Here are the years to avoid on the Toyota Tacoma and the specific issues - trucks and cars | RV reviews from rental car instructors (2023)

Are you looking for a used pickup that can handle any terrain? Look no further than the Toyota Tacoma.

This versatile and durable vehicle has earned a solid reputation for reliability and performance, but not all model years are created equal.

Knowing which Tacoma years to avoid is important to avoid potential headaches in the future.

In this article, we'll go over the reasons for these recommendations so you can make an informed decision when buying a used Tacoma.

Understanding the specific issues with these models can help you avoid a potential lemon and find the perfect used Tacoma for your needs.

From engine issues to transmission and steering issues, we cover common issues that plague those specific model years.

With this knowledge, you'll be well-equipped to navigate the used car market and find a dependable Toyota Tacoma that's ready for whatever life throws at you.

Here are the years to avoid on the Toyota Tacoma and the specific issues - trucks and cars | RV reviews from rental car instructors (1)

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  • avoid for 1 year
  • 2 first generation Tacoma
  • 3 second generation Tacoma
  • 4 common problems and complaints
  • 5 transmission problems
  • 6 Engine problems
  • 7 paint and bodywork problems
  • 8 powertrain and suspension problems
  • 9 Recall and Safety Concerns
  • 10 terrain and efficiency
  • 11 Comparison of the Tacoma generation
  • 12 First generation (1995–2004)
  • 13 Second generation (2005–2015)
  • 14 Third generation (2016–present)
  • 15 Toyota Tacoma-Konkurrenten
  • 16 Ford Ranger
  • 17 Nissan Frontier
  • 18 Jeep Gladiator
  • 19 GMC Canyon
  • 20 Honda Ridgeline

years to avoid

In this section, we'll go over the years of the Toyota Tacoma to avoid and why, broken down by the first-gen Tacoma and the second-gen Tacoma.

First generation Tacoma

The first generation Toyota Tacoma covers the years 1995-2004, but there are very few years with serious problems that require caution.

However, there are a few model years that you should be aware of if you're looking for the first generation Tacoma.

  • 1995-1997: In the early years of Tacoma production, some models may have had head gasket problems. Most of the trucks affected are 3.4 liter V6 models and while this was not a common problem it is something to keep in mind when considering these early Tacoms.

Second generation Tacoma

The second generation Tacoma covers the 2005-2015 model years. During this period there were several problematic years that deserve attention:

  • 2006: The 2006 Toyota Tacoma experienced transmission issues and widespread frame rust issues. These problems can lead to costly repairs and even safety concerns, making them avoidable for a year.
  • 2007: Another vintage to avoid is the 2007 Toyota Tacoma which, like the 2006 model, had problems with the transmission and rust on the frame.
  • 2008-2009: While not as problematic as the previous two years, be wary of the 2008 and 2009 Tacoma models, as some had engine problems and had fewer complaints of frame rust.
  • 2011-2012: While the 2011 and 2012 Toyota Tacoma isn't as defective as the other model years mentioned, caution is advised as some owners have reported engine noise and occasional frame rust problems.

If you are attentive and cautious about the problematic model years mentioned above, you can make a more informed decision by searching for a used model and buying a solid car among the models testedThe Toyota Tacoma's best yearsRole models.

Common problems and complaints

transmission problems

A common problem with Toyota Tacomas, especially the 2016 model, is transmission issues.

Shifting difficulties, delayed clutch engagement and whine can occur while driving. These problems can significantly affect truck performance and require costly repairs or replacements.

Engine problems

Another problem area is engine malfunctions. Some Toyota Tacoma owners have experienced problems such as slow acceleration, loss of power, engine lag and misfiring.

These problems can be due to faulty mass air flow (MAF) sensors or other faulty engine components.

In some cases, there may be serious problems such as hydraulic brake failure, throttle control failure, or pump assembly failure.

Paint and bodywork problems

Paint and body problems, while not as serious as transmission or engine problems, can affect the appearance and durability of your Tacoma.

Some owners have reported premature paint peeling, peeling, or fading, leading to potential future problems such as rust or corrosion.

If you are considering a used Tacoma, carefully inspect the paint and body condition.


Drive train and suspension issues

Certain years of the Toyota Tacoma can also cause problems with the powertrain and suspension. For example, the 2017 Tacoma required costly powertrain, transmission, engine and steering repairs.

To avoid costly repairs and maintenance, it's important to learn about common model year problems before you buy.

In addition, attention should be paid to possible frame rusting problems that have been encountered on some Toyota Tacoma models.

recall and safety concerns

We encourage you to consider any Tacoma recalls and safety concerns as both are very important to landing a reliable and safe vehicle.

A notable memory of the Toyota Tacomas was the sticky accelerator pedal issue that affected the 2001-2004 models.

