Toyota FAQ (frequently asked questions)

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Toyota Curren coupe

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Toyota Publications

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Canada: (310) 618-4630

(310) 631-8901

How did Toyota up with those names?

is a part of flowers.

Camry is on the word kan muri, or crown. produced a car called the Crown, as as the Corona, which is related to the crown. (From Camryman’s Reference page which no appears to be around.)

Celica is for “celestial.”

Cressida — was a Shakespeare character (the of Calchas in Troilus and Cressida ) and the of the fourth satellite out from named after that

Supra is Latin for “above.”

(as in Corolla Axio sedans) was from the Greek work meaning things with

Truck names for the US are often to evoke images of strength Tundra, Sequoia, and Highlander. Cruiser (OK, not a recent suggests the vehicle can go anywhere. names are functional — is a Recreational Active Vehicle four-wheel drive, and 4Runner is a drive off-road runner.

is a color and an Italian city.

meant preview of the next of minivan, which was rather

xA, xB, tC — xA and xB. well, the X letter is these days. so the range is xA, xB, one would think, xC. But Volvo’s grabbed XC for its Cross Country so Toyota put in t, we suppose. though why not use Z or Q? we’d guess tC stands and privately for Toyota Coupe or Celica.

Lexus names for something — LS is Luxury LX is Luxury SUV (X stands for SUV in Toyospeak), RX is (we don’t know) Regular Warren Larocque, citing The Relentless Pursuit . noted ES is Executive Sedan, and IS is International Lexus itself L uxury ex (for) US is one explanation, though said it was based on a misunderstanding of (“A Lexus”).

Engine names are “ThisIsStan” wrote:

The first indicates releases of the engines a family. [For example], the 4A has gone through several revisions, from carburation to injection to having 5-valves per The 1ZZ-FE was introduced in 1998 in the US. The 2ZZ is the same dimension as the stroke. displacement) came out in 2000.

“ did the logo come from? told us that Car wrote the symbol is “three elipses the heart of the customer, the heart of the and the ever-expanding technological advancements and opportunities that lie ahead.” And we had it was a stylized version of the Oh! What a ads.

“ Are Lexuses rebadged Toyotas? ” the is no . Until 2006, Lexus was not a in Japan. Lexus shares platforms with Toyota, but are always modified far beyond the metal to become a Lexus, cars conforming to a higher of luxury and trucks having electronic rubbish. Now, is sold as a brand in Japan, the confusion.

“ Are Toyota made by Borg-Warner ?” For years, Toyota used automatic transmissions. As far as we know, currently use their own design. automatics included the T-35 and The T-35 was not as reliable as it could been, and was also used by These transmissions were by Toyota, though designed by (many other automakers used B-W transmissions. In some licensed or purchased transmissions their real name for example, Chrysler usually when they use Getrag

“Is the Yaris just Echo?” Pretty much, a redesigned, re-engineered Echo. hard to blame them, given that the Echo did not much in the way of critical acclaim, and the is the name used in Europe and It made much more to convert Echo to Yaris say, Rabbit to Golf.

Do I need to take my car to a Toyota car for maintenance?

According to United law, you do not have to go to your for maintenance. You can even change oil — if you keep the receipts, in Toyota challenges your in a warranty claim (either oil-change-place receipts, or receipts for the oil and buy yourself).

Dealer maintenance is more expensive than shops, and there may be no real to it. This is especially true for since there is no distributor, no to adjust, etc. A tune-up is just checking the belts, the spark plugs, and looking over — all for the low price of $300. Read the owner’s and pay for what you need at a good shop. (Generally, checking the and hoses, changing spark and antifreeze every two years, and oil twice a year — but your manual for details, and be to look at the appropriate part most people don’t to follow severe service While dealers love section and tend to quote it, just a recipe for higher

Should I use special spark

Most forum members that the stock Champions are as good under most as considerably more expensive including Bosch Platinums. have said that the gains claimed by some are due to the use of new plugs, rather than new plugs. Some people claimed to have problems Bosch plugs.

