Toyota Corolla robot box: repair, warming up in winter

Toyota: reviews and tests of Toyota Corolla May 16, 2013

Let me start with a short background. By the age of 37, I managed to drive a variety of vehicles, including domestic auto-crafts. The operating experience of the VAZ-2106 1989, Nissan Maxima 1998 and Hyndai Accent 2006, respectively, was positive. “Six” and “Donkey” (Accent) are wonderful workhorses without embellishment or unnecessary frills, reliable and comparable in maintenance cost to a children’s bicycle or a Vyatka-automatic washing machine.

It so happened that I never had the opportunity to own cars in the premium segment. In 2009, I almost made a deposit for a Mazda CX7, but it didn’t work out - the notorious crisis and disagreements with a partner led to the untimely death of a quite successful engineering business, and I had to say goodbye to the white CX7 in complete “stuffing” as a child’s dream of space.

In other words, I am an ordinary, average car enthusiast who has not driven VAZ buckets for a long time, has tasted the delights of automobile comfort, but is not spoiled by sizes and trim levels. The predecessor of the current Corolla was none other than the Lancer X. Purchased at a Moscow car showroom in 2007, the two-liter dark blue samurai brought me a lot of joy. Tinted, on 16 skating rinks, shining and beautiful, one of the first in Rostov, it forced a considerable number of people to stretch their cervical vertebrae in an attempt to follow it for a long time. And the trip to Krasnodar completely plunged me into a state close to ecstatic.

But the happiness did not last long. A little time passed and the predatory shark “washed down” my device ceased to amaze me, and the performance characteristics became more and more depressing. Noisy, expensive and unreliable. Therefore, our separation from Lancer in 2011 passed quickly, easily and without strain or regret.

I was faced with a difficult task. I needed a car that was reliable, somewhat roomy (I have two children), somewhat comfortable and, highly desirable, inexpensive. I soon realized that I could forget about a new car, because there were simply no offers on the market within 500 thousand rupees that met my requirements.

Accordingly, the ordeal began, familiar to probably every car enthusiast - choosing a used one. But I, one might say, was lucky - one of my comrades is none other than a used car dealer (I decided to designate his occupation with a politically correct term instead of the usual “huckster”) and with his help I managed to solve the problem relatively painlessly. I immediately decided that it would be a “golf” - class, definitely “Japanese” (I was considering, however, a Sonata, but more to calm my soul) and definitely with an “automatic” (all my previous cars had an “agitator” and I it was extremely tiring).

Based on the results of extensive research, calls, viewings, test drives and diagnostics, taking into account the reputation of the brand in general and the model in particular, based on the price-quality ratio, the final and decisive choice was made in favor of the 2006 Toyota Corolla. Automatic, 1.6 l./110 hp, not broken, not painted, gray-blue color, climate control, steering wheel and shift lever in leather, radio control on the steering wheel, rain sensor, full power accessories, heated front seats , ABS, 6 airbags, with 6 speakers, standard anti-theft and gearbox lock. Also “inherited” were tinting and 15-inch alloy wheels.

Before me, this device was operated by two guys, both aged, both traveled along the “home-work-home” route every day and “home-Black Sea” once a year. So the mileage turned out to be quite acceptable - 89 thousand. To become the proud owner of this miracle, I had to part with 450 thousand.

First, general impressions. To be completely honest, this Corolla is a typical “gray mouse” with a boring appearance and a lethargic character, expressionless and completely ordinary. Absolutely not suitable for “show-off”, “picking” and aggressive driving. Doesn't make any impression on anyone. It doesn't stand out in the crowd and doesn't attract attention in any way. But, attention, this is not what I needed at all, is it?

I needed reliability, comfort, relatively low operating costs, safety and at least some roominess.

So, this car fully satisfies my requirements. Absolutely and unconditionally. In addition, in addition, I also received a very high-quality finished interior, which, in comparison with the same tenth Lancer, is generally “Air Force No. 1”, a presidential “suite” and a penthouse in Manhattan in one bottle.

