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21 Costly Problems Of A Toyota Tacoma

21 Costly Problems Of A Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma is one of the longest-running Toyota pickup trucks as it was first revealed in 1995 and has since been in continuous production. The second generation of the Toyota Tacoma was revealed in 2004, with most models being shipped as 2005 models. This article will focus on all the potential problems 2005, and later Toyota Tacoma might suffer from.

The most common Toyota Tacoma issues include rust, suspension issues, spring leaf issues, control arms breaking off, lower ball joint issues, misalignment issues, and vehicle speed control issues that include the car accelerating by itself or failing to accelerate.

However, that certainly doesn’t cover everything. In the article below, we’ll dive deep into all the different problems these very long-lasting Tacomas can have. Read on!

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Rust Issues

Likely the most complained about issue with the Toyota Tacoma is corrosion-related. It is said that many 2005-2010 Toyota Tacoma models suffer from extensive rust issues that tend to build up mainly on the frame of the vehicle but also on many other metal parts such as the underside of the car, the tow hook, various parts of the drivetrain, the fuel tank, the differential, the steering shaft, the suspension and the rest of the truck’s bodywork.

The problem here is twofold. First, these issues affect your overall on-road safety, as severely rusted frames can break in half and cause serious accidents. Secondly, as one frustrated owner of a 2006 Tacoma said, the fix can be costly.

Failure Date: 05/16/2022

“I recently bought this Tacoma used and just found out from my local mechanic that the frame is severely rusted and likely unsafe to drive. I immediately scheduled a frame inspection with Toyota. They confirmed that it was very unsafe to drive and gave me a quote of $14,711 to fix it. This is more than the value of the truck. Although Toyota acknowledged that there was a service campaign for rust issues on these trucks, they said it had expired and there was nothing I could do.”

This issue is widespread across multiple model years, leading to an absurd court settlement that prompted Toyota to pay as much as $3,000,000,000 in settlements. It’s worth mentioning that Toyota also recalled specific 2005-2011 Toyota Tacoma models in September 2014 (14V604000) due to potential corrosion damages that could even cause a fire.  

Suspension Issues

The suspension system on many 2005 and later Toyota Tacoma models suffers from a wide variety of issues, some of which can be extremely dangerous. From 2005 to 2011, Tacoma models suffer from spring leaf-related issues. Multiple generations of the Tacoma also suffer from problems with control arms; lower ball joint issues are common across 2005-2010 models, while misalignment issues are shared across multiple generations of the Toyota Tacoma.

Spring Leaf Issues

In the previous segment, we discussed corrosion-related issues, which even led to a recall. The components that caused potential fuel leaks due to punctured fuel tanks were traced back to faulty leaf springs. This means that many 2005-2011 Tacoma models suffer from this issue caused by a manufacturing defect which, combined with corrosion, can have vast consequences.  

Control Arms Issues

Multiple Toyota Tacoma model years also seem to sometimes suffer from issues related to suspension control arms. One owner of a 2016 Tacoma reported that his control arms suddenly broke while driving, which prompted the steering alarm to turn on, which led to him barely being able to control the car. This was also reported for a 2009 Tacoma model when one owner applied the brakes aggressively, which almost shed off the entire wheel assembly of the vehicle, including the control arms.

Lower Ball Joint Issues

Lower ball joint issues are relatively common on 2005-2010 Toyota Tacoma models, with most of these occurring with 2005-2007 Tacoma models. The issue here is that the ball joints wear out too quickly, which can cause all sorts of vibrations and shaking, which can even lead to an accident. Some say that this issue came with the Tacoma itself back in 1995 and that Toyota was aware of it but was inclined to keep it hush-hush.

This led to a recall eventually, but the recall only included models made before 2005, which caused quite a distress with newer Tacoma owners.

Misalignment Issues

To round up our list of Toyota Tacoma suspension issues, we will also include wheel misalignment, which pops up now and then on various Toyota owner’s forums. However, this issue can be caused by many external factors, such as withstanding an impact on the drivetrain. Be that as it may, one owner of a 2021 Toyota Tacoma complained about alignment issues straight from the factory, while one 2016 Tacoma owner said that his car needs wheel alignments more frequently than it needs an oil change which certainly is strange.

