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Common problems with the Toyota Yaris

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 2 months ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Repair
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WhoCanFixMyCar covers the most common Toyota Yaris faults, including average repair costs.

Hailed as one of the best cars for new drivers, the Toyota Yaris is safe, reliable and fun to drive. Not to mention it’s superbly economical, which in the current financial climate is the biggest compliment a car can receive! 

It’s easy to see why the Yaris is Toyota’s best-selling individual model in Europe, but despite its many strengths, we couldn’t help wondering what problems - if any - drivers of this appealing supermini might encounter.

After doing a little digging, we discovered some common Toyota Yaris problems relating to:


What’s wrong with the Toyota Yaris?

Toyota is widely thought to be one of the most reliable car manufacturers in the world. Still, Toyota models can and do develop problems - here are some you should be aware of if you own or are thinking of buying a Yaris.

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Toyota Yaris semi-automatic gearbox problem

Symptoms include no response from the vehicle when in gear, unusual noises when changing gear and shaking or grinding. A gearbox oil leak could be to blame, or the gear shift and clutch servos may simply have worn out. 

You’ll need to contact a mechanic to find out the source of the problem for your particular vehicle, but on average, auto gearbox repairs cost £621.66 on average when booked through WhoCanFixMyCar.

Toyota Yaris automatic transmission problem

This is similar to the issue described above. The cause could be an oil leak, in which case the faulty gasket needs to be replaced and the oil refilled; a sensor issue, which again will require a replacement; couplings, which will likely require a full gearbox change; or a dead clutch disc, requiring a clutch replacement.

Toyota Yaris clutch problem

Many Yaris owners have reported clutch problems, specifically when the clutch begins to slip. You will likely notice higher RPMs without the speed to match, a burning smell, clutch pedal height change and a general lack of performance from your vehicle.

Usually, one of the following will be to blame:

  • Leaking oil or grease

  • Worn clutch disc

  • Warped flywheel

  • Clutch overheating

ABS Toyota Yaris problem

It’s important to note that there’s a difference between the general brake warning light and the ABS warning light. If the former comes on, it indicates your Yaris is unsafe to drive; when the ABS warning light comes on, you can still drive but you should have the issue checked by a professional as soon as possible. 

The most common causes of the ABS warning light are:

  • Damaged/malfunctioning ABS module

  • Faulty/broken wheel speed sensor

  • Low ABS fluid


Toyota Yaris 1999-2005 faults

These common problems have been identified in the first-generation Toyota Yaris.

1. Locked rear wheels

Applying the brakes suddenly may cause the rear wheels of some early Yaris models to lock, causing the vehicle to become unstable and difficult to control.

What repair is needed for locked rear wheels, and how much does it cost for a Toyota Yaris?

Toyota issued a recall for affected models, so a repair should have been carried out by a dealership or approved garage by now for free. The repair involved replacing the brake proportioning valve with a modified version.

2. Oil leak

Early Toyota Yaris models may develop an oil leak due to worn and corroded parts. Failure to fix the issue could result in your vehicle overheating if it runs low on oil. If you continue to drive without sufficient lubrication, this can cause severe engine damage.

What repair is needed for an oil leak, and how much does it cost for a Toyota Yaris?

If the leak is minor, you could purchase an additive to seal it up. However, if it’s more serious and you can’t work out where the oil is coming from, a mechanic will be able to diagnose and fix the problem for you by replacing the part that has developed a leak.

On average, it costs £61.91 to fix a Toyota Yaris leak, according to our data from 2021.

3. Peeling paint

One of the biggest pain points for first-generation Yaris models is peeling or bubbling paint. Not only is this unsightly, but it can also leave the car's body vulnerable to rust.

What repair is needed for peeling paint, and how much does it cost for a Toyota Yaris?

You could touch up the paint at home, but if you want a professional and long-lasting job, it’s worth looking into getting a bodywork specialist

Toyota Yaris paintwork repairs cost £383.72 on average, according to our 2021 data, but if the area that needs fixing is small, this figure is likely to be less.

4. Impaired braking

During winter, particularly in stop/start conditions, compacted snow and ice may build up on the inner face of the wheel disc. Sometimes, this may distort the metal pipe connecting to the rear brake cylinder, causing impaired braking and potentially a hydraulic fluid leak.

What repair is needed for impaired braking, and how much does it cost for a Toyota Yaris?

This is another instance when Toyota issued a recall notice, so any models affected by the problem should already have had a modified and re-routed brake pipe fitted at a dealership for free.

Toyota Yaris 1999-2005 recalls

Recall DateReason for Recall
18-Apr-00Rear wheels may lock under hard braking
13-Nov-02Rear brake pipe concern

Toyota Yaris 2006-2010 faults

Faults associated with the second-generation Yaris are listed below.

1. Erratic auto gearbox 

The MMT auto gearbox is notoriously unreliable and often changes gear unpredictably. For example, changing down when the revs are too high.

What repair is needed for an erratic auto gearbox, and how much does it cost for a Toyota Yaris?

The best advice if you’re thinking about purchasing a Yaris is to simply avoid the MMT gearbox entirely. However, if it’s too late and you already have one, the best way to fix the issue is to find an auto gearbox specialist who can advise you on the best course of action and repair or replace it.

This costs £431 on average based on data from 2021.

2. Juddering clutch

Owners of the second-gen Yaris often complain about the clutch juddering when changing gears. This problem often develops in older cars where the clutch has been worn out, but such issues may develop in the Yaris sooner than expected.

What repair is needed for a juddering clutch, and how much does it cost for a Toyota Yaris?

Unfortunately, clutches are expensive to replace - if the only symptom you are experiencing is juddering, you may wish to delay getting a replacement, but once the clutch starts to slip, it won’t be long before you’ll have to take your car to a mechanic. 

Replacing the clutch on a Yaris costs £481.46 on average, according to our data from 2021.

3. Engine warning light 

This issue is specifically related to diesel engines. If the check engine light appears, it could indicate the car is misfiring or a range of other problems, some of which are more serious than others.

What repair is needed for the engine warning light, and how much does it cost for a Toyota Yaris?

When the check engine light comes on, the first thing to do is to run a diagnostic test to find out what the problem is. A mechanic will plug a machine into your car, which reads the error code. 

Based on 2021 data, a diagnostic test costs £44.42 on average for a Yaris.

4. Loose fan belt

Some Yaris drivers also report that the fan belt becomes loose over time. When this happens, it’s likely you’ll notice a squeaking or squealing noise coming from your engine.

What repair is needed for a loose fan belt, and how much does it cost for a Toyota Yaris?

If you feel confident doing so, it’s possible to tighten the fan belt yourself by locating the screws that hold it in place, but you need to make sure the tension is correct; too tight and the belt could snap. That’s why it’s a good idea to have the fan belt checked and tightened by a professional. If the belt is worn, they may suggest a replacement.

Fortunately, replacing a fan belt is fairly affordable, costing £73.15 on average for a Yaris, and having it tightened will be even cheaper.

Toyota Yaris 2006-2010 recalls

Recall DateReason for Recall
27-Nov-06Engine may stall
16-May-07Seating headrests may detach & airbag may not sufficiently deploy in an impact
06-Apr-09Fire may occur
06-Feb-10Accelerator pedal may fail to return to idle
16-Aug-10If deployed the airbag may endanger passenger

Toyota Yaris 2011-2019 faults

The following issues are common in the third-generation Yaris.

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1. Fuel leak

Some late third-gen models may develop a fuel leak due to failing fuel injectors.

What repair is needed for a fuel leak, and how much does it cost for a Toyota Yaris?

In this instance, Toyota identified the issue and put out a recall for affected models; as such, a repair - which involves replacing the seals and bolts holding the injectors in place - should already have been carried out for free by a dealer. 

On average, fuel injection system repairs on a Yaris cost £89.54.

2. Compromised directional control

A strut top mounting bearing in the front suspension could become damaged when driving over a large bump. Symptoms to look out for include an unusual noise when driving on rough roads or turning the steering wheel. Eventually, the mount might fail completely, causing the vehicle to become unstable.

What repair is needed for compromised directional control, and how much does it cost for a Toyota Yaris?

Toyota issued a recall for this problem, so a repair should have been carried out for free on affected models at a dealership. The repair involves installing new bearings.

Toyota Yaris suspension repairs cost £138.93 on average, according to our 2021 data.

3. Blocked DPF

Some Yaris owners report that the diesel particulate filter needed cleaning after only a few miles. When the DPF cannot passively regenerate, it’s because the car hasn’t been driven for long enough at high speeds. This causes a build-up of soot and particulates, resulting in your car going into limp mode.

What repair is needed for a blocked DPF, and how much does it cost for a Toyota Yaris?

A simple DPF clean should solve the problem. You can find out more about this process in our DPF cleaning guide.

On average, Toyota Yaris DPF cleaning costs £134.03. 

4. Power steering failure

In some early third gen Yaris models, the power steering may fail due to a short circuit relay in the power steering control module.

What repair is needed for power steering failure, and how much does it cost for a Toyota Yaris?

This problem is the subject of another Toyota recall, so a repair should have been done on any affected models. Specifically, the power control module needed to be replaced.

Toyota Yaris 2011-2019 recalls

Recall DateReason for Recall
13-Sep-11Body trim may cause injury
26-Oct-12Fire may occur
17-Apr-13Passenger side air bag may fail to deploy correctly
07-Aug-13Braking efficiency may be affected
14-Aug-13Short circuit may cause failure of the power assistance
22-Apr-14Steering column may become unsecured
22-Apr-14Seat rail mechanism could fail
15-Dec-14Brake fluid may leak
06-Jan-15Driver's air bag may rupture if deployed
07-Jan-15Risk of fire
16-Mar-15Wheel hub may become loose
15-Jun-15Passenger side air bag may fail to deploy correctly
22-Jun-15Driver side air bag may rupture
01-Dec-15Risk of fire
18-May-16Rear seat belt may fail
18-Jul-16Directional control could be compromised
22-May-17Front driver air bag may rupture
17-Dec-18Front passenger air bag inflators containing degraded propellant may result in inflator rupture
10-Jun-19A crack could develop on the insulation of the wire harnesses of the front seat side air bag sensors
04-Nov-19A transistor to the circuit board in the DC-DC converter could be inadequate

Toyota Yaris 2020-present faults and recalls

It’s too early as yet to determine any common problems with the fourth-generation Yaris, but you can see below Toyota has issued a few recalls.

Recall DateReason for Recall
02-Mar-20Resin spacers could be deformed by heat causing the engine cylinder head bolts to become loose
05-Oct-20Takata air bag inflator may rupture on deployment
20-Oct-20It may not be possible to switch the headlights from high beam to low beam or vice versa
25-Jan-21Possibility that the centre rear seat belt may be damaged by a sharp edge of the bracket
15-Nov-21Emergency calling system (eCall) may not function when required

If you're having problems with your Toyota Yaris, WhoCanFixMyCar can help you find the right garage at the right price, whatever you need.


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