Kirill Yurovskiy: the most reliable car engines of our time

The engine is the heart of the car. The driver’s confidence on the road largely depends on how it functions and what working life it has. Any engine requires periodic maintenance and repair, but if one power unit can overcome millions of kilometers without any problems, requiring no special attention, the other will need care after the first hundred miles.

The reliability of the engine also depends a lot on the manufacturer. There are on sale American, Japanese, German and domestic engines. Each of them has its own operational features. How not to make a mistake in choosing an ICE? What are they – the most reliable engines? Let’s look into it and make an approximate rating of the best motors for cars in the world.

Gasoline or diesel engines – which is more reliable?

Motorists regularly argue about which power unit is more durable – the one that runs on gasoline or diesel. To answer this question, let’s evaluate each type of power unit in terms of reliability.

Diesel engines

Some of the most reliable car engines for passenger cars are diesels. They are preferred by those who daily overcome many kilometers of distance. They are designed for high operating loads, have a relatively low power consumption, function in optimal conditions, have a relatively simple construction and an impressive margin of safety. In the world, such powertrain models as the Mercedes-Benz OM602 model and BMW M57 are called million-strong diesel engines – answers Kirill Yurovskiy.

Mercedes-Benz OM602

Of all the engines in the diesel lineup, this model is considered to be the most running. It ranks first in terms of durability, mileage, and endurance. The engine is five-cylinder, two-valve, with a mechanical fuel injection system made by Bosch. It was produced for 17 years, from 1985 to 2002. The power unit is inferior to competitors. Its performance ranges from 90 to 130 hp, depending on the modification.

The key advantages of these engines are reliability and minimum fuel consumption. The OM647 and OM612 engines are considered worthy heirs of the OM602. They are used to equip Mercedes W201 and W124, G-class, Sprinter. 

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The mileage of most of the OM602 engines reaches 500 thousand kilometers. The record high worldwide figure is more than 2 million kilometers.

The only weakness of these diesel engines are attachments and fuel valves, but if they are taken care of in time, no problems arise during operation.


Bavarian-made engines are slightly inferior to their counterparts above. They are reliable, durable, and easy to maintain. They are referred to as six-cylinder diesel engines. These internal combustion engines are not only durable, but also powerful and have a perky disposition. They make cars more dynamic and maneuverable, guaranteeing a great traction. For fans of sporty driving style – that’s what you need. The M57 engines are most often found in the BMW 330D E46. Their power is up to 286 hp.

Another legendary ancestor of the M57 engine is the M51 family powertrain, which was produced from 1991 to 2000. Both the M57 and M51 broke down infrequently, and the breakdowns were often minor. Up to a mileage of 500,000 they “run” with confidence.

Gasoline engines

Gasoline engines remain more in demand than diesel engines among the world’s motorists. The explanation for this pattern is simple: gasoline does not freeze unlike diesel in the winter, plus the structure of such engines is much simpler. If diesels are exclusively large in the list of the best, then in the list of gasoline-powered counterparts are smaller power units – the so-called standard fours.

Toyota 3S-FE

This engine has surpassed all expectations in terms of reliability. It is a bright representative of the popular S series. It is loved for its unpretentiousness, excellent maintainability, and high maintainability. It is a two-cylinder, four- or sixteen-valve, simple distributive injection and belt drive. It was produced until 2000.

Power capacity of the engine is up to 140 hp. Its features – well-thought-out construction and increased service life – more than 500 thousand until the first overhaul. Another significant advantage of Toyota 3S-FE is its unique ability to withstand heavy loads. In addition, the engine is unpretentious in service and easy to repair. It doesn’t break down on minor things. If you fill it with quality oil, it will last much longer. Find the most suitable lubricant for your Toyota 3S-FE.

