Toyota Corolla Altis 2008: Ownership Review


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I had an Alto, which was doing just fine in City (Mumbai), but during long runs with family i faced following 2 major issues.

1] Due to CNG tank we could not put much luggage in the back, Luggage had to be kept on back seat and on floor front of it. We have a 4 member family and 1 small child who dint occupy any seat. So it was a challenging job.

2] While climbing uphill, with people and luggage on CNG, the 800 CC engine just was too weak. I always used to think that I would go for a massive engine next time.

In December 2016 I finally decided to get some cheap big car, with a decent engine.

On internet I found a lots of Toyota success stories, and so decided to buy an old Etios. But the cost was too high, older corollas were selling for lot cheaper than Etios. I dropped the Etios thing from my mind and started hunting for corollas. My wife would look at them and say "they look to old". So I increased my budget and started hunting for older Corolla Altis.

I checked out a black 2007 corolla at a dealer, it was good, but was repainted, its steering was a bit heavy (hard to move), heavier than Alto’s. Discussed on this with mechanic, he asked to skip the car. Showed wife the pictures, she was like - Yucks!!

Next was the one that I bought, a silver Altis 2008 Model (at a dealer). I sat in it for test drive, I was feeling like I was suspended in air, it was a silent and very smooth ride. Took some pictures, went home, shared with everyone, everyone liked it, still was looking for better deal.

Next was a Maroon Altis (2011 model), I went to owner’s place, sat inside for test driving, started the car and man the engine was too loud. I purposely asked the owner if it’s a diesel car, he just denied. Petrol car making Diesel like noise is not a good sign. Dropped the car within milliseconds after engine started.

Next day was Sunday, me and my wife decided to check out the Silver Altis in person with our mechanic. Went to garage, picked him up. After reaching dealer, mechanic checked it, he said bumpers are bad and are repainted, but the car is in mint condition. A/C vent knobs were broken, I thought it will be a few 100 rupees affair dint bother (I was very wrong). Driver side headlight was damaged, it was in for a replacement. Head light replacement cost was around 12+K (9K for headlamp, and 3+ K for Philips Xeon bulb).

Car was at 60,000 Kms. Check thread of my repairs done - http://www.theautomotiveindia.com/f...a-corolla-altis-2008-ac-vent-knob-broken.html

After this for 2 - 3 days I negotiated with dealer and finally brought it home. Got engine oil changed to shell helix ultra 5W40, also some repairs cost 8K INR, there was an issue in steering rack and wiring issues, back speakers were rattling.

It was giving good average compared to engine size on petrol, just a bit less than my Alto. But for long term use, I decided to go for CNG kit fitment. One week later BRC sequential CNG kit was fitted. The CNG fitter took care of Registration, insurance, CNG plate and stuff.

On CNG I can go 160+ kms on single tank. I am thinking of replacing the tank with a bigger CNG tank later, ample boot space is available.

Car is great to drive and I am loving it. People had recommended me to go for new Swift Dzire and xcent as cost was similar, but I think my decision was correct. The feeling of being suspended in air every day from home to office and office to home is just priceless.

One major issue is that parts are too costly. Original Toyota Xeon bulb costs 14,000 Rs, I just sourced a pair from china for 850 (425 Rs per bulb). Bulbs are working fine since past 1 month. I was also given a quote of approx. 20K for fixing AC Vent knob issue. Dropped the idea, I am using the broken ones. Clutch is on the harder side, during bumper to bumper traffic, I can feel the pain.

I have driven from Mumbai to Kolhapur and back (800 kms to my native place). 2 trips to Shirdi, one trip to Sula wines Nasik. No neck pains on the electronically adjusted driver seat, no rest required after long drives. Max peed I have taken it to is 140 Kmph – on petrol, I don’t plan to do it on CNG though, it surely can go further, but after 100 – 120 kmph, I can hear the engine, which I am not comfortable with. I drive at 100 – 110 kmph, not more than that.

