Toyota GT86 – Buyers guide & Common problems

Toyota GT86 is the perfect small RWD coupe that delivers nothing but joy. Is buying it and owning it the same joy? Here is the list of all the problems reported by the owners and reported by Toyota. Our main source for this guide was the Toyota Owners Club.

Major faults

  • There are currently no reported major faults for this vehicle. This is a rare occurrence so good job Toyota! Heavily tuned examples of Toyota GT86 experience major problems with connecting rods and bearings which is why you should avoid heavily modified examples.

Other and minor faults

  • Rattling noise while switching gears is usually an indicator of a worn-out clutch. Replace before further damage occurs.
  • The camshaft timing chain tends to make a ringing noise when starting a cold engine, this noise usually goes away when the engine warms up. If the noise persists when the engine is warm, immediately check the chain and tensioner.
  • Due to the nature of the car expect fast wear of the rear tires. Even though this could be said for every RWD car, many owners are reporting this problem.
  • There have been many occurrences of owners reporting loud fuel pumps. This usually ends with the pump dying and needing to be replaced.
  • Many owners also report front brakes squeaking.
  • As these cars age, many owners report oil leaks that occur in several places around the engine. A common oil leak is on the cam cover plate.

Body and interior problems with the GT86 Toyota

  • Some owners report condensation problems with the rear lights.
  • Many owners complain about random sounds the interior is making, which can get annoying, not something you would expect from a Toyota GT86.
  • Some owners experience delamination of the rearview mirror.
  • A small number of owners are reporting scratched windows. Scratches on the side windows occur because of bad window rollers.
  • Owners report rust occurring near the rear quarter window and rusty door pillars.
  • Owners also report rust problems under the front hood weather seal.
  • Front seat bolsters tend to suffer premature wear and tear.
  • A small number of Toyota GT86 examples experience problems with rear seat latches and buttons for the latches.

Electronic problems

  • Many owners report the battery draining while the car is not in use. Most of the time the cause is the same as in other Toyotas, the interior dimmer switch. Make sure that the older version (48 Ah) battery was replaced with the newer 65 Ah replacement battery.
  • A big number of owners report unstable engine revs in neutral. This is usually fixed by reprogramming the ECU. Some owners needed to replace the ECU.
  • Frequent problems with the stock GPS unit. It loses signal or has a very weak signal making it useless.
  • Make sure that the car you are buying has a metal tag on one of the keys that contain the code for the alarm.

Official recalls of the Toyota GT86

  • Recall issued on the 4th of October in 2016. The cause was a problem. with the powered steering. Affected cars were made from April of 2012 to March 2015.

Our recommendation

Let’s keep it short; the Toyota GT86 is an amazing little car. It is strong enough, the engine is simple and reliable. And it’s RWD, a recipe for fun times. Compare this buyer guide to the BMW E90 and see how shorter the list of problems is for the GT86. It also drives really well and prices are steadily dropping, go for it! Avoid GT86s that were or are heavily modded and tuned. Don’t forget to check our detailed used car buying guide before buying!

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