Dear Scotty, My mom car is a Toyota Corolla 2001, I bought it for her when it had 109k miles on the…


Dear Scotty,

My mom car is a Toyota Corolla 2001, I bought it for her when it had 109k miles on the odormeter. The car is running fine but it always idles for the first start in the morning at 1800 to 2000 rpm in Park. When I shift to D or R model the rev gets low to 900 rpm. Is it normal for this car to behave that way ?

After buying the car, these following things was done:

  • Synthetic Castrol oil change + Mobil 1 filter at 109373 mile
  • Drain and fill automatic transmission fuild at 109855 mile (I did not change the trans filter at that time and Castrol fluid for imported car models was used)
  • PCV vale change at 114k mile (the car seemed to have original pcv before the replacement) + Power Steering fluid change + New Brake fluid in the master cylinder
  • 4 new NGK iridium spark plugs (one of the old spark plug have a bit of oil in the thread) + new air filter at 114240 mile. Another point was one of the ignition coils seemed to have a weak grip.

Would you mind if giving any recommendation about the idling issue above and other future maintenance to help keeping the car in good shape ? I plan to change the coolant and the ignition coil for this car. Should we use OEM quality Denso coils or Duralast aftermarket in Autozone ? Thank you :D

P/S: Thank to your book on Amazon, I got the right car for 1900 bucks and keep my mom happy with car maintenance.

Comments (1)
No. 1-1

All cars of that age idle at higher RPMs when they are first started when the engine is cold. If it lasts for more than a couple of minutes, you may have a vacuum leak, but I think what you described is normal. It isn't a bad idea to change the coolant, and maybe also the power steering fluid and brake fluid, and if the timing belt hasn't been changed you should do that soon, but I wouldn't change anything else for the time being. One reason you bought this car is that they don't need a lot of maintenance. 109,000 miles is not much for this car. Just enjoy the trouble free driving.