Toyota 2.5L 2AR-FE Engine Problems & Reliability!

Toyota 2.5L 2AR-FE Engine Problems & Reliability!

August 11, 2023 0 By CarGuy

Are you interested in purchasing a Toyota with the 2.5L 2AR-FE engine and want to learn more about the Toyota 2.5L 2AR-FE engine problems? If that’s correct, you are in the right place because, in this article, there will be a lot to cover.

Doing good and thorough research beforehand is always a good idea, you just don’t want to end up with a problematic car. There are many problematic models out there, these cars can really drain your patience, as well as your wallet. That’s why you have to learn what to expect from a certain model. This is why we are here to help you out.

First, we are going to learn more about the 2.5L engine and cover its specs, as well as its applications. Then, we are going to learn more about the Toyota 2.5L 2AR-FE engine problems and learn what troubles this engine the most. Once we clear that out of our way, we will move on and cover more about the reliability of this engine. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the article.

Toyota 2.5L 2AR-FE Engine Specifications

The AR engine family was introduced by Toyota in 2008. And this was an effort to replace the problematic AZ engine that was previously used.

For those who don’t know, these are the engines that consume a ton of engine oil. So, the AR engine solved these problems to some degree but the newer 2AR-FE still burns oil.

On top of that, this 2.5L engine is 11% more fuel efficient than the old 2.4L engine that it replaced. Which is quite a lot if you put these numbers into perspective. And it also produces more horsepower than its predecessor.

This engine, although a different engine than the previous AZ, actually shares a lot of the design philosophy with its predecessor.

The AR engine uses a die-cast aluminum block with an aluminum head. This head is using DOHC layout. And also has a variable valve timing system (VVT-i) both for the intake, as well as for the exhaust camshaft.

Nevertheless, here are the full specs of this 2.5L 2AR-FE engine.

  • Engine Configuration: inline-4
  • Displacement: 2.5L
  • Cylinder Bore: 90 mm
  • Piston Stroke: 98 mm
  • Block & Head Material: Aluminum
  • Head Design: DOHC
  • Variable Valve Timing: Dual VVT-i
  • Compression Ratio: 10.4:1
  • Fuel Injection: MPI
  • Horsepower: 169 – 180 hp
  • Torque: 167 – 173 lb-ft (226 – 235 N-m)

Toyota 2.5L 2AR-FE Engine Applications

Now let’s see which models have this 2.5L engine.

  • Toyota RAV4
  • Toyota Camry
  • Toyota Alphard/Vellfire
  • Lexus ES 250
  • Scion tC

Common Toyota 2.5L 2AR-FE Engine Problems

Now let’s list the common problems with the 2.5L 2AR-FE engine.

  • Spark Plug Failure
  • Camshaft Gear Failure
  • Water Pump Leaks
  • High Oil Consumption

We listed the Toyota 2.5L 2AR-FE engine problems, now let’s move on and further elaborate on these issues in detail and see how serious they are.

On top of that, we are also going to cover the symptoms that these problems produce when they occur. This is really important for those who are looking for cars and want to learn more about how a 2AR-FE engine in good condition should behave. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the topic and learn more about these problems.

Spark Plug Failure

The first and most common problem with this engine is the spark plug failure. This problem is mainly triggered by the issue of oil consumption.

So, how does this happen? Well, on each of the cylinders, you have a spark plug. This component produces a spark and ignites the fuel.

When you are dealing with an oil-burning engine, there is a lot of soot in the combustion chamber that is created and some of it ends up on the electrode.

The electrode gets all black and this will prevent the electrode from creating a spark. This means that on this engine you will go through spark plugs much more often compared to an engine that does not burn oil.

Luckily, spark plugs are not expensive and you can get them for $10 apiece. But what is bad is that these spark plugs can also damage the ignition coils.

The coils are sitting on top of the spark plug and these components create sparks. So, when you have an obstructing electrode that does not release this energy, this could have a negative effect on the coil as well.

Common symptoms associated with bad spark plugs and coils include the check engine light, engine misfires, rough idle, poor engine work, and poor fuel economy.

Now let’s move on to the next Toyota 2.5L 2AR-FE engine problems.

Camshaft Gear Failure

There is also a common problem with the 2AR-FE engine, this problem is resembled as knocking sound cold start.

This is happening because of a bad VVT-i camshaft gear. The solution to this issue is to replace the camshaft gear and this will solve the problem.

Luckily, this isn’t a problem since with a simple replacement you can solve your problem.

Common symptoms associated with this issue include the VVT-i gear causing noise and also there can be the check engine light with some engine codes that are concerned with the engine timing.

But overall, no major problem whatsoever. The only downside is that it can be really frustrating to deal with and that’s why we recommend fixing the issue as soon as possible.

Water Pump Leaks

Water pumps on these engines are also reportedly causing some problems here and there. They tend to fail at some point and whenever they fail they produce symptoms.

The most common symptom associated with a bad water pump are definitely coolant leaks that happen around the pump and there can also be noises and overheating issues.

So, we strongly advise that if you are losing some coolant check the water pump because you don’t want to end up overheating your engine.

This will result in a more expensive repair that will drain your wallet. And water pumps are also not that expensive to get replaced.

Now let’s continue with the following Toyota 2.5L 2AR-FE engine problems.

High Oil Consumption

And last on our list of problems with the 2.5L engine is the high oil consumption. Many think that this problem was solved after the introduction of this engine but this is not actually the case.

So, how does this problem occur? Well, this engine has a problem with the rings. They accumulate sludge. Especially in engines that were poorly maintained.

This sludge simply enters the ring land and prevents the piston rings from doing their job. Then in the second phase, the rings will start to scrape some of the walls of the combustion chamber causing a serious wear of the engine.

The problem will eventually end up requiring a full rebuild with completely new sleeves in order to be sorted out.

Or if you are too lazy to rebuild the engine, you can just order a new short block fully assembled.

This is why we strongly advise that you watch out for serious oil burners. So, what engine could burn a significant amount of oil?

Well, this only affects engines that have high miles accumulated on them. That’s why it is advisable that you avoid higher mileage engines in order to be safe.

Toyota 2.5L 2AR-FE Engine Reliability

The reliability of the 2AR-FE engine is good, this engine does not have serious problems except for the issue with oil consumption.

Although some engines are also affected by the problem with the camshaft gear that tends to create knocking sounds. But replacing this component will solve the problem.

Besides this, there are no serious issues with this engine. Although, we would advise that you avoid high-mile engines if you don’t want to deal with oil consumption. The higher the miles the worse the problem will become and eventually you will have to replace the block or rebuild the engine.


In this article, we covered the Toyota 2.5L 2AR-FE engine in great detail. First, we learned more about the specifications of this engine and then we discussed the applications and also the common Toyota 2.5L 2AR-FE engine problems.

Overall, this is a pretty reliable engine that sometimes can consume more oil than recommended. Especially at higher miles, so beware of this problem. Overall, a pretty decent engine.


What Are The Common Toyota 2.5L 2AR-FE Engine Problems?

Common problems with this engine include knocks at cold start caused by a VVT-i gear, high oil consumption, and water pump leaks. Overall, the engine does not have serious problems if its lower miles, higher oil consumption starts at 150,000 miles.

Is The Toyota 2.5L 2AR-FE Engine Reliable?

This engine is really reliable if you get it with low miles. But these engines are difficult to come by considering the age of these engines. You should beware of engines with more than 150,000+ miles on the odometer because these engines tend to consume more oil and will definitely have a low lifespan in the long run. But a simple rebuild will sort these issues out permanently.