Toyota Yaris Problems: 4 Known Issues (Explained)

The Toyota Yaris is a subcompact car manufactured and sold by Toyota since 1999.

It is renowned for its superb handling, fancy interior, and exquisite safety features, amongst others. This has earned the Yaris stellar ratings from critics and consumers alike, making it one of the very best subcompacts.

Despite its impressive quality, the Toyota Yaris, like most other vehicles, has its fair share of problems. We will take a deep look at the most common problems with the Toyota Yaris below.

1. Dangerous Air Bag Malfunction

We found several complaints about the Toyota Yaris airbags across different platforms.

On Carproblemzoo particularly, owners reported no less than 395 airbag issues for Toyota Yaris models since 1999.

Below is a categorization of the most reported airbag issues:

Airbag Failure During Crash

Scores of owners reported that their Yaris’ airbags failed to deploy during a crash, which put them in grave danger. Some of the owners suffered mild injuries, while others suffered very serious injuries requiring urgent medical attention and were lucky to have survived.

The airbag failure is common with Toyota Yaris models with over 60,000 miles on the odometer. However, a particular Yaris driver reported experiencing airbag failure as early as just 10,000 miles.

Side/Window Airbag Failure

A few owners also reported specific problems with the Yaris’ passenger-side airbags. The owners consider it unsafe to carry passengers in their car and also complained about the manufacturer’s sluggishness in fixing the problem.

Airbag Indicator Permanently Switched On

Some Toyota Yaris owners have also lodged complaints about the vehicle’s airbag warning light. Apparently, the airbag warning light on some Toyota Yaris models has stayed on for as long as two years or more.

A couple of owners also reported that the warning light stayed on during a crash, and the airbags did not deploy.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Airbag issues have plagued the Toyota Yaris across several model years. This is exactly why it’s pertinent to find out the causes and proffer workable solutions. Below are the causes of airbag issues:

  • Defective Wiring: When the airbags’ wiring is defective, whether before or upon crash/collision impact, the airbags become practically useless and will not deploy.
  • Faulty Electrical Components: During a crash, if some of the airbags respond and others do not, it’s usually a result of defective electrical components. It could be that the electrical components were haphazardly installed or designed improperly.
  • Defective Airbag Sensor: If the airbags in your Toyota Yaris fail to deploy, the problem may be with the sensors. An improperly designed or shabbily tested sensor will likely fail to detect a crash and trigger the airbags.
  • Depleted Backup Battery: A drained battery is one of the major reasons behind the airbag light staying on for a strangely long time. One way to resolve this issue is to recharge the battery.
  • Faulty Clock Spring: The airbag clock spring helps maintain the much-needed connection between the airbags and the wiring. If it wears out, the spring sends a report of some sort to the airbag control module, which could trigger the light.


• Reset the airbag light to turn it off

• Fix the clock spring

• Recharge the backup battery

Ultimately, we advise contacting your dealer or mechanic for diagnosis and a proper fix.

Related: Toyota Yaris In Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

2. Service Brakes Malfunction

On Carproblemzoo, Toyota Yaris owners reported 102 problems relating to the vehicle’s service brakes. Below is a categorization of some of the specific issues with the Toyota Yaris’ service brakes:

Brake Light Switched on Intermittently

Some Toyota Yaris owners reported that the brakes light up unprovoked on different occasions. One owner reported noticing that the brake light illuminates during winter, and it turns off once winter is gone.

Many other owners also complained the brake light lit up alongside the anti-lock brakes light. The problem is common even with cars under two years old.

Brake Failure

Toyota Yaris owners also complained about a reduction in brake force and outright brake failure on the go. Some of the owners suffered severe and near-fatal injuries as a result of collisions caused by the brake failure.

Anti-Lock Brake Sensor Problems

There have also been reports about a problem with the anti-lock brake sensors. Owners say the problem causes the anti-lock brakes to fail to activate or activate at inappropriate times.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Below are possible reasons for the problems with the Toyota Yaris’ service brakes:

  • Low brake fluid
  • Worn out brake light bulbs
  • Malfunctioning Anti-Lock Brake module
  • Faulty brake pads/rotors


We advise that you consult a professional for proper diagnosis. This will help figure out what exactly the problem is and how much money/time it will take to fix it.

3. Coat and Paint Peeling

Car Complaints listed this as the worst Toyota Yaris problem, and further information revealed that it is mostly found in 2008 models.

Many of the owners complained that the car paint peeled in several areas, including the rear bumper, roof, and doors, amongst others. The owners also alleged that the manufacturer is refusing to acknowledge the problem.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Watching your beloved car peel off and become a shadow of itself is a very difficult situation to be in. Let’s look at some of the reasons why this may be happening:

  • Sun Exposure: The ultraviolet rays of the sun could be the reason your Toyota Yaris’ paint has been peeling off. Prolonged exposure to the sun will weaken the car’s coating and eventually result in the paint fading or peeling off.
  • Reckless Use of Chemical Cleaners: While it is true that chemical cleaners help with cleaning the cars more thoroughly, they could also prove harmful to the paint. Hence, it is important that owners dilute the cleaners as instructed by the makers and rinse them off properly.
  • Scratches and Chips: Your car has a clear coat which serves to prevent the passage of any harmful substance to the paint. However, the clear coat can be damaged by tiny chips and scratches, which gradually opens the door to harmful contaminants.