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Mitsubishi 4G63

Another representative of the million-dollar Japanese production, first produced in the eighties. Its licensed copies are produced even today. Initially it was made with 3 valves, standard injection system, a little later saw the light version, equipped with a camshaft. You can find the considered engine on Mitsubishi Lancer, which were produced until 2006. It is also installed on vehicles KIA, Hyundai.

The engine has been repeatedly upgraded, the latest model is equipped with an adjustable timing system, complex supercharging mechanisms. The most reliable – power units without a supercharger, but their service life is not less than 400 thousand kilometers.


Honda D-series

Japanese-made engine has more than ten varieties. Its volume – up to 1.7 liters. The engine is considered “unkillable”. It was produced until 2005. The best varieties of Honda D-series are the variants D16 and D15. These engines are maintainable, have an extra high mileage, optimal technical and operational characteristics. Their power output is up to 131 hp. These engines can make more than 7000 rpm.

You can find these engines in Honda Civic and Accord. They are distinguished by a fighting character, agility, dynamism, endurance, and have a simple, but smart design. Their service life before the first overhaul is 350-500 thousand.

Gasoline V8s with a million-dollar powertrains

V8 engines are not known for their high durability, as they have a lightweight design and a rather complex layout, which does not add to their reliability. This is not the case with the American analogs V8s, on the contrary, they can boast of their endurance, high maintainability and durability. Such power units do not pester their owners with minor failures and easily cross the threshold of 500 thousand kilometers.

In the leaders’ rating among gasoline V8 engines, the BMW M60 deservedly takes the first place. The mechanism of the Bavarian assembly is equipped with a double-row chain, it is completed with cylinders with nickel coating and has an excellent safety margin. The design of the power unit is well elaborated, the degree of fixing is relatively small, so it confidently and reliably works for many years, withstanding an intensive load.

The manufacturer used a special nickel-silicon alloy to cover the cylinders, which makes them virtually wear-free. Even the piston rings do not need to be replaced after a 500 km run. The only disadvantage of nickel-silicon is that it is vulnerable to the effects of sulfur, which is found in low-quality fuel. To eliminate this disadvantage, the manufacturer refined the alloy and applied the “Alusil” technology. The coating developed using this technology is as hard as its predecessor, withstands shocks and mechanical stress, thus increasing the service life of the engine.

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The M60 engines were installed in BMW cars of the fifth and seventh series. The advantages of power units are:

  • impressive power;
  • increased safety margin;
  • simple design;
  • endurance.

These engines can run for at least 500,000 km, but only if they are filled with quality gasoline. Their followers have been made more complex, as a result of which their degree of reliability has decreased.

Top of the best petrol “sixes”

Strangely enough, but among the motors with six cylinders, there are a lot of millionaires. Their design is quite simple, they are well-balanced, practically do not vibrate, are characterized by increased endurance.

Toyota 1JZ-GE and 2JZ-GE

These models are rightfully called a legend. Their service life is over 600,000 km, while their character is quite lively. They were produced until 2007 in the most varied variations: there were models with an improved injection system and turbocharged system.

Atmospheric engine models can go up to 1 million kilometers before the first overhaul, as their design is simplified, and the assembly is performed qualitatively.


These engines are called the real hit of sales. They began to be produced back in 1968, assembly in different variants continued until 1994. The construction is as clear as possible. The version with a turbine with confidence passes up to the first repair about 500 thousand km. Its power is up to 252 hp. 

Meet the M30 can be found in the cars of the 6 and 7 series of BMW. They are unpretentious in repair and maintenance, and do not require regular expensive maintenance. With careful operation can overcome about one million kilometers.


This engine is much more reliable than its predecessors. The cylinder block is made of cast iron and the head has four valves. In addition, the power unit is equipped with a rugged timing system. It can safely pass 700 km before the first overhaul without major interventions.

Summarizing, the branch of the primacy belongs to the German and Japanese power units. The operating life of many of them reaches one million kilometers. But a lot depends on how intensively the engine is used and how properly the drivers follow the manufacturer’s instructions concerning its operation.

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