust covers
  • Brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs
  • Charcoal canister 2
  • Drive belts
  • Drive shaft boots (re-torque flange bolts)
  • Exhaust pipes and mountings
  • Fuel lines and connections, fuel tank band and fuel tank vapor vent system hoses
  • Fuel tank cap gasket
  • Rack and pinion assy. for leakage
  • Steering linkages
  • Transmission and differential oil
  • Valves (audible inspection), adjust if necessary

Additional Maintenance Items for Special Operating Conditions:

Driving on Rough, Muddy or Snow-Melted Roads

  • Inspect nuts and bolts on chassis and body
  • Extensive Idling or Low-Speed Driving for Long Distances
  • Replace timing belt

Towing a Trailer or Using a Camper or Car-Top Carrier

  • Inspect nuts and bolts on chassis and body
  • Replace transmission and differential oil

The Toyota service maintenance schedule is only valid if you kept up on the maintenance at regular intervals - generally good for most owners. Most of what is listed is for required maintenance and key inspections, nothing really for preventative maintenance (just looking at the 120K snapshot).

Since you do not have prior knowledge about the previous maintenance history - have to assume the worse case and then parse it down from there. I'd start with all fluids and filters being replaced:

- oil and oil filter

- transmission fluid and transaxle filter (note that your 3-speed has two fluid reservoirs - one for the main transmission, the other for the differential - both have their own fill and drain plugs).

- brake fluid (like to do these every other year or 30K miles, whichever comes first)

- power steering fluid (like to do these every other year or 30K miles, whichever comes first)

- coolant (using Toyota Red coolant highly recommended, good for up to 5 years/60K - I like to change this every 3 years or 36K miles, whichever comes first)

Then the usual wear and tear parts:

- tire rotation (inspect and replace as necessary)

- tire balance, wheel alignment (depending on how the car drives, what tire wear shows)

- air filter (also be a good time to clean the throttle body and inspect the EGR system)

- fuel filter (I'll assume that this has not been changed, can verify by seeing how much corrosion there is on the fuel hardlines)

- PCV valve (inexpensive, good to change every 30K miles or so)

- sparkplugs, distributor cap and rotor, plug wires (plugs just replace them, inspect cap and rotor for carbon tracking, plug wires for wear)

- timing belt (make sure they get to the tensioner)

- waterpump

- v-belts (note that the waterpump and v-belts can be done along with the timing belt, since they have to come off anyway to get to the belt)

- brakes pads, brake shoes, rotors and drums, related brake hardware (inspect and replace as necessary)

- springs/struts (at this mileage and age, if they are original, could be showing quite a bit of wear - inspect and replace as required)

After that, just inspections and cosmetics. Check the charging system (battery and alternator), check the rest of the cooling system (hoses and heater core), HVAC system (A/C amplifier, blower fan, vent tubes, A/C compressor, A/C condensor, A/C charge level, etc.), inspect all lamps, check for any stored check engine codes, inspect EVAP/emissions systems. audible check on engine (injectors, valve clearance), surface inspection of corrosion and missing fasteners, inspection of main suspension points, inspection of brake hard and soft lines, inspection of fuel system, lubrication of hinges, window regulators, whole laundry list of electrical checks you can do.

Cost will depend on your area - as dealership labor rates can vary from as little as $55/hour to as much as $120/hour depending on location. If they did everything above - could have bought another 7th gen Corolla - easily be in the thousands of dollars. If they just replaced the fluids, did the timing belt, waterpump, plugs, cap and rotor, plug wires, air filter, pcv, and inspections - probably in the $500-$600 range easily - most of that cost tied to the timing belt/waterpump replacement ~ 1/2 the total cost.

Many thanks I brought the corolla to the toyota dealer past week, and everything went fine. They charged me 1000 dollars and they did everything except the water pump (they said it was expensive), and changing the belts (they didn't had time that day to do it and told me to do it the next visit to the shop). Overall the toyota dealer was fine, and much better than other mechanics I have seen.

BTW, when opening the hood and looking at the brake fluid reservoir, they told me it was totally black, and that it was not changed in all the history of the car (130k miles).

Topic List: Go to Pre-1997 Toyota Corolla and Geo Prizm