Toyota Kluger Problems

No car is perfect, but we've gathered everything relating to the Toyota Kluger reliability here to help you decide if it's a smart buy.

I am looking for an auto transmission wagon or SUV, that tows at least 1500kg and does not have a CVT.

Answered by CarsGuide 5 May 2022

While the CVT is enjoying a bit of a purple patch right now with many car-makers using it for its efficiency benefits, you’re not the only one, Gregg, that doesn’t want to own such a thing. The CVT’s history is littered with failures, although to be perfectly fair, they are a lot better now than they’ve ever been.

But even if you can accept their reliability track record, some owners will just never take to the CVT’s characteristics of allowing the engine to rev up and have the rest of the vehicle catch up. It can feel very alien and it’s hardly a sporty sensation, either.

With all that in mind, you probably should start looking at things like the two-wheel-drive versions of something like, say, the Toyota Kluger or Hyundai Santa Fe. Both are available in two-wheel-drive, both have conventional 8-speed automatic transmissions and both can haul a decent load (2000kg and 2500kg respectively). The Toyota even offers a hybrid driveline, but, sadly for buyers like you, that uses a CVT transmission.

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I can't find a GCM limit on my Kluger AWD. If we were to tow at close to the maximum... what would our remaining payload be in the Kluger?

Answered by CarsGuide 27 Apr 2022

This is a very important issue as exceeding the Gross Combination Mass (GCM) is a distinct possibility in modern vehicles with high towing limits. Even if the towed trailer comes in under the permissible weight limit, if you’re heavily loaded the car towing it, you can easily be outside the GCM limit, leaving yourself open to all sorts of legal and insurance hassles if it goes wrong.

If you check your owner’s manual, you’ll find that the all-wheel-drive Kluger has a GCM of 4685kg. So, on that basis, you could tow a 1900kg caravan and load the Kluger up to the tune of about 700kg and still be legal. However, that 700kg load in the Kluger includes everything, including the humans. That arithmetic also assumes that the caravan is not carrying a single extra thing that’s not part of the actual van. That includes water in the on-board tank, gas bottles, an extra spare tyre and any other luggage. As you can see, a 1900 caravan, despite the 2000kg towing limit, might have you sailing pretty close to the legislative wind.

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What is the longevity of diesel-powered SUV and Passenger vehicles in Australia?

Answered by CarsGuide 8 Jul 2021

Of all the technology you’re considering right now, the only one that sounds any real alarm bells is that of the double-clutch transmission. It’s not that Kia’s version of the DCT is worse than many others – nor is it the worst of the lot – but there have been complaints over the operation and lifespan of these units generally. Sometimes the fault is a software glitch, but in other DCTs – particularly the dry-clutch variety – the problems are mechanical and can lead to catastrophic failures.

With that said, it’s also true that Kia in Australia offers a fantastic factory warranty, so you should have no worries for at least the first seven years. It’s also the case that Kia Australia takes its reputation very seriously and is one of the better companies when it comes to sorting out faults and problems with its products. We’re pretty big fans here at Carsguide of the current Toyota hybrid technology, and it’s looking like the new Kluger Hybrid will be just as popular as Toyota’s other hybrid offerings. Perhaps more so as the non-hybrid Kluger can be thirsty.

As for the requirement for premium ULP, when you consider that the Kluger Hybrid will, around the city and suburbs where most of them will spend the vast majority of their lives, use about two thirds of the fuel of the V6 Kluger (maybe even a bit less than that) then the extra cost per litre is more than compensated for by the reduced cost per kilometre. And in case you were worried about Toyota’s hybrid tech, the new Kluger Hybrid comes with up to 10 years of warranty on the battery-pack provided the vehicle is serviced correctly and inspected once a year.

The other thing you might consider is the next-size-down Toyota hybrid, the RAV4. This is quite a spacious vehicle these days and offers excellent fuel efficiency and driveability. It’s cheaper than the Kluger, too. Definitely worth a look. Overall, the broader view is that a petrol hybrid vehicle is more future-proof than a conventional turbo-diesel.

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Why does my 2011 Toyota Kluger turn off when I turn sharp corners?

Answered by CarsGuide 17 Jun 2021

It could very well be that there’s something amiss in the car’s ignition barrel (which lives on the steering column, remember) or its wiring and connectors that is causing the power to the ignition to be cut when you turn the wheel. The problem could also be a short-circuit somewhere in the wiring in the column (and there’s plenty of it) that is causing the problem. Either way, you need to get it fixed immediately, as having a car cut out when you least expect it is can lead to all sorts of extremely dangerous situations.

Another possibility is that there’s something wrong with the car’s power steering system which is overloading at the point you turn the wheel hard and causing the engine to stall. Again, it needs to be fixed now and I wouldn’t be driving the car anywhere other than to a workshop for diagnosis.

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My 2017 Toyota Kluger is just out of warranty and needs a new water pump, should Toyota cover the cost?

