Toyota Hilux Problems: 4 Known Issues (Explained)

The Toyota Hilux is a series of pickup trucks manufactured by Toyota since 1968.

Toyota designed the Hilux as a compact pickup truck between 1968 to 2004, and from 2004, it became a mid-size pickup truck.  

Known for its durability and reliability, the Toyota Hilux has enjoyed massive worldwide popularity for decades.

However, even giants have their weaknesses; hence, in this article, we’ll be talking about some of the Toyota Hilux’s most common problems.

1. Problems With the Turbo

There have been several complaints about the Toyota Hilux’s turbo. The complaints border on palpable absence of power and unpleasant dark smoke emerging from the exhaust.

Some owners also claimed to hear a strange noise from the turbo, which is also sinister. Turbo issues eventually result in complete loss of boost pressure, which is why they require immediate attention.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Below are some of the reasons for the Hilux’s problems and solutions:

Lack of Proper Lubrication

Every car needs engine oil and lubricants, especially for the moving parts, as it helps ward off corrosion and keep them in smooth conditions.

The turbo also needs a regular flow of clean oil to keep it perfectly functional.

When the turbo lacks oil or is supplied with poor-quality oil, contaminants will almost certainly show up and cause serious damage. 

Defective Seals

There are some seals between the compressor and the engine, and if they wear out, the oil will leak all the way into the exhaust. Consequently, this will place an unusual burden on the turbo to increase the air pressure.

Eventually, it will reduce the boost delivered by the turbocharger.

Strange Objects

The compressor and the turbine are two of the turbo’s fundamental components. Unfortunately, both of these components have inlets that may provide entry for objects like dirt, small stones, leaves, and the likes.

If this happens, it will reduce the turbo’s efficiency, as the objects often damage the compressor’s wheels and turbine’s blades.

The best preventive measure against this is having the air filter serviced and changed regularly.

Worn Out Turbo

Turbochargers are often expected to last as long as 150,000 miles. However, they may wear out earlier than that, depending on your driving habits and the quality of the turbo. Here, the way to go is to replace the pipe.

What to Do

Not every turbo problem will require pipe replacement; some might just need proper lubricants or air filter replacement. This is why we’d advise that you check in with an auto technician for the best course of action.

Related: How Long Do Toyota Hilux Last (8 Important Facts)

2. Truck Having Difficulty Starting

One of the Toyota Hilux’s most common problems is misfiring and starting problems. The often suspected reason for this is a problem with the fuel injectors.

The problem is most common with Toyota Hilux variants that run on common rail diesel engines. Other possible symptoms include strong fuel odor, fuel leak, vibrating engine, and check engine light coming on, amongst others.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Below are possible causes and solutions to the starting problems:

Faulty Fuel Injection System

The fuel injection system is crucial to the smooth running of a diesel engine. It helps supply fuel to the injectors and also makes adjustments to fuel quantity and timing.

Fuel injectors facilitate optimal fuel efficiency and keep emissions cleaner.

Most fuel injectors will last for about 100,000 miles. However, they are vulnerable to clogging and may wear out. Clogged or worn out fuel injectors may lead to engine misfiring or difficult starting.

The solution to this is cleaning the fuel injector or replacing it with a new one.

Defective Glow Plugs

Glow plugs warm up the engine cylinder to facilitate effective fuel combustion. On cold mornings when starting proves tricky, they help in warming the engine cylinders.

So, if the glow plugs become bad or faulty, it could hinder the engine’s performance and lead to misfiring and hard starting.

What to Do

As we have seen earlier, hard starting or misfiring problems are likely problems with your fuel injectors or glow plugs. However, we advise reporting the issue to your dealer or a trusted auto expert to pinpoint the issue and find a lasting solution.

Related: 11 Toyota 4Runner Statistics You Should Know (Facts & Numbers)

3. Oil Leak From the Crank Seal

The Toyota Hilux has faced myriads of criticisms bordering on oil leaks from the vehicle’s crank seal. Thankfully, the oil leaks are easily noticeable because they often form puddles underneath the truck.

This problem often signifies a fault with the crank seal, which should be attended to as soon as possible before it worsens.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Below are some of the reasons your crank seal has been leaking oil:

Harsh Weather

The crank seal is made of rubber, and its elasticity makes it vulnerable to excessive temperatures. Eventually, the crank seal would shrink and give out completely, leading to an oil leak.

High Mileage

If you have completed over 100,000 miles with your truck, it is normal that your crank seal gives out. The best course of action is to have the crank seal replaced.

Faulty Installation

A lot of owners complain about the crank seal leaking a short while after getting a replacement. If this happens, don’t be in a hurry to replace the component again. It is likely a problem with the installation. Installing the crank seal is not as easy as it may seem and it’s better handled by professionals.

