Toyota Corolla CVT Transmission Issues [4 Common Issues]

Since you bought your Toyota Corolla, you’ve never had problems with its CVT transmission. But now, the transmission keeps acting up no matter how often you restart your car. If that sounds like you, keep reading.

Toyota Corolla

In this post, I’ve covered the common problems with Toyota Corolla CVT and how to go about them.

Toyota Corolla CVT Transmission Problems

1. Transmission makes clicking sounds

If you often hear clunking noises from your transmission while driving, the transmission has an issue.

Usually, the Toyota Corolla CVT transmission makes wheezy sounds when its transmission fluid level is too high or too low.

When transmission parts aren’t well lubricated, they might grind against each other during gear-shifts. Likewise, over-oiled parts often collide when changing gears. The noises from this collision produce the clunking noises you hear.

If you haven’t changed your transmission fluid in over a year, chances are your fluid level is low. As such, you’ll need to pour new fluid into your transmission.

However, if the transmission makes whining noises when you’ve already replaced your transmission fluid, there might be too much fluid in the system. In that case, you’ll need to drain some of the fluid in your transmission.

How do you know the right amount of fluid to drain? You might need a bit of trial and error to drain the correct quantity of transmission fluid from the system. We suggest removing one quart of oil and testing your transmission to see if it still produces whining noises.

If you still hear clicking sounds from the transmission, you’ll have to drain more fluid until it stops.

2. Gear slippage

A common indicator of a transmission issue in a Toyota Corolla CVT is gear slippage. You can tell that your transmission is slipping if your RPM revs, but your speed doesn’t change.

Using the wrong transmission fluid can cause gear slippage. If your transmission fluid is incompatible with your transmission, the transmission might engage gears, but it won’t stay in gear. This is because the oil can’t provide the right amount of hydraulic pressure your transmission needs to hold a gear.

You can resolve this problem by draining the old transmission fluid and adding the correct alternative. The appropriate transmission fluid for a Toyota Corolla CVT is the Valvoline CVT fluid.

Another culprit behind frequent gear slippages is a faulty gearbox. Over time, the chain on your gearbox may weaken, causing the gearbox to slide off the transmission. Your CVT transmission can’t stay in gear if the gearbox keeps moving out of place.

If you’ve been using your car for many years, you might need to change your gearbox. But first, confirm if the gearbox is defective. To do this, inspect the rope on the gearbox.

If the rope feels loose, replace the gearbox. Locate your CVT gearbox at the bottom of your car.

3. Car won’t reverse

If your car doesn’t reverse when you shift to the Reverse gear, your transmission is problematic.

The reason you are facing this issue is that your Reverse gear has stopped working.

To resolve this problem, you’ll need to change your gearbox.

4. Car doesn’t move while engine runs

You can tell that your transmission is faulty if your Toyota Corolla doesn’t move after you’ve turned on your engine. You may notice that the engine revs, but your car won’t move an inch.

If you are experiencing this issue, you probably think it’s time to total your car and get a new one. But you’re mistaken.

The only thing you need to change is your transmission because it has gone bad.

Once you replace your transmission, your car should resume working normally.

Toyota Corolla CVT Models with the Most Transmission Problems

The following Toyota Corolla models have the highest number of transmission issues:

  • 2014 Toyota Corolla (CVT)
  • 2015 Toyota Corolla (CVT)
  • 2017 Toyota Corolla (CVT)
  • 2020 Toyota Corolla (CVT).

Data from shows that the 2014 Toyota Corolla CVT has the highest number of transmission problems across all Corolla models. Unlike most models, which barely got any complaints, users of the 2014 model reported issues with their transmissions.

Other Toyota Corolla models with problematic transmissions are the 2015, 2017, and 2020 models, which received three transmission-related complaints each.

Toyota Corolla Models with the Least Transmission Problems

Here are the Toyota Corolla models with the least transmission problems:

  • 2018 Toyota Corolla (CVT)
  • 2019 Toyota Corolla (CVT)
  • 2021 Toyota Corolla (CVT).

According to, none of the models on this list got any reports about transmission problems.

Cost to Fixing Toyota Corolla CVT Transmission Problems

It costs between $300 and $5,500 to fix most CVT transmission issues in Toyota Corolla cars.

Tips to Prevent Toyota Corolla Transmission Problems

  • Avoid driving roughly.
  • Change your fluid every 30,000 miles.
  • Don’t overload your car.
  • Apply your parking brake when parking your car.
  • Service your vehicle regularly.

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Wrapping Up

The tips in this article should help you resolve the transmission problem in your Toyota Corolla CVT. If the issue occurs after you’ve applied the solutions here, get a mechanic to inspect your car or take it to the dealership.