2018 Toyota Corolla Top Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Airbag, electrical and brake issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

There’s been one car that’s been synonymous with quality and low-cost since the beginning – the Toyota Corolla. For drivers looking to save money, this compact car has always been a hit. The newer models even feature the tagline, “Greater than Ever.” Unfortunately, they aren’t made like they once were. In fact, the 2018 Toyota Corolla has defective airbags, trouble with the forward collision avoidance, issues with the vehicle speed control and malfunctioning service brakes.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2017   2019

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Airbags

One of the most important safety features on any vehicle is the airbags. These essential items must be working properly to keep the driver and occupants safe during a crash. The Corolla seems to have trouble getting this vital component to work correctly.

Just read this complaint on the NHTSA website, “My daughter was involved in a rear end collision with another car that abruptly stopped to turn. She was going 30 mph and hydro-planned into the car as a result of the rainy conditions. There was minimal damage done to the vehicle that she hit but her car sustained substantial damage to the front end which caused frame damage. The front end of the car was severely damaged but none of the air bags deployed despite direct damage to colliding into the stopped vehicle.”

Out of more than 50 service bulletins, nothing is mentioned about the airbag fault, despite the claims being rampant. It’s not clear whether the automaker plans to use its drivers as crash test dummies or not, but it’s probable that this could turn into numerous lawsuits as people get injured.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Toyota Corolla Airbag Problems:

TL* THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE DRIVER OWNED A 2018 TOYOTA COROLLA. WHILE DRIVING APPROXIMATELY 35 MPH, THE DRIVER LOST CONTROL OF THE VEHICLE AND CRASHED INTO AN EMBANKMENT. THE DRIVER’S AIR BAG FAILED TO DEPLOY. THE DRIVER WAS FATALLY INJURED DUE TO INJURIES TO THE HEAD, CHEST, AND UPPER BODY. THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE DRIVER MAY NOT HAVE BEEN WEARING A SEAT BELT. THE FRONT SEAT PASSENGER SUFFERED INJURIES TO THE CHEST, RIBS, AND COLLAR BONE, WHICH REQUIRED MEDICAL ATTENTION. THE COLUMBIA POLICE DEPARTMENT WAS PRESENT AND FILED REPORT NUMBER: 218158996. THE VEHICLE WAS TOWED TO THE DRIVER’S INSURANCE COMPANY AND DEEMED DESTROYED. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT DIAGNOSED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOT NOTIFIED. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS NOT AVAILABLE. 

HIT A DEER AT APPROXIMATELY 60 MPH, FRONT END OF CAR WAS DESTROYED, WAS A TOTAL LOSS. AIR BAGS DID NOT DEPLOY AT ALL

THE DRIVER INVOLVED WITH THIS VEHICLE LOST CONTROL AND HIT A CURB AT 25 MILE PER HOUR, WELL WITHIN THE SPEED LIMIT AT 45 MPH. AFTER HITTING THE CURB, THE VEHICLE SWERVED INTO A TREE. THE FRONT END OF VEHICLE HIT THE TREE AND THE ENTIRE FRONT END OF VEHICLE WAS SEVERELY DAMAGED BEYOND REPAIR. THIS IS CONSIDERED A “TOTAL LOST.” THE VEHICLE WAS EQUIPPED WITH FRONT AND SIDE AIRBAGS, BUT SURPRISINGLY NONE WAS DEPLOYED.

Forward Collision Avoidance

Along with the airbags, Collision-Avoidance forward collision avoidance works as part of the safety system. When this malfunctions, occupants are put in the way of a lot of danger.

One NHTSA complaint talks about this problem exactly. “The contact owns a 2018 Toyota Corolla. The contact stated that the forward collision avoidance system was malfunctioning. In traffic, when the accelerator pedal was floored and the brake pedal was released, the vehicle failed to accelerate past 5 mph, which presented the risk of a potential crash.”

The only service bulletin regarding this equipment is #T-TT-0515-18. In this communication, the manufacturer instructs technicians how to adjust the forward recognition camera to the proper specs. That leads everyone to believe that these cameras aren’t adjusted properly, to begin with. This defect in combination with non-working airbags is a disaster waiting to happen. It’s unclear how this makes the company “Greater than Ever” unless they are referring to the number of injuries that will occur.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Toyota Corolla Forward Collision Avoidance Problems:

 I FEEL VERY UNCOMFORTABLE AND UNSAFE DRIVING THE CAR ON CRUISE. TOYOTA SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE THE PROBLEM TO SAVE THE TRUST OF THE CUSTOMERS. THIS HAPPENS CONSISTENTLY. I AM TRYING TO CONTACT TOYOTA FOR THE ISSUE. I HOPE TO RECEIVE A POSITIVE RESPONSE.