Just recently my “chick” passed another exam - I went to the coast. You understand, I had a chance to enjoy the “quality” of the M4 in some sections, and the driving culture of my compatriots, and the inexpressible beauty of the adrenaline euphoria that accompanies overcoming the 100-kilometer section of the Black Sea “serpentine”. So what would you think? That's right, the exam was passed with honor. All tests were passed with brilliance and dignity. The only thing that confuses me a little is the fairly frequent need to drive in “kickdown” mode. I had to “depress” the pedal both when overtaking and on climbs. Otherwise it doesn't go very well.

Now a little more about some of the characteristics.

What causes the Corolla's manual transmission to go into neutral?

Operation of a robotic gearbox implies the presence of a malfunction such as engaging neutral gear.
Often on a Corolla robot this happens as follows: the car is quite well warmed up, moves along the highway smoothly and without any obvious deviations, the check light suddenly lights up, neutral is switched on, and the car loses speed until it comes to a complete stop. In order to fix the problem, you need to turn off the engine, wait a certain time and turn it on again. However, this move does not completely eliminate the problem.

Often, failure occurs due to wear of a pair of release bearings, as well as the guide. If you replace these components, then diagnostics will not be required, and the replacement process can be carried out at home.

The design of the robotic gearbox is not the same on different Toyota models, only the principle is the same - its design contains a manual gearbox with a gear control system and a clutch. The clutch in the Toyota Corolla gearbox is of a friction type. An important innovation here is the double-clutch device, thanks to which torque is transmitted continuously and there is no power gap in this scheme.

Usually, when designing a robot box, gearboxes that already exist for this Toyota Corolla model are used. Only control units are replaced. The robotic gearbox has an electric drive with a servo mechanism, which includes an electric motor with a mechanical transmission. The electric drive is characterized by a low operating speed of the control mechanism (0.3 - 0.5 seconds), which is why such units are installed on budget models. Sports robotic boxes have a hydraulic drive, which has a very high switching speed - 0.05 seconds.

There are two modes of operation of the Toyota Corolla robotic box:

  • semi-automatic;
  • auto.

When operating in the automatic version, the box control algorithm is implemented by an electronic unit based on signals from input sensors. This happens through the execution mechanism. But in semi-automatic mode, the robotic gearbox allows you to switch from low to high gear using the gear selector lever and switches located under the steering wheel.

For this reason, in various literature, a robotic gearbox is often called a sequential gearbox (sequential).

The transmission does not start

The most common malfunction when operating a 2007, 2008 Toyota Corolla is that the manual transmission does not engage gears. The reasons for such a breakdown may be the following factors:

  1. Long-term use of the car in winter. The sensor responsible for gear shifting “freezes”, because of this, when you try to change gear, the box is knocked into neutral.
  2. Gear shifting problems also occur due to a faulty actuator. If this mechanism breaks down, it must be replaced immediately.
  3. A similar problem can occur when operating a car in the summer. However, in this case, the robot on the Toyota Corolla 2008 simply overheats.
  4. The problem may occur if the clutch overheats.

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Robot box control

The electronic control system of the robot box is based on sensors and actuators. Input sensors control:

  • shaft rotation speed at the entrance to the gearbox and at the exit from it;
  • gear selector position;
  • shift fork position;
  • oil temperature in the box.

All collected information is transmitted to the control unit, where, based on sensor readings, control signals are created for the operation of execution mechanisms. All this is managed by a special program. The ABS system and the engine management system are also connected to the electronic unit. For proper operation in winter, pre-heating of the gearbox is necessary.


Excellent. There were no extreme situations, but in normal operating mode - not a single complaint. Without blockages in turns and “yaw” on small irregularities. Returning to the straight line after a sharp turn - without bumpiness, quickly and clearly. The steering wheel is quite “informative”. There are no delays, when and how much you turn the steering wheel, then the car goes as far as it goes.

In winter - not a single skid, although I still don’t drive like a pensioner immersed in thought. Excellent work by ABS - on time and always to the point.

