Gail's Car Search: 2004 Toyota Corolla Matrix

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I will be making posts about the cars I see that interest me. I am leaning towards Japanese cars, because I don’t want to live in the auto mechanic’s shop. This car was in an accident in 2006, which may explain why they are offering it for such a low price. But I went out to look at the car and it certainly doesn’t look like it’s been in an accident. I haven’t heard from the seller yet. But they appear to be following some sort of coronavirus protocol. They are closed on Sundays and will be open on Monday 9 – 6. They are very close to me.

I have already contacted the seller and am waiting for a response.

Jesus has insisted that the car He has chosen for me will cost less than $2500 out the door.

Here is the Carfax report.

Here is an report based on its VIN number.

Here is the owner’s manual.

This car has automatic transmission, which is fine with me. Makes my life easier. Since I forgot a lot about manual transmission.

But I did spend some time learning about manual transmission, in case my car ends up a different car that has manual transmission. I used to drive a clutch from 1985 to 1998. But I’ve had automatic transmission since 1999. Here’s a refresher course for me. When I lived in Seattle, I would get stuck on some steep hills and I’d get nervous with manual transmission on steep hills. So I decided to get a car with automatic transmission for Seattle driving. But in Florida, a manual should be fine and I was able to handle small hills in a manual. I just tried to avoid downtown Seattle which had some very steep hills where I’d get stuck at a stop light on manual transmission.

What to check:

  • Make sure all lights work, especially headlights and rear lights
  • Tires 205/55R16 91H – tires are good on 2nd check on 3-29-20
  • Make sure all doors and windows open and close right, lock right, with partial and full opening
  • Check rear view mirrors, inside and outside
  • Check instrument cluster, readable?
  • Check parking brakes and automatic transmission – need to drive car
  • Check hood lock release lever
  • Check turn signals and front fog light switches
  • Check wiper and washer switches
  • Check AC/heating
  • Check emergency flasher switch
  • Check rear window defogger switch
  • Check tilt steering lock release and lever
  • Check glass hatch (back) opener switch
  • How many keys do I get? Do they work? Lock and unlock doors?
  • Does wireless remote control lock and unlock properly and work right?
  • Does it open the glass hatch (back) properly? Check the “panic” switch
  • Check the glass hatch opener switch
  • Check if TVIP works properly (read p. 21 of owner’s manual). Test the system
  • Open the hood and look inside. Does auxiliary catch lever work?
  • Check AM/FM radio/CD player. Not too important for me
  • Check glovebox
  • Check if engine knocks, could indicate owner used cheap gas. Murphy gas with ethanol is good, no lower octane rating than 87
  • Check for compact spare tire in luggage dept.
  • Check under floor mats – be sure area is dry
  • Check that all front seat controls – seat adjuster, seatback recliner operate smoothly, that all latches lock securely in any position – that head restraints move up and down smoothly and locks hold securely in any latched position. For folding down, rear seatbacks, all latch and lock securely
  • Check seat belts
  • Check underneath for leaking fuel, oil, water or other fluid after vehicle has been parked for a while (checked and it was good)
  • Check battery for corrosion or loose terminal connections

Questions about the car:

  • Do it have an owner’s manual?
  • Is this vehicle equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system? Need to know if I ever purchase tires, I think
  • Does it have a wireless remote control?
  • Do they have the key number plate, so I can make key duplicates at a Toyota dealer or is the key number available?
  • Check glove compartment for AC filter (cleans dust from the AC air). If it has one, is it installed and clean? It’s behind the glove compartment.
  • Use premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 to preserve engine
  • Did the 2/9/2006 accident in New York damage the frame?
  • Buy a tire gauge
  • What type of oil does the car require? Is it SAE 5W-30, even for an older car? Of course Genuine Toyota Motor Oil is the best.
  • When a tire is replaced, the wheel should always be balanced
  • 32 PSI is the recommended tire pressure