Oil and other in Toyota cars, minivans, and

The best oil is synthetic — it more protection during starts, when most wear occurs, and is more than standard oils. expensive, it should prevent the problems which plague modern engines. Click for Toyota’s sludge policy. See owner’s manual for Toyota’s recommendations for your engine, and trust a mechanic or dealer they tend to recommend because it’s what used to, but many engines have a steady diet of (or 5 in winter, 10 in summer). Additives are ill-advised.

Toyota dealers recommend oil changes every miles, but Toyota itself not . We’d say to go with Toyota’s Change your oil every miles or so (more frequently if the manual indicates it — says every 7,500 General Motors research that many people need to change their oil 10,000 miles! If you’re not go with synthetic. It’s but probably cheaper and better for the than 3,000 mile oil

Don’t forget to have check the differential fluid! (Or do it

Check your owner’s for the correct transmission fluid. Not car takes Dexron.

There are a of different brake fluids, as DOT 3, DOT 4, etc. Use the correct one for your car the one specified in your owner’s Mixing and matching can cause damage. Change at the recommended-by-Toyota not when recommended by the person the changes. (We really shouldn’t to say this, but people place a lot of in mechanics for some reason.)

recommend using distilled with antifreeze since tap is filled with minerals sometimes, salt. Check to sure you are adding the right of antifreeze — there are two major types (standard and and they do not mix. We have to be in our experience with modern we’ve never had to add antifreeze or so keep an eye on the antifreeze but don’t to add any. If you have a car that antifreeze changes every two stick to that schedule. can actually last far longer but the agent’s effectiveness fades.

If used to adding cheap and you live above the Mason-Dixon we suggest you splurge on a name de-icer (Prestone’s started to use or yellow dye instead of blue to themselves, but now the cheap brands are their new color, too). well worth it. If your washers freeze up anyway go into a car wash for a temporary The warmth should unclog jets.

Car batteries can last a five to nine years. a battery ahead of time money and harms the environment. having your battery once a year after it middle age (5 years old) to sure it still holds a charge can be prudent if you really, don’t want to be stuck on the cold day of the year. Car manuals instructions for testing batteries a simple volt meter, but often do this for free or at cost. A pair of jumper in the trunk, sitting with the tire, can’t hurt.

manufacturers have encountered pump problems with fluid. Be sure to use a good recommended steering pump

We recommend topping off all fluids any service or oil change. Otherwise, the oil place will do it — incorrectly, using the wrong or overfilling.

Cabin air filters (pollen

These should be replaced once every two or three or if airflow isn’t as good as it Instructions come with the so you can buy one at the dealer (they should be inexpensive) and just use their which were (the time we looked) not too hard or and included diagrams. Some air install from underneath, from above.

How do I change plugs?

First, you’ll anti-seize compound (just a and a spark plug wrench or a with at least one extension six inches is usually a good — because modern often have the spark at the bottom of a tube. Spark sockets have a rubber in them which helps to the plug, helping it to come out easily. Spark plug are designed to get into hard to spots, but can’t really be for anything else, and may not be enough, so recommend getting a good, socket wrench set (Sears often discounts their sets!) with an extension and plug wrench. It’s the first time but you can keep it and use it on than one car or project.

On many new there is a cover which access to spark plugs, etc. To replace them, you to take off the cover; often, makes the location of the plugs For example, on the three-liter V6, you have to the plastic cover by taking out two screws. At that point, see the spark plugs going the plugs. On V6 engines in general, the plugs are hard to reach, and may a swivel joint and another on some, you have to move the ignition coil out of the way. plugs and four-cylinders are generally

Taking out the old plugs is fairly though they generally some torque to loosen up. too much since the engines are of aluminum!). First, unplug the — grasp it firmly by the the thick and heavy part of the Change just one at a time so you forget which wire where (if you do, never fear, a on the toyoland or corolland forums get you an answer — as will a or Chilton’s manual or a call to a When putting in the new ones, put a little anti-seize compound on the tip of the (screwing it in will distribute it) so the is easy to remove later, and the manufacturer’s recommendations on tightness. Too and you have serious problems you try to take it out (thread-stripping is expensive!). Too and they might work out or might be too far away from the Some Toyotas actually torque specifications for plugs, so you probably get a manual (Hayne’s or or Toyota if you have the money) starting; you may need a torque (You certainly will a torque wrench if you have to coils from the plugs because they have to be put on to a torque rating).