The seat has lateral support and entering and exiting corners is almost imperceptible even at a decent speed.

As already noted, the engine power is not enough, but this is not so critical when driving in normal urban conditions.

Using a car with a manual transmission in winter

As mentioned earlier, the main reason for the unstable operation of manual transmissions is low and high temperatures. And if in the summer everything is clear, in order to ensure normal functioning it is necessary to ensure stable cooling of all manual transmission systems, then in the winter a number of recommendations must be followed.

Before you drive your car, you need to warm it up (warm-up time depends on the thermometer reading: the lower the outside temperature, the longer it takes to warm up the car).

The vehicle should be stored in a well-heated room (at a temperature of 5 to 15 degrees).

Thanks to the above recommendations, you can ensure more stable operation of the box in winter.

Operating principle of the robot box

Before doing any work with a robotic gearbox, you need to understand what it is. This transmission greatly simplifies driving due to the automatic operation of the clutch and gear shifting. The box reads the information that is transmitted by the driver, while taking into account how the car is moving, then the information is processed in the ECU, after which the box operates according to a certain algorithm.

When buying a car, the main factor is its transmission. Namely - automatic, variator or robot. And here the buyer begins to be overcome by doubts - which is better? After all, robots and CVTs began to appear relatively not very long ago, following automatic machines. And, although the main characteristics of these devices are already known, car enthusiasts are afraid of any surprises.

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The most common opinion is that an automatic transmission is much better. And this is the most common opinion about the machine.

Let's try to understand the disadvantages and advantages of these types of transmissions.

Advantages of robotic gearboxes over automatic transmissions:

  • low fuel consumption when driving;
  • low price of the box and its maintenance.

Disadvantages of robotic boxes:

  • low gear shift speed compared to an automatic;
  • not always satisfactory smoothness of movement when switching;
  • the need to warm up before driving in winter.

Toyota Corolla cars can be equipped with a gearbox – a MULTI-MODE robot. Most often, during repairs, owners of such models complain that neutral is switched on while driving, and at the same time the malfunction indicator begins to signal. And until you turn off the ignition and start the engine again, the car does not move either back or forward.

Another malfunction and reason for repair is that the Toyota Corolla car moves jerkily when starting off. Most often this is due to failure of the clutch actuator. For repairs, a standard actuator repair kit is sufficient.

To prevent the failure of robotic boxes, the literature advises in the winter before starting to drive to warm up the oil in the box, leaving the car to idle for some time. The habit of warming up the box before driving helps to extend its service life and avoid repairs.

Warming up the robot in winter is possible while parked, because in neutral gear the input shaft rotates and the oil in the gearbox gradually warms up. But it warms up even faster (reheating) even while moving. Just drive for the first hundred meters without accelerating. Warming up occurs very quickly even in winter in severe frosts.

Repair work related to the electrical part of the Toyota Corolla robot box first begins with testing it using special Toyota Techstream diagnostic equipment. It works great with Toyota Corolla boxes.


As an experienced Internet user, I wanted to ask Yandex about “enthusiastic epithets,” but decided to do it on my own. So: wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, excellent, magnificent, stunning, delightful, mind-blowing and further according to Dahl.

Spacious. Everything is in its place. The front seats are adjustable in three planes. All window lifters are “auto-finishing”. Very convenient steering column switches. Information from the center console (from the on-board computer and radio) is perfectly readable. It is very convenient to control the climate. As noted above, the quality of finishing materials is impressive. Great review. The mirrors are selected and positioned in such a way that when “reversing” there is almost never a need to turn around - everything is perfectly visible in the mirrors. The instrument panel with two large “dials” is quite informative and practical. The backlight, however, is a bit pale, especially during the day, but this is a matter of adjustment.

There is no extraneous noise in the cabin when driving. You can hear the rumbling of the engine - and that’s all. The air conditioning system works great. In the summer heat, it cools the interior in about seven minutes, no more. It's warm in winter. Very comfortable two-section armrest. Quite a spacious glove compartment. Nothing creaks, rattles or falls off.

