Toyota 2AZ-FE Engine Problems, Reliability, Specs, Performance

Toyota 2AZ-FE Engine Guide

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The Toyota 2AZ-FE is a 2.4L inline-4 engine that began production in 2000. It’s primarily known for its use in the Camry, RAV4, Scion tC and xB. However, the engine is in many other models spanning from 2001-2015. The 2.4L engine offers 160-177 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. Performance may be lacking by modern standards, but the 2AZ-FE delivers good reliability and efficiency. In this guide, I discuss the Toyota 2AZ-FE engine and look at problems, reliability, specs, performance, and more.

Toyota 2AZ-FE Engine Problems, Reliability, Specs, Performance

What Cars Use the 2AZ-FE?

  • 2001-2007 Toyota Highlander
  • 2002-2009 Toyota Camry
  • 2004-2007 Toyota RAV4
  • 2009-2010 Toyota Corolla XRS
  • 2009-2011 Toyota Matrix S
  • 2005-2010 Scion tC
  • 2008-2015 Scion xB

Power output varies depending on year and model. The 2AZ FE engine also has a few different variants and received some updates during its production. More on that in the coming sections.

Engine Variants

  • 2AZ-FE
  • 2AZ-FSE
  • 2AZ-FXE

All engines share the same basic design given the fact they’re a part of the same engine family. The 2AZ-FE is the primary engine and the original design. Next is the 2AZ-FSE engine which uses direct fuel injection instead of port injection. It’s great technology for performance, fuel economy, and emissions. However, there is one flaw with direct injection that we will discuss in this article. Lastly, the 2AZ-FXE is an Atkinson cycle variant designed for use in hybrid models.

Otherwise, later 2AZ-FE engines received a more aggressive intake cam, higher redline, and piston oil squirters. The compression ratio also increased from 9.6:1 to 9.8:1. Toyota implemented these updates in 2008.

Toyota 2AZ-FE Engine Specs

EngineToyota 2AZ-FE
Displacement2,362cc (2.4L)
Bore x Stroke88.5mm x 96mm
Compression Ratio9.6:1 or 9.8:1
Horsepower160-177 HP
Torque (lb-ft)162 TQ

*A Toyota Racing Development (TRD) supercharger was available for the Scion tC until 2009

None of the Toyota 2.4 engine specs stand out as high-performance. However, the engine does still have some nice features like DOHC. The aluminum block and head also help keep weight down. Ultimately, the 2AZ-FE is all about efficiency and fuel economy.

That’s especially true for the 2AZ-FSE engines with direct injection (DI). It’s awesome technology that provides great improvements to fuel economy and emissions. Better performance is another plus of direct injection, but it does add some extra potential maintenance. Again, we will discuss this topic when it comes time to cover engine problems.

2.4L Inline-4 Performance

When it comes to performance, the 2AZ-FE isn’t going to impress in factory trim. The 2.4L engine is in too many models to provide performance specs for all. However, one example, the Scion tC achieves a 1/4 mile time of roughly 15.8 seconds. With the TRD supercharger the 1/4 mile time drops to 15.1 seconds. Nothing impressive, especially by modern standards.

The performance is reasonable for what’s intended to be a reliable, efficient, and economic engine. Fortunately, the engine does leave some performance on the table. It’s still nothing spectacular, but the 2AZ does offer opportunity for some unique builds and swaps.

Tuning Potential

Circling back to the Scion tC supercharger example this engine makes about 250 horsepower from the factory. A bump of roughly 70-90 hp over a naturally aspirated 2AZ-FE engine. You can find forced induction kits that can deliver similar performance or take the engine even further. Although, 250hp is a good limit without needing to address internals. Those wanting more power should consider building the bottom end.

Outside of forced induction there is also tuning and all of the other basic bolt-on mods. There’s opportunity to unlock more power from intake, headers, exhausts, and other upgrades. Don’t expect much more than 10-20 horsepower unless you’re going for more serious mods like cams, stroker kits, etc.

Toyota 2AZ-FE Engine Problems

With the basic topics out of the way it’s time to dive into engine problems and reliability. Some of the most common Toyota 2AZ-FE engine problems include:

  • Oil Consumption
  • Carbon Build-up
  • Oil Leaks

The above engine problems will be a main focus throughout the rest of this article. It’s important to add a few notes before diving in, though. We’re considering these 2AZ FE problems among the most common. That doesn’t mean the issues are common in the true sense of the definition. Instead, when problems do occur these are some of the most common areas.

That said, the Toyota 2AZ-FE engine does deliver good reliability. There are some major discussions, concerns, and even lawsuits regarding the 2.4L inline-4 engine. However, it’s not all bad and many of these engines go on to live for 200,000+ miles.

1) Oil Consumption Issues

High oil consumption is one of the biggest topics regarding Toyota 2AZ-FE engine problems. There are a lot of complaints about the 2.4 inline-4 engine burning oil. There are even some class-action lawsuits regarding these problems as well as a service bulletin from Toyota. Point is – 2AZ FE oil consumption is a well known issue.

Piston ring design seems to be the likely culprit of the oil consumption. Too large a gap simply allows excess oil past the piston rings where it burns away in the combustion chamber. This isn’t a totally uncommon issue so the Toyota 2.4 engine isn’t alone here. High oil consumption isn’t all bad, either.

2AZ-FE oil consumption doesn’t seem to affect long-term reliability or longevity. The most important thing is routinely checking oil levels and topping up as needed. Running low on oil for extended periods can put a lot of extra stress on the engine or lead to complete failure. However, keep the oil filled and it’s unlikely the oil consumption has any major impact on 2AZ FE reliability or longevity.

Oil Consumption Fix

Is there an easy way to fix Toyota 2AZ-FE oil consumption? Yes and no. Piston rings are the primary culprit and that’s not an easy fix or replacement. Even then, there’s no guarantee a replacement part would solve the issue for the long-term. The good news is there are a few ways to potentially lessen oil consumption with a few easy fixes:

  • Shorter oil change intervals
  • Heavier oil weights, like 5W30 or 10W30
  • Avoid excess idling
  • Fuel/Oil additives

Sticking with shorter oil change intervals ensures quality oil health and can help reduce consumption. Another possible oil consumption fix is using heavier oil weights. These thicker oils will have a harder time getting by the piston rings. Cold weight (the first number) is likely the most important.

As metals heat up they expand. Piston ring gaps will be larger on a cold engine, and close as the engine warms up. In other words, oil consumption should naturally be lower on a warm engine. While it’s cold, a thicker oil may help reduce consumption. Also avoid excess idling, especially on a cold engine.

Lastly, you can consider some oil or fuel additives for the 2AZ-FE engine. Sometimes it may help a little and other times they might not reduce consumption at all. It might be worth a shot, though.

2) 2AZ-FSE Carbon Build-Up Problems

One variant of the Toyota 2AZ engine family – the 2AZ-FSE – is prone to potential carbon build-up problems. The FSE engine is only in the Toyota Avensis models. As such, this topic doesn’t apply to most engines on the road, so we’ll keep this a bit shorter.

Anyway, all engines produce some natural oil blow-by. This oil makes its way into the intake ports where it can stick to walls and intake valves. It’s mostly a non-issue on port injection engines since fuel is sprayed into the ports. Detergents in gasoline then wipe away any deposits. However, the direct injection system sprays fuel directly into the cylinder. There’s nothing to wipe away oil deposits so they eventually harden and form carbon build-up.

Walnut blasting is a popular method to clean carbon deposits from intake valves. It’s generally good maintenance every 100,000 to 130,000 miles on DI engines. The process mostly involves labor and costs about $300-600 to clean the valves.

Carbon build-up can still occur on the Toyota 2AZ FE engine, and there are some reports of it. This may tie into the oil consumption problems above. However, it’s usually due to poor maintenance and too long oil change intervals.

Carbon Build-Up Symptoms

  • Misfires
  • Rough idle
  • Stuttering or hesitation
  • Power loss

As carbon builds-up on intake valves and ports it begins to restrict air-flow into cylinders. In turn, the 2AZ-FE engine will likely develop misfires. Rough idle and stuttering during acceleration are also common signs of misfires and carbon build-up.

Power loss is probably the most serious symptom of excess carbon deposits, but it’s really hard to notice. Carbon build-up occurs over years and years and tens of thousands of miles. As such, power loss is very gradual and can be tough to detect.

