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Common Failures Of The Toyota Hiace: Problems, Opinions And Disadvantages

The Hiace is a world famous light commercial van that has been in production since 1967 and is currently in its sixth generation. If you are interested in this vehicle, you are in the right place because here we will talk about the common Toyota Hiace faults , so you can be attentive in the future.

Hiace’s consistency in delivering value, efficiency and reliability has ensured its relevance through multiple decades, earning it worldwide recognition.

Common failures of the Toyota Hiace

Although it is one of the best vehicles in its class, the Toyota Hiace has its flaws, and we will discuss the most common below.

Stay with us and discover what they are.

1. Airbags do not deploy during the collision

One of the most important aspects when buying a van is the effectiveness of its security elements. Among these safety features, air bags are some of the most basic, and are expected to deploy during a crash.

However, a commonly reported problem with the Toyota Hiace is the non-deployment of the airbags.

Several complaints revealed that some owners suffered very serious injuries from this failure.

Possible causes and solutions

If a vehicle is equipped with air bags, they are expected to deploy when necessary. On some Toyota Hiace models, they did not, and below are the reasons why this may have happened.

1- Severity of the collision

Airbag systems have sensors that can measure the impact and severity of a collision or crash. Sometimes, if the sensors detect that the crash is not severe enough to warrant deployment, the air bags will not deploy.

What’s more, the airbags leave the job to the seat belts in those cases of minor collisions. This further reveals why it’s important to always wear a seatbelt, even if the vehicle has airbags at every corner.

2- System defects

The airbag has a complex system that has electrical modules, sensors and other similar components. Some of these components are prone to damage and wear, especially when the vehicle is older.

For this reason, we consider it important that you contract a maintenance plan for your Toyota Hiace, which will help you reduce the probability of these defects occurring.

3- Absence of Airbag

Airbags must be replaced once they have been deployed in a vehicle. However, used Hiace owners may assume that the airbags are still in place when, in fact, they have been previously deployed.

The lesson here is that if you have a used vehicle, make sure you get enough information from the previous owner. And of course, that should include information on components as crucial as the airbags.

4- Airbag shutdown sensors

Another reason that airbags can fail to deploy is because of the auto-disconnect sensors that are included in recent airbag systems.

The disconnect sensors can sometimes disconnect the passenger airbag system if it detects a child or zero occupants in the seat.

To do?

Air bags refusing to deploy is one of the most concerning issues for vehicle owners. Therefore, we recommend referring the matter to a certified auto technician who can diagnose the problem and devise a solution.

2. White/gray smoke emission

We have come across a number of complaints about some Toyota Hiace models emitting thick white/grey smoke. Many of the owners found this quite unnerving, not only because of the smoke, but also because of other related issues, such as worsening gas mileage.

Additionally, we also found that white smoke could turn into black smoke if not addressed immediately.

Possible causes and solutions

That the exhaust pipe of your Hiace fills up with smoke is not pleasant at all. The following are possible causes of this type of problem:

1- Defective cylinder head

If the cylinder head on the Hiace is damaged, coolant will soon leak out. And when this leak occurs, the coolant can mix with the engine oil, effectively contaminating the oil.

Here’s the news: thick white/gray smoke is one way your vehicle tells you that your engine oil has been contaminated.

2- Damaged fuel injector

The fuel injector is one of the vital components of the Hiace, as it pumps the fuel into the internal combustion chamber and determines the proper moment for fuel injection.

However, if the fuel injector goes bad , it could inject the fuel at the wrong time, and this is a recipe for thick white smoke.

3- Defective head gasket

A blown head gasket could also be the reason for white exhaust smoke on your Hiace. It is located between the cylinder head and the engine block, and serves to prevent coolant leaks.

The head gasket, especially an old one, is very prone to wear. If it wears, refrigerants leak freely into the cylinders, burn and consequently cause the emission of white smoke.

4- Damaged engine block

A damaged engine block is a possible reason for your Toyota Hiace emitting white smoke. It is also the most expensive reason by far because there are so many components involved.

If the engine block gets damaged, it will fail in its responsibility to transfer heat which, in turn, will cause white smoke among other symptoms.

To do?

If you are having a white smoke problem with your Toyota Hiace, your best bet would be to get a trusted and certified mechanic to diagnose the problem.

3. Hard to start when cold

Many Toyota Hiace owners have complained of having trouble starting the vehicle on cold, dewy mornings. The vehicle, on such mornings, allegedly refuses to start for a few minutes and finally starts sometime.

