Lemberg Law is investigating complaints that the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross has a widespread problem with the auto stop-start function and the engine shutting down. Vehicle owners report that it also affects the power steering and often happens when the windshield wipers are on.
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Is There a Stop/Start Problem with the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross?
There is definitely a stop-start and stalling problem with the 2023 Corolla Cross. All but one of the complaints lodged with the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) about the 2023 Corolla Cross between March 1 and March 28, 2023 focus on this problem.
Additionally, there are ongoing forum discussions about the issue that also affects the debut 2022 model year Toyota Corolla Cross as well as the regular 2023 Toyota Corolla.
But it isn’t clear what is causing the problem. Owners are filing their complaints in several different NHTSA categories: the electrical system, engine, forward collision avoidance, fuel/propulsion system, land departure, service brakes, steering, and visibility/wiper. Several people have opted for it being an unknown or other problem, sometimes combining it with other components or systems in their complaints.
We discussed the problem in an earlier, more general Lemberg Law post, 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon? The complaints we have quoted in this new post are more recent. But you will recognize that they are very similar, showing that the problem is, quite simply, growing.
What’s Wrong with the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross?
There appears to be a problem with the engine of the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross because it often shuts off for no reason. About 74% of the NHTSA complaints are filed as engine problems, although more than 70% also list the complaint under other components and systems. For example, about 28% of complaints combine an electrical system and/or steering issue with the engine problem, and more than 42% with a visibility/wiper problem.
Many complaints state that when the engine shuts off, an error message commonly displays a warning that the steering power is low. The fact that this scenario often plays out in cold, rainy weather when the windshield wipers are working may also indicate a problem with the electrical system.
NHTSA Complains about the 2023 Corolla Cross
Problems started on the first day an owner from Virginia drove a new 2023 Corolla Cross XLE AWD to work in downtown Washington, DC. Pulling up to a stop-light, “the auto start/stop turned off the engine like normal.” After about 20 seconds, “the car started one long beep that wouldn’t shut off and my dashboard screen said ‘engine stopped, press brake firmly to restart,’ and ‘low power steering’.” The check engine light was also on.
The driver pressed the brake firmly but the car did not restart. It was blocking downtown traffic, but an attempt to move closer to the curb because “the steering wheel would not turn. I tried to push the on/off switch with no result….shifted it into Park and pushed the button to turn off the engine.” He pushed it again immediately, “but the car did not restart. I waited a few seconds and pushed it again and the car started.”
He’d read online in a Corolla Cross Forum that this seems to be a problem when the windshield wipers are on. “Interestingly, it had just begun to rain that morning and I had turned on the wipers. Since then I have turned off the auto stop/start feature each time I start the car. It is currently with the dealership so they can try to figure out the problem.”
But will the dealership be able to help?
An owner from Pennsylvania hopes so after experiencing the same shutdown and error messages, also with the windshield wipers activated. He’d had the car for less than 5 days, and 220 miles. Stating his safety is at risk because “I am not able to accelerate or move through a traffic light,” he says the car will be assessed by a dealer ASAP.
Owners Highlight Safety Issues
Owners commonly raise safety issues in complaints. Some state that dealers are not able to help!
“I drove to a restaurant this evening,” states an owner from Texas. “After starting the car and backing up to go back home, an engine light came on. I was trying to make a left-hand turn out of the restaurant on a busy road when the car completely shut off in the middle of the road of oncoming traffic. Someone stopped to help me move the car.” The owner could restart the car and drive home but states, “This is very worrisome and potentially very dangerous. I can’t imagine what would have happened had this been on the highway.”
An owner from California was terrified when the engine shut off. Having driven less than 300 miles in the new Corolla Cross, it shut off in a city street. A message “low steering power” displayed. Then, it said to “firmly press (the) brake to restart .” But “it never restarted until I put it into Park and tried again.” It was a “very terrifying experience as other cars were going fast, while the car was giving a loud beep.”
Unhappy about the safety problem this issue creates when “the vehicle dies on the road,” an owner from Texas went to a Toyota service center. But they weren’t able to help. As described by others, the Corolla Cross stops, the engine shuts off, and the check engine light comes on… And it happens when it is raining and the windshield wipers are on.
Similarly, another owner from California had the same experience. “I brought the vehicle to a Toyota service center but they were not able to reproduce the problem. This creates a safety problem for (the) driver and everybody on the road.”
What Owners are Saying Online
Several of the NHTSA complaints mention a thread on Reddit and a conversation on the Corolla Cross Forum.
Corolla Cross Forum
The discussion starter on the forum, dated February 20, 2023, states that the Cross shuts down as it should. But sometimes it “throws dash lights and won’t automatically restart when the brake is released. One time on a hill it started rolling backward. I have to put the vehicle in Park, turn (it) off, and turn (it) back on. Then put in Drive and I can drive again. Super frustrating and nerve racking.” And like some of the NHTSA complaints, it “Seems to be related to wet weather.” Also, the “dealer has no idea what to do.”
Here are some responses:
“I have exactly the same problem and thanks for pointing it out! Wet weather is the common pattern! I am driving a Toyota Cross XLE 2023 model.”
“There are a lot of Cross owners having this issue. It seems to happen in the rain and or snow when the wipers are engaged.”
“My Cross is currently at the dealership as this exact same thing happened to me 3 times. The first time it happened I brought it right away and they told me the computer system wasn’t communicating with the car and said it was fixed. It happened again 2 more times and I explained that it only happens when the windshield wipers are on and I use the auto start/stop system.” The issue was escalated to Toyota and the owner was provided with a loaner car “until there’s a solution.”
The original conversation on Reddit was posted in about March 2022 and relates to a 2022 Corolla Cross. It was started by the brother of a woman who had the experience that hundreds of people have subsequently described online and in NHTSA complaints. Their interpretation was that it was either a stop/start issue or a problem with the battery. But a Toyota technician said they couldn’t find anything wrong. While there was no resolution to this particular issue, it didn’t recur. But the brother has continued to follow the thread he started, noting other people’s problems, not just about the 2022 but the 2023 model as well.
More than a year later, he said that he believes that the wiper motor is to blame. “The common theme I’m seeing is it happens in inclement weather and the wipers are activated. One Redditor stated their dealership identified it as the wiper motor and after they swapped it out it no longer happened.”
But, ultimately, his advice is for owners to have their vehicles serviced when it happens the first time. Also, “Call a Lemon Law lawyer the first time it happens. Open a case. Read about the Lemon Law requirements in your state. Fill out all of the required documentation and follow your legal counsel’s advice and instructions carefully.” Also, file complaints with the manufacturer HQ and with the NHTSA. Every time it happens, have the car serviced and make a note of time, location, speed, weather, fuel levels, etc.
“Be patient. This experience can be maddening and terrifying, especially when the stalling happens repeatedly and/or happens during bad weather and road conditions. It can be very anxiety-inducing. Be patient, but persistent.”
What Should You Do if Your 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Has Stop/Start Problems?
If you have stop/start or stalling issues with your 2023 Corolla Cross, you may qualify to participate in our investigation. All you have to do is complete a case evaluation form or call us at 844-928-4443 and we will assess your case free of charge.
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.