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Toyota Corolla Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Toyota began the production of the Toyota Corolla in 1966. When its first generation came into the market, it stunned car enthusiasts because of its innovative features and new technology. Subsequently, the second generation offered improved performance and greater competence for the new high-speed era. The third generation of the Toyota Corolla brought innovations to the entire car industry since Toyota developed it to meet tightening emissions regulations. Later on, the Corolla continued to follow suit and brought new features to inspire car lovers, one generation after another. Thus, here we will discuss different transmissions that Toyota has used throughout the evolution of the Corolla. So, let us dive straight into it.

Toyota has included various models of different types of transmissions in the Corolla. The types include 4-, 5-, and 6-speed manual and 2-, 3-, 4-speed automatic transmissions, along with CVT and semi-automatic transmissions.

Indeed, the above description is not a detailed overview that can help us understand different transmissions that Toyota has incorporated in the Corolla. Hence, we will dive deep into it for better understanding. During the article, you will get a chance to go through the transmissions with different aspects. Firstly, we will look at the reliability and cost of several transmissions. Afterward, we will see common problems that drivers face during the lifetime of those transmissions. We will then find some differences between them. In the end, we will provide you with the source to get the transmission fluid for transmissions incorporated in the Toyota Corolla. So, let us begin.

Also read: How Well Does A Toyota Corolla Drive In The Snow? (Answered)

What Transmissions Has The Toyota Corolla Used?

Here we go through different transmissions the Toyota Corolla has used throughout its evolution.

First Generation (1966–1970)

  • 4-speed manual
  • 2-speed A20 automatic

Second Generation (1970–1974)

  • 4/5-speed manual
  • 3-speed automatic

Third Generation (1974–1981)

  • 4-speed manual K40/T40
  • 5-speed manual K50/T50
  • 2-speed automatic A20
  • 3-speed automatic A30/A40
  • 3-speed automatic Trimatic T180

Fourth Generation (1979–1987)

  • 4-speed manual K40/T40
  • 5-speed manual K50/T50
  • 3-speed automatic A30/A40

Fifth Generation (1983–1987)

  • 4/5-speed manual
  • 3/4-speed automatic

Sixth Generation (1987–1992)

  • 4/5-speed manual
  • 3-speed A131L automatic
  • 4-speed automatic

Seventh Generation (1991–1998)

  • 4/5/6-speed manual
  • 3/4-speed automatic

Eighth Generation (1995–2002)

  • 5/6-speed manual
  • 3/4-speed automatic

Ninth Generation (2000–2007)

  • 4-speed Aisin automatic
  • 5-speed manual
  • 5-speed Multi-Mode Manual Transmission
  • 6-speed manual

Tenth Generation (2006–2012)

  • 5-speed manual
  • 6-speed manual
  • 7-speed CVT-i
  • 4-speed U140E Super ECT automatic
  • 5-speed U150E automatic
  • 6-speed MMT (Multi-Mode Transmission) semi-automatic

Eleventh Generation (2012–2019)

  • 5-speed manual
  • CVT

Twelfth Generation (2018–2020)

  • 6-speed EG60 manual
  • K120 CVT with physical first gear
  • K313 CVT
  • Hybrid Synergy Drive (eCVT)

Also read: Types Of Fuel A Toyota Corolla Uses (All Generations)

How Long Does A Toyota Corolla Transmission Last?

You can expect the transmission of the Corolla to last 200,000 miles. However, it can fail before this time. So, it is a good idea to maintain it regularly. Experts recommend drivers should ensure the fluid levels are topped for the seamless running of the transmission. It is also essential to repair faults without any unnecessary delay.

Also read: The Expected Mileage Of A Toyota Corolla

How Much Does A Toyota Corolla Transmission Cost?

For your ease, we provide you with the prices of some transmissions of the Toyota Corolla. Knowing the cost of the transmission is significant when one is looking forward to buying it.

  • 3-speed A131L automatic: $1,495.00 (SPPrecision)
  • 5-speed U150E automatic: $2,587.00 (GoPowerTrain)
  • 4-speed U140E Super ECT automatic: $2,250.00 (eBay)
  • K120 CVT with physical first gear: 1,487.99 (eBay)

Also read: Is The Toyota Corolla A Sports Car? (Answered)

Common Toyota Corolla Transmission Problems

A131L

  • The A131L transmission may show delayed upshifting from second-to-third gear.
  • There may also pop up some problems with gaskets.
  • There is also a chance of breaking the brake and special spring once you hit over 300 kilometers. It is to note that problems like this require sophisticated repair.

U150E

  • It is often the torque converter that becomes the first focus of repair of any vital repairs.
  • Besides the torque converter, a repair also requires the replacement of spare parts. The typical list often includes the set of pistons for repair.
  • When the vehicle operates continuously with burnt overdrive frictions, it may burn the direct clutch.

U140E

  • The heavy loads may damage the pinion-satellites of the output planet of old units. Along with it, the problem can also cause damage to the sun gear.
  • In addition, the transmission may require the early first overhaul when it goes inside heavy cars with 3-liter engines. The problem often demands the replacement of the torques converter.
  • There may also surface a problem with the back cover that is rife among vehicles with high-power engines. Compared to other packages, it is the direct package in which steel disks and frictions are changed three to four times more.
  • In the direct package, another component of replacement is the rubber-covered piston.

K120 CVT

  • With the K120 CVT, there is a chance that the torque converter may fail. When it happens, a car does not accelerate forward.
  • There is also a difference in the sound of the K120 CVT from other transmissions. Thus, you may hear a whirring or clunking noise. Nevertheless, these sounds are completely normal for most CVTs.
  • Overheating, lack of use, overuse, and even normal wear and tear may cause leaks at the seals and gasket.
  • Since it is an advanced CVT, there is one good thing about it. It is that it has increased efficiency in the lower gear ratios.

Also read: 4 Common Problems Of A Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Differences Between Transmissions

The A131L is a 3-speed automatic transmission that was used for front-wheel compact vehicles. It has overall a simple construction and has a high level of reliability. While it was on the conveyor, its simple construction continued to improve and change since its inception.  

The U150E is a 5-speed automatic transmission installed on all AWD (all-wheel drive) and FWD (front-wheel drive) cars developed by Lexus and Toyota with engine capacity between 2.5 and 3.5 liters. Its whole range is more economically viable and comfortable.

The 4-speed U140 automatic transmission is installable to a variety of new platforms because it has acquired compactness. It is additionally highly fuel-efficient, coupled with reduced noise, swift response, and good shift feeling.  

As a continuously variable transmission, the K120 incorporates a physical first gear. Besides it, it also has nine additional simulated gears. The first gear, also known as the launch gear, gets engaged when a vehicle accelerates from a halt. Moreover, it has increasing shift speeds that result in fuel efficiency of up to 6%.

Transmission Fluids And The Toyota Corolla

It is the rule of thumb to maintain your transmission well when you want it to run smoothly. When it comes to the fluid, car manufacturers often recommend changing it every 45,000 miles. At the same time, it is essential to bear in mind that not all transmission requires the same fluid. Therefore, we offer you the source below to help you get the transmission fluid suitable for your transmission. 

References