There are still a couple of minor drawbacks. Namely. After stopping, you have to turn off the low beam yourself (on the Lancer it went out automatically); after turning off the ignition, there is no way to close the windows, you have to turn it on again. It would be appropriate to have some period of time during which the lifts can be used after the ignition is turned off. The selected gear is not displayed on the instrument panel. If you want to check, look towards the shift lever. Sometimes the lowered one accidentally “sticks in” and you only notice it while driving.

Otherwise - perfect. Every trip is a pleasure.

How to operate manual transmission correctly?

In order for the operation of an automated gearbox to be comfortable and reliable for as long as possible, it is necessary to follow a number of rules. Briefly about how to use manual transmission correctly:

  • The robot does not tolerate sudden pressure on the gas pedal. The best option is when the driver chooses a calm driving mode. If you need to accelerate, it is also best to press smoothly. And, most importantly, remember a simple rule: PPTA - acceleration in manual mode, braking in automatic mode.
  • One of the features of the robot is that during operation there are shocks when changing gears. In order to eliminate this factor, you can reduce the speed of the power unit.
  • Thanks to the manual mode, you can easily get out of a snowdrift using the “swing” method. However, it is not at all recommended to skid on a robot, since the service life of the manual transmission is significantly reduced.
  • During vehicle maintenance, it is necessary to initialize the manual transmission, as well as complete diagnostics. This is necessary in order to identify any problems at the stage of their occurrence.

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Opinions of owners of cars with a robot box

Are you wondering whether it’s worth buying a robotic Toyota Corolla, whose owners’ reviews almost scream: don’t even think about buying a car with a robotic gearbox? In this case, once again carefully study all available opinions on the Internet. You cannot help but be alarmed by such reviews from the owners.

Igor from Tomsk

I bought this car in the last month of 2007. The equipment was wonderful: a modern panel, heated seats, a start button, built-in fog lights, etc.

The engine pulled perfectly, the suspension worked out all the irregularities, and everything would have been fine, but after three months, every time after 30 days I had to visit a service station to reset the errors - otherwise it simply would not start.

Then miracles began to happen to her: at an intersection she had to turn her head, like a pilot, to let oncoming and passing cars pass - she could get up and stand in the middle of the street or move at a snail’s speed, even if the gas pedal was pressed to the floor. I could no longer endanger myself and my family and parted with the car, selling it for 440 thousand.

Guys! Do not buy cars of those years with a robot - this is the most dangerous and unpredictable box.

Vladislav from Vologda

I will briefly describe the advantages and disadvantages of the robotic box that was on my Corolla, which I sold on time. MMT – this designation was on the box – had one advantage: a car with such a transmission consumed gasoline like a manual transmission, and if you didn’t press the pedal to the floor, even less. I'll just list the disadvantages:

  1. On a steep climb I could spontaneously move back a little.
  2. When accelerating quickly, it shifts gears too slowly.
  3. When accelerating, the gears shift jerkily; if this happens during smooth acceleration, take the car to a service station.
  4. If you are stuck in a traffic jam going uphill, the clutch overheats (once I had to stand for 1.5 hours to cool it down).
  5. When ascending in icy conditions, do not let the automatic transmission change gears - immediately switch to manual mode.

That's all. Guys, don't buy cars with such a rotten robot.

Dmitry from Volgograd

I chose for a long time between mechanics and a robot, I went with the robot, the Internet said that it should go 100 thousand. The first acquaintance with the gearbox increased the adrenaline in the blood by 100% - it is impossible to guess what speed was turned on; at fifty on the speedometer, 5th gear is engaged. When switching, the car begins to twitch and takes a pause before turning on some speed.

I drove fifteen hundred kilometers in manual mode, gradually getting used to and understanding this robot. I realized that by turning on the speed to increase, you select the mode you need, in the opposite direction the machine resets itself quite adequately.

Then for a week I tried driving only in automatic mode in the city and on the highway.