In this case, the accelerator pedal can get stuck, which can lead to unintended acceleration and a potentially dangerous situation.

If you're looking for a Tacoma from that era, be sure to inquire about any unresolved recalls or repairs related to this particular issue.

Another common issue that led to Tacoma model recalls wasProblem with the lower ball joint.

This affected some 2004-2009 models and was characterized by a clicking noise when turning or driving over bumps.

The lower ball joints can wear out prematurely, potentially leading to loss of steering control, which is a serious safety hazard.

In addition to these specific recalls, there were other safety concerns associated with certain model years of the Tacoma.

For example, the 2016 and 2017 models had several transmission flaws and gave up significant safety concerns compared to the previous models. It is recommended to avoid these special years at all costs.

In summary, here are the top recalls and safety considerations to consider when looking for a Toyota Tacoma:

  • Sticky accelerators on 2001-2004 models
  • Click on 2004-2009 Lower Ball Joint Issues
  • Transmission defects on the 2016 and 2017 models

By keeping these safety considerations and recalls in mind, you can better assess the reliability of the various Toyota Tacoma models and make an informed purchasing decision.

Off-road and performance

One of the most notable Tacoma years to avoid is the 2001-2004 models. These trucks had several problems, such as defective air flow meters.

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Poor Mass Air Flow (MAF) can result in slow acceleration, loss of power, engine stalling, misfire and poor exhaust emissions. These issues can affect your truck's off-road performance and overall reliability.

In addition, it is recommended to avoid the 2006-2009 and 2011-2012 Tacoma models.

Consumer Reports advises against these years due to their reliability concerns. Truck reliability issues can lead to costly repairs and reduced off-road performance.

Your off-road adventures depend heavily on the truck's durability and performance. If you avoid the aforementioned Tacoma years, you stand a better chance of finding your perfect off-road companion.

Ultimately, your choice should reflect the confidence you have in your truck's ability to negotiate various obstacles and terrain.

Comparison of the Tacoma generation

This section will help you compare the different generations of the Tacoma, focusing on aspects such as access cab, crew cab, and durability.

First generation (1995–2004)

The first generation Tacoma is a compact pickup that gained popularity for its durability and performance.

These models are known for their simple but sturdy design. If you're looking for an access cab, Tacoma introduced this extended cab option for more passenger room and storage in the first generation.

Second generation (2005–2015)

The second generation Tacoma evolved from a compact pickup to a mid-size pickup. Access cab and crew cab configurations have been further enhanced for greater comfort and versatility.

However, this generation had several problems that could have been avoided for several years, such as the 2006, 2007 and 2009 models.

Despite these issues, the second-generation Tacoma maintains its reputation for durability and reliability.

Third generation (2016–present)

The third generation Tacoma offers a more refined experience while maintaining its robust capabilities. Access cab and crew cab options are available with enhanced features and technology.

With each new model year, the Tacoma evolves and improves in areas such as performance, comfort, and safety.

Of particular note are the 2018, 2019 and 2020 models, which are extremely reliable and appreciated by their owners. However, you might want to avoid the 2016 and 2017 models as they have had several reported issues.

Toyota Tacoma competitors

When looking for a mid-size pickup truck, there are several strong competitors in this segment besides the Tacoma to consider.

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Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger is a tough competitor to the Toyota Tacoma, equipped with a powerful four-cylinder turbocharged engine that offers impressive power and torque.

TheThe Ranger also convinces with a comfortable driving experienceand user-friendly infotainment system.

However, like the Toyota Tacoma, the Ford Ranger's interior can feel a bit cramped compared to other competitors in its segment. In addition, some ownersreported problems with Ranger transmission.

Nissan Frontier

The Nissan Frontier has been an entry-level vehicle in the mid-size truck segment for years and has a reputation for being robust and durable.

Zpowerful V6 engine provides tractiona capacity that rivals that of the Tacoma.

AlreadyThe downside is that Frontier has outdated technologyand lacks some of the more modern amenities found in other trucks. The Nissan Frontier also suffered from some corrosion problems, especially on earlier models.


The Jeep Gladiator is a unique alternative to the Toyota Tacoma as it combines the off-road capability of the Jeep Wrangler with the convenience of a mid-size pickup truck.

The Gladiator has excellent off-road capabilities, as well as a detachable roof and doors. However, the Gladiator's price is higher and its standard towing capacity is lower than that of the Tacoma.

Additionally, the Gladiator's on-road ride quality may not be as comfortable compared to other vehicles in its segment.

GMC Canyon

As a close relative of the Chevrolet Colorado, the GMC Canyon offers a comfortable driving experience and a choice of three different engines, including an economical turbo diesel. Read extensivelyChevy Colorado's best yearshave.