After moving to a heavy weight oil from xW30 to 5W40 has reduced the performance a bit, add CNG power loss and you have a good amount of power loss. I moved to heavier weight oil as CNG burns hotter than petrol, a 40 Weight oil should be better able to handle higher temperatures than 30 weight. Even after power losses, the 1.8 Liter engine has enough power to accelerate on 5th gear even while climbing hills.

It has done 6,600+ now, got it checked by mechanic just for safety, nothing was found, it was perfectly fine.

I have ordered Petronas Technyx 75W fully synthetic transmission oil, it was also put in my Alto. Also have ordered a pair of Chinese LED fog light will install them and update. Current fog lights are too dim.

I'll keep updating on my experiences below.

Currently I am getting new tyres for it in thread - http://www.theautomotiveindia.com/f...replacement-upsize-195-65-r15-205-65-r15.html

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Thread Starter #5
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Congratulations Abhijit, its a very reliable and robust car.
any accessories/mods planned? Lot of accessories available in the internet.
Please suggest me something.
I have installed 1000 Rs Projector Fog lamps from amazon. They are no good. But since OG's are pretty damaged, i have kept them.
Ill put a full post on mods that i have done. Have also installed 205/65/R15 tyres OG were 195/65/R15, will also upload pics along with details soon.
 
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Thread Starter #6
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Topic : Tyre Change.
Finally had a tyre change.
Old tyres still had decent tread left, but for the sake of safety I decided to change the 9 year old tyres they had done 67,300 Kms. I dont know if its a world record. They were Turanza ER 300.
They had become hard over time and ABS was kicking in a bit too much due to less grip.
Since i had promissed my Brother inlaw that i will change tyres when we visit him (Shrirampur, near Shirdi), and there was a celebration at his place on sunday, we planned to replace the tyre on Monday. Monday morning we called a tyre dealer, he was quoting 6,000+ for 205/65/R15 all models. So we decided to buy tyres from some local shop and take them to dealer for fixing them, as dealer had better tools. We went to a local tyre shop and found prices were arround 500 less per tyre than the dealer. We asked him to show us all brands he had.
He showed us Bridgestone B250 something, michelins, and earth 1.
Michelins had very soft side wall but really hard tread, Bridgestones were rock solid, only flintstones can use them.
Earth 1 were in between, tread felt soft enough for good grip. Side wall was not rock solid.
Good balance between Comfort and Safety, Performance is not an issue for me.

After tyre change, the road noise suddenly dropped to very low. Felt very good. After a few days, i dont feel much change, now i have got used to it. Grip is a lot, ABS has never kicked in (2 weeks now). On highways, i usually see speed breakers when they are too close. Old tyres relied a lot on ABS, new ones dont need ABS.

Profile change from 195/65/R15 to 205/65/R15 does not have much effect on looks, but earlier i felt tyres were a bit small for such big car, now 205/65/R15 look just fine, no more small tyre feeling. Handling has improved.
 

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Please suggest me something.
I have installed 1000 Rs Projector Fog lamps from amazon. They are no good. But since OG's are pretty damaged, i have kept them.
Ill put a full post on mods that i have done. Have also installed 205/65/R15 tyres OG were 195/65/R15, will also upload pics along with details soon.
Please share the link of the projectors and post some pics of their output.
 
Thread Starter #9
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Check below images.
They are more blue than they appear in the pic. Head lamp Xeon bulbs are perfect white.
Outer rings are too bright, inner projector bulbs are same blueish colour as outer rings, and are not bright, so pretty useless.
You also need a good mechanic to fix them properly. My passenger side fog lamp is a bit outside, there is a gap an between lamp and the black socket, as mech dint properly fix it.
 