I soon understood the principle of the robot’s operation: it’s all about the force with which you press the pedal. Give him time to think, and he will begin to make shifts smoothly without jerking.

If you want it faster, switch to sport mode, but the engine will only consume more fuel.

So to the question “Is it worth buying a Corolla with a robot?” I’ll answer: it’s worth taking, because the robot is not an automatic machine, it’s closer to a “mechanics” that thinks for the driver.

Boris from Rostov-on-Don

I have a 2007 Toyota Corolla with a 1.6-liter engine and a robotic transmission. So what's bad about the robot on the Corolla? I will answer: this is indeed a source of increased danger. I will describe what recently happened to me on the highway.

When overtaking, we barely caught up with the car being overtaken, a red signal lights up on my dashboard, the robot resets the gear and goes into neutral, although the selector is in the “M” position. I press on the gas to switch to “E” mode, but only the roar of the engine at high speeds, and the speed drops, a car flies towards me, and I somehow squeeze into the right lane, stop and light a cigarette with shaking hands.

I leaf through the instructions and find that I need to wait until the clutch cools down. But I understand how this attempt to overtake could have ended if the oncoming car had been closer. Here is the answer to the question, why is the robot on the King bad? Good luck on your journey.

Main problems of the box

Frequent failures occurred in the control unit system, as a result of which the initialization procedure had to be done almost every 10,000 kilometers;

  • Overheating of the clutch disc, and as a result, premature wear. It happened that it had to be changed at 50,000 kilometers;
  • Gears began to shift intermittently;
  • Due to the problems mentioned above, it was necessary to do a complete update of the ECU.

It is important to know that the “insurance” from the manufacturer for such boxes is still valid, and if any problems arise, when you contact a specialized service, they will provide a free warranty replacement of all failed elements of the MMT system.


A robotic gearbox is a kind of synthesis of an automatic and manual gearbox. From the mechanics the system received practicality and reliability, from the automatic - comfort during operation. Such a system as a whole is distinguished by its reliability and high technology. But she also has glitches. They are mainly associated with wear of parts, for example, when the manual transmission is randomly thrown into neutral. Or, due to a broken actuator, one or another gear does not start.

In order for the robot to function smoothly on the Toyota Corolla, it is necessary to carry out regular maintenance, during which the robotic gearbox on the Toyota Corolla will be subject to thorough diagnostics. It is also necessary to follow the rules for using the robot box for Toyota Corolla. If you follow the above recommendations and tips, you can avoid serious damage to the Toyota Corolla robot.

Reliability and maintainability

After a year and a half of operation, one single problem arose: the contacts in the immobilizer relay rotted and it stopped starting. We quickly found the cause, removed the back seat, got to the fuel pump and replaced it. All the fun is two hours and 1800 rubles. There was nothing more.

So, it’s difficult for me to judge maintainability. The only thing I can note is that replacing consumables does not pose any difficulties. The cabin filter is easily accessible from the glove compartment; the air filter can be changed by snapping two clips under the hood.

Summary: this is not a car, but naturally a gift of fate. Just a set of advantages and benefits. The presence of some roughness only emphasizes its, Corolla's, positive qualities. By the way, these include the complete lack of interest in the car on the part of the valiant cops. I drive every day and have never been stopped once. In addition, I am ready to bet the daily earnings of a Rostov taxi driver against all the gold in Fort Knox, that after a year and a half, if necessary, I will sell it for the same money that I paid when buying it. Because she's worth it.

The conclusion is simple and suggests itself like an eighth-grader at the birthday party of a cute peer, that is, by itself - an ideal and, perhaps, one-of-a-kind golf class for a reliable, safe and comfortable ride.



Reviews and tests


0 MARKovod 05/29/2013 15:32 Excellent article.
I have said many times that Corollas are indestructible and now I have found a like-minded person. I would like to advise the author (if possible) to put a small body kit on it, it will look great. I just have a friend who also drives a car like this and he has a body kit. By the way, if you want to change your car, the Corolla in the next body is also very strong! Comment | Reply with quote | Quote | Complain

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