CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS -- My wife and I bought 2 Toyota Corollas new in the spring of '02. At the 45,000 mile mark the rear suspension on my Corolla collapsed while driving at 20 mph on a new resurfaced Boston street. There were no potholes or obtstructions and total passenger weight at the time was about 415 pounds; there was some light sailing clothing in the trunk. My Toyota service department said this failure was not at all common and attributed it to "climate but no excuses." The suspension had simply "rotted" (rusted) out. The cost to me of a new suspension system (struts and springs) was $604; Toyota has since offered me a reimbursement of $302.
I talked to a former neighbor who has been a Toyota mechanic for 20+ years. He has never seen this failure before but stated that it was certainly possible but more so in a much older car rather than in one so young. He questioned whether Toyota had properly treated the underbody before it left the assembly line. He asked if I'd seen the broken parts, and I did not. Toyota did not offer to show me, and I stupidly did not ask to see them.
At the sound of cracking metal I went from feeling secure to insecure. I no longer have faith, trust, or confidence in the product. What about the front suspension!? To me, that's suspect, too! If that fails on a highway at 60 or 65 mph what happens then!? Do I lose control of the car!? Do I jeopardize the lives of others as well as my own!? I believe these to be serious, necessary, and relevant questions. I no longer trust my wife's car either - hers is in the same "climate." I've a sign in my car window stating what happened; I talk to every Toyota owner I can corner; I've been through a myriad of complaint websites and filed complaints in each;
I've written a formal letter to Toyota USA. So far I can't find one other Toyota owner with a failure like mine. I'm very disappointed in this product. It was not worth getting on the Toyota bandwagon.