1994 Corolla DX
Every now and then there seems to pop up a question on the forum on which repair guides to get for a 7th gen Corolla. I thought I'd give a brief overview of the ones I've seen in the US, and I know there are other alternatives in other countries that people might want to chime in with as well.
- Owner's Manual. Ok, you can stop laughing now. Seriously. The owner's manual is actually quite useful and has DIY information for several common maintenance tasks. It also states technical info you need, like fluid specs and quantity, spark plugs, etc. For example, the owner's manual will tell you to use ATF in your power steering - so you don't make the mistake of putting power steering fluid in. Don't ignore your owner's manual. Don't have one? Well you're in luck: Toyota's online owners manuals go back as far as 1997 for the Corolla and can be accessed through the "Owners" link on toyota.com. If you have a 1993-96 model there is very little difference so go ahead and download that 1997 manual. This is also available on TIS: https://techinfo.toyota.com/techInfoPortal/resources/jsp/siviewer/index.jsp?dir=om/OM12671U&locale=en&openSource=TechinfoPrelogin (try to copy/paste this link if it doesn't work)
- Repair Manual. The repair manual is in two volumes. The first covers the Engine (NOT including the transmission). The second volume covers the chassis (and transmission is counted as part of this), body and electrical. If you're buying the repair manual on eBay you should make sure you get both volumes, unless you are specifically only interested in one of them. The obvious benefit to having the repair manuals is that you're getting all the information you need for a repair, directly from the horse's mouth. There are a few disadvantages too: The repair manuals assume you have access to a full set of tools found in a shop. A lot of procedures also assume you are working with the engine removed from the car even when this is technically not needed. It is sometimes also overly complicated. But despite all these disadvantages it's an invaluable source for any serious DIYer. The repair manual is frequently seen on eBay, and it shouldn't matter too much which model year (93 through 97) you're getting, but obviously if you can find an exact match that might work the best.
- Transaxle Repair Manual. The second volume of the Corolla repair manual covers the transaxle, but a majority of the content is devoted to troubleshooting (more than 50% of the pages). There is a separate set of repair manuals dedicated to the specific transaxle in your Corolla, with more detailed disassembly/assembly instructions. For the 7A-FE engine with an automatic transmission the transmission repair manual to get is the one for the A245E. Like the Corolla repair manual, the transaxle repair manuals are also often seen used on eBay.
- Haynes. The quality of Haynes guides vary from vehicle model to vehicle model. The one covering the 7th gen is "decent". And unlike the factory manuals it's written with the DIYer in mind, so it has some practical information of how to do things even when you're not sitting with a full shop at your disposal. You might find it at your local library, or buy at a bookstore. Right now walmart.com sells it for cheap.
- Chilton's. The impression I get is that it's slightly more inaccurate than Haynes for the 7th gen Corolla, for example there are several torque values that users on this forum have discovered are way out of whack. In addition to the print version there's an online version that some libraries give you access to for free (check with your local library). You might also find the print edition at your local library or buy it in a bookstore.
- Autozone.com. The more I compare Chilton's and autozone.com's repair manuals online, the more I'm convinced that autozone.com's repair manuals are just rebranded Chilton's. It's completely free though, which is great.
- alldatadiy.com - home of online factory repair manuals. You pay a fee to access.