2004 Toyota MR2 Spyder Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 2004 Toyota MR2 Spyder 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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5
Known Problems

Drivers of the Toyota MR2 Spyder may notice excessive oil consumption between oil changes, even to the extent of the engine oil warning light displayed on the multi-function display.

This issue is known to be caused by infrequent oil changes causing engine sludge, or worn piston rings. 

The engine should be cleaned of oil sludge, and if oil consumption remains excessive, the engine may need new piston rings, or other internal components replaced. 

To avoid this issue, change the engine oil and filter every 3,000 miles, and ensure the proper grade of oil is used. 

The MR2 Spyder 1.8L 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.

Manual transmission models of the MR2 Spyder tend to slip out of gear while driving. This is because the bushings that support the shift lever wear out very quickly, and prevent the shifter from placing the vehicle firmly in gear.

The remedy for the issue is to replace the bushings.

If left unchecked, the transmission may be subject to undue and premature wear.

The timing chain tensioner is designed to use oil pressure to keep tension on the timing chain. When it develops a leak, it can no longer provide tension, and the timing chain will begin to make a slapping or rattling sound at all times.

If left in this condition, the timing chain may fail, leading to costly internal engine repair.

To correct this issue the timing chain tensioner must be replaced with the revised part.

Occasionally the timing chain and sprockets need replacement due to premature wear and problems with the variable valve timing system (VVTi).