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Toyota enjoys a longstanding reputation for reliability and durability. Toyota Tundra production began in 1999 at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Indiana, built on the same reputation. However, not all Tundras offer the same level of quality, so we’ll identify two model years that could be among the worst used Toyota trucks. 

A Toyota logo, maker of the Toyota Tundra.
Toyota logo | Getty Images

Toyota Tundra history

Since its introduction in 1999 as the “first-ever full-size pickup truck built by a Japanese automaker in North America,” the Tundra has continued leading full-size pickup truck innovation.

With advancements like the “first double-overhead-cam, 32-valve V8” and “first V8 engine to achieve an LEV (low emission vehicle) emissions classification from the EPA,” the Tundra’s accolades include towing the Endeavour Space Shuttle across “the nation’s busiest freeway” in 2018 and safely carrying “several people” through the flames of California’s 2018 Camp Fire.

Toyota trucks data

CarComplaints data shows the 2007 Toyota Tundra received more owner-reported problems than any other model year. However, the 2012 Tundra’s engine problems make it the worst model year. 

1. 2007 Toyota Tundra

Engine problems are the most frequent 2007 Toyota Tundra complaints, with 21 reports to CarComplaints and 110 NHTSA reports. The most significant engine issue involves the air injection pump failure at around 97,000 miles on average, with an average repair cost of $3,100. 

CarComplaints lists “Charcoal Canister Contaminated with Fuel” as the second worst issue with the 2007 Tundra. This problem occurs at 57,000 miles and has an average repair cost of $1,000.

The third worst problem is a stuck secondary air pump at 44,000 miles on average, with an average $1,000 repair cost. In addition, the NHTSA issued 14 recalls for the 2007 Tundra for issues with various equipment, vehicle speed control, wheels, seats, steering, tires, visibility, and powertrain.

2. 2012 Toyota Tundra

With only four NHTSA recalls and fewer overall owner-reported issues to CarComplaints, it’s surprising to see the 2012 Toyota Tundra on the list. Although it only received 32 complaints compared to 2007’s 71 total complaