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  • The Scion xB is a reliable compact car with a reliability score of 3.0 out of 5.0 from J.D. Power.
  • Some of the top Scion xB problems include exploding air bags, excessive oil consumption, and faulty brake hoses.
  • The Scion xB is worth buying if you’re in the market for a car with larger seating capacity that costs less than $20,000.

Though the Scion xB never achieved the same level of popularity as the Toyota bB, it was good enough to attract buyers with a soft spot for boxy Japanese wagons. Critics say the xB doesn’t have a lot going for it. Its lackluster engine options and unrefined transmission systems proved to be a real turnoff for some. You may begin to wonder how a seemingly bad car was able to develop a small but passionate following. It may have something to do with the xB’s longevity. Many Scion xB owners have had their cars for over a decade. They were quite pleased with the car’s performance and encountered very few issues. This isn’t to say that all xBs are the same. Some models are known to have problems. You can find a used 2015 Scion xB for under $19,000 online. Resale prices for 2015 models are expected to depreciate by only 30% over a 5-year period, according to AutoPadre.

Is the Scion xB Reliable?

According to, the J.D. Power reliability score for the 2015 Scion xB is 3.0 out of 5.0. A 3.0 is considered average, according to J.D. Power. The Scion xB had a basic 3-year or 36,000-mile warranty and a 5-year or 60-000 mile powertrain warranty. There have been three NHTSA recalls for the Scion xB, involving defective air bags, brakes, and accessories. These recalls may have influenced the xB’s perceived reliability. 

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RepairPal customer reviews were much more forgiving. The Scion xB received a 4.4 out of 5.0 score from owners, who cited its consistent performance and ease of maintenance. Plus, it’s one of the cheapest cars to maintain, according to this AutoGuide article. You’ll only have to spend around $ 6,300 to keep your xB in good condition for 10 years. With proper maintenance, you can easily put 450,000 miles on a Scion xB. 

2011 scion xb
For those who have a soft spot for boxy Japanese wagons, the Scion xB can be a good choice for a vehicle. Image source: Tino Rossini | Wikimedia Commons

Top Scion xB Problems

Despite its perceived reliability, some Scion xB models are bound to have issues, given the car’s recall history. Here are some of the xB’s most common issues.

Air Bag Inflator may Explode 

Toyota has issued three air bag recalls for the Scion xB in the span of two years. The recalls only cover certain models from 2009 to 2015 that are registered in specific states. Affected models are known to have defective inflator modules that potentially caused frontal air bags to burst. The explosion could send sharp metal objects toward the driver and passengers, resulting in serious injury or even death. This recall is estimated to affect 1,299,448 vehicles. 

Air bag problems are more common than you think. Experts recommend that you inspect your air bag system 10 years after the date on the manufacturer’s certification label, and then every 2 years after that. Given the Scion xB’s air bag issues, you should have a dealer check your inflator module. Toyota may offer to replace either the front passenger air bag or the entire air bag assembly, depending on the model.

Compromised Braking

Toyota has recalled certain Toyota Racing Development (TRD) brake kits with part numbers PTR09-21111 and PTR09-52080, which were sold as additional accessories for the 2008 to 2015 Scion xB. The brake hoses included in the kits were prone to failure. These parts compromise your car’s braking performance and may lead to accidents. 

See also  Scion xB Road Test

Brake hoses are flexible pipes that transport brake fluid from the master cylinder to increase braking power. Rubber and stainless steel are the two common materials used to create brake hoses. 

Locating a brake hose by yourself can be tricky without the proper tools and knowledge. You could end up nullifying the recall if you tamper with the TRD brake kit installed in your car. That’s why we suggest taking your Scion xB to a dealer so that they can take a look at your brake system. Toyota has offered to replace affected TRD brake kits with standard equipment brake kits free of charge. 

Excessive Oil Consumption

On RepairPal, some owners have complained about excessive oil consumption in 2008 to 2015 Scion xB models. Experts on the site attribute the car’s oil problem to infrequent oil changes, which can result in engine sludge. The movement of the engine’s pistons can be hampered by thick sludge. To prevent your engine parts from prematurely wearing out, you’ll have to completely remove the sludge from the engine. 

There are other factors that can cause your car to use up too much oil. You may have a broken valve cover gasket that leaks oil whenever you drive. When motor oil drips onto hot exhaust components, it will produce a strong, nauseating odor that you can smell from inside the car. Oil can also seep out of worn-out piston rings and possibly damage your engine. If you notice that your oil levels are depleting faster than normal, your Scion xB may need to be repaired.

See also  Scion xB Road Test

Improperly Installed Accessories

Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC (SET) has recalled certain 2014 to 2015 Scion xB models. Accessories on affected models may not be tightened to the proper torque, causing them to detach. A loose running board can become a driving hazard if it suddenly detaches from its original position while the vehicle is in motion. SET has offered to inspect and repair affected models to ensure all accessories are intact.

If you purchased your Scion xB from a different dealership network in the United States, you probably have nothing to worry about. This problem only pertains to models manufactured by SET. Make sure to stay on top of your car’s maintenance to keep it in good shape. 

scion xb windshield
One problem reported by owners of some Scion xBs is that their windshield cracked rather easily.

Windshields Crack Easily

According to users on CarProblemZoo, the windshield on the 2006 Scion xB is prone to cracking. There are a few possible causes. The first is poor glass construction. The windshield will easily crack if low-grade materials are used to make it. The second is improper installation. The windshield will vibrate in the frame if it isn’t properly secured. The third is sudden temperature changes. Extreme changes in weather can cause cracks to form on the windshield. A cracked windshield can shatter at any time, resulting in injury. You should get it replaced as soon as possible to keep you and your passengers safe.

Is the Scion xB worth it? Well, that depends on your priorities. The Scion xB is a good choice if you prefer a car with larger seating capacity. While it doesn’t have a strong engine, the Scion xB outshines other subcompact cars with its high predicted reliability. For less than $20,000, this cube-shaped wonder is a definite bargain!

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Automotive Features Reviewer at

Lisa Conant grew up in Canada around a solid contingency of gear heads and DIY motor enthusiasts. She is an eclectic writer with a varied repertoire in the automotive industry, including research pieces with a focus on daily drivers and recreational vehicles. Lisa has written for Car Bibles and The Drive.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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I bought a 06 xb used.Fun little car.I bought for the gas mileage.windshield was cracked and had a few minor issues but it is a great little gas saver


2008 Scion Xb I bought it new had few big issues 1- rear passenger caliper locked up with in 2 months of purchase dealer repaired it. 2- water pump faulty recalled at around 55k. And last alternator shorted around 109k. And the worse at 115k truck cut me off on the highway ended up rearranging the top front hood of my beloved Scion airbags deploy my wife and I were unhurt; but my Scion was a total loss but overall it was a very reliable car am sorry Scion stop making them I would defenetly buy another new one.

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