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21 Serious Issues Of The Toyota Tundra

21 Serious Issues Of The Toyota Tundra

The Toyota Tundra is a US-made Toyota pickup truck that was first revealed back in 1999. Ever since then, it has consistently been a significant rival to many US-made compact trucks while being more reliable more of the time. However, the Tundra is not perfect, and there are many issues it tends to suffer from. In this article, we will go through all those issues in great detail, but before we do, here is a quick recap!

The Toyota Tundra tends to suffer from rust issues, camshaft leaks, air injection pump issues, potential engine fires, turbocharger issues, various electrical issues, vehicle speed sensor issues that include the car accelerating by itself, different warning lights flashing, airbag issues, issues with the seats, issues with the TPMS, and issues with the fuel system.

Now it’s time for a more in-depth look at all the problems the Toyota Tundra usually suffers from. So, if you are interested in buying a 2008-2022 Toyota Tundra, stick around!

Rust Issues

Corrosion/rust issues are some of the most frustrating problems you can encounter as they tend to chip away at your car until they become unrepairable. Sadly, many 2008-2022 Toyota Tundra owners have reported all sorts of components rusting away severely, especially with older models. The biggest problem is likely the frame rusting to a degree in which it can completely fail and break away from the car, which usually totals the car.

Owners have also reported issues with the bolts rusting away and causing the fuel tanks to fall off. Rusty door seals, rusty bed, rusty suspension components, there aren’t too many steel components with the Toyota Tundra that do not rust. This prompted one of the most significant lawsuits against Toyota, which settled for $3.4 billion, but it didn’t include all generations of the Tundra, which did experience issues with rust.

While it’s not the only Toyota vehicle to suffer from suspension issues, it’s not usually caused by rust which makes this one especially frustrating.

Transmission Issues

The current generation of the Tundra (from 2022 onwards) uses a new 10-Speed AWR10L65 “ECTi Direct Shift” automatic, which is so new that reliability is hard to judge. There are some complaints, but not that many.

Of all the transmissions that have been used in the Tundra, the AB60E/F 6-speed (2007 – 2021) is most likely the most complained about. Toyota did issue TSBs for this regarding torque converter shutter or overall shifting quality. Furthermore, the other transmissions that have been used had some minor problems here and there as well. If you want to know all the details, read the following article in which we talk in-depth about the transmission problems of a Toyota Tundra.

Engine Issues

The engine is the beating heart of any car, and any issues surrounding the engine are prone to making the car undrivable. These include problems with camshaft leaks, the air injection pump, potential engine fires, and the turbocharger. These three issues are relatively common and have caused a lot of headaches, but no engine-related recalls have been issued.

5.7L toyota tundra engine
5.7L Tundra engine

Camshaft Oil Leaks

Many owners of 2010 and later Toyota Tundra models have complained about the car leaking oil through the two cam towers. It is said that all 4.6L and 5.7L engines have these issues that span back to all Tundra models since 2007. However, most complaints are from 2010 and later Tundra owners.

It seems like the issue is caused by a machine-applied seal which isn’t as good as those applied with a gasket. As such, these seals tend to wear off quickly. Some have even said that these issues can cause fire hazards, destroying the car completely.

Air Injection Pump Issues

The secondary air injection pump is known to fail on quite a few 2008-2012 Toyota Tundra models. Toyota said officially that a problem with the Engine Control Module and excessive moisture caused this issue. When this happens, the Tundra enters limp mode and can’t be driven any longer.

Sadly, fixing this is expensive, and Toyota isn’t willing to help. The good thing is that Toyota extended the warranty for this issue, but no recalls have been put in place.

Potential Engine Fires

Many 2018-2021 Toyota Tundra owners complained about engine fires caused by an electrical failure in the headlight assembly. The issue here is that the electrical circuits that control the output of the high beams can overheat and eventually lead to an engine fire. This prompted Toyota to recall specific 2018-2021 Toyota Tundra models back in September 2021 (21V688000), where Toyota will replace all the associated parts that caused this issue.

Turbocharger Issues

The most common engine-related issue with the 2022 Toyota Tundra is where the turbocharger wastegates fail. These are designed to control how much exhaust fumes can enter the turbocharger’s impeller. The more fumes get in, the faster the turbo spins, and more power is being delivered.

However, the turbocharger will fail due to increased heat and pressure if the pressure gets too high. If this does happen, replacing the turbocharger is difficult as it is at the back of the engine. Toyota is fixing this issue, but the problem is that these are so common that new turbochargers are difficult to come by, especially in today’s day and age.

