Bought a 2005 Toyota Corolla

Aug 30, 2004
Technically, my sister did. But the car is mine until reconditioning is complete.

It is a 2005 CE with 140K miles. Paid $3K.

My sister lives in the city and needed an inexpensive car for weekend errands. Her plan is to keep the car for a few years and upgrade to something newer. :rolleyes:

This Corolla was purchased from a friend of mine. It was their family's spare car for 3.5 years and was no longer needed. They only drove it for 15k miles for the duration of their ownership.

When my friend's family purchased this car in 2018, they had me bring all maintenance up-to-date. I also worked on it a few times over the last few years. According to my records, it received the following work over the last few years:

4/2018, 125K - ATF Flush (Amsoil SS), Brake Fluid Flush, Spark Plugs, Drive Belt, Coolant Service, Reboot Passenger Side Axle, VCG, Air/Cabin Filters, Timing Chain Tensioner O-Ring, HLR, Intake Manifold Gasket, Radiator Cap and 1 caliper.
8/2018 - Front Pads (OE) and A/M Rotors, Rear Shoes (OE) and A/M drums
3/2019, 132K - A/M Front Lower Control Arms and Alignment

Mechanically, the car is in decent shape. Cosmetically, it is a bit below average, mainly because of the paint that is starting to fail on the roof.

My sister wants this car to be reliable for the next few years. She also plans to take some semi-long trips with it. After inspecting the car and with those goals in mind, she has agreed to move forward with the following items:

- Oil and Filter Change w/HPL Engine Cleaner
- Installed a new Kirkland 35 AGM Battery
- Installed 4 new Michelin Defender T+H tires
- Replaced Engine and Cabin Air Filters
- Replaced Wiper Blades
- Removed the fuel injectors for bench cleaning (clogged injectors are an issue on high-mileage 1ZZ-FE engines)
- Perform a Headlight Restoration
- Perform a Brake Fluid Flush
- Perform a Power Steering Fluid Flush
- Replace a failed Exhaust Donut Gasket (manifold to cat converter connection)
- Clean the Throttle Body and Replace Gasket
- Reseal the Timing Cover due to light seepage at the timing cover to cylinder head "t-joint." Will also replace the crank seal, VCG and timing chain tensioner o-ring in conjunction with the repair.
- Replace the Water Pump and Thermostat using OEM parts
- Replace the Radiator and Radiator Hoses using A/M parts
- Install a Sony XAV-AX150 Stereo and Boyo Back-Up Camera; @nthach will be helping me with this
- Install a new set of factory carpeted floor mats

Total investment will be $1650.

For $4650 (plus taxes and registration fees), I think this car should serve her well for a few years. When she is done with it, she should still be able to recoup most of her investment.

Here are some pictures of the car after a preliminary wash and vacuum to triage its condition. At some point it will receive a full interior detail:




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That's actually one of the best generations of the Corolla—the last generation with hydraulic power steering. The car handled well—unusual for a Corolla. The following generation, which was introduced in 2009 (I owned one), introduced dual VVT-i and ESC and debuted the first electric steering by Toyota, which was very lousy and caused handling issues. The car would wander around and the steering wheel would feel like it had too much free play at the center. The electric steering came a long way since then. My Prius Prime has excellent electric steering, which has TSS 2.0 LKA and LTA as well.

That said, I wouldn't drive a 2000s-era or older car because of safety reasons. ESC is a must-have safety feature to not lose control in an accident or mishap and these cars don't have it. It is also great to have the latest TSS 2.0 electronic safety suite.
Yes, well done! (y)
You won't see them in that good of condition for that year in my area of the North East.
Maybe even give those steel wheels a quickie wire wheel and some Rust-Oleum or KRYLON.

How much are factory floor mats? I'd throw in some A/M pickup truck floor mats. They're larger than the ones for cars and can be cut to fit(better). And you can get'em for the rear too and probably save $60-$70 to use toward something else. In my area, OE matts are grossly overpriced.
My MIL has this exact car, she is in her 80's and the car has 33K original one owner miles, I have serviced it since new. She doesnt drive it in the snow or rain, it just sits in the garage most of the time.
My wife will get it soon but it isn't out kind of car so it will be sold. Too bad it isnt more car, I would keep it in a second.
Wise purchase and kudos for all you're going to do for her.

We bought two of that new body style in 2003, brand new. Mine was a 5 speed stick, her's was an auto. The problem was that the steering wheel was offset to the side from the driver's seat, not directly in front of it. It drove me nuts!
No problem really with the auto but driving the stick was awkward with the offset wheel. I traded it in for an '04 Accord EX 5 speed in less than a year. It just goes to show that short test drives don't give a full picture of the vehicle overall. Stupid move on my part but the Accord made up for it in the long run.
Good car. I bought my daughter a 2002 civic coupe with 5 speed manual new for graduation. Shortly after she moved to Denver and it racked up over 200k miles before she sold it a few years ago. Just had regular maintenance no problems
1st Generation Scion TC Wheels bolt right up due to same 5x100 bolt pattern. Improve the look greatly. Also Subaru WRX/STI wheels have same 5x100 bolt pattern. Both are usually cheap on market place, often with like-new tires.

Scion TC wheels:

Couldn't find a Corolla picture with these wheels, so this will have to do. Squint hard enough and Impreza starts to look like a Corolla.
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