Toyota Yaris Owners – Be Aware of these Potentially Deadly Common Problems

red Toyota Yaris

The Toyota Yaris has been a common sight on UK roads since 1999. Known for great handling, solid safety features and a very comfy little interior, it quickly gained a reputation as one of the best subcompact cars available.

Like all cars, the Yaris is not immune from problems. Some are known issues that become worse over time, whereas others are faults that have occurred due to manufacturing errors. When an issue with the Yaris’s production has been identified, Toyota will usually issue a recall through the EU Rapex system.

However, there is always the chance that a car owner may have missed the manufacturer’s letter notifying them of the recall, leaving the fault unresolved. However, fortunately, recall notices are not issued under time constraints and Toyota should correct any such defect free of charge.

So, what are the common problems with the Yaris, and which ones can be fixed under recall notices?

The Common Faults with the Toyota Yaris

Table of contents:

Brake Lights

There have been a number of reported issues with the Yaris’s brake lights, ranging from seasonal issues to problems with the brake lights illuminating alongside the ABS lights. There is also a known fault with models manufactured in 2014 where the brake warning light illuminates, but there is no problem with the brakes.  

If your Yaris was built in April 2014, then you may be able to resolve the problem by changing the right hand front brake calliper. For all other issues, it may be prudent to seek out the advice of a professional who can find the specific cause and quote for the time and parts to perform an effective repair.

Yaris rear

Brake Fluid Leak

Vehicles manufactured between April and May in 2013 could suffer from a brake fluid leak from either rear brake callipers or from the rear brake cylinders. You’ll notice this in the brake pedal with an increase in stopping distances and the problems with braking efficiency – and the issue should be enough to cause the warning light to illuminate on the dashboard.


There have been several reports of the Yaris’s airbag failing to correctly deploy in a crash, putting drivers and passengers in risk of a severe injury. This mainly applies to vehicles constructed between August 2011 and December 2014 – where a fault in the manufacturing allows moisture to get into the system, often causing problems with deployment. Models suffering from this issue should have been recalled and the faulty parts replaced.

Other reports have pointed out problems with side airbags and there is a known issue where the airbag warning light can trigger on the dashboard light, causing the airbags to fail during an accident.

Some of the reasons behind this fault could be down to the following:

  • Defective wiring in the airbag
  • Faulty electrical components (either badly designed or poorly installed)
  • Defective sensor failing to detect the crash
  • Run down back up battery causing the airbag light to illuminate as a problem
  • Faulty clock spring could also cause the airbag light to illuminate

If you do have any problems with the airbag light, then we would recommend that you check the potential faults as listed above – or get your car down to a mechanics where they can find out why the light is stuck on.

Rear Seatbelt

There’s a reported problem with the centre rear seatbelt in the Toyota Yaris, which can become very worn out over time. Friction caused by a sharp edge on the seat belt anchor plate can wear away the belt’s strong fabric, leaving it prone to breakages when you need it most – for instance in an accident or when you have to stop suddenly.  Check your belts for wear and if there’s an issue or they look weak, then simply order a new belt, and use it to replace the old one.

Once you’ve made the change, then we would also recommend adding a protective layer over the sharp edge, to prevent the problem from occurring in the future.

Power Steering

There is a known issue with the Yaris’s power steering. Models manufactured between July 2011 and March 2012 were subject to a recall due to a problem with the power steering control module. This part was replaced by the manufacturer, although if your car or a second hand vehicle you’re considering buying has not had the work done, then this may have caused knock on issues to the rest of the system including the power steering pump.


Toyota Yaris front

There is a fault with the Yaris’s headlights. Drivers have problems switching between high and low beams. This issue was the subject of a recall in 2002 where many owners assumed that the fault was due to faulty wiring. However, the issue is actually with the whole headlamp unit, which needs to be replaced to restore the system’s proper working order.

Driver’s Side Window

This issue can be sometimes found in second generation Yarises, where debris and moisture can cause the power window master switch to melt due to a short circuit, rendering it useless. You can prevent this problem by lubricating the part properly if the master switch is still functioning. However, if it has blown then you’ll need to replace it with a new unit.

And Finally

The Yaris has a solid reputation for reliability – regularly finishing in good order in independent reliability tests. The manufacturer, Toyota, tends to fare even better and is known as one of the safest brands on UK roads. It’s also worth noting that all third generation Yaris models were sold with a full 5 year warranty – which could still be valid if you are thinking of purchasing one second hand. And if a part is not covered by warranties, it is not too expensive to replace with new or used Toyota Yaris parts.

This entry was posted in Buying & Selling on by Justin Smith.

About Justin Smith

As the man at the helm of BreakerLink, it is no surprise that its Director, Justin Smith, has always had a keen interest in cars, bikes and most things wheeled. Having spent over two decades in the car parts industry, Justin combines his passion that since 2002, has successfully united those looking for new and used car parts with the breaker that supplies them. Follow Justin on LinkedIn.

Disclaimer: These articles are for guidance purposes only. If you have any questions regarding any matter relating to your vehicle we would recommend that you seek the advice of an appropriate professional. We accept no responsibility or liability should you suffer financial or personal damages in relation to the advice stated on this website.