Toyota Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Toyota as reported by 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

On vehicles with a manual transmission, worn shift bushings can cause the transmission to pop out of gear, especially when coasting down in 1st or 2nd gear. Replacing all the shift linkage bushings is pretty straight forward and not expensive and will commonly correct this concern.

Vehicles equipped with rear passenger heating may have issues with the engine coolant lines that supply warm coolant to the rear heater.

These lines frequently leak, causing engine overheating and coolant dripping on or around the passenger side rear wheel.

To correct the leak, the hoses must be replaced.

To prevent the leak, the coolant should be flushed and replaced every 24-36 months.

The 1996-2002 Toyota 4Runner with the automatic transmission may develop an issue which is commonly known as the "strawberry milkshake".

The name is based on the color and consistency of the fluid found in the coolant reservoir, transmission, and radiator.

The radiator on these models has an isolated portion for cooling automatic transmission fluid(ATF) that is pumped in and out by the transmission. This area of the radiator is known to rupture internally, and the following occurs:

  • Transmission overheating warning light
  • Transmission slipping (engine revs high and vehicle moves slowly)
  • Engine overheating
  • ATF and engine coolant mix in the radiator, engine, and transmission

Engine coolant in the transmission can cause severe damage, and if not caught immediately may require replacement or rebuild of the automatic transmission.

To correct the situation, the radiator must be replaced, and the engine cooling system must be flushed thoroughly. Also, the transmission will need to be professionally flushed, inspected, and possibly repaired or replaced.

To prevent this from occurring, proactive replacement of the radiator is necessary and recommended.

The power steering pump and power steering hoses tend to develop leaks, particularly in the V6 models.

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.

Some engines have had the problem of the crankshaft pulley bolt coming loose. This will make a rattling noise as the engine idles. Our technicians tell us that the pulley bolt should have a thread locker applied and then retorqued.

The center multi-function display may failure. This is commonly caused by poorly soldered internal connection. Our technicians tell us that these display panels can be successfully repaired or reconditioned by a shop specializing in such repairs.

Corrosion protection for the frame of the 2000-2003 Toyota Tundra is insufficient for the rear crossmember, under the truck bed. The crossmember is designed for chassis rigidity, truck bed support, and mounting for other components. When the crossmember rusts through there is a loss of rigidity, and can be metal-on-metal vibration from the truck bed. 

Toyota has addressed the issue by applying a new coating to the rear of the frame when this issue arises. If deep rusting is present, the crossmember must be replaced. 

Proper cleaning of the frame, especially in locations where road salts are used, can help protect the coating. 

Four wheel drive models of the 2007 Toyota Tundra may suffer from premature failure of the rear driveshaft (prop shaft). Failure occurs at the u-joint due to insufficient material strength for the application. 

When failure occurs, vibration increases with speed, and popping or clunking between gears is audible, especially when downshifting to accelerate or when shifting into drive or reverse. 

Toyota has issued a revised part which will resolve the issue.  

 

A defect in manufacturing may cause camshaft failure in the 2007 Toyota Tundra. The camshaft is too soft from the factory, and cam lobe wear is inevitable. This may cause:

  • Check engine light illumination
  • OBD trouble code p0300
  • Rough idle
  • Loss of power
  • Poor fuel economy
To correct the issue, the camshaft must be replaced using the revised part number. 
Maintaining the engine properly with the correct engine oil and oil change intervals can reduce the risk of camshaft failure. Also, letting the engine warm completely before any spirited driving or towing will help.

Loud rattling or loud slapping may be heard from the engine on the 1995-2004 Toyota Tacoma with the 2.7L I4 engine. 

These noises has two known causes: a failed balance shaft bearing, and a failed timing chain tensioner. 

The balance shaft, also known as the counter rotating assembly, is installed to reduce engine vibration, and counter the rotational force of the crankshaft and camshafts. When the bearing fails, it will rattle loudly, and the timing chain will produce a metallic slapping noise. The rattle has been described as shaking a can of marbles. 

The timing chain tensioner is also known to fail, allowing the timing chain to contact the timing chain housing. This produces a metallic slapping noise coming from the front of the engine, but there is no "can of marbles" sound associated. This would not indicate balance shaft failure, but the timing chain may need to be replaced.  

To repair these issues inspection of the entire timing chain system will be necessary, and replacement of the timing chain, timing chain guides, balance shafts, timing chain tensioner, and associated seals may be necessary. 

Avoiding these issues may be possible by early oil changes, and using the factory specified engine oil. 

Loud rattling or loud slapping may be heard from the engine on the 1996-2002 Toyota 4Runner with the 2.7L I4 engine. 

These noises has two known causes: a failed balance shaft bearing, and a failed timing chain tensioner. 

The balance shaft, also known as the counter rotating assembly, is installed to reduce engine vibration, and counter the rotational force of the crankshaft and camshafts. When the bearing fails, it will rattle loudly, and the timing chain will produce a metallic slapping noise. The rattle has been described as shaking a can of marbles. 

The timing chain tensioner is also known to fail, allowing the timing chain to contact the timing chain housing. This produces a metallic slapping noise coming from the front of the engine, but there is no "can of marbles" sound associated. This would not indicate balance shaft failure, but the timing chain may need to be replaced.  

To repair these issues inspection of the entire timing chain system will be necessary, and replacement of the timing chain, timing chain guides, balance shafts, timing chain tensioner, and associated seals may be necessary. 

Avoiding these issues may be possible by early oil changes, and using the factory specified engine oil. 

The 1998-2003 Toyota Sienna 3.0L V6 may start and stall, or start and run at very low engine speeds when the engine is cold. 

The issue is a failed or dirty idle air control valve. This valve is mounted under the throttle body, and modulates airflow to the engine under certain conditions. When the valve becomes dirty, or when the valve fails, proper airflow to the engine is not achieved. This results in start and stall, and low RPM.  

To correct the issues, the idle air control valve will need to be tested, and cleaned or replaced. 

To help decrease the frequency of this issue, change the air filter no less than once per year. 

Debris can get into the idle air control valve. This will restrict the air flow into the engine, causing idle speed and/or stalling when cold. The valve can be cleaned or replaced to correct this concern.