Electrical Issues

All cars these days come with some sort of electrical issues, which can sometimes be minor but can also sometimes be severe. The Toyota Tundra is no different as it has many features throughout, and many of these are bound to break eventually. The most common electrical issues for the Toyota Tundra are associated with the door locks failing, rodents chewing away at your wires, the horn failing, issues with exterior lighting, and a failed rearview camera.

Door Locks Failing

Many owners of the 2008 to 2017 Tundra complained about the door locks failing and coming back without apparent reason. Some owners stated that the remote door locks failed for all doors, while others only complained about the driver’s door. They also say that this issue happens in virtually all types of weather and that a brand-new keyfob battery does not solve it.

It seems like this issue is down to a low-quality factory-installed actuator that fails and thus needs replacing, sometimes too often.

Rodents Chewing Away Wires

Rodent damage on Toyota Tundra
Rodent damage on Toyota Tundra

The Toyota Tundra and the Toyota Sequoia both suffer from issues where drivers keep getting flashing lights on their dashboards, or some lights don’t work at all. These issues have been reported for the 2012-2017 Toyota Tundra models, and it seems like the problem is down to rodents chewing away at wires covered by a soy-based material.

Toyota has been aware of this issue for a while now, and they even offer special coatings for your wiring harnesses, but they will not fix the problem free of charge. This is a big problem for a wide range of auto manufacturers but we’ve seen this same issue in vehicles like the Prius Prime and Sequoia to name a few.

Horn Fails

Another fairly common problem for 2009-2017 Tundra models is that the horn either fails or can only be engaged when turning to one side. As the car ages, the horn circuit relay in the steering column tends to deteriorate and loses contact. This is why some owners can engage the horn only while turning. The only way to fix this is to replace all the associated wires, but thankfully this shouldn’t happen more than once.

Exterior Lighting Issues

Many owners of the 2015 and later Tundra models complained about various issues with exterior lighting. Some reported the headlights becoming too dim over time, while others complained about the headlights turning off completely. A few have also stated that this issue often occurs after turning on the turn signals, which is problematic as well.

Toyota even issued a recall (20V410000) back in July 2020 for certain 2018-2020 Toyota Tundra models due to the turn signals being too dim when engaged, which can cause an accident.

Failed Rearview Camera

Since 2017, the US government has mandated all new cars sold in the US must be equipped with functioning rearview cameras, which means that any issues with these are likely to lead to a recall. This is precisely what happened on two occasions. The first occurred in April 2022 (22V501000) when Toyota recalled certain 2022 Tundra models due to the rearview camera failing to display any image.

The other occasion happened in July 2022 (22V501000) when Toyota recalled certain 2022 Toyota Tundra models again due to the rearview camera not displaying a correct image.

Vehicle Speed Sensor Issues

A vehicle speed sensor is intended to measure the speed at which the wheel turns, which can affect many of the car’s systems, such as cruise control, throttle input, and many similar issues. The problem with the Tundra is that the vehicle starts blasting all of its warning lights and even turns off the car, while the other issue is the car accelerates by itself, which can cause an accident.

Warning Lights Flashing

Warning lights on 2017 Toyota Tundra
Warning lights on 2017 Tundra, Source

Many owners of 2008 and later Toyota Tundra modes complained about issues where the car suddenly starts flashing all of its warning lights like a Christmas tree and sometimes stalling the car or going into limp mode. This issue can go away but come back later, and you never really know when it will happen.

This issue has been relatively consistent for over ten years, and we still don’t have satisfactory answers. Some say that the culprit is one of the sensors not reading the same speed as all the other sensors, making the car think something is really wrong.

Uncontrolled Sudden Accelerations

The 2008-2010 Toyota Tundra has had an issue where the accelerator pedal gets stuck and causes your car to lunge forward uncontrollably. This has caused quite a stir among rightly concerned Toyota Sequoia and Toyota Tundra owners, who later prompted Toyota to recall both. As such, Toyota recalled specific 2007-2010 Toyota Tundra models in May 2009 due to the accelerator pedal getting stuck and often causing an accident.

