New here. Joined for help on recent issues with 2009 Corolla

Hello all,

I just joined because our Corolla recently started having some (what appears to be) serious issues. Of course this all occurred at 9pm the night before I flew out of town at 6am on business for 9 days, so my knowledge is limited, but here's where I'm at.

2009 Corolla XLE
Approximately 123k miles
Plugs & coils replaced probably 4-5 years ago
Recently (as in a month or two ago) cleaned throttle body using throttle body cleaner, as well as cleaned the MAF sensor using MAF cleaner

I daily commute it approx 50 miles round trip each day. Overall its been running fine, except occasionally when I come to a quick stop or am idling at a stop sign etc. I'll see the RPM's drop to approx. 500-600 RPM's and the car will mildly shake a little, then it'll automatically go back up to 800-900 RPMs. It doesn't appear to make a difference if I turn off AC/Defrost etc. or not. If I take the car out of gear (removes load) the RPM's will rise to 1k-1100 and hold there. Once you put it back into gear you can see them drop.

Anyways, the night before I flew out, car drove fine all day. Had to run an errand that night and had to go through very heavy downpour on freeway on my way to errand (not sure if relevant or not) where we were doing 40mph on the freeway because it was raining so hard. Got to place fine, let sit approx an hour, then fired it back up and started driving back home (only one exit away from home) and the car started shaking pretty hard, the Check Engine Light started flashing, the VSC Light was flashing, and the Traction Control Off light was illuminated solid.

I shut the car off and on to see if it cycled it and changed anything, then after some debate, decided to drive it home (I know I shouldn't of) since it was only an exit from home, I didn't want to deal with a tow truck etc. and it was now late, and I had to be up for an early morning flight the next morning.

On the drive home, the car didn't want to rev very high, had no power, didn't want to shift well, and wouldn't go past approx 40mph at times. It didn't smoke. I made it home, shut it down, and just went to bed since I had to be on the road early the next morning and could drive my truck to the airport.

So of course there's got to be some codes that need to be scanned, and they would be way more helpful to you all, but since I don't have those yet here is where I'm thinking I should start:
-Spark Plugs
-Coil packs
-Gas Cap (doubtful, but will check)
-Air filter clogged by something
-Loose wiring/connections

Again, I know once I have some codes it'll help point me in the right direction, but anything I'm missing? It seems like the car wasn't firing the cylinders right, mis-firing etc.

Any input would be greatly appreciated. I'm fortunate enough to have another vehicle at home I can drive (it just isn't as economical on fuel) until I get this figured out. I'm pretty handy when it comes to wrenching on vehicles, and hope this ends up being something simpler that I can handle myself.
iv had vsc and traction control go on once and it was my dipstick not back in totally (i have to push it all the way down)

i bet these lights came on because air was passing in the dip stick hole

the car wouldnt shift over 3rd gear while this was happening... i had recently started checked the oil frequently, so maybe that wouldnt happen to you because you probably put the dipstick all the way back in...
Thanks for the replies so far. I'll check the dip stick. @fishycomics I agree timing seems likely. @cochiseG that is a really interesting evaluation. I wouldn't guess that would cause issues, because there "shouldn't" be air being sucked in past the oil, but I could definitely be wrong. I'll check that too.
I know... must be pressure related... i had my dad go on a drive with me after i had put the dipstick back in because it didnt solve the problem lights at first but i think the car restarted shifting in 4th on second start when we went around the block... he try did something with the cars keys (on-off multiple times) to try to reset something and the lights went off later
sounds like ignition coil. its a process of elimination to check them while running and taking each one out of the equation. same thing happened to me while driving to work one day. i replace all 4 and kept one of the good ones as a spare.

hope this helps!



Super Moderator
well seems the vsc and traction comes on with any related issue,with a dead bat go figure that one out. so I am sure this issue was resolved can we have an Update on it?