Although the GMC Canyon has a well-appointed interior, there are some reports of poor reliability compared to the Tacoma. Additionally,The base engine seems underpoweredwhen towing or carrying heavier loads.

Honda Ridgeline

The Honda Ridgeline differs from other mid-size trucks with its one-piece design, smoother ride and car-like handling.

The technical features and the comfortable seating comfort of the Ridgeline make it an excellent choiceperfect everyday driver. However, this isstamina is lackingand off-road skills in Tacoma.

Additionally, the Ridgeline offers only one engine option with a lower payload and towing capacity compared to the Tacoma line.


Which Tacoma model years to avoid? ›

Quick Answer: Avoid Toyota Tacoma Year Models 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016, and 2017. There have been a lot of issues reported with the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016, and 2017 Toyota Tacoma year models, and we recommend avoiding them.

What are the best rated years for Toyota Tacoma? ›

The reliability ratings for 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 are all perfect. With a nearly flawless rating, the 2005 Tacoma has the best Consumer Reports satisfaction rating of any generation. And that's why its is our pick for the best Toyota Tacoma year.

What years did Toyota Tacoma have frame issues? ›

2005-2010 Toyota Tacoma (Second Generation)

While it's not nearly as common a problem, the trucks built between 2005 and 2010 also have to be mentioned when discussing Toyota Tacoma years to avoid. In November 2016, Toyota said that it would inspect and replace rusted frames if required.

What trucks are better than Tacoma? ›

Midsized pickup trucks are big sellers, and that means that the 2021 Toyota Tacoma has plenty of rivals out there. It goes up against similarly capable pickups such as the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, Honda Ridgeline, Jeep Gladiator, and GMC Canyon.

When did Toyota change the Tacoma engine? ›

Though Toyota didn't start with a clean sheet, the 2016 Tacoma received significant updates, including more aggressive front styling, a new V-6 engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, suspension changes, and high-strength steel for the frame and … body.

What year did Tacoma change engines? ›

The third-generation Toyota Tacoma first became available in 2016 and featured a smaller but more powerful V6 engine. The Tacoma's V6 engine shrunk from 4.0-liters to 3.5-liters while increasing power output by 42 horsepower.

What trucks rust the least? ›

Also, if you're worried about rust, you are best off choosing a truck with an aluminum body since aluminum doesn't rust as quickly as other materials.

What is the number 1 pickup truck? ›

Ford F-Series pickup

Which is better Nissan Frontier or Tacoma? ›

Compared to the 2023 Toyota Tacoma, the 2023 Nissan Frontier offers a much higher-horsepower V6 as its base engine versus the Tacoma's 4-cylinder. On top of that, the Nissan V6 is significantly more potent than the Tacoma's 278-hp optional engine.

Which is best Toyota Tacoma or Ford Ranger? ›

However, the Tacoma will be the better choice for some people. It's the better off-roader and it comes with more safety features. The Ranger, on the other hand, has more interior space, a better powertrain, and more towing and hauling capability.

What is the #1 truck for reliability? ›

Based on reliability, the best truck to buy in 2022 is the Toyota Tacoma, which comes in with a Consumer Reports score of 74. This truck is followed closely by the Ford Lightning, which received a 73.

What is the engine life of a Toyota Tacoma? ›

While other midsize pickup truck models taper off at 200,000 miles, you can expect the Toyota Tacoma to last up to 300,000. By prioritizing routine maintenance and vehicle care, you can expect the Toyota Tacoma to last a very long time.

What year was the Tacoma in Back to the Future? ›

The 1985 Toyota you see here has been restored to the exact specification of the truck from the films, it's currently for sale, and it comes with replica Nike self-lacing shoes, a licensed Hoverboard replica, and an R/C version of truck.

What year Tacoma has car play? ›

The Toyota Tacoma has Apple CarPlay, and it's been a standard feature since 2020.

What was the Tacoma called before? ›

The Tacoma was introduced in the US in February 1995 (March 1995 market launch) as a replacement for the Toyota Pickup, the name used for the Hilux in the North American market.

Who makes the Tacoma engine? ›

Toyota offered up its first teaser image of the new 2024 Tacoma. The teaser confirmed that at least the TRD Pro version will be offered with the 3.5-liter (technically 3.4-liter) i-Force Max V6 hybrid engine used in the Tundra and Sequoia.

Do Toyota Tacomas get good gas mileage? ›

Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road: 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway* Toyota Tacoma Limited: 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway*

What is the most unreliable truck of all time? ›

Even though Ford has been one of the top-selling trucks for numerous years, the Triton motor found in the early 2000s was a huge mistake. Along with those trucks, the 2008 Ford F-250 and F-350 only had a reliability rating of 6 out of 100, making them the most unreliable trucks on the road.

What kills rust on a truck? ›

You may know that WD-40® Multi-Use Product is a lubricant, but its innovative formulas' properties actually makes it a great rust remover for cars. The unique product treats rust by loosening the bonds between rust and metal, by penetrating the porous layer and then lubricating the surface so that it can be removed.

What can I put on my truck to keep it from rusting? ›

Apply a professional undercoating

After having an undercoating applied to my truck, I touched up a few areas prone to road grime with AMSOIL Heavy Duty Metal Protector. It forms a durable wax-like coating that helps lock out moisture and prevent rust.

What years were the Toyota frame recalls? ›

Model years affected are from 2004 to 2008 (or 2010 in a few cases). This follows an earlier extended warranty affecting Toyota trucks from 1995-2003.

What is the frame recall on the 2011 Toyota Tacoma? ›

Condition Toyota has received reports regarding frame corrosion perforation on 2011 – 2017 model year Tacoma vehicles. In these reports, customers have indicated that vehicles operated in specific cold climate areas with high road salt usage may exhibit more-than-normal corrosion to the vehicle's frame.

Which Toyota frames rust? ›

According to Best Ride, Toyota settled a class-action suit that cost them over three billion dollars. The suit was brought on by those who had the frames of their Tacoma, Tundra, and Sequoia models fail due to corrosion. This is better known as frame rot.

What is the problem with the 2015 Toyota Tacoma? ›

Many 2015 Toyota Tacoma owners complain of failed brakes and unwanted acceleration. The 2015 model has also received consumer complaints about quality issues like water seepage, whistling noises from loose panels, and premature rusting.

What was the worst year for Toyota? ›

Quick Answer: Avoid 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2009, and 2014 Toyota Corollas. Throughout the lifespan of the Toyota Corolla, one of the most commonly reported problems is excessive oil usage in the engine. This was more common in the 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2009 model years, though it did appear in other years such as 2014 ...

What year did Toyota have problems? ›

Toyota's quality problems in the United States were signaled with a recall in late 2009 for problems with floor mats, but they didn't end there. Since then, more than 20 million cars have been recalled.

What year did the Toyota Tundra frame rust? ›

Toyota has received isolated reports regarding certain 2000 through 2003 model year Tundra vehicles exhibiting excessive rust corrosion to the frame causing perforation of the metal.

Will Toyota still replace my frame? ›

Have the frame of your Subject Vehicle inspected free of charge at a Toyota Dealer to determine whether your Subject Vehicle's frame should be replaced. If the inspection shows that your Subject Vehicle's frame should be replaced, an authorized Toyota Dealer will replace the frame, at no cost to you.

Do 2015 Tacomas have rust problems? ›

Condition: Toyota has received reports regarding frame corrosion perforation on 2011 – 2017 model year Tacoma vehicles. In these reports, customers have indicated that vehicles operated in specific cold climate areas with high road salt usage may exhibit more-than-normal corrosion to the vehicle's frame.

What car is most rust resistant? ›

  • Toyota Camry, Corolla, FJ Cruiser, Highlander, Matrix, Prius, RAV4, 4Runner, Sienna, Solara, Venza, Yaris;
  • Mercedes-Benz B-Class, C-Class;
  • Hyundai Accent, Elantra, Entourage, Santa Fe, Sonata, Tuscon;
  • Kia Forte, Magentis, Optima, Rondo, Sedona, Spectra, Sportage.
Sep 23, 2013

Which car does not rust? ›

Cars that never rust
  • Kia Forte: Great to hear excellent rustproofing doesn't need to cost the world!
  • Volvo S60: For once, reliability and rust protection do go hand in hand.
  • Volkswagen Golf: Not just one of the greatest cars ever built – also one of the most rust-free ever.
Mar 12, 2020

Which cars are most prone to rust? ›

Most cars that are prone to rust damage are off-road vehicles, as they are the most likely to come into contact with various rust-inducing environments. That being said, everyday drivers are also known to rust just as easily.

Why to avoid 2017 Toyota Tacoma? ›

The 2017 Tacoma's recalls range from an innocuous issue with an incorrectly labeled onboard load sticker that can lead to overloading, to a more serious problem with a rear differential that may leak oil and lead to a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.

What is the average life Toyota Tacoma? ›

With such a long average lifespan, it is no wonder why the used Toyota Tacoma for sale is so popular. You can expect to drive your pickup truck 10,000 to 15,000 every year on the road. This puts the average lifespan of a Toyota Tacoma at 20 to 25 years.

Why to avoid 2016 Tacoma? ›

Safety problems appear in the 2016-2017 models of Toyota Tacoma trucks. Worse than the previous issues reported, the 2016 and 2017 models year gave us some serious safety problems. Both of these model years have reported dozens of transmission flaws, and the 2016 version has a faulty engine.


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