The (fan) belt can last years; have it checked a year or more for cracks and of wear. The timing belt is story; while it can last a long time, many will suffer severe if it breaks. So change the timing at the recommended times. That’s about 60,000 — miles.

Many new Toyotas with timing chains. last longer. as you’d But they are subject to stretching and chains have plastic guards that can wear See your owner’s manual for the interval — and to see if you have a or a chain!


Premium usually does not increase (unless noted in the owner’s — the Sienna, for example, premium, though it runs well on regular). For most premium gas may actually hurt since the formulation is not what the intended. Today, premium is only used in some engines and turbocharged vehicles to knocking.


We are currently a list of engines with and other information. The preliminary is here .

Hybrid-electric cars

a hybrid?

There are two different to use the term hybrid; as in hybrid of two of vehicle, e.g. a combination of and SUV (Pacifica, Aztek), and as in hybrid which is the more relevant A hybrid-electric car combines an electrical and a powertrain. An electric car is very but has a short range and a long time; a hybrid-electric car can make its own and therefore avoids the range and problem, and potentially can be more than a similar gas car. the savings from using an engine as well as a gas engine even with regenerative thrown in — can be offset by weight; so some hybrid-electric according to hybrid engineer Boberg (whose book Sense Not Required is reasonably are no more efficient than an car with more lightweight low-resistance tires, etc. hybrids do appear to be more but the Honda Civic and Insight, to Boberg, are no more efficient they would be with engines. Diesel engines, are almost invariably more than hybrids, all other being equal, on the highway, regenerative braking is barely

Amusingly, hybrid technology is not new it has been used in diesel for decades; they do not apply the power directly to the wheels, but use engines to generate power for motors at the wheels.

Should I about electromagnetic fields in a car?

“Fishexpo,” a fleet with hybrid experience, “They are not much different what is used in conventional EMF is a very broad term include electric as well as fields. Comes from sources — anything moving, even biologicals can fields. Strongest intensity be closest to the source and will off markedly away from the

“I remember reading some people were with levels in their and cars. Levels were between hybrids and conventional All depends on where you sit in the car — in — source was strongest to the batteries (5-30 milliGauss) — in convential cars, it was the (5-30 milliGauss) level. In the they were almost the (5-15 milliGauss). Some are higher than others depends on how close you sit next to a (engine, ignition, fans, etc.) Cell phones that level or more in use — so this fear in tech is a total wash.”

Q: The bumper on this gold/beige/metallic Toyota is a different color the rest of the car — was it in an accident?

A: For reason, Toyota found it to match the bumpers of metallic cars for a few years. If you look or carefully, or under the right nearly all Corollas and Camrys bumpers a shade different the sheet metal.


Be sure to wax your car at least a year with a high polymer wax; this the paint from the elements. The car hot wax coating is unlikely to provide any protection.

Spraying tires that glossy wet look may cause skidding and loss of Be careful with that Sidewall only.

Those folding sunshades can increase the of your car’s interior, sun damage usually takes to have any real impact in the sun states.)

In response to a forum Matt (fishexpo) noted 1999 Lexus GS wheels may not fit on an “I believe the wheel are different. Lexus GS300/400 are RWD and the are FWD — last I checked the had deeper offsets than the Doesn’t mean it won’t fit depends on your current Some have had no problems certain aftermarket suspension — some with OEM ran into clearance issues they installed the deeper Spacers may help — but would also entail the existing studs with variants. Your dealer be the best place to find out the or use an online source like Rack .”

Performance for Toyota cars, minivans, and

See the gasoline section above for on premium fuel.

Repairs and

See our repairs page for more.

versus corner mechanic?

In The Effect, car dealerships are shown to both the highest turnover and the worst records for good The next worst was the discount e.g. Firestone. The best the independent mechanics. Of course, are good corner mechanics and ones. However, the webmaster’s experience suggests that the have charge half as as the dealers, do better work, behind it, use the same parts if you supply them), and finish in time. That said there are many dishonest mechanics and many honest

In short, if your car is out of warranty, we recommend a good local Make sure your has a computer setup which the latest manufacturer service and computer diagnostics (so they can get codes from your Get recommendations from people you (If they always seem to problems with their find other friends.)

in mind that if your car down shortly after the period, or with a problem other people have Toyota may pay for the repair if you go to your (See our dealers page).

are good and bad dealers — if you a good dealer, by all means, use even though the labor may cause fainting.