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Thread Starter #10
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2 weeks back, car had done 10,000 kms, so was time for oil change, and general checkup. Oil was leaking inside spark plug chamber. So top cap of the engine had to be opened. The rubber of seals looked fine. So Mechanic just applied some sealant to the rubber and re-sealed the cap. Checked after 1 week of driving, no oil was leaking in spark plug chamber. Spark plugs were in good shape, so were not changed. I thought that the seal repairs must have launched some extra debris in the oil, i used the trusted ABRO engine flush this time.
Engine oil changed from Shell helix ultra 5W40 to Mobil 1 0W40. Both oils feel same while driving.
Both break pads were changed in past 10,000 K so we dint even bother to check those.
A/C needs some serious maintenance, but ill do that once sun is back (End of rainy season).
 
Thread Starter #11
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I got the AC repaired recently at my wifes native place (cost 2,500 Rs). It was cleaned from inside and gas was too low, which was refilled. AC works good now.
After 75K left suspension was making noise, I had driven it to Mahabaleshwar & Shirdi, in rains and the roads were full of huge pot holes. I went into pretty big potholes at 60 kmph speeds. I was worried about the cost of repairs, so dint show it to a mechanic.
One day I finally gathered the guts and took it to a mechanic, he went under, came out took a spanner and tightened one nut. Noise disappeared ! Cost - 0 INR [:D]
Now its done 77+K, so waiting for next service.
 
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I got the AC repaired recently at my wifes native place (cost 2,500 Rs). It was cleaned from inside and gas was too low, which was refilled. AC works good now.
After 75K left suspension was making noise, I had driven it to Mahabaleshwar & Shirdi, in rains and the roads were full of huge pot holes. I went into pretty big potholes at 60 kmph speeds. I was worried about the cost of repairs, so dint show it to a mechanic.
One day I finally gathered the guts and took it to a mechanic, he went under, came out took a spanner and tightened one nut. Noise disappeared ! Cost - 0 INR [:D]
Now its done 77+K, so waiting for next service.
Now a days Toyota are going more costlier. Even me too planning to get oil service alone in Toyota and all other work like changing periodic spares in local mechanic shop.
 
Thread Starter #13
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If the car is out of warranty, don't take it to Toyota. I buy 4 Litre Mobil 1 0W40 from 99rpm. Newer cars need 0W20, so check your owners manual. Mine needs 0W30 but manual says 0W40 is also OK. Ask FNG to change the oil, Oil Filter and Air filter (if required), AC air filter. Ask FNG to do a service, my FNG first drives the car to check for noises, then removes all tyres, looks for issues if any tells me they check all oils.
Find a reputed FNG and do every thing from there. You can get required parts from Toyota.

I don't always buy Genuine Toyota parts. Only functional (important) parts have to be Toyota, non functional can be any brand. I have done a mistake buy buying headlights from local shop (I think it was Denso brand). It throws light all over the place very little in front. I am dependent on the other headlight for proper road illumination. I dint save much money, but ill never buy functional parts from any one other than Toyota.
 
Thread Starter #14
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Recently I got the car serviced as it had crossed 80,000 KM mark.
Air filter, Cabin air filter, Oil filter were replaced.
Trusted Mobil1 0W40 was put in. Engine engine gasket was leaking oil into spark plugs hence it was also replaced.

After starting the engine, when acclerator was pressed, it misfired and then pickuped revs. Was happning on CNG as well as on Petrol. Imidiately injectors were sent to cleaning, but no change. Spark plugs were checked, mechanic has bought iridium spark plugs for Skoda Superb, those were tried. Fule filter was removed and checked. After few hrs of R&D, car started working fine on CNG. We were scratching our head. Since it was already night, i took the car with me. Next day took to the car to office, it was fine on CNG and a bit better on petrol. Evening i left from office, and it had started working normal on petrol too. After a weeks use and a trip to Shirdi, it still worked fine. Took suggestion from mechanic, he asked me to keep using the car and there is no problem as its working fine. I am still scrataching me head as to what had happened.
Attached pics from that day.
 

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Thread Starter #15
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Can I change my Cars audio system? Pic of default music system is in this thread. Its old school 6 CD changer. I need features like rear view, USB, big screen, etc..
I don't know any thing about car audio systems.
 
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