Vehicle Speed Control

While discussing safety systems, it only makes sense to also touch on the vehicle speed control. This innovative technology automatically adjusts the rate the car moves at. If this starts to fail, any number of situations can occur – all leading to danger.

Just look at this NHTSA report. “The contact owned a 2018 Toyota Corolla. When the contact placed her vehicle into Park, the vehicle accelerated without warning. The contact attempted to depress the brake pedal with force, but the vehicle did not respond and crashed into the wall of a convenient store. The airbags did not deploy. There were no injuries. The cause of the failure was not determined. A police report was filed. The vehicle was towed to a collision lot where it was deemed a total loss. The manufacturer was contacted.”

Again, the company has nothing to say regarding these problems. Still, there is one service bulletin related to other safety equipment. In SB # T-TT-0537-19, Toyota talks about how the blind spot monitor (BSM) sensor angle might not be adequately angled. With this in mind, one has to wonder what safety equipment is working correctly on this compact car. Were they attempting to bring back a flashback model that reminded drivers what it was like to operate a vehicle before safety technology?

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Toyota Corolla Vehicle Speed Control Problems:

THE CRUISE CONTROL SYSTEM IS DESIGNED SO THE ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION DOWN SHIFTS WHEN THE SYSTEM IS ENGAGED AND GOING DOWN HILLS. THIS PUTS MUCH MORE WEAR AND TEAR ON BOTH THE ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION. IN ADDITION TO THE DOWN SHIFT THE RPM GOES TO OVER 4000 IN AN ATTEMPT TO SLOW THE CAR. THIS IS COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY AND DRASTICALLY REDUCES GAS MILEAGE, WHICH IS EXACTLY OPPOSITE OF THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF THE CRUISE CONTROL WHICH WAS BETTER GAS MILEAGE AND PEACE OF MIND TO NOT SPEED. THE SPEED DOES GO UP 5 MILES PER HOUR WHEN THIS HAPPENS. BOTTOM LINE IS THE ENGINEERS AND THEIR BOSSES WHO APPROVED THIS SYSTEM ARE ALL IDIOTS AND SHOULD BE FIRED. YOU WOULD ASSUME YOU WOULD GET BETTER GAS MILEAGE WHEN GOING DOWN HILL WHEN THE ENGINE WOULD DISENGAGE BECAUSE YOU WOULD NEED LESS POWER AND NOT MORE TO MAINTAIN A CERTAIN SPEED. I WAS INFORMED BY THE DEALER THE CRUISE CONTROL IS DESIGNED TO OPERATE BY GEARING DOWN, I TOLD HIM NO MANUFACTURE IS THAT STUPID.HE THEN PROVED ME WRONG BY SHOWING ME THE MANUAL PROVING TOYOTA IS THAT STUPID.I WOULD HAVE NEVER PURCHASED THIS CAR HAD I KNOWN THIS FEATURE WAS DESIGNED IN THIS WAY. WHO KNOWS WHAT OTHER SYSTEMS IN THIS COROLLA ARE DESIGNED IN SUCH A STUPID MANNER. I WILL CERTAINLY NEVER BUY ANOTHER AUTO FROM THIS COMPANY.

THE CRUISE CONTROL IN MY 2018 TOYOTA COROLLA HAS BEEN MESSED UP EVER SINCE I BOUGHT MY CAR LAST YEAR.I TOLD THE DEALER SHIP ABOUT IT THEY CLAIMED THEY ADJUSTED IT BUT IT STILL INCREASES MY SPEED GOING DOWN HILL AND I’VE GOT A SPEEDING TICKET BECAUSE OF IT.MY DAUGHTER ALSO CALLED TOYOTA MAIN HEAD QUARTERS BUT THEY SAID IF I WANTED IT FIX I WOULD HAVE TO PAY OUT OF MY POCKET..I WILL SET MY CRUISE CONTROL AT 60 ON THE HWY IF I GO DOWN A SMALL. HILL MY RPM AND SPEED GO UP.