Answered by CarsGuide 27 Apr 2021

The problem you have is that the car was already nine months out of warranty when the problem was first noticed. Even though the pump did not require replacement right there and then, if a leak has started, then the pump is damaged or worn and will eventually need replacement. There’s also a distinct probability that the leak had started weeks before it was spotted by your service workshop, so it may have been even closer to the warranty period when the problem first occurred.

I’m with you on this one; 39,000km is not good enough for a modern car to begin to require major replacement parts like a water pump. Rather than go through your dealership, consider contacting Toyota Australia’s customer service division directly and stating your case. Interestingly, since 2019, Toyota has offered a five-year warranty on its new cars and perhaps, if you’ve been a repeat customer or always had your Kluger serviced at a Toyota dealership, then you might find Toyota will help out even to the extent of providing the pump for you to have installed at your expense. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.

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Why did my 2018 Toyota Kluger jump from drive into neutral?

Answered by CarsGuide 8 Feb 2021

We haven’t heard of the Kluger jumping out of gear as a common problem, but it’s definitely one you need a mechanic to look at as there’s an obvious safety implication if you lose drive at a critical moment. The 'flaring' could simply be the behaviour that’s been programmed into the vehicle at the factory. The idea is that when you start to use large throttle inputs (say, when overtaking) the vehicle interprets that as you driving on a winding, uphill road. So, to keep the engine making lots of power, it holds on to a lower gear than seems normal. And that’s what you’re feeling when the revs stay high beyond your overtaking move. Try adjusting the car’s mode from Sport to Normal or even Economy, at which point the transmission should become a little less frenetic.

The good news is that, if there’s something wrong, your car should still be covered by Toyota’s factory warranty (which was three-years/100,000km when your car was bought new) so make it Toyota’s problem. If you’re not happy with your dealer, talk to Toyota Australia’s customer service department.

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Which Toyota Kluger models have a GPS?

Answered by CarsGuide 16 Dec 2020

The Kluger released in 2014 was initially only fitted with navigation in the flagship Grande model. But the facelift of the model in 2017 saw navigation become standard on the mid-spec GXL model, so that model now looks like the most cost-effective way into a Kluger with factory-fitted navigation.

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Will an engine replacement change the value of my Toyota Kluger 2019?

Answered by CarsGuide 7 Sep 2020

Having a replacement engine fitted will not damage your car’s resale value. In fact, I think the situation would be quite the opposite. If the vehicle is burning oil to the extent that Toyota wants to replace the engine under warranty, then there’s something not right inside the engine. And trying to sell a vehicle in that condition would be virtually impossible, not to mention that you’d be tearing up dollars because it would be worth a fraction of the same Kluger with a good engine.

Continuing to drive a car that’s burning excess oil can damage the catalytic converter in the exhaust system, so it’s not wise to simply keep topping the oil up; the problem needs to be addressed and fixed permanently.

About the only way a replacement engine will affect resale value is in the case of a classic or collector vehicle where potential buyers want to see a car with its original engine and transmission. With all due respect to the Toyota Kluger, that’s not likely to ever be an issue with your car.

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Why does my 2019 Toyota Kluger use so much oil?

Answered by CarsGuide 1 Aug 2020

It would seem very strange to me that an almost-new Toyota V6 engine would be burning oil to the extent that a new short motor would be required. And it seems that wasn’t the problem anyway, but I agree that more than a litre per 1500km is too much. Had the short motor (pistons and piston-rings) been the problem, the new short motor should have fixed it, but a leak-down and compression test should have given a few clues, too. In any case, the dealer should now be looking for the real source of the problem. I’d be starting with the valve-stem seals or valve guides which are part of the cylinder head and aren’t replaced when a new short motor is fitted (because the original cylinder heads are retained). I’d also be checking the operation of the PCV (crankcase ventilation valve) which can also make oil disappear if it’s faulty.

As for your next step, well, thank goodness for new-car warranties, eh? Basically, you’re covered whatever happens because that’s how warranties work. It’s up to the dealer to decide what steps it takes from here, but while ever the dealer is trying to fix the problem, you need to give them the chance to do so. It would be nice if you were provided with a replacement vehicle while yours is being assessed or fixed, and I’d definitely be asking for that much. Have you contacted Toyota Australia’s customer service number? Sometimes you’ll have a quicker resolution if head office gets involved. The other option if you’re really unhappy with how things are progressing is to contact the ACCC.

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Does the 2004 Toyota Kluger Grande have a timing chain or belt?

Answered by CarsGuide 11 Jul 2020

The model Kluger you are referring to uses an engine with the code-name 3MZ-FE. It uses a timing belt rather than a timing chain, so it requires periodic belt changes. This is especially important as the version of the engine fitted to your car is an interference type. That means that the pistons cannot move freely up and down if the camshafts aren’t also turning and, if the belt breaks while the engine is running, the ensuing collision between pistons and valves will probably destroy the engine.

Toyota recommends a timing-belt change every 150,000km which is actually pretty good compared with many other engines which require a new belt closer to every 100,000km or even less. The other piece of advice is to replace the belt tensioners and water pump while the engine is apart for the timing-belt replacement. It’s a lot cheaper to replace those items at that point, rather than having to open the engine up again down the track.

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