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In brief:

  1. What should I look for when evaluating the 1.8 liter 1ZZ-FE (prior to 2005)?
  2. What can an owner of the same engine do to avoid its common reliability issues?

The 1ZZ-FE (prior to 2005) is described as having reliability issues.

"The common problem for the 1ZZ engines, produced before 2005, is high oil consumption. The reason was in the bad design of oil piston rings, which was revised and improved in 2005. Cast iron liners are thin and non-rebuildable."

http://www.motorreviewer.com/engine.php?engine_id=160

In 2019, when looking to buy a car from 2004 which has this engine, what, if anything, can I look for when trying to evaluate the car's engine?

This particular engine I'm asking for advice on is the 1.8 liter version, 140500 miles. It has followed the manufacturer's service intervals. If it matters, this engine is in a Toyota Avensis, 2004.

I'm concerned it will fail relatively soon, and it would be nice to know what I can do to mitigate that before buying, as in, how can I know if I should avoid buying this particular car with an 1ZZ-FE? Of course, perhaps I should not even consider buying a car with this engine in the first place, but my budget is tight.

I'm asking for things I can do myself, compression test, inspection of spark plugs, inspection of oil, oil leaks? Are there any telltale signs of high oil consumption (the owner might not be telling the truth after all).

However, if there are things I can't do myself, it would still be interesting to know what it would take, just as general experience/wisdom. Would you need to take the whole engine apart to evaluate these problems with the 1ZZ-FE?

I'm also curious what, if anything, I can do if I ended up buying a car like this. Is there any preventative maintenance I should pay particular attention to, to prolong the lifetime of the engine?

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