Vehicle Speed Control Issues

Vehicle speed control issues with the Tacoma are sadly also common, but some are worse than others. For example, many model years of the Tacoma suffer from the car accelerating independently. We also need to mention problems where newer Tacoma models fail to accelerate completely.

Car Accelerating On Its Own

One of the more common issues with the Tacoma is when the car suddenly starts accelerating by itself, even if the gear lever is positioned in the park or reverse. These problems have been reported for numerous generations of the Tacoma. Many owners also said their cars could not stop before colliding with other vehicles or objects, which understandably caused much damage to property and personal injuries.

Eventually, this also prompted Toyota to recall more than 4,4 million Toyota models manufactured between 2004 and 2010, including 2004 to 2010 Toyota Tacoma models. The recall was issued in October of 2009 (09V388000) and was associated with multiple defects causing the accelerator to stay engaged or engage by itself.

Car Fails To Accelerate

Multiple owners of 2015 and later Toyota Tacoma models reported their trucks failing to accelerate for no apparent reason. A few owners of 2015-2017 Tacoma models stated that their trucks failed to accelerate while prompting a warning light saying “brake and accelerator depressed simultaneously” even though that was not the issue.

Others have reported problems where the Tacoma takes a few seconds before engaging the accelerator. Both have been linked with potential vehicle speed control sensors, but some have said this issue is powertrain-related.

Powertrain Issues

Issues caused by powertrain-related components are also relatively customary with these trucks, so we have lined them up here for you to indulge in. Starting with the transmission, the 2019-2020 Toyota Tacoma experiences issues with delays and frequent shifts, while the 2005- 2013 and 2016-2019 Tacoma models suffer from slipping transmissions. Also, 2005-2015 models suffer from slipping and shuddering while decelerating.

We also need to mention rear differential leaks, typical for 2016 and 2017 Tacoma models.

Delayed and Frequent Shifting

Some 2019 and 2020 Toyota Tacoma models are known to endure transmission-related issues, which cause the transmission to either delay the shifts or to shift frequently without a good reason. Toyota acknowledged this issue and issued a T-SB-0062-18 service bulletin listing all the specifics.

Slipping Transmission

A slipping transmission is also habitual for various generations of Tacoma and has caused several service bulletins along the way. The 2005 – 2013 Tacoma equipped with the 5-speed manual transmission may exhibit transmission slipping, which prompted Toyota to release the T-SB-0066-11 service bulletin. Similar issues were reported for the 2016-2019 Tacoma models, resulting in a T-SB-0079-15 service bulletin.

Shuddering While Decelerating

Likely the worst transmission-related issue, the 2005-2015 Tacoma model is one where the transmission starts shuddering and slipping while the car decelerates. This is known to throw off the car’s balance and cause an accident. Even worse is that some of these problems eventually led to a complete transmission rebuild, which can sometimes cost more than what the car is worth.

Differential Leaks

It is said that some 2016 and 2017 Tacoma models are plagued by rear differential leaks, which may even cause the car’s diffs to seize due to a lack of oil altogether. Understandably, if this occurs at highway speeds, it can cause the vehicle to completely lose control and even end up catastrophically. Toyota was made aware of this issue soon after when it decided a recall was due to solve this issue.

As such, Toyota recalled particular 2016 and 2017 Toyota Tacoma models in April 2017 (17V285000) due to problems with the rear differential leaking through the gaskets, the bolt holes, or other nooks and crannies on the differential casing.

Steering System Issues

The steering system also isn’t free of problems which are certainly worth mentioning as steering system-related troubles can affect your on-road safety substantially. Various generations of the Tacoma experience issues with faulty steering shafts, 2005 to 2015 models experience problems with the power steering system, while U-Joint issues are common across mostly 2005-2010 models.

Steering Shaft Issues

The steering shaft seems to be an issue across multiple generations of the Toyota Tacoma. Older models tend to suffer from intermittent steering shaft corrosion, while multiple model years also suffer from failed bearings in the steering shaft. One owner of a 2015 Tacoma reported knocking noises coming from the steering column, which was later traced back to a faulty intermediate shaft that needs replacing.

