The Scion FR-S is hands-down one of the best sports cars on the used market. It’s fun, inexpensive to maintain, and has a track record of being quite reliable when routinely serviced. However, you always want to err on the side of caution when buying any pre-owned vehicle. If you’re looking to buy a used Scion FR-S, be sure to watch out for these common problems.
Bad Clutch Release Bearing
While Scion offered the FR-S with a six-speed automatic transmission, performance wasn't as strong. True driving enthusiasts will want the six-speed manual transmission. However, be sure to have the gearbox examined by an experienced mechanic beforehand.
The manual transmission’s clutch release bearing is prone to failing prematurely. This ultimately causes drivers to experience grinding when shifting from one gear to the next. Issues are more likely to occur during cold weather. If the clutch release bearing isn’t replaced in a timely manner, other parts can be compromised as well. The transmission housing, pressure plate, and shaft are all at risk of being damaged.
Cracked Oil Drain Plug
It’s always a good idea to have your oil changed by an experienced mechanic. Quick lube stations are more likely to make mistakes. When shopping for a used Scion FR-S, be sure to check the condition of its oil drain plug. Some people have a tendency to overtighten the plug, which ultimately leads to it cracking.
If you notice a leak coming from underneath the oil pan, there’s a good chance the drain plug needs to be replaced. While this issue isn’t serious, it can cause you to lose a lot of motor oil. Allowing the oil level to get too low puts the engine in jeopardy.
Bad Valve Springs
Some FR-S models were equipped from the factory with defective valve springs. Although Scion issued a recall for this problem, not every owner brought their car in for repair. The only solution is to have updated parts installed. It’s only a matter of time before the weakening valve springs collide with the pistons, thus resulting in complete engine failure.
Misfiring and a severe loss of power when accelerating can indicate bad valve springs. However, the best approach is to get an FR-S that has extensive maintenance records. You’ll then be able to determine if new springs were installed at some point.
Heavily Modified Models
Although Scion engineered the FR-S to withstand the rigors of the track, stay far away from one that has been used for racing. The extra stress is bound to take a toll on the car’s long-term dependability. When trying to get the best lap times, some drivers will push their car to its limits.
Furthermore, avoid taking ownership of a heavily modified FR-S. Performance upgrades, such as turbo kits and lightweight crankshaft pulleys, can lead to accelerated wear. Think twice about getting an FR-S that features a lowered suspension, especially if the work was done by an inexperienced amateur. Keeping the wheels properly aligned could prove to be a big challenge. The car’s everyday drivability may suffer as well.