3) Oil Leaks

Alright – this last 2AZ-FE engine problem is a pretty generic one. All gasoline engines are prone to oil leaks as they age. Gaskets, seals, O-rings, hoses, etc. are often made from rubber or rubber-like materials. These parts simply wear down with age and mileage.

Eventually, small cracks develop and oil leaks ensue. When left alone, these cracks continue expanding and oil leaks become gradually worse. A few of the most common areas for 2AZ-FE oil leaks include the valve cover gaskets, timing case cover, and main seals. There are also lot’s of other potential areas for leaks, but the latter seem most common.

Ultimately, we don’t think it’s fair to consider oil leaks a truly common problem on the Toyota 2AZ-FE engine. There aren’t any major design flaws that cause severe or premature oil leaks. Rather, it’s just an important topic to bring up due to the age of the 2.4L 2AZ FE. Many are 10-20 years old and oil leaks are common on almost any engine at that age.

Oil Leak Symptoms & Repairs

  • Visible oil leak
  • Burning oil smells
  • Light smoke from engine bay

Oil spots on the ground are a giveaway that oil is likely leaking from somewhere. If you notice visible oil leaks it’s probably time to look further into the 2AZ FE leak. Otherwise, oil may drip onto hot components and burn away in the engine bay. This can cause burning oil smells or light smoke from the engine bay area.

Fortunately, oil leaks on the Toyota 2AZ-FE are usually pretty simple, cheap fixes. The main culprits are usually inexpensive gaskets or seals that only cost about $5-20. Labor can add up for more complicated oil leaks, though.

2AZ-FE 2.4L Reliability

Is the Toyota 2AZ-FE engine reliable? Yes, we believe this engine earns average to above average remarks for reliability. The 2AZ-FE is actually a solid engine all around, but the oil consumption does hold it back a bit. Fortunately, it doesn’t have any major impacts to longevity or long-term reliability. You may be spending extra money on oil to top off frequently, though.

Otherwise, an oil leak here and there may pop up mostly due to the age and mileage of most engines on the road today. Of course, other miscellaneous problems can and do occur but nothing seems overly common. A lot of Toyota 2AZ-FE reliability simply comes down to maintenance and luck of the draw.

The luck aspect is out of our hands. However, we can do our best to stay on top of maintenance. Change fluids on time, use quality oils, ensure the oil is topped off, and fix issues if and when they occur. It’s basic stuff that should apply to any car and engine. Anyway, do all of this and chances are the 2AZ-FE will run for 200,000+ miles. Some even make it beyond 300,000 miles, so longevity isn’t an issue.

Toyota 2AZ-FE Engine Summary

The Toyota 2AZ-FE engine began production in 2000 and is in a wide range of Toyota and Scion models from 2001-2015. It’s not known for outstanding performance, but the 2.4L inline-4 offers enough power for most. It also delivers excellent efficiency and economy with a good balance of reliability. However, no engine is perfect and that applies to the 2AZ FE too.

High oil consumption is a big topic. There are a number of lawsuits regarding this problem, and there isn’t a perfect long-term fix. It doesn’t seem to impact longevity, though, so it’s not all bad. Otherwise, the 2AZ doesn’t have many common flaws or issues. Some standard problems are normal given the age and mileage on most engines now days.

In summary, the Toyota 2AZ-FE is a solid engine all around. It’s not the best at anything it does, but the engine delivers a good all around balance. Keep up with maintenance and treat the car and engine well. With a bit of luck on your side you’ll likely have a great experience with the 2AZ FE for 200,000+ miles.

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  1. My two oldest daughters used a 2009 Toyota scion tc!!! Oil burning like crazy its only got 134,000 miles on it. We weren’t made aware of the Toyota recall for this engine…my oldest daughter sold it to my middle daughter in 2021. Oil burning like crazy..have to add a few quartz every other day…wish Toyota would help us now…can’t afford different car to buy..

    1. Hey Stephanie – have you checked it for oil leaks? Even a quart every other day is more than you would be burning from excess oil consumption issues which leads me to believe you probably have a pretty good oil leak somewhere.

      1. Thanks for responding to my post. No, no leaks..I’ve had it checked out twice snd they can’t find any leaks…took it to Toyota dealership and I replaced the head gasket and still burning oil!! Super frustrated!! Ugh!!

