These Are Some Of The Most Reliable Car Engines Ever Made

With the ever-growing development to continuously push new innovations in the automotive industry to make today’s cars better, more fuel-efficient, with lower emissions, and sometimes more power, newer technologies are also used to develop new designs and engines. But oftentimes, one of the biggest questions that come to mind when purchasing a vehicle is, “how reliable is it?”. The common consumer wants something reliable that will not break down.

Updated April 2023: Automotive manufacturers always aim to create vehicles that will trump the competition. One way of achieving this is through reliable engines that can cover many miles with proper maintenance. This updated list highlights all the engines that are synonymous with longevity.

It’s our mode of transportation to get from point A to B, hopefully with a bit of fun as a bonus. If it can’t do its job, then why bother? Unless, of course, it’s a project car that is purposely built. Even then, you would have a daily driver and want that to be as reliable as ever. So here we are to show you the most reliable car engines ever made.



11 Toyota 2AR-FE Engine

2AR-FE inside a 2015 Toyota Camry Atara S
VistaSunset via: Wikimedia Commons

There is no surprise that this engine would make it on the list. Toyota has always been synonymous with reliability. That’s why they have been very successful in leading the industry regarding the number of car sales. Other than being very reliable, parts are also cheap, and they are not hard to find at all. You can practically find a Toyota part at every parts store.

The Toyota 2AR-FE engine is one of Toyota’s most economical engines ever produced. It’s an inline-4 engine with a die-cast aluminum engine block and aluminum DOHC head. This engine incorporates the new technology, the variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust or the dual VVTi. This helps with the engines’ better fuel efficiency, and its engine applications are available in the Toyota RAV4, Toyota Camry, Toyota Alphard, and Scion TC.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About The 2022 Toyota Camry

10 Toyota 1ZZ Engine

1zz jdmmotors
JDM Motors

Next up is another entry for Toyota — the 1ZZ engine. The 1ZZ is the first engine in the Toyota ZZ family, and it’s also an inline-4 DOHC engine made with the same materials as the 2AR engine. However, these offer a lower displacement optimized for fuel efficiency for their more economical cars.

This engine was such a success that they decided to equip it with various cars. Ranging from sedans, coupes, small SUVs, and even mid-engine cars. Applications for this engine are on the Toyota Corolla, Toyota MR2 Spyder, Toyota Wish, Toyota Allion, Toyota Matrix, and even Pontiac Vibe. Toyota also offered a factory-supported bolt-on supercharger kit from 2003 to 2004. The kit added 7.5 pounds of boost and a 40 hp and 38 lb-ft of torque increase at the wheels.

9 Honda B Series Engine

Original Civic Type R Vtec engine

This entry is from the Honda B-Series family. The B-Series engines are synonymous with the performance capability of the engine and the ingenious VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Electronic Control) design. With different camshaft profiles, it offered maximum fuel efficiency at low RPMs and better performance at the higher rpm range. Because of this technology, race enthusiasts of all ages will have this engine in mind when building a Honda.

With the engine’s proven reliability and tuning potential, it has earned an iconic status in the automotive industry. The B-Series engine comes in different displacements, from 1.6-liter to 2.0-liter DOHC. Its applications come in the majority of the early Honda releases like the Honda Civic, Honda CRX, Honda Integra, and Honda CRV.

Related: 2021 Honda Civic Type R: Costs, Facts, And Figures

8 Honda K Series Engine

Hatsukari715 via Wikimedia Commons

Another Honda entry is the K series. Known to be the predecessor of the B series engine, the K series came to life in 2001. It’s also an inline-four DOHC engine but with an improved i-VTEC system. Being the newer engine also offered new tuning possibilities while maintaining the engine’s reliability. With the K Series engine, Honda opted for roller rockers on the cylinder heads t reduce friction. They also used a computer-controlled system, allowing the ECU to control ignition timings.

Since Honda was synonymous with high-revving, reliable, fuel-efficient engines, this immediately became a hot topic for enthusiasts out there. It was initially available in the Acura RSX, Civic Si, and CRV. The K series came in either 2.0-liter or 2.4-liter form, which Honda makes easy to identify by coding them as K20 or K24.

7 Mercedes-Benz M111 Engine

Mercedes Benz M111 Kompressor
1994delicaman via YouTube

Fabricated using cast iron engine block with cylinder head made from aluminum alloy, the Mercedes-Benz M111 engine’s structure is quite solid. As a replacement for the legendary M102, the M111 had a big shoe to fill and it did so perfectly. Launched in 1992, the M111 consist of a wide range of straight-4 engines produced by Mercedes till 2003. Requiring mainly just regular oil changes, the M111 is an incredibly durable and efficient engine.

