- car maintenance
Toyota Hilux 5 most common repairs
Updated 11 Oct 2019
Toyota Hilux - the name synonymous with ‘Unbreakable’ and one of Australia’s best-selling vehicles. The seventh-generation of the Hilux arrived in Australia at the start of 2005, powered by a 2.7-litre, a 4-litre petrol engine or the more popular 3-litre diesel engine, and was available in a number of body styles including single and dual cab and an extended single cab.
While not the most luxurious vehicle, the Hilux was the number one choice for families looking to head off the beaten track on the weekends but still had to do the school run in the city during the week. It was also a hit with tradies, who loved the Hilux’s versatility, cargo space and towing capacity. As of August 2019, the Hilux continues to be Australia’s biggest-selling vehicle.
The Hilux received its first update in 2008, with a redesigned front bumper, as well as updated suspension and safety features. While the petrol engine variants are strong performers, most people opted for the 3-litre turbo-diesel engine for its increased fuel economy and torque which was great for towing.
Known as the D-4D (Direct Injection 4-stroke Common Rail Diesel) engine, it utilised astronomic fuel pressure - roughly 19,000psi - to inject diesel into the cylinders through specially designed fuel injectors, reducing fuel consumption and producing more power.
The original seventh-generation of Hilux are now 14 years old and even though they are popularly known to be ‘unbreakable’, common problems do pop up. These vehicles have led hard lives traversing muddy job sites and off-road tracks as well as the urban jungle and many components will have worn out or perished. This is where the repairs data from AutoGuru comes in. We have identified the 5 most common repair requests from Hilux owners, which we have compiled below.
Note: This list does not include normal wear and tear items such as tyres and brakes or servicing costs, as these are applicable no matter which vehicle you drive. If you are interested in servicing and repair costs of the Toyota Hilux, you can click here
1. Fuel Injector Replacement / Fuel Injector Seal Replacement
The first and most common repair request is for fuel injector replacement. This problem affected the early editions of the 3-litre diesel engine built before August 2007 and there have been a number of updated injectors released - both from Toyota as well as aftermarket companies. The injector seals were also changed from copper to aluminium as the copper seals were prone to failure.
This allowed combustion gases to enter into the tappet cover and mix with the engine oil. This excess heat would cause the engine oil to carbonise and harden, blocking oil passages and, in serious cases, would dislodge and end up in the oil pickup - blocking oil flow and causing catastrophic engine failure. Sticking to the correct maintenance intervals and listening out for any excess rattling, especially when the engine is cold, is the key to staying on top of this problem.
2. Alternator Failure
The alternator is designed to provide electrical current to relevant systems in the vehicle when the engine is running, as well as charging the battery. On the Hilux, it is driven by a serpentine belt that runs from the crankshaft. This belt also drives the water pump, power steering pump and air conditioning compressor.
Over time, the brushes inside the voltage regulator wear out and the alternator will need to be replaced to restore the correct charging voltage when the engine is running. Symptoms of a failing alternator are a battery light on the dashboard and vehicle electrical systems cutting in and out. Alternator failure can affect both the petrol and diesel models of the Hilux.
The 2007 Toyota Hilux
3. Water Pump Replacement
The water pump is designed to flow coolant through the engine and radiator, keeping the engine temperature in check. It is driven via the serpentine belt with power from the crankshaft. It is sealed to the engine block by a gasket, which can leak and reduce the effectiveness of the cooling system.
It can be difficult to spot a leaking water pump on the Hilux, as the residual heat of the engine block can cause the leaking coolant to evaporate before it reaches the ground. However, larger leaks will almost certainly leave a telltale ‘pink’ coolant puddle underneath the vehicle. Replacing the water pump and gasket is the only solution to rectify the issue. Replacing the coolant at the recommended intervals and using the correct coolant are the best ways to prevent a water pump failure.
4. Clutch Replacement
Designed to be easy to operate as well as provide a comfortable driving experience, the standard clutch and pressure plate fitted to the diesel Hilux does not have the required clamping force to handle anything more than the daily commute. Any serious off-road work or towing will have the clutch slipping and requiring replacement. Fortunately, there are many heavy-duty clutch kits available in the aftermarket that can handle anything you can throw at them. The trade off is a heavier pedal and trickier take off when fully loaded, so careful consideration to your needs will help narrow down the right option for you.
5. CV Shaft Replacement
As most Hilux models will see at least some off-road action, the front CV shafts tend to cop a beating when the going gets tough, especially in the hands of an inexperienced driver. Rocks, branches and other obstacles can damage the CV shafts, as will ‘enthusiastic’ driving in low-range, four-wheel drive which puts incredible stress on the front driveshafts if they are on extreme angles. Replacement of the CV shaft is the only option if damage or breakage has occurred, which can be expensive.
As more and more Australians moved away from the large sedan offerings from Holden and Ford, the Toyota Hilux became the number one option for families that needed space but also wanted to go exploring. It has now become the number one best-selling vehicle in Australia, constantly battling against the Ford Ranger and Toyota Corolla for the number one spot.
Should you be having any trouble with your Toyota Hilux, help is at hand and an Autoguru technician will be able to diagnose and provide quotes for any repairs or servicing needed to get your vehicle back on the road in no time.
Finding a passion for cars from a young age, Joel carried out work experience as a mechanic whilst at school before starting an apprenticeship after finishing year 12.
After almost 10 years on the tools and in customer service, he moved into the IT realm as a Data Analyst and In-House mechanic at AutoGuru.