December 10

How Are Toyota Cars For Reliability?

Auto Repair, Toyota


How reliable are Toyota cars?

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with award winning mechanic and auto repair specialist, Mr. Bernie Pawlik in Vancouver, BC. How’re you tonight Bernie?

Bernie: Excellent, enjoying the rainy Vancouver weather.

Mark: So, we’re talking about Toyotas. Toyota has been a top seller for a really long time they have a great reliability record. So are they all that they supposed to be?

Bernie: Yeah, absolutely, we’ve worked on Toyota cars for years. I personally own an old 1966 Crown Station Wagon, you’d have to Google it to see what it looks like, it’s a pretty bizarre looking vehicle. So, yes, we’ve worked on them for years in all shapes and forms from old 1970 Corolla’s to modern Corolla’s, Prius, Land Cruisers, Toyota pick ups – they’re not perfect, but they are a very good vehicle. They deserve the reputation they’ve got.

Mark: What kind of issues do you find with Toyotas?

Bernie: Well, most modern Toyotas require very little work of any sort, just basic maintenance, oil changes, some fluid changes now and again, the odd brake job which is normal on any car. On some of the more recent Toyotas, we’ve seen some water pump failures when the cars are five years old or a bit older, the water pumps seem to be a common failure item. Toyota at one time used timing belts in pretty well all their engines, but they seem to have gone away from that, most engines don’t have timing belts so that piece of maintenance is gone. Historically, Toyotas have been a bit finicky with oil changes, and what I mean by that, is that you need to change the oil regularly on a Toyota, you can’t go long periods of time over the oil change interval. I mean, that’s bad for any car, but for some cars you can get away with them, but Toyotas you can’t. Engines get damaged, and especially a modern Toyota, they’ve got variable valve timing, they’ve got double overhead cam with timing chains, those components are really sensitive to oil and when it gets old and dirty, it wrecks them fast and it costs a fortune to fix. So you don’t want to mess around with it, change your oil regularly.

Mark: So, there was that whole kerfuffle about the unintended acceleration issues – whatever happened with that?

Bernie: Well, first off there’s no concern with that today, Toyota has fixed whatever issue was going on with that and I think it was not as big a problem as the media made it out to be. I think the media grabbed the story, they went crazy, they just went nuts with it – as they often do with certain things. Sure there were problems and a few people died, sadly but Toyota took care of it, they fixed it. I ‘m not really a conspiracy theorist but you have to wonder about the timing of that whole issue, the American car industry was sliding down, GM which used to be number one in the world was now not number one, Toyota was number one, just kinda makes you wonder whether they fuelled the fire. There’s an interesting statistic is that if you look at the NTHSA – which is an American transportation safety authority, their report on unintended vehicle acceleration from 2002 to 2009 shows that Toyota actually has very low reports about 21,000 cars, whereas GM has 77,000 and Ford has 63,000 and Chrysler has 56,000. Each manufacturer has almost double or triple what Toyota had and yet we never hear in the news anything about the American cars doing that. So kind of interesting, something to think about. So, yeah, they’re great reliable cars.

Mark: Are there any things about Toyota that you don’t like?

Bernie: Well, this is probably being a little nit picky, but I do find them kind of plain. Often people will ask me, I want to buy a reliable car – I’ll say buy a Toyota. I’m not that drawn to them myself, I find them kind of plain. They don’t have anything that’s all that sporty, they’re all a little bit lack lustre, but they’re very reliable and solidly built. In the pizzazz department they lack a little bit, but you know if that’s not important to you, they make really good cars. If you’re wanting to go a little more upscale, you can always look at a Lexus. They make some nice sporty cars, fancier, same Toyota reliability just in a fancier package. And that’s a subject for a future hangout.

Mark: So Toyota is big with hybrids. What do you think of them?

Bernie: As far as hybrids go, Toyota is definitely king. They’ve invested a lot of money in hybrids, they’ve made a lot of different models, they’ve sold a lot of them. It’s a good thing that Toyota cars are reliable because a hybrid car is really complicated. You’ve got a very sophisticated gasoline engine coupled to basically to an electronic transmission drive motor with all the electronic controls – there’s a lot to go wrong with them. If you want a hybrid, you want something that’s really reliable as Toyota has definitely proved itself to be. When things go wrong with the hybrid, it can be really expensive. We had a Highlander Hybrid a little while ago, the inverter blew on it – over $7,000 for the part. Fortunately for these folks, they were from the US, and there happens to be a recall on that particular part in the US – but not in Canada for some reason but in the US. So they got it fixed for free but they were considering junking the vehicle because the cost was so high. That’s something that can go wrong with a hybrid, but it’s extremely rare. But as time goes by, more things will happen. The other thing, if you’re considering buying a hybrid, it’s really important to do the math. How much gas do you need, a hybrid will save you on gas around the city, but not so much if you’re doing a lot of highway driving. so you’ve got to know what kind of driving you’re doing, where you’re doing it. There are a lot of other options to like you might be better to get a TDI Diesel or some of the Mazda’s with the Skyactiv Technology get really high gas mileage… there’s lots of other options. The thing with the hybrid, do the math first.

Mark: Well, we’ve talked about this before, but as a proud TDI owner I did the math and it was clear, for me which was the better choice. So do you have any other thoughts about Toyota?

Bernie: No, really they’re great cars. The only thing I’d say about them is, they’re great cars because they’re built well but they also need good maintenance. If you’re looking for a great shop, we’ve worked on Toyotas a lot over the years, we have a lot of expertise on Toyotas from old simple models to modern hybrids. We keep up with all the technology. So we at Pawlik Automotive can take care of it for you. Do you oil changes, do your maintenance and that Toyota will keep going for ever and ever. That’s my final thought.

Mark: Thanks a lot Bernie, so we’ve been talking with voted Best in Vancouver for the 12th time, Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or at their amazing website, – we’ve had comments from as far away as Pittsburg, PA people writing, raving about how good the site is. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark, we’ll talk again soon

Mark: You bet, bye

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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