2020 Toyota Corolla Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brakes, structure and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The 2020 Toyota Corolla celebrates the lineup that has been in America for more than fifty years. Yet, the automaker claims after all of these years that this model is “greater than ever.” Sadly, most owners can’t agree. It seems to have a defective structure, a malfunctioning powertrain and dangerous service brakes.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2019   2021   2022   2023

Problems with the Structure

After all of these years, Toyota should know how to build a car, but this is one area that is truly lacking with the Corolla.

Listen to these complaints listed on the NHTSA website. “First day after I got the car coming out of my driveway, front of the car scraped the ground and the front fender popped off the car. This fender is plastic and was attached to the car with plastic fasteners. It is a flowingly put together piece of junk. This is a safety issue since fender would come off and hit the car behind you whenever this car hits a slight bump on a highway.”

It turns out that Toyota used the same quality of attention when constructing the back-up lights. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V205000 shows that a rear hatch wire in some models has a defective connector that can cause the back-up lights to fail. If no one knows when the car is backing up, it could lead to a serious accident. To say this model is “greater than ever” assumes that the previous Corollas were worse than these? Between the fenders falling off and lights failing completely, it’s hard to see how they could have been worse.

2020 Toyota Corolla Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Service Brakes
Power Train
Electrical System
Air Bags
Fuel/propulsion System
Seat Belts

Problems with the Transmission

The powertrain consists of a transmission that routes power from the engine to the wheels. Yet, this is another component that just disappoints.

Read this Edmunds review. “I had high hopes for the vehicle because I had a good experience with an older Toyota Corolla model. Two days after purchasing this brand new vehicle, I noticed a weird high pitch sound while driving. Almost like a buzzing noise. About a few more days, I noticed that the gear was having a hard time changing. At one point, I spent over a minute forcing the vehicle to change from reverse to parking but it wouldn’t. After moving the gear back and forth, it eventually changed. Now a week later, the gear is stuck again. This time, it was stuck for over an hour and we had to call a towing truck. I’m writing this review out of a kind place to warn everyone considering this vehicle to be careful. I think there is a bad batch of 2020 Toyota Corolla LE made and a potential recall.”

As of now, there is no recall on the Toyota for powertrain problems. In addition, Toyota hasn’t acknowledged any concerns. Instead, the company stands by its tagline, trying to get people to believe it’s the greatest. Basically, it’s the same as trying to pull off an elaborate magic trick – consumers just have to be willing to look the other way.

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Problems with the Brakes

Among all of the systems that need to work properly, the service brakes might be the most important. Yet, the Corolla proves to be a giant failure on this front as well.

Another NHTSA complaint states, “We bought the car on 7-29-19 and 8-4-19 while driving home from Maryland the car sensor lights started flashing after only 250 miles on the car. The flashing lights were for brakes and parking brake, lane departure and assist, back up and front camera, check engine, tire pressure, head lights and RSA malfunctions. Basically the entire safety system of the car malfunctioned while I was driving. This happened on five different occasions while driving it. 7-29-19, 8-2, 5, 9-19 and the car was in motion each time while on a highway. I had it to the dealer twice and they are still working on it. The first time they said the car needs to be reprogrammed and they couldn’t duplicate the problem and the second time the service manager is claiming it is a wire which I find it difficult to believe since there are multiple codes and I don’t think they all go through one wire. Our family does not feel comfortable driving the car when all of these lights are flashing and not knowing if the car is safe to drive and if the safety features in the car will operate properly.”

It should come as no surprise that Toyota has failed to address these problems as well, even though the malfunctions are scaring owners. At this point, the only way to claim that this vehicle is the best of all time is to compare it to larger lemons, such as the 1997 Plymouth Prowler.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Toyota pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Rick B

    March 11 2020 I bought a new Corolla LE. I bought it for work plus I do Uber. Last year I noticed that the transmission was not moving the car forward as the RPMs accelerated. Recently, the transmission is not moving the car from parked to Drive. The RPMs accelerate and the car barely moves. The car is a 2020 Corolla wit h 78000 miles which is way beyond any warranty. The car is a lemon!!!

  • Cathy B

    My name is Cathy Burdette, my number is ###. My car shut down on the interstate, the brakes wouldn’t stop. I towed it in to Nalley Toyota dealership in Union City GA. They hid it from my insurance company state farm for 3 days. I established a case with Toyota headquarters, they investigated the problem. They said it was caused by my floor mat. The car set in my apartment complex for 2 months making loud noises and the gear shift constantly got stuck with a groaning sound. Sometimes the car keys got stuck to. It’s still makes noises from the gear shift and back shocks. A certified machanic said it has cheap shocks and will make that noise as long as I have the car. Also my computer says need maintenance go to dealership. I went, but they did not service my car. I calls and they put me on a ringer for a long period of time. Toyota headquarters says they cannot reach Nalley Dealership and told me I got to deal with them some kind of way. I’m driving 6 minutes to work and back in order to pay my bills and not become homeless. But I am too scared to drive on interstate and busy highways. I done gave my car information to a lemon firm hoping to find Justice. Because Toyota is not abiding by their contract, warranty, or fixing the existing problems to my car. Thank you

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