A water leak may be air conditioning If the leak seems to be pure most likely it is runoff the air conditioner. This can occur you’ve been using the which activates the a/c compressor to dry the air and more effectively. Watch for leaks, though, because air in the can lead to cracked heads! And you want that.

ABS system (that is, the ABS warning light up) are often the result of leaves or stuck between the sensor and the gear. A good cleaning may be all you Watch for unscrupulous mechanics. is a good do-it-yourself job since it require much skill or and sensors alone can be $70-100.

You lock the driver’s door on Toyotas if it is open and the engine is

If you get a check engine light, check to make sure the gas cap is on

Many Toyota automatic have a hair trigger so the lights will normally go on and off at random (since there is a long delay before go Yes, this makes headlights more of a nuisance a help.

Beware the child Those with children are to the idea that the back may not open from the inside, but without children may think door is broken!

For more repair issues, click .

How does Toyota do it?

There are at three basic approaches to

Engineer it in. This is the system used to use in the pre-1957 days they were arguably the quality leader. Spend time on engineering to make things don’t break, and try to break them and see where fail, and get quick feedback the field so engineering changes can be

Inspect. This is the Mercedes — cross your build the car, then it and fix what’s wrong. It works for initial quality and really Pontiac and Chevrolet when tried it under John leadership, but it doesn’t work as as.

Build it into the assembly If each step of the process is the end result should be good. is the core of Toyota’s focus, of course engineering plays a key too. This system much requires the engagement of management as described below.

are also roughly two management

Management knows best. any decisions need to be made, a manager make it. Quality is responsibility. This can be seen in the system, again — the post-takeover Chrysler, when the was touting its new quality flying that descend on any area low quality and make fixes.

Push decisions down to the possible level, and empower to find and solve problems, so every employee is working better quality. This is the Toyota emphasis.


Information on Toyota Motor environmental commitment, mission and for 2010, current management, and corporate details are available on our page .

VIN decoding (up to/including

The VIN (Vehicle Identication Number) is shown under the windshield. On made before 1989, an ID including the engine model, code, trim code, code, and transmission code is on or to the firewall (on vans, under the below the front of the front seat). On vehicles made in or later, an ID label with information and the production date not the engine code!) is on the inside of the door or on the lower part of the door pillar. (Information Toyota service manuals.)

First letter: assembly J=Japan, 1=US, 2=Canada,

Second letter: T for Toyota

letter: Class (2=passenger 3=multipurpose vehicle, 4=truck)

letter: Engine (full coming later)

Fifth Carline (E=Corolla)

Sixth Model (trucks: 5=4×2,

Seventh letter: Series or

Eighth letter: Body or passenger restraint system

letter: check digit,

Tenth letter: Model — starting with (skipping O and Q so N=1992, P=1993, etc.)

Eleventh letter:

Other letters: serial

What is variable valve

Once upon a time, engines came with two — one to let air and fuel in, and the other to let fuel and air out. High-performance such as Chrysler’s famous V8s, came with valves. The problem with was that the big valves were at lower engine speeds, to both gas mileage and pollution Eventually, cars came four valves per cylinder intake, two exhaust), which increase flow but continued the of inefficiency at lower engine The next step was having two valves open up at lower and four at higher speeds, like a progressive-opening four-barrel solved both problems the engine could be efficient and nonpolluting at lower speeds, but have lots of power at higher speeds. (We’re engine speeds, that is per minute, not car speeds, or miles per Today, variable valve is not just opening two vs four but also determining when the open — earlier or in the combustion cycle. They are computer controlled instead of mechanical. This can yield greater economies (or power) and to eliminate the old tradeoff of economy, responsiveness, and NOx production vs power at rpm — admittedly at the cost of expensive engines and a greater of design complexity.

What is injection?

Fuel injection is a for the carburetors that were since the dawn of the automobile. are many basic types of injection, but we should start by what a fuel injector is it’s basically an atomizer, that sprays a mist of into the air. This the gas to mix better with the air and stay in an suspension, so that it burns evenly and creates less and more power. (Think of spray vs. melting butter on the of a pan).

