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  7. Suzuki Vitara: 4 Common Engine Problems & Fixes

Suzuki Vitara: 4 Common Engine Problems & Fixes

Suzuki Vitara engine problems

Suzuki Vitara: 4 Common Engine Problems & Fixes

In the world of crossover vehicles, few cars are more popular and more driven than the Suzuki Vitara. Its sleek, modern design and efficient power system make it a steal for drivers on a low to mid-level budget.

Unfortunately, the Vitara is prone to engine problems that can ruin the experience of owning and driving one. Some of the most reported issues involve a faulty EGR valve, broken tensioners on the timing chain, a loose or damaged drive belt tension pulley, and oil leaks from the engine. And if your engine is rattling, making unfamiliar noises, or refusing to start entirely, one or more of these could be the cause.

Whether you’re currently experiencing a Suzuki Vitara engine problem or in the market for a new or used Vitara, this article will familiarize you with its common problems, how to detect them in your vehicle, and what you can do to fix them as soon as possible, 

Why Is My Suzuki Vitara Engine Malfunctioning?

grey Suzuki Vitara
Photo Credit: Unsplash

It’s important to note that similar engine problems occur on the Vitara’s latest 1.4L turbo engine hybrids, the third-generation Suzuki ‘Grand’ Vitara, and older generations of this automobile. Regardless of which Vitara model you are concerned with, we hope you’ll find something that works for you here.

Sometimes, it’s easy to tell when the Suzuki Vitara engine has a fault. You could experience bumpy rides due to engine knocks, crank the engine without starting it, or have an engine that behaves like this. In other cases, such as an oil leak, the engine may fail before any fault is detected.

Concerning the Suzuki Vitara engine, it’s a good idea to eliminate any possibility of compression and fuel pressure problems from the start. If you have confirmed that the problem is not from any of these areas, then check for the following:

EGR Valve

automobile engine parts
Photo Credit: Pexels

The exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve could get clogged with carbon, but this occurs more frequently in the Suzuki Vitara. 

Multiple owners have reported experiencing a lack of power in their vehicles. Even worse, the Vitara’s acceleration could be slow or rough due to poor engine idling. All of these occur when there’s a fault with the EGR valve.


Try removing the EGR valve and cleaning it with carb cleaner spray.

Use a brush if necessary. If the problem persists, it’s usually a sign that your EGR valve is damaged beyond repair and it’s time to get a replacement.

Drive belt

car drive belt
Photo Credit: Pixabay

If your Suzuki Vitara was manufactured in 2011 or shortly before that year, it’s most likely a model that connects the engine’s camshaft to the crankshaft using a drive belt. And while there’s nothing wrong with using a drive belt, there may be a problem with the internal spring, which forms part of the drive belt tension pulley. Due to this problem, recalling many Suzuki Vitara vehicles in the past is well-recorded.

You can tell that the drive belt is in trouble when you hear a ticking noise while running the engine.


Start by checking the internal spring. If it’s intact, that ticking sound could indicate that the drive belt is loose or about to overstretch and tear. In either case, the only solution is to replace the drive belt.

If you plan to purchase the Suzuki Vitara, this is one major component to check. And if you’re currently facing this problem, remember to use the ‘Check Engine light on the Suzuki Vitara dashboard. This should help you verify that the problem is completely fixed before getting back on the road.

Timing chain

Suzuki engine
Photo Credit: Pexels

Judging from reports on multiple online forums, this seems to be the most common problem with the Suzuki Vitara and Suzuki ‘Grand’ Vitara. It starts by causing a rattling sound from the car engine.

The sound then gets louder and more frequent, indicating that there is a problem somewhere in your engine. Sometimes, the problem could be a failure of the timing chain tensioner, whose function is to regulate the tension of the timing chain on the crankshaft sprocket and thus keep it working. Other times, it could be a failure of the primary timing chain.


We recommend that you have your engine inspected by a mechanic or automobile expert to check for any timing chain issues. Considering that the timing chain is located inside the car engine, it may be unsafe to inspect it at home. In any case, a damaged timing chain tensioner should be followed up with an engine oil change.

Mechanics have reported that timing chain problems occur when a vehicle undergoes little maintenance. To prevent this problem from recurring, you must establish a regular maintenance schedule for your Suzuki Vitara engine. Thus, you can save a lot of money, time, and resources by simply checking on the engine at frequent intervals.

Oil Leaks

Suzuki Vitara Engine Problems
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Oil leaks are pretty common in the Suzuki Vitara engine. An oil leak could occur for several reasons, including:

  • A cracked cylinder head in the engine
  • Leakage around the gasket of the timing chain
  • Crankshaft oil seal failure

In the case of leakage through valves and gaskets, we’ve found that the problem is usually due to either over-tightening or under-tightening the closing elements. But if the cylinder head is cracked, this is likely caused by an issue with the engine coolant system. This coolant fault has been reported by owners of the 2.4L petrol engine-based Vitara, with engine overheating affecting the cracked cylinder head.


The first step is to find the exact cause of the leak, which will determine the correct method for fixing the problem. Notably, oil leaks from the engine differ from external coolant leaks, such as the air conditioning system. Be sure to tighten the timing chain gasket and oil seals with the proper torque, and replace any damaged parts as may be necessary


That the Suzuki Vitara is prone to engine problems doesn’t make it a bad choice car; it just means that, like every other good thing, it also has its bad sides. However, with adherence to these common issues and excellent maintenance, you will surely enjoy this great engine for a longer time.

Should I buy a used Suzuki Vitara?

Whether it’s a good idea or not to buy a used Vitara would depend on the generation of the car and its reliability. While first and second-generation models may have quite old parts, third-generation Vitaras and later could offer more reliability, in addition to their modern automobile design.

The more recent the model, the better its fuel economy and efficiency. The Suzuki Vitara remains a great deal for car buyers with its budget.

How does the Vitara compare to other cars? 

The strengths of the Suzuki Vitara lie in its safety for drivers and passengers. In 2015, the Euro NCAP test program awarded Vitara a 5-star safety score, with 85% in child occupant protection and 89% in adult protection.

However, it ranked 52nd of 75 automobiles on the 2022 CarBuyer Driver Power annual UK car owners survey. While the Vitara is an excellent automobile, many improvements still exist to rise to the top of its competition.