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Toyota Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems for 34 Toyota models based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

The 2005-2008 Toyota Matrix 1.8L I4 models have issues with the circuit board in the electronic control module (ECM) cracking. There is no advanced warning for the issue, and when it occurs drivers will experience:

  • Harsh shifting
  • Possible check engine light
  • Engine stalling while driving

Toyota issued a recall for this issue, and notes the need to replace the ECU if this problem occurs. 

The 2001-2003 Toyota Highlander with the 3.0L V6 engine has a known issue with the valves that if left unchecked, will cause burned valves and engine performance issues. 

The engine ‘breathes’ through valves that are pushed open by the camshaft, and closed by springs. When valves are closed, they seal against a valve seat. In this vehicle, the valve seat is too soft, so after the valve contacts it thousands of times, it becomes crushed. Once it is crushed, the valve can no longer make a proper seal, and the valves erode due to extreme temperature (burnt valve).

Symptoms related to this issue:

To repair the burnt valves, the cylinder head must be removed and rebuilt, which is a costly internal engine repair, however, this issue can be prevented through inspection and adjustment of valve clearances every 40,000 miles.

Intermittent failure of a purge control valve in the evaporative emission system can cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate. A failed valve should be replaced to correct this problem.

The motor for the rear window sunshade in the Toyota Avalon is known to fail. When this occurs, the sunshade will not extend down the window, and a grinding noise is heard until the motor fails as well. 

Replacement of the sunshade assembly is necessary to correct this failure, however, removing the fuse for the sunshade will stop the motor from making the irritating grinding noise. 

At higher mileages, (125,000-150,000) the automatic transmission may not shift correctly. This can be caused by the throttle position sensor being out of adjustment or a shift solenoid needing to be replaced. Typically the transmission does not need to be completely overhauled.

The Check Engine Light may illuminate due to an evaporative emission (EVAP) system fault. Our technicians tell us these EVAP system faults can be difficult to diagnose but it is not uncommon to find a failed charcoal canister or a loose or worn gas cap.

The engine mount on the passenger side of the car can wear out on cars with high mileage. This will put extra stress on the other mounts and the faulty mount will need to be replaced.

The automatic transmission may not shift correctly. This can be caused by the throttle position sensor being out of adjustment or a shift solenoid needing to be replaced. Typically the transmission does not need to be completely overhauled.

The Check Engine Light may illuminate with code P0770 and/or P0773 stored. This would indicate a fault with the 3-way lock-up solenoid which could be defective and may need replacement.

A problematic center airbag sensor can cause the airbag malfunction light to illuminate.

Toyota issued a recall on the lower ball joint due to the possibility of premature wear from improper finishing in production. The ball joints will be replaced under the recall. There are two separate recalls combined here, one applies to 2002-2004 and the second to 2004-2006 Models.  Please contact you local Toyota dealer to see if your vehicle is included.