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Old 11-08-2021, 11:12 AM   #1
Drives: 2009 Yaris (Sedan 4D)
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Vermont
Posts: 6
New 2009 Sedan Purchase (oh so touchy!)

Hi folks. I'm new on here and I just purchased my first car and it's a... 2009 Yaris Sedan 4D (automatic). It has 167K on it, bought if for $3.7K. Did't really need a car for last 15 years as I lived in US cities with transit as well as in Europe. Now we, me and the car that is, are in southern Vermont.

I've started driving recently and noticed that the accelerator is extremely sensitive! I touch the pedal barely and the car goes...whoosh, to a point of me no feeling extremely safe. I used to drive a VW Beetle before this and when I get behind that wheel, the accelerator feels so much slower and the car accelerates like a tank. Is anyone else having issues like this? Is it a safety issue? Anything I should do? I'm living on a budget right now, pretty simply, so I'd love to avoid putting much money into this old girl.

Any tips on what to watch out for, repairs & maintenance wise, to a first time car owner (woman and an engineer) would be oh so welcome! Looking forward to learning from old timers and sharing from my experience with you all as well!
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Old 11-08-2021, 04:17 PM   #2
kevinj93's Avatar
Drives: 2013 NCP130
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 379
My 2012 hatchback has the same throttle response. I have driven several other small cars with similar touchy throttles.

After a while I got used to it, and now have the opposite problem. If I drive our other car, a V6 Camry, I find the initial throttle response slow, and have to make a conscious effort to push harder when starting to move.
Running on standard AU 14" steel wheels (14x5 rims, 175/70R14 tyres). Added reversing camera and touch screen radio, cruise control, 16" rear wiper blade, tow bar and dash cam.
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Old 11-09-2021, 05:19 PM   #3
Drives: 2009 Yaris 2dr Liftback
Join Date: May 2019
Location: NYC
Posts: 58
These cars are drive by wire--meaning that the throttle on the car is controlled by a signal rather than a physical cable connected to the pedal. As such, the throttle is touchy on my car as well. Its not a safety issue, but you get quickly used to it.

For maintenance, these cars are very reliable, but if I were you, I would do the following to the car:
* Check to see if the car has coolant stains inside the engine bay or under the hood (this will tell you if the water pump is starting to fail). This appears to be the most common failure on the car.
* If you need to change the water pump, change the serpentine belt and the thermostat at the same time.
* Change the transmission fluid
* Do an oil change
* Check brake pads thickness and replace if needed
* Get some winter tires and another set of wheels for Vermont
* Change the cabin air filter and engine air filter

Optional cheap things to do to make the car look amazing:
* Wash, clay bar, and wax the car. It will look loads better when its nice and shiny
* Vacuum the inside of the car and wipe down surfaces. Shampoo carpet and seats if car smells bad.
* Get a headlight restoration kit (make sure you get one with clear coat application) this will get rid of those yellow headlights
* Get some new headlight bulbs (I like the Philips Crystal Vision because they are whiter than normal bulbs)

Optional expensive-ish things to do to make the ride more comfortable:
* Get the TRD rear sway bar. Essential for making the car feel more stable when driving. It eliminated highway swaying on my hatchback
* Get the TRD lowering springs and shocks from Toyota. They make the car handle much better on twisty roads. Will make the car much more comfortable especially if your car is still using the factory shocks.
* New speakers and radio. The stock speakers are atrocious and a new radio will give may options to connect to phone.

All in all, the throttle response is a quirk and nothing to be concerned about. Given the cars age, I would definitely address all of the maintenance items. Given the car's condition, it really deserves a good cleaning. The suspension, sway bars, and radio are all extra quality of life things, but I have found to be well worth it. Welcome to the forum, and enjoy your new ride!!
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Old 11-17-2021, 11:15 AM   #4
Drives: 2009 Yaris (Sedan 4D)
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Vermont
Posts: 6
Thanks so much for all of that, you... Yaris owner from NYC, whose name I do not know.

Before even receiving your maintenance tips, I already got 3 things checked off your last since purchasing, which I'm pretty happy about :)
- checked brake pads ( will need to be replaced soon-ish...)
- bought a pair of winter tires (Eldorado Arctic Claw... my options were very limited with 14" tires, upon calling many places; these were affordable)
- washed my car last week (does it really look THAT bad from the photo, hehe? :)

How frequently/at what mileage do folks usually change the water pump?
Also, same questions about the transmission fluid, oil change & air filters?

Beauty is important, and I'm all for driving a nicer looking car, but I'm more worried about some rust I'm seeing inside on the driver's door (around the door hinges). And I'm also considering putting an undercoating ($150), to protect it from further rust on the bottom, with our abundant rains here in VT. Pricey for me right now, but probably worth it...?

Last edited by Ennea; 11-17-2021 at 11:19 AM. Reason: grammar correction
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Old 11-18-2021, 08:35 PM   #5
Drives: 2009 Yaris 2dr Liftback
Join Date: May 2019
Location: NYC
Posts: 58
1) WATER PUMP: The water pump is responsible for circulating coolant to keep your engine temperature low. I dont believe that there is a specific mileage to replace this item. You just replace it when it starts to leak or fail. If you replace the water pump, you may as well replace the serpentine belt at the same time. This is the belt that powers the water pump, alternator, and AC condenser.

2) TRANSMISSION FLUID: Toyota states that transmission fluid does not need to be changed for excessively long intervals. Many smart people suggest a fluid change every 50,000 miles or so, as the longevity of the transmission will definitely increase.

3) ENGINE OIL: Stick to full synthetic oil as it can last longer than conventional. I change my oil when my light comes on (probably every 4000-5000 miles or six months).

4) AIR FILTERS: Cabin air filters are very cheap and I change mine every six months. It is something that anyone can do (its behind the glove box; no tools required). Engine air filter, I would change mine every year. Its also pretty easy to change; no tools required.

5) RUST: I do not have much experience with rust as I am originally from the south. From what I have gathered, I would look into a good "rust converter" or "rust reformer" coating to cover any surface rust. Undercoatings are a mixed bag. Some undercoating paints can chip and rust will form regardless. Many people swear by Fluid Film (oil based spray to be applied before every winter) as a seasonal undercoating.

All in all, just stick to the recommended Toyota maintenance schedule (except for the transmission fluid) and you should be good.
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Old 02-22-2022, 02:13 AM   #6
Drives: 2011 Yaris Sedan
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: GA
Posts: 73
Welcome and enjoy your first ride!
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Old 04-17-2022, 07:54 PM   #7
Drives: 2009 Yaris (Sedan 4D)
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Vermont
Posts: 6
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accelerator, newbie, sensitive

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