AirBag Issues

Because airbags are so crucial in a crash, many US regulating bodies are incredibly strict regarding airbags, which is why they need to perform optimally in every possible scenario. However, airbags are delicate, and even the most minor issues with some of their associated components can cause the entire system to fail. This has caused a whole host of recalls over the years; these go as follows:

  • 13V014000 – Toyota recalled certain 2010-2013 Toyota Tundra models back in January 2013 due to problems with the occupant sensing sensor in the front passenger seat. This sensor was badly calibrated from the factory and could cause the airbag to not deploy when needed.
  • 14V556000 – Toyota recalled certain 2013 and 2014 Toyota Tundra models back in September 2014 due to curtain shield airbags not deploying when they were supposed to.
  • 17V416000 – Toyota recalled certain 2016 Toyota Tundra models back in June 2017 due to incorrect bolts used to mount the knee airbag. These bolts could loosen the knee airbag over time and thus make it fail to deploy when needed.
  • 18V685000 – Toyota recalled certain 2018-2019 Toyota Tundra models back in October 2018 due to problems with the airbags not deploying when necessary.

Equipment Issues

In this group of issues, there are numerous different problems, some of which are tied to the car’s essential features, while others are not all that important. The most common equipment issues include issues with the seats and problems with the tire pressure monitoring system.

Seat Issues

The seats in the Toyota Tundra suffer from minor issues such as scuffing and puncturing after a few years of consistent use. Owners of older Toyota Tundra models (2008-2010) complained about the seats becoming loose over time and sometimes even sliding uncontrollably. 2012 Toyota Tundra owners complained about rusting underneath the seats and issues with the seat frame rails. Finally, the 2017 Toyota Tundra owners complained about problems with the rear seat brackets.

However, the most significant and annoying issues with Toyota Tundra seats are those with the seat heater components burning through the seats and even causing a fire. Either way, we will mention all of the Toyota Tundra recalls associated with the seats. These go as follows:

  • 14V743000 – Toyota recalled certain 2008-2011 Toyota Tundra models back in November 2014 due to the copper wires in the seats short-circuiting and increasing the risks of fire.
  • 16V396000 – Toyota recalled certain 2008-2010 Toyota Tundra models back in June 2016 due to the copper wires in the seats short-circuiting and increasing the risks of fire.
  • 18V123000 – Toyota recalled certain 2017 Toyota Tundra models back in February 2018 due to the rear split bench seats moving out of place in the event of an accident and thus increasing the chances of injury or even death.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System Issues

Many Toyota Tundra models seem to be experiencing issues with tire pressure monitoring systems, both older and newer generations. The latest Toyota Tundra models don’t seem to be experiencing these issues as often. The problem is that the Tire Pressure Monitoring System light goes on and does not go away. Some Toyota Tundra owners managed to solve this issue by re-calibrating the system.

We also need to mention all the recalls associated with TPMS systems:

  • 11V278000 – Toyota recalled certain 2008-2011 Toyota Tundra models back in May 2011 due to the driver not receiving warnings if tire inflation drops below a certain threshold and thus increasing the chances of injuries.
  • 11V148000 – Toyota recalled certain 2008-2011 Toyota Tundra models back in March 2011 due to the driver not receiving warnings if tire inflation drops below a certain threshold and thus increasing the chances of injuries.
  • 11V185000 – Toyota recalled certain 2009-2011 Toyota Tundra models back in March 2011 due to the driver not receiving warnings if tire inflation drops below a certain threshold and thus increasing the chances of injuries.

Fuel System Issues

It seems like fuel system-related issues are common across older Toyota models, whether they come with larger, smaller, or forced induction engines. These issues include fuel leaks and fuel pump failures as the most common fuel system-related issues.

Fuel Leaks

Fuel leaks can happen for various reasons, some due to manufacturing defects, while others simply due to wear and tear. Regarding the Toyota Tundra, it seems like fuel leaks are present across both older and newer models. Rust, faulty EVAP systems, seals and gasket issues, and bad-quality fuel, or types of fuel a Toyota Tundra doesn’t take typically cause these.

Underhood fuel leak on Toyota Tundra
Underhood fuel leak on Toyota Tundra, source

Fuel Pump Failure

The fuel pump is one of the most problematic single parts in all of Toyota’s models. The fuel pump is designed to deliver adequate fuel into the engine to mix with air and create combustion most efficiently. If you sense your Tundra experiencing poor performance, stalling, or jittering, your fuel pump is to blame.

As far as model years are concerned, you can find failed fuel pumps on literally all model years of the Tundra. We must mention that they aren’t particularly common, as some say, but are still known to happen. Either way, here are the two recalls Toyota did due to problems with the fuel pump:

  • 20V012000 – Toyota recalled certain 2018-2019 Toyota Tundra models back in January 2020 due to a fuel pump failure that can stall the car.
  • 20V682000 – Toyota recalled certain 2019-2020 Toyota Tundra models back in November of 2020 due to the fuel pump failing and stalling the car.

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