Our investigation showed that this only happens in the morning, and the Hiace normally starts at any other time of the day.

Possible causes and solutions

Here are the possible causes of this problem and its solution:

1- Weak battery or alternator

If you’re having trouble starting your Hiace on cold mornings, it’s likely because the battery is weak and needs to be recharged. Freezing temperatures are known to slow down chemical reactions, especially in old or weak batteries.

A general rule of thumb says that you have to change the battery every two or three years. If your battery has exceeded this period, it is best to replace it.

As a temporary solution, you can borrow another car’s battery to jump start your vehicle. If it’s not a battery problem, it could be an alternator problem.

2- Defective spark plug

Although most spark plugs last a long time, some tend to go bad within a few years. During cold temperatures, components like spark plugs need to exert a lot of power, and if they’re old or worn, they’ll tire out.

If you can’t start your Hiace’s engine, see your technician to see if it’s a spark plug issue. If it is, you will need to replace it and maintain the new one regularly.

3- Problems with engine oil

One of the problems that cold temperatures bring is that they thicken the vehicle’s engine oil and make it difficult for it to move through the engine parts. This could affect the starter and prevent the car from starting.

Therefore, the first thing you should do is make sure that your engine oil levels are not low. Afterward, it’s best to check with your technician to make sure the engine oil is right for the vehicle.

To do?

The problem mentioned above could happen to you at a bad time, and here are some tricks that might help you:

    • Turn off anything that could be draining your batteries, from heaters to radios and lights.
    • Release the clutch slightly as you switch the ignition on
    • Clean the battery cables and tighten them
    • Fill up the engine oil

Keep in mind that these tips are for urgent situations, and we still advise consulting a technician to be able to give a good solution to the problem. In this way, you will be able to find out what exactly the error is and you will be able to deal with it correctly.

The good and the bad of the Toyota Hiace

We told you about the common faults of the Toyota Hiace now it is time for you to also be aware of the good things that this vehicle has to offer.

Advantages of the Toyota Hiace

The following are some of the pros or positive points of the Hiace:

1- Reliability

As is typical of many Toyota models, the Toyota Hiace has earned a reputation for reliability among light commercial van owners. All trim levels have capable engines that will far outlast their projections with proper care.

2- Range

The Toyota Hiace comes in multiple variants depending on what prospective owners want it for. For example, there are models for fleet operators, ambulance services, extended families, large associations, and grassroots politicians.

Whatever your need for a commercial van, you’ll more than likely find a Toyota Hiace to fit the bill.

3- Accessibility of the parts

Have you ever tried to find certain parts for your vehicle and had to do everything to find them? If you haven’t, we’re happy for you because it’s not a pleasant experience.

Fortunately, Toyota parts are some of the most accessible in the world, so you have little to worry about if you own a Hiace model.

4- Low running costs

As a complement to the last point mentioned above, the Toyota Hiace also has low running costs. This means that compared to most vehicles in its class, the Toyota Hiace is cheaper to maintain.

The annual operating costs will not be a disproportionate expense for you; several long-time Hiace owners have attested to this.

5- Ample space

The Toyota Hiace boasts adequate legroom for up to 16 passengers, eliminating any chance of discomfort.

It also has a large cargo space and a curb weight of 1890kg, enough to carry a decent load.

6- Advanced security features

The Toyota Hiace is a van with capacity for more than a dozen passengers. Although it’s a lovely ability, what about the safety of all those people?

Fortunately, the van has answered that question with its long list of safety features to protect the driver and passengers. Next, we show you some of them:

7- Side curtain airbags

  • Front airbags (driver and passenger)
  • automatic emergency braking
  • reversing camera
  • blind spot warning
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • electronic stability control
  • pre-collision system
  • automatic high beam
  • cross traffic alert

Disadvantages of the Toyota Hiace

The disadvantages and cons of the Toyota Hiace are:

  • The airbags do not deploy during the collision
  • White/grey smoke emission
  • Hard to start when cold

What do reviews and opinions say about the Toyota Hiace?

Although there have been failures with some models of the Toyota Hiace, these problems are few and fortunately they all have a solution, which is why the comments and opinions about the Hiace are usually positive.

“Toyotas have legendary reliability, and the Hiace is no exception. It should provide years of excellent service.”


“Throughout its history, the Toyota Hiace has been a trusted business tool for many. It may lack some of the style and dynamic ability of some rivals, but it’s very good at transporting people and goods with a minimum of fuss.”

“The new Toyota Hiace really is a six for Toyota. It is an example of Toyota striving to develop class-leading products with passenger safety as a priority.”

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