  • Take care of the scratches and chips before they lead to serious problems.
  • Visit a professional to determine if your car needs a full paint job or just a paint repair.

Read more: How Long Do Toyota Yaris Last? (Solved & Explained!)

4. Problems With Speed Control and Acceleration

Toyota Yaris owners have reported no less than 67 problems related to the vehicle’s speed control and acceleration. Below are some of the commonly reported problems:

Car Accelerating on Its Own

Several Toyota Yaris owners have complained about the vehicle accelerating on its own. This has resulted in severe crashes and collisions leading to injuries such as concussions, fractured sternum, and face injury.

Our research also showed that this problem is most common with pre-2011 Toyota Yaris models.

Cruise Control Problems

Yaris owners have also complained about the car’s cruise control going rogue at intervals. There were multiple reports of the car going beyond the speed limit set in the cruise control.

Many owners have completely disengaged the Yaris cruise control out of frustration with its malfunction and inaccuracy.

Stuck Pedal

Toyota Yaris drivers have also made reports concerning stuck acceleration pedals which results in unintended acceleration and accidents in some cases.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Below are some of the potential causes of the acceleration-related problems listed above:

  • Weak Throttle Body: When the car’s throttle body fails, the throttle plate will be out of its correct position, leading the car to accelerate on its own.
  • Bad Cruise Control Fuse: Cruise control problems are often a result of a blown fuse. The cruise control fuse blows when it detects a short circuit, which puts an end to its operations altogether.
  • Damaged Speed Sensor: The Toyota Yaris’s speed sensor helps cruise control operations by indicating the vehicle’s speed and regulating the flow of fuel. If the sensor stops working, it could tamper with or stop the cruise control’s operations.
  • Failing Brake Pedal Switch: Cruise control systems on vehicles like the Toyota Yaris are designed to stop working once you press the brake pedal. If the pedal switch stops, the car may prevent the cruise control from coming on.
  • Floor Mats: If your acceleration pedal gets stuck, the reason could be as simple as the wrong placement of the floor mat.


  • If your pedal is stuck, you can inspect the area to see if there is a floor mat or any other object obstructing it.
  • Have your car checked out by an auto professional who will run a diagnosis and provide solutions.

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

General Pros And Cons

Here are the general advantages and disadvantages of the Toyota Yaris:


Below are some of the advantages of owning a Toyota Yaris model:

1. Comfortable Ride: The Toyota Yaris offers its owners a comfortable ride and great handling, thanks to its strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension. It also comes with a 1496cc engine which guarantees direct and responsive acceleration.

2. Elegant Exterior: A stylish and beautifully designed exterior is one of the Toyota Yaris’ strong suits. It comes in resplendent colors, a rear lip spoiler on some variants, and a chrome-tipped exhaust, giving it a sporty, suave look.

3. Excellent Safety Features: The Toyota Yaris also comes with a stellar safety system. That pretty much explains why it notched the widely coveted 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Its safety features include:

  • Traction Control System
  • Electronic Brake-Force Distribution
  • Lane-Departure Warning
  • Automatic High Beams
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Child Safety Locks
  • Integrated Turn Signal Mirrors
  • Rearview Camera
  • Cruise Control System

4. Smart Key: Some trim levels of the Toyota Yaris offer a sleek, smart key system. This allows you to lock and unlock the car by touching the door handle.

5. Intelligent Windshield Wiper: The Toyota Yaris also sports an intelligent windshield wiper that can regulate its speed to match the rain’s intensity. This may not seem like much, but it helps to keep the driver less distracted and give them a clearer view.


Now let’s talk about the downsides of owning a Toyota Yaris. Below are some of them:

  • Dangerous Airbag Malfunction
  • Service Brakes Malfunction
  • Coat And Paint Peeling
  • Problems With Speed Control and Acceleration

What Do the Reviews Say?

“The Yaris is one of the smallest and least expensive vehicles in Toyota’s lineup, but it doesn’t look or feel like anything else in the automaker’s stable. That’s mostly because it’s based on a Mazda design rather than Toyota’s, taking on the engine, tech, and most of the interior and exterior design from the Mazda 2, a car that’s no longer sold in America. It might sound like an identity crisis, but the final product is a polished and fun (if slightly underpowered) compact that offers a lot for relatively little.”

Source: Edmunds

Everything about the Toyota … is small, from the tiny exterior dimensions to the low-displacement engine. The result is a true compact that’s genuinely affordable and an absolute blast to drive. Turns out there’s wisdom in Master Yoda’s words after all.”

Source: Automobile Magazine

What Is the Resale Value of a Toyota Yaris?


Model Year Mileage Price
2016 Toyota Yaris 83,366 miles $11,898
2017 Toyota Yaris 70,202 miles $12,998
2018 Toyota Yaris 62,474 miles $13,100
2019 Toyota Yaris 24,817 miles $17,990
2020 Toyota Yaris 21,423 miles $18,999

Go Back: Problems for each Toyota model.

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ⓘ  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.