The engine’s power output ranges from 121 to 194 horsepower, and it powers several Mercedes models that include the C-Class, E-Class, CLK, and SLK roadster among others. The M111 remains one of the best four cylinders engines ever built, and you’ll find it powering several Mercedes cars on our roads till date.

Related: 10 Things Gearheads Should Know About The Honda K-Series Engine

6 Lexus 1UZFE Engine

1UZFE clublexus

Of course, who could forget the ever-lasting Lexus 1UZFE engine? This engine can reach a million miles and still run smoothly. The 1UZFE powers Lexus’ flagship car, the LS400. Going up against the Mercedes-Benz S Class and the BMW 7-Series, this was certainly ahead of its time.

The engine demonstrated a very smooth ride with little to no engine vibration. This was very important for luxury vehicles, as it offers maximum comfort with more than enough power while getting chauffeured around. There are no known common issues of this engine other than the fuel economy not being the best, being a 4.0-liter V8. But with regular maintenance, this is one of the engines that will last forever.

5 Lexus 2UR-GSE Engine

2UR-GSE tuningpro

Another big engine from Lexus is the 2UR-GSE. It is a 32-valve DOHC V8 engine. Toyota introduced it in 2006 to replace the UZ engines as it was being phased out. It had better technology for fuel efficiencies, like having the dual VVTi and the direct injection (D4-S).

The 2UR had a different build structure than the other average UR engines. While being reliable is still the primary goal for the UR engines, the 2UR found its way into the performance lines of Lexus, like the IS-F, RC-F, GS-F, and LC500. So this is definitely a reliable monster that can go beyond 200,000 miles with no problem as long as maintenance is on point. That is truly impressive for a performance-built engine.

Related:Here Are The Best Lexus Models To Buy Used (2 We’d Stay Away From)

4 BMW M57 Diesel Engine

Dandle – E60 Forums via Wikimedia Commons

Another very reliable engine comes from BMW. Normally when you hear BMW, reliability has always been questionable due to its complex engineering. But the M57 Diesel engine says otherwise. This is a 3.0-liter turbocharged water-cooled straight inline-6 diesel engine with common rail injection.

BMW revised this engine twice during its production time, giving it different turbochargers for higher power outputs.

Given that it’s a diesel engine, this may not be the most popular engine to see, as some countries are gasoline dominant. Its applications were on the BMW E39 as the 525d, BMW E46 as the 330d, and BMW E90 as the 325d — making it one of the most reliable engines ever made.

3 Nissan RB26DETT Engine

1999 nissan skyline gt-r engine RB26DETT R34
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The RB26DETT is a performance engine built by Nissan, and it is another engine that is known for its reliability… in its stock form, of course. You may hear owners tell some horror stories regarding the RB engines, but note that most of these engines have already gotten modified to a certain point.

There are many versions of the RB26 engine, however, what sets this apart from the other RB family is that the other RB engines do not have an oil port on the cylinder block. The port plays a huge part in protecting your engine, which in turn definitely helps with better reliability.

Related: Here’s What Makes The Nissan Skyline’s RB26DETT An Iconic JDM Motor

2 Mercedes-Benz OM617 Diesel Engine

1985 Mercedes-Benz 300TD Turbo Engine
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The OM617 engine family from Mercedes-Benz is definitely a legend when it comes to reliability. It’s an inline-5 diesel engine that can go over half a million miles without having to be rebuilt. Mercedes used the engine family back in the ’70s and the ’80s. Besides being reliable, the engine offered enough power for engines of the time.

Now, to be able to achieve this, you must, of course, perform regular maintenance to keep the engine in its tip-top condition. You’ll need to replace a few things like timing chains at a certain mileage, motor mounts, as well as perform constant oil changes. However, this goes for all cars, as no maintenance-free vehicle exists.

1 General Motors LS Engine

Chevrolet Corvette Engine

Last but not least is the General Motors LS engine. GM introduced the LS engine family back in 1997. This has arguably been one of the greatest V8s ever made, thanks to GM’s evolution over the years. The modern V8 family of engines still delivers consistent power, durability, and reliability over the course of time.

It’s such a great engine that General Motors still continues to produce them, making them readily available for people who want to get one. General Motors offers three LS engines: the LS3, LS376/480, and LS376/525. All these engines produce over 430 hp and 425 lb-ft of torque, with the most powerful churning out 525 hp and 486 lb-ft of torque. Another thing is that part replacement will not be an issue for this, especially if you want to make the engine much more powerful than it already is.


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