The recall covers vehicles from the 2005-2008 model years sold in North America. Three accidents and one minor injury have been reported, though Toyota said a link to the engine issue has not been confirmed.
The automaker said vehicles with 1ZZ-FE engines may contain a defective engine control module, the computer that regulates the performance of the engine. In some cases, a crack may develop on the module's circuit board, which could prevent the engine from starting, harsh shifting or an engine stall.
Toyota said it will replace the engine control modules on the recalled vehicles at no charge. It will begin mailing notifications to customers with affected Corollas and Matrixes starting in mid-September.
Toyota Motor Corp. has recalled more than 10 million vehicles worldwide over the past year for a range of problems, including faulty gas pedals, floor mats that can trap accelerators and braking problems in its Prius hybrid.
Federal regulators have been investigating the possibility of engine stalls in the Corolla and Matrix models since December and intensified their probe earlier this week.
Toyota shares fell 34 cents to $68.72.