This owner reported that this issue has plagued all Tacoma models from 2005 and later and that the most prominent symptom is when the steering system becomes loose due to excessive “play” around the rubber bushings and the steering wheel becoming stiff on certain occasions.

Power Steering System Issues

As far as steering wheel stiffness is concerned, most of it is usually caused by power steering system issues which are sadly relatively common with various generations of the Tacoma. Owners of 2005 to 2015 Tacoma models reported problems where the power steering pump fails, the steering becomes stiff, or it sometimes engages and disengages the assistance for no apparent reason.

U-Joint Issues

Universal or U-joint steering system issues are customary to the Toyota Tacoma, but mainly for the 2005-2015 models. If you sense any vibrations which tend to louden while accelerating, chances are that your U-Joints are to blame. Moreover, another fairly common symptom of a failing U-Joint is one where the car emits loud chirping noises, which can become unbearable when going over rougher terrain or speed bumps.

failing u ball joint on Toyota Tacoma
Failing U-Joint, Source

Airbag Issues

As most of us are probably aware by now, airbags are an essential safety mechanism in modern cars, which can be attributed to saving thousands of thousands of lives since it was introduced. However, not many are aware that faulty airbags can worsen the outcome of an accident which is why regulating bodies such as NHTSA are quick to recall models that suffer from various airbag-related issues.

This is the list of all the airbags associated with the 2005-2022 Toyota Tacoma:

  • 05V302000 – Toyota recalled specific 2005 Toyota Tacoma models back in June 2005 due to the airbags not deploying correctly, which could result in improper occupant restraint in the event of a crash.
  • 06V096000 – Toyota recalled specific 2005-2006 Toyota Tacoma models back in April 2006 due to problems with the airbag deployment system, which could fail to deploy both the curtain shield airbag and the knee airbag in an event of a crash.
  • 12V092000 – Toyota recalled certain 2005-2009 Toyota Tacoma models back in March 2012 due to a faulty steering wheel clockspring (cable assembly) that provides power to the driver’s airbag module. This, in turn, can cause the light to come in while deactivating the airbag.
  • 13V014000 – Toyota recalled certain 2009-2012 Toyota Tacoma models back in January 2013 due to problems with the front seat occupant sensing system calibration, which may cause the airbag to deploy when not needed or not to deploy at all.
  • 14V168000 – Toyota recalled certain 2009-2010 Toyota Tacoma models back in April 2014 due to problems with the FCC that caused the airbag to not deploy when needed.
  • 15V656000 – Toyota recalled certain 2015 Toyota Tacoma models back in October 2015 due to the driver’s knee airbag module bolts becoming loose.

Fuel System Issues

Not necessarily all that common, but fuel system-related issues are certainly something to worry about, as these will almost always cause your Tacoma to leave you stranded. These include fuel leaks for newer 2017 and later models and potential fuel pump failures for 2017 to 2021 models.

Fuel Leaks

A few owners of the 2017 and later Toyota Tacoma models complained about the car leaking fuel from the associated lines and sometimes even through the fuel tank assembly itself, even though that seems much rarer. It looks like the fuel lines that connect the tank to the engine are causing it. Even though these are metal, some parts are made with rubbery materials that can wrinkle over time and cause a leak.

leaking fuel lines on toyota tacoma
Leaking fuel lines on a Toyota Tacoma, Source

Fuel Pump Failure

Finally, to finish off this list of Toyota Tacoma issues, we will also mention problems that can cause the fuel pump to fail. If you notice your Tacoma choking or struggling to maintain speed, chances are that your fuel pump is to blame. Furthermore, if you sense hesitation on start up or the engine overheating, it is more than likely that your fuel pump is to blame.

We also need to mention that Toyota did a pair of recalls because of fuel pump-related issues, which go as follows:

  • 20V012000 – Toyota recalled specific 2018-2019 Toyota Tacoma models back in January 2020 due to the fuel pump failing and causing the car to stall.
  • 20V682000 – Toyota recalled certain 2017-2020 Toyota Tacoma models back in November 2020 due to the fuel pump failing and causing the car to stall.

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