What to Do

If you suspect your Hilux has a faulty crank seal, we advise letting a professional check it out for you. Taking matters into your own hands may be very risky as crank seals are delicate components and are best handled by experts.

4. Difficulty Going Into the 5th Gear

A good number of Toyota Hilux owners have also complained about unusual difficulty going into the fifth gear. This portends a problem with the manual transmission and should be attended to immediately.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Here are potential causes and solutions for this issue:

Bad Synchronizer Ring

The synchronizer ring is crucial to the transmission system as it helps you engage the gear. It’s the reason you can engage your gears and expect them to respond accordingly.

If you have difficulty going into any of the gears, there is a good chance the problem is with the synchronizer ring.

Faulty Gear

Most manual transmissions have gear 1 to gear 5. Each gear has something like a double tooth, which receives the synchro’s engagement with the hub sleeves. However, if these teeth get damaged or worn out, it becomes difficult to use the gear.

Bad Hub Gear

The hub gear is responsible for engagement between two different gears. For example, there is a hub gear between the 4th gear and the 5th gear. If the hub gear is damaged or worn out, it could cause problems for the transmission.

What to Do

If you have issues with the 5th gear on your Toyota Hilux or any of the gears, it’d be better to get it across to a trusted technician.

Related: How Long Do Toyota Engines Last? (Solved!)

General Pros and Cons

Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the Toyota Hilux:


Here are some of the selling points of the Hilux:

Excellent Off-road Performance

The Toyota Hilux is an all-terrain cruiser with a type of ruggedness many of its competitors can only dream of. There is a double-wishbone system right at the front and a rigid axle at the back that helps it survive the grimmest of roads.

There is also a Hilux variant known as the 4×4, which comes with a differential lock and auto connect differential. These features will give the Toyota Hilux incredibly smooth traction on difficult terrain. 

Diverse Variants

We can’t all have the same taste, and this is true even when the subject is pickup trucks. Thankfully, Toyota took this into consideration by giving you 13 Hilux variants to choose from. There are cab and chassis models, the 4×4 for major off-roaders, 4×2, automatic, manual, etc.

Splendid City Driving

While the Toyota Hilux is a beast in off-road conditions, it is perfect for city drives as well. It is endowed with a suspension system that provides just the right amount of stability needed on city roads.

Hilux owners also enjoy great steering that gives you incredible precision and allows you to maneuver the busiest of roads.

Entertaining and Warm Interior

The Toyota Hilux also boasts a user-friendly interior system that is simple and uncomplicated to control. That includes an eight-inch touchscreen display, Apple Car Play, Android Auto, Bluetooth, USB ports, and six banging speakers.

Top Safety Features

The Toyota Hilux comes with a variety of top-tier safety features that are designed to aid safe driving. The features include standard SRS airbags, Anti-Lock Brakes, vehicle stability control, hill start assist control, downhill assist control, etc.

Massive Towing Capacity

Pickups are almost always expected to tow and the Toyota Hilux is born ready for any towing services you may require.

It offers a 1 ton (2204 pounds) payload and a 3.5 tonne (7716 pounds) towing capacity, making it a massive load-lugging beast.


  • Problems With the Turbo
  • Truck Has Difficulty Starting
  • Oil Leak From the Crank Seal
  • Difficulty Going Into yhe 5th Gear

What Do the Reviews Say?

The Toyota Hilux is a predictably unpretentious machine, and its attempts to court lifestyle truck buyers have done little to alienate its core following while rounding off some of its rougher on-road manners. The cabin remains grim in areas, and it’s a cumbersome beast to helm around, but if anything, that’s a constant reminder this isn’t a vehicle to pose in – it’s a tool, a faithful workhorse, and a dependable business partner.

Source: Top Gear

If reliability is your primary pickup concern, the Toyota Hilux is an excellent starting point. That it’s also comfortable, very capable off-road, and able to tow up to 3,500kg means it’s a versatile all-rounder as well.

Source: Parker

The Hilux is as tough as ever. Despite the changes to appeal to some SUV-minded buyers as well as the usual commercial market, the Hilux has lost none of its go-anywhere, over-anything, ability.

Source: Auto Car

What Is The Resale Value Of the Toyota Hilux?

The Toyota Hilux is currently unavailable in the United States and the Toyota Tacoma is considered its replacements. Below are resale prices in the U.K.

Model Year Mileage Price
2016 Toyota Hilux 23,361 miles £26,595
2018 Toyota Hilux 23,000 miles £29,995
2019 Toyota Hilux 15,081 £32,995
2020 Toyota Hilux 7,246 miles £33,000

Go Back: Problems for each Toyota model.

Was this article helpful? Like Dislike

Click to share...

Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)

ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.