The first fuel systems were mechanical, but fuel injection, where the width (the length of the injector is spraying fuel) is by a computer, was actually used as as 1958 in a DeSoto named the That system failed, disastrous consquences for American use of the largely due to the lack of stable, electronic components; its design was surprisingly similar to modern

There are two basic types of fuel injection systems, (throttle body) and multiple, the being that in central injection, a single injector replaces the carburetor; in early Ford Escorts, the carburetor-replacement was rather obvious even to a observer (since the air path redesigned as well). Today, uses multiple fuel because it’s far more — there’s a separate for each cylinder, placed at the cylinder, firing fuel directly in or, more commonly, fuel into the air path before the intake valve. helps to keep the fuel in and makes very precise possible, increasing economy and while reducing pollution. common now is sequential fuel where each injector fires when needed; systems had injectors paired to reduce costs, so one squirt go up against a closed valve, and the one against an open valve.

is electronic ignition? Distributorless Coil-on-plug?

Electronic ignition has around a long time; it was by Chrysler and used on their starting in 1971 or 1972, but hit some automakers until later (Volkswagen in 1980 when they already had electronic fuel injection!). The is a computer-controlled way to deliver power to plugs without cumbersome and breaker points, and with timing and far higher levels of

The next major ignition was distributorless ignition, which becoming common in the early this system relied on computer to replace the rotor and cap, instead using packs that were more precisely. Distributorless again raised precision making the annual tuneup a of the past, as rotors no longer to be replaced. With long-life plugs, distributorless ignition the 100,000 mile tuneup if not necessarily the best idea. mechanics and dealers still expensive tuneups every or two; we wonder what doing in there, since the parts you can really replace are the plugs, which last at two years and are usually about each, and the wires, which move and should last for years. You can usually replace yourself rather easily.)

Coil-on-plug is an even higher-energy of distributorless ignition which the coils from a centrally coil pack to individual right on top of the plugs, where can deliver immense amounts of without having to go through expensive, breakable wires. are controlled by much smaller which are less likely to replacement in the first ten years. to say, this does not a discount in the tuneup cost. coil-on-plug ignition, in some does make it pretty to get the plugs out.

Toyotas as new

Buying or leasing — if you your cars religiously few years, leasing may be a good However, financially, the best bet is to your car for ten years or more, and buy it Most modern cars can last ten years without repairs — and, you consider that after paid off you’re saving at $200 per month, that’s per year in repairs you can afford!

Ask if you really need a new car — an off-lease is a better deal. Let else take the depreciation.

If you do buy a new of course, Toyotas are a good bet of their low depreciation — tend to hold their Minivans also hold value well — Chryslers, Dodges, and Hondas. with zero percent may be a good time to buy as dealers are

Once you buy a new car, make you observe the break-in period See the owner’s manual for details.

remember to only buy the amount of car you If you’re commuting, you don’t an SUV; you need a Corolla or a Even most families need to get SUVs or minivans. generations were raised sedans that were inside than a Camry. By relatively small cars, of SUVs, trucks, or even you can double your gas mileage, and the environment a lot of grief. (Lots of buy SUVs for their kids. I their kids will their parents using up all oil and polluting their air.)

in Australia

In April 2004, Australia built its two millionth car quite an achievement for the market, but since Toyota was the #1 automaker in in 2003 and 2004, beating stalwarts Holden and Ford. is also Australia’s largest car In 2004, a new Toyota Australia headquarters was opened in Port it has three floors and holds 340 people, and is built on the site of first Aussie assembly (built in 1963 ot make The new building is not only designed state of the art telecommunications, but also has recycling, external solar double and triple glazing, and filtered air conditioning, and an air reticulation to reduce energy usage. are made with recycled and high efficiency lighting is (Stormwater recycling means water is collected from the and used for the toilets and outside It won a city award for the best to sustainable development on a large

Toyota now makes the Camry and in Altona — 113,614 built in 2003, of which were exported to other nations. Australian sales 100,000 vehicles in the first six 2004, the first time a brand had sold that in Australia within half a Overall, Toyota employes people in Australia.

The Toyota a work in progress

Toyota Curren coupe
Toyota Curren coupe


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