        1. As you may know by now there was a class action suit over the oil consumption of many Toyota 2.4 engines like the ones in most Scions after 2008. Toyota offered a 10 year, 150,000 mile warranty but your car had to show excessive oil consumption (at least one quart within 1200 miles) when tested by a Toyota dealer. By now your 2009 TC is outside of that warranty. Toyota has a repair kit with new pistons and rings, but it would be at your expense now. The rings seem to have been the problem, but not all cars with that engine developed the problem. My 2010 with 94,000 miles is using a little over a quart between 3000 mile oil changes.

          1. My 2010 tc has 138000 mi. I change oil and filter (Toyota Brand) every 3000 mi. Approximately a pint between changes. Love the car. Hope it lasts another 140000

    2. Run seafoam in the gas AND the oil. That will help clear out deposits immensely. Then run high mileage oil (one with lots of “detergents”) and use 5w30 instead of 5w20 as the article suggests. I like to use Penzoil Platinum high mileage.
      If carbon buildup is VERY bad then remove spark plug and use a pippet/ little turkey baster and drop some seafoam directly onto the cylinder head. You dont need to go crazy!! Goal is to cover the cylinder head and let seafoam do its work. When you start it up there will be white smoke but it will clean the cylinder well.

      As others mentioned make sure oil isnt leaking somewhere else. Valve cover is a common place. Easy to replace.

  2. I have a 2004 Camry with a 2AZ-FE engine, so far, this engine is very reliable. as written in the blog above, I also had a problems with leaking oil in the valve cover gasket. however, this is not a big problem. and also last month, my 2AZ did a Cylinder Head Gasket change at 190,000 KM. which is very reasonable considering the age of the engine is 18 years. however with all the advantages and disadvantages, this engine is very reliable. :D.

  3. i have a 2012 scion xb with 23k on the original 2az_fe motor. . right now no oil burning at all, i dont believe in 10 k oil changes for this car, i change every 5k. does any one have a ball park about the percentage of these motors that end up with oil burning issues? is it 10% or 50% ? i hear it can start around 60k , and the oil ring that locks up. and holes get pluged in the piston. i was wondering if once a year use a motor flush for carbon build up, might avoid the problem? thanks

  4. I was looking at buying a 2007 Toyota rav4 here in Australia and it has the 2.4 2AZFE engine that only has 70,000 kilometres on it with manual 5speed, I am concerned about the oil burning issue now or later on, I wonder how wide spread the problem is with these in Aus

  5. What about 2003 camery 2az-fe engine which got hot for no reason only to find out 3 head. Bolts at the back of the head. had completely pulled the threads out of the block. Apparently they don’t wanna admit it but that yr of motor had a thinner back wall which causes it to run hotter more so at the back of the motor but shows no increased temperature on the gauge then all of a sudden it boils. When you get underneath and run the motor and with a good bright light u will see water leaking out of number 3, 5, and 7 head bolts

    1. Dee – that’s a difficult question to answer. The most important thing for engine longevity is proper maintenance. Oil changes every 5,000 miles, keeping the cooling system in check, and so on.

  6. 2005 Scion Tc with 183,000 miles. Second owner. Purchased at 120,000.
    Oil changes every 5 to 6K miles.
    Burns less than a quart every thousand miles. With regular maintenance and good driving habits, I’m making it a goal to get this ride to +300,000 miles.
    I get offers of $3- $5000 for the car often. Not bad for a $1500 purchase.

  7. I have a 2009 rav4 with the 2.4 Ltr awd here in New Zealand. Its now at 206500 KMs on the clock
    No oil leaks as yet apart from changing the valve cover gasket which is more less nothing. Easy as to change. Not drop oil what so ever under the car Nore any signs of excess oil use. Had car going on 2 years. Being Hi kms didnt expect a lot but Im shocked how well she drives and how good motor seems. Starting to think maybe its had work done on the motor before my ownership as such a high Km , Miles as it goes so well. Im amazed at its condition and lack of problems. Im changing my Oil and filter every 5000 kms with 10/30 in summer and 5/30 in winter.

  8. Did Toyota fix the issue with the new design of the piston and it’s rings? What about the later models that use this same engine – did Toyota use the new piston and ring design for their vehicles with the 2AZ-FE engines 2012 onwards?

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