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Toyota Corolla Check Engine Light: Everything You Need To Know

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We’ve scanned over 33834 Corollas with the FIXD OBD2 scanner and app. These are the 5 most common reasons for a check engine light in your Toyota Corolla.


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5 Most Common Reasons for a Check Engine Light in Your Toyota


Code Severity  Simplified Description
P1604 Severe The engine doesn’t start after cranking for an extended period of time. Low fuel is one possible cause.
P0171 Moderate Your Toyota engine is running too lean (Bank 1)
P0420 Moderate Your catalytic converter isn’t functioning efficiently. This could increase the output of harmful pollutants.
P0441 Low The purge valve in your EVAP System is incorrect, allowing either too much or too little flow of stored fuel vapors. 
C1241 Medium Your battery voltage is low, indicating that your battery or charging system may have an issue.


Other Common Toyota Warning Lights

  • VSC Light
  • Trac Off Light


What Does It Mean When VSC Light Comes On?

“VSC” stands for Vehicle Stability Control. The VSC system helps your Toyota avoid skids and stay safely on the road while going around sharp corners. If your VSC light is on, you may see the TRAC OFF light as well, since these systems are connected. This means that traction control, which helps prevent you from spinning your wheels when you press the gas, is likely inoperative.


Check Your Gas Cap

Be sure to check your gas cap to see if it is loose. This is one of the most common reasons for a check engine light in your Corolla, and the easiest problem to fix. This happens because the engine detects a leak in the evaporative emissions system, which exists when the gas cap isn’t tightened until it clicks. It’s easy, it’s free, and it may even solve the P0441 issue on this list.


What Should I Do If the Check Engine Light Is On in My Toyota Corolla?

There are numerous reasons why the engine light might be on, from a loose gas cap to a misfiring engine. If your check engine light is on, don’t panic.Check out our guide on what to do when your check engine light comes on. Following this guide can help you avoid driving with a serious problem and causing more damage to your engine. 

If you’d like some more information on diagnosing a check engine light yourself, you can also check out our article on the most common reasons for a check engine light.

For those of you who prefer a mechanic, you can find a trusted repair shop for inspection easily with RepairPal.

> Find a RepairPal Certified Shop Near You


What the Check Engine Light Means

Your Corolla’s check engine light is part of the onboard diagnostics system (OBD2). Since 1996, all gas-powered vehicles are required to have this computer system that communicates with your engine to notify the driver or automotive technician of any issues.

When your check engine light comes on, it means that the computer has detected a problem. Along with a warning light on your dashboard, the OBD2 system stores the diagnostic trouble code associated with that problem. With the right tools, you can read this code to understand what’s wrong with your car and how serious the problem is.


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How to Read Your Toyota Corolla Check Engine Light


To read the diagnostic trouble code stored by your car’s computer, you have a few options.


1) Go to your local mechanic. As part of their diagnostic fee, they will use a professional OBD2 scan tool to read the code and identify the cause. However, if you aren’t near a repair shop or haven’t yet established a relationship of trust with the shops in your area, this might not be the best option.


2) Go to a nearby auto parts store. Most of these shops will give you an engine code readout for free. Again, if you break down in the middle of nowhere, this isn’t an option. There’s also a concern that these shops may have ulterior motives to upsell you on products you may or may not actually need after they interpret your check engine light for you.


3) Read your own check engine light codes with or without a scanner. Checking codes manually can be done but, it’s tedious. Borrowing a scanner or buying one makes the process easier. There are many affordable engine light scanners available for everyday drivers that plug into your car’s OBD2 port to tell you what your check engine light means. FIXD is a great OBD2 scanner for Toyota because it can translate any Toyota check engine light into plain English directly on your smartphone. 


How the FIXD Check Engine Scanner Works


The FIXD car scanner plugs into the OBD2 port. This port is usually located in Toyotas under the dash on the driver’s side of your vehicle. Read more about how to find your OBD2 port on your particular car.


Once it’s connected to your car, the FIXD Sensor and free mobile app tells you what your check engine light means in plain English so that you can walk into the repair shop armed with accurate, detailed information.


Understand Your CEL


FIXD instantly translates over 7000 error codes into simple terms right on your phone.


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See How Serious Your CEL Is


Find out how serious your code is and whether or not it’s safe to keep driving.


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Get Maintenance Alerts


FIXD notifies you when it’s time for an oil change and other routine maintenance based on your make, model, and mileage.


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Monitor the Health of Your Toyota


FIXD shows you how healthy your Corolla is by sending you real-time notifications about any check engine lights. You can also view live data for your Toyota while you’re driving, including oxygen sensor voltage, fuel trims, vehicle speed, and more.


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Does FIXD Work with Your Corolla?


FIXD is compatible with all gas-powered Toyota models made in 1996 or newer and all diesel engines 2008 or newer. Use the Compatibility Checker for additional info.


Is It Safe to Drive with My Check Engine Light On?


Since the check engine light is tied to your Corolla’s individual on-board diagnostics system, you’ll need a code reader or OBD2 scan tool like the FIXD Sensor to understand the severity of the issue and whether or not you should keep driving.


However, if the check engine light is blinking in your Toyota while you’re driving, you should pull over as soon as you safely can to check for low oil or overheating. If your Corolla’s check engine light is red, you should stop driving immediately. A yellow light indicates a less serious issue that requires further investigation.


If you experience driveability issues along with the engine light, reduce your speed and take it easy on the engine to avoid potentially bigger problems.


Lastly, be sure to check your gas cap. A loose gas cap is one of the most common reasons for a check engine light in your Toyota and easy to fix. This light happens because the engine detects a leak in the evaporative emissions system.


How Can I Reset the Check Engine Light in My Corolla?


You may want to clear the check engine light if you think you’ve resolved the issue (i.e. tightening a loose gas cap). Resetting the light and driving around to see if it comes back on will let you know whether or not you have fixed the problem.


If you plan on doing your own car repairs, the easiest, cheapest way to reset the check engine light on your Toyota is with FIXD. Most shops will charge more than $100 to reset this for you, but you can do it for free inside the FIXD app.


To clear your check engine light with FIXD, simply click “Clear Engine Light” on the details page after you’ve performed an engine scan. If the code is cleared but the issue has not been resolved, you might see the warning light reappear after driving a few miles. 


FIXD Clear Check Engine Light


Diagnose Your Toyota’s Check Engine Light with FIXD


Still wondering what to do about that pesky check engine light on your Corolla? Take the first step to clarity by getting FIXD, America’s favorite check engine scanner and app. Get detailed engine diagnostics, plain English code descriptions, issue severity warnings, and so much more. Learn more about the FIXD Sensor and mobile app today


Justin Hughes

Recovering autocross and track day enthusiast. Once turned a VW Jetta into a pickup truck. Lives in a van down by the river. Dream car: 2001 Subaru WRC rally car.

Clear your check engine light in seconds

The FIXD Sensor and free app tells you why your check engine light is on in easy-to-understand terms and lets you clear it with the touch of a button. 


We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.


About the Author

Justin Hughes

Justin Hughes

Recovering autocross and track day enthusiast. Once turned a VW Jetta into a pickup truck. Lives in a van down by the river. Dream car: 2001 Subaru WRC rally car.

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