The Toyota Corolla is a sophisticated car with a complex computer system. This controls and monitors the car’s performance around the clock. Part of that computer system is the On-Board Diagnostics tool (OBD). The OBD checks the car’s emission control system before you drive it. If one test fails, or the OBD doesn’t complete the test for some reason, you’ll see the Not Ready to Drive light turned on.
The Not Ready to Drive light turns on in the Toyota Corolla when the OBD has not finished with its checks. It performs checks on the engine, transmission, fuel system, and other components of the emission control system. It could also indicate a problem with the battery, or a recent reset or update of the car’s computer system.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of allowing the OBD enough time to run its tests before it declares the car ready to go. But at other times, the problem can be more serious than that and will require action on your part. Read more to find out what the Not Ready To Drive message is all about, and what you can do to resolve it.
What to Do If Your Toyota Corolla Not Ready to Drive Light is On
More often than not, the “Not Ready” light will come on after major car repairs, or after replacing the battery. If that’s the case, then you should take the car for a drive between 30 to 100 miles long. After this prolonged drive cycle, the “Not Ready” light will go off on its own. This gives the computer system time to identify, reset and recalibrate the new components that have been replaced.
But, if the car complains that it’s not ready to drive even though you haven’t done any repairs, then you should check the battery. Either the battery is bad, or some of the connections are loose. This problem could be fixed by either tightening the cables connected to the battery, or installing a new battery. If the battery is actually brand new, check its voltage output. Some battery brands are not good even when new.
One other problem has to do with resetting the data in the computer system due to a recent update or repair work. Technicians at the garage will often delete the data in the car’s computer while fixing it. Without this data and test history, it will assess the car’s condition as incomplete or not ready to drive. In this case, it will take between 4 to 5 drive cycles before the Not Ready light goes off.
What Does it Mean When My Toyota Says Not Ready to Drive?
When your dashboard lights up with the Not Ready message, you have two choices. You could either just take the car for a drive cycle, or a few, or you could have to look under the hood for the possible causes. If it’s a software glitch, then you just need to give the computer system time to reset. It will perform its tests, and collect enough data to turn the light off on its own. But, if it’s a hardware problem, then you have to act.
The possible meanings of the Not Ready light turning on vary. The fixes range from the simple and easy to the costly and time-intensive. But we can sum them up as follows:
- The computer lost its stored car data during a recent repair. Without this data, the computer cannot declare the car ready to go and will turn the Not Ready light on.
- A new component such as a battery was replaced. The computer hasn’t had the time to recalibrate and incorporate the new component into its data yet.
- A new software update reset the computer data. It will take a few drive cycles for the computer to gather enough data and switch off the Not Ready message.
- Connection to the battery has been lost. If the computer cannot access the metrics of the battery, it will treat it as missing and declare the car not ready to drive.
- The battery is dead. If it’s a new battery, it’s not producing enough voltage to power the car.
- There’s a problem with the OBD tool itself and the computer cannot check itself.
Why is My Corolla Not Starting?
Apart from the Not Ready to Drive message, sometimes the Toyota Corolla will not start for other reasons. It could be a blown fuse, a weak or corroded battery, defective spark plugs, or some issues with the fuel pump. Here’s a summary of each cause and what to do about them:
- Battery Corrosion: If the cables connecting the battery are corroded, the car will not start due to low power flow. Try replacing the bad cables, or jump-start the car.
- Key Fob Battery Dead: The car won’t start because the key fob isn’t functioning. Try replacing the battery in the fob, or find a replacement key fob for the car.
- Clogged Fuel Filter: When dirt clogs the fuel filter, the fuel pressure drops and the engine doesn’t get enough fuel to power the car. Get the filter cleaned up or replace it with a new fuel filter and start the car.
- Blown Fuse: A blown fuse would prevent the car from starting. Get the fuse box checked in the workshop to replace any blown fuses.
- Defective Spark Plug: The engine needs working spark plugs to start. Dirt can cause spark plugs to malfunction, so you need to clean them. If not dirty, then the spark plug is defective and needs to be replaced.
What is The Not Ready to Drive Light For?
The “Not Ready to Drive” light in the Toyota Corolla has a single purpose. It should tell you if all is good with the car’s components and whether the car has passed the 11 tests the OBD does or not. The message is often related to the emission control system in the car. It can also relate to the battery, a software glitch, or even the loss of data in the car’s computer system.
What the message is asking you to do is to take the car to the workshop to have the emission system checked. But, if the Not Ready light is on and the car won’t even start, then you need to check the battery’s voltage output. It may not be enough to start the car. It could also be a malfunctioning thermostat. In this case, if the computer cannot get an accurate reading of the car’s internal temperature, the message will come on.
How Do You Reset The Not Ready to Drive Light?
If the Not Ready light is on because of data loss, software updates, or a recent battery replacement, take the car for a drive cycle to reset the light. If the problem is related to a dead battery or malfunctioning hardware, you will need to take it to a mechanic.
Here’s how to do a full drive cycle:
- Fill the tank about three-quarters full with fuel then leave the car parked for 8 hours.
- After 8 hours, start the car and let it idle for 2-3 minutes. Turn on the A/C and rear defroster.
- Take the car to the highway and drive it for 10 minutes. The engine speed should be around 3,200 RPM.
- Drive back inside the city for another 20 minutes where the engine speed doesn’t go below 900 RPM.
- Stop at traffic lights and let the car idle between 10 to 30 seconds at a time.
The Not Ready to Drive light in the Toyota Corolla means the computer system hasn’t finished inspecting the emissions. In this case, taking it for a drive cycle should fix the problem. If there is a hardware or battery problem, take the car to a workshop for a full checkup.