Toyota 1.2 Turbo Engine Problems — 8 Common Concerns

Love them or hate them, small petrol turbo engines seem to be the future. But they’re not something we’re quite fond of. Issues like oil dilution, carbon deposits and timing chain/belt stretching are almost a constant with these types of engines.

But maybe, just maybe, Toyota, the king of reliability, managed to resolve those typical issues.

Doing your own homework before you decide to purchase a car with a certain engine should be one of your top priorities. Even if the model you intend to buy is a Toyota. We all know Toyota and its impeccable reliability but even the best sometimes make mistakes. So, is this the case with the Toyota 1.2L turbo engine? Let’s find out.

First, we will cover the basic specs of this engine, then we will discuss the Toyota 1.2 turbo engine problems and the applications of this engine. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the topic.

Basic Toyota 1.2 Turbo Engine Specs

The Toyota 1.2 turbo is a fairly new engine that Toyota released for their entry-level models. This engine was introduced in 2015 and was designed to compete with the 1.2 TSI by Volkswagen and the 1.0L EcoBoost engine made by Ford.

The 1.2L turbo is known under the code name 8NR-FTS. This engine as its name implies is a 1.2L in displacement.

The block features an inline-4 design with four cylinders in total. The block, as well as the cylinder head, is made out of aluminum. Making this engine pretty lightweight.

The engine implements a double overhead camshaft design (DOHC) with variable valve timing. This engine also implements direct injection. Which was a novelty back in 2015 when the engine was first released. In addition to this, this engine features a turbocharger in order to produce more power.

In terms of power numbers, this engine creates 114 hp (85 kW) @ 5,200 rpm and 136 lb-ft (185 N-m) of torque @ 1,500 rpm

Common Toyota 1.2 Turbo Engine Problems

Common Toyota 1.2 turbo engine problems include:

  • Ignition Coil Failure
  • Water Pump Failures
  • High-Pressure Fuel Pump Failures
  • Carbon Buildup On Intake Valves
  • It Is A Noisy Engine
  • High Oil Consumption
  • Clogged EGR Valve
  • High Fuel Consumption

Now that we are familiarized with the common problems of this engine, we can move on and further elaborate on these issues in detail and learn more about when they appear, the symptoms, as well as how to tackle these issues.

1. Ignition Coil Failure

Ignition coil failures are common on these engines. But what is an ignition coil and what does it do?

The ignition coil is something like an electric transformer. It converts the 12v power from the battery into a high current. Then this current is transferred to the spark plug and you have a spark that ignites the fuel.

Since this engine is a direct injection, it is worth noting that the ignition coils on these engines do not last for a very long time.

At 100,000 km or sometimes even less, you will have to replace them with new units. When they start to fail, you will notice the check engine light, engine misfires, rough idle, and poor engine work, as well as worse fuel economy.

Luckily, they are not crazy expensive, at least not for this engine. In addition to this, replacing them is something really straightforward and even a beginner can do it.

2. Water Pump Failures & Coolant Leaks

Water pump failures and coolant leaks are also common on this engine. If you don’t know, the water pump is the component that controls the coolant flow in and out of the engine.

When the water pump fails, you will notice overheating issues. The engine will run hot and there can also be noise from the water pump.

There can also be leaks coming from the water pump and you can lose coolant. In addition to this, leaks coming from the hoses were also noted.

This is why you should be aware of this issue since if you don’t pay attention, you can easily total out the engine on your car.

3. High-Pressure Fuel Pump Failures

This engine implements direct injection. This means that the engine has two fuel pumps. One is the low-pressure fuel pump located in the gas tank and one high-pressure fuel pump located in the engine bay.

What is bad about the high-pressure fuel pump is that it tends to fail. And whenever it fails, you will have to pay around 1,480 pounds for the part and labor. The part only costs about 1,200 alone.

It is a very expensive piece to purchase. And is a very common problem with this engine that basically ruins the engine’s reliability. Sometimes it is not even worth paying so much money to get it replaced.

Symptoms associated with this problem will be the check engine light, leaks, noises coming from the HPFP, as well as issues starting and running the engine.

4. Carbon Buildup On Intake Valves

Carbon buildup is another very common problem with the Toyota 1.2 engine. This is another issue caused by the direct injection system.

This problem occurs on the intake valves. Gasoline engines with direct injection are very susceptible to developing this issue.

This is the case because fuel is not injected from the intake ports like in port injection engines. This will result in the valve stems collecting carbon deposits.

These carbon deposits can be so excessive that they can prevent the valve from opening and closing correctly.

This engine is very prone to this issue, and you will have to service this issue every 60,000 km and take your car for a special walnut blasting treatment to clean these deposits out. This can be expensive, but that’s how things are.

5. It Is A Noisy Engine

This engine is also very noisy and can cause a lot of vibrations. This is the case because the engine is relatively small, and small engines are not well-balanced.

In addition to this, since the engine runs on direct injection, you will notice that it sounds like a diesel.

This is the case since gas is injected through the high-pressure fuel pump at an extremely high Bar/PSI of pressure. This is causing this diesel sound to develop.

This is one of the common issues with these modern engines. But this sound should not scare you since this is normal engine operation.

6. High Oil Consumption

High oil consumption is also noted on the 1.2 engine at higher miles. When the engine reaches higher miles, it will start to drink considerably more oil than normal.

This is a normal issue for Toyota engines. Their engines tend to drink more oil once the miles start to increase.

Unfortunately, there is no way around this issue. The only method you can try is to do oil changes more frequently and also use thicker oil. Doing so will reduce the oil consumption on your Toyota.

7. Clogged EGR Valve

A clogged EGR valve is also a common problem on this engine. So, what is an EGR valve?

The EGR valve is the exhaust recirculation valve. Some engines tend to pollute more and they need to have this EGR valve.

What this valve does is redirects the gasses from the exhaust into the intake to go through the combustion process again. Thus, reducing pollution.

Since this valve works with exhaust gasses, the EGR valve can clog up completely and you will end up with a completely blocked valve.

This will result in the check engine light, limp mode, poor engine work, and overall bad fuel economy. The only way around it is to replace it. Some people clean these valves but replacing this valve will permanently solve these problems for you.

8. High Fuel Consumption

Another thing that owners complain about when it comes to the Toyota 1.2 turbo is the high fuel consumption.

Even though this is a 1.2L engine, it is not very efficient. This is mainly due to the fact that it is often included in vehicles with heavier chassis. This puts more stress on the engine and also worsens the fuel economy.

Which Toyota’s Have the 1.2L Turbo Engine?

Now let’s take a look at which models include the 1.2 turbo engine made by Toyota.

  • Toyota Auris (E180)
  • Toyota Corolla (E210)
  • Toyota CH-R


What Are The Common Toyota 1.2 Turbo Engine Problems?

There are a lot of problems with this Toyota engine. More than usual when it comes to this brand. These problems include carbon buildup, EGR failure, oil consumption, and ignition coil failure. 

But the worst problem in our opinion is the high-pressure fuel pump failure. This is the case because only the part will cost you 1200 pounds and the labor will cost you 300 pounds extra. This is a common issue on these engines and is very expensive to fix.

Is The 1.2 Toyota Turbo Reliable?

Overall, we can say that this is a pretty reliable engine. But not one of the cheapest maintenance-wise. There are a lot of carbon buildups that needs cleaning, more frequent oil changes because of oil consumption, spark plug, and coils tend to fail more often, and also the high-pressure fuel pump is prone to fail. Replacing this component alone can cost you 1,500 pounds to get it replaced.

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