THE TECHNICIAN BECAME VERY ANGRY ABOUT THIS ISSUE AND TOLD ME THAT THE MANUFACTURER CREATED THE CAR THIS WAY. UNDER ALMOST ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, (GOING AROUND A SHARP CURVE, HEAVY TRAFFIC, ANY DOWNHILL OR UPHILL, WEATHER CONDITIONS, OR FOG) WHEN USING THE CRUISE CONTROL THE CAR WILL TRY TO SLOW IT SELF DOWN FROM SET SPEED AT 65 MPH, BY DROPPING INTO A LOWER GEAR, RAMPING UP THE RPM’S TO 5000 FORCING THE VEHICLE TO ACCELERATE 10 TO 15 MILES OVER THE SET SPEED WHICH WAS SET AT 65 MPH. IN THIS CASE, THE BRAKES WILL NOT STOP THIS ACCELERATION WHILE THE VEHICLE IS AMPING UPWARD. THE ONLY WAY TO STOP THE UNINTENDED ACCELERATION IS TO TURN OFF THE CRUISE CONTROL. HIGHWAY DRIVING FROM CARROLLTON, TEXAS TO WACO, TEXAS ON A CLEAR DAY. MY COMPANY HAS A POLICY THAT COMPANY VEHICLES SHOULD NOT EXCEED 70 MPH. IT IS A FIREABLE OFFENCE.

Service Brakes

While discussing safety, it would be impossible to neglect the service brakes. It would be ideal if no one had to worry about the brakes on one of America’s best-selling cars, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Just look at this NHTSA complaint that states, “Grinding noise when braking and reversing in car under 25 miles on odometer. Have gone to several dealerships and have been told that I am braking too hard (Seriously in a new car??)& window passenger side front makes noise while going up and down. They said they lubricated it but now it’s making more noise.”

Much to everyone’s surprise, there is some communication about the brakes on the Corolla. Service Bulletin # T-SB-0313-17 discusses brake vibration that’s caused by improper lug nut torque. The bulletin further goes on to teach technicians how to tighten lug nuts. If the mechanic at the dealership isn’t aware of the proper ways to do this, there are larger problems happening. Maybe instead of using the line, Greater than Ever, the company should add a word and make it Greater Concerns than Ever.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Toyota Corolla Brake Problems:

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 TOYOTA COROLLA. THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE BRAKE PEDAL TRAVELED TO THE FLOORBOARD OR THE VEHICLE WOULD TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO STOP WHEN THE BRAKE PEDAL WAS DEPRESSED. THERE WERE NO WARNING INDICATORS ILLUMINATED. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO THE DEALERSHIP BUT WAS NOT DIAGNOSED OR REPAIRED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOT MADE AWARE OF THE FAILURE. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 3,000.

CONSUMER STATED IMMEDIATELY AFTER PURCHASE CONTINUOUS ABNORMAL NOISE. THERE’S ALSO NOISE AT TIMES WHEN I TURN ON THE AIR CONDITIONER WHICH I CAN’T IDENTIFY. MAYBE, AS IF THERE IS TOO MUCH STRESS ON THE ENGINE. THE CAR ALSO SOMETIMES VIBRATES WHILE DRIVING. IN ADDITION, WHEN I BOUGHT THE CAR, THE FRONT TIRE ON THE DRIVER’S SIDE WAS ALSO ALMOST FLAT, THEREFORE, CAUSING THE CAR TO KEEP PULLING TO ONE SIDE WHILE DRIVING. FURTHER, THE FRONT WINDOW ON THE DRIVER’S SIDE WAS/IS SQUEAKING. 8/12/18 SENSOR LIGHT KEPT FLASHING. 8/16/18 BRAKE PAD NOISE WAS OBSERVED

TL* THE CONTACT OWNED A 2018 TOYOTA COROLLA. WHILE DRIVING 40 MPH, THE BRAKE PEDAL WAS DEPRESSED, BUT THE BRAKES FAILED TO ENGAGE. AS A RESULT, THE VEHICLE WAS INVOLVED IN A SIDE IMPACT COLLISION. THE AIR BAGS DEPLOYED. A POLICE REPORT WAS FILED. THE VEHICLE WAS TOWED TO A SALVAGE YARD WHERE IT WAS DEEMED DESTROYED. THE DEALER WAS NOT CONTACTED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOTIFIED OF THE FAILURE AND THE CONTACT WAS INFORMED THAT AN INVESTIGATOR WAS ASSIGNED TO THE CASE. THERE WAS ONE INJURY THAT REQUIRED MEDICAL ATTENTION. THE CONTACT SUFFERED FROM A BROKEN STERNUM, RIGHT HIP INJURY, AND SEVERE PAIN. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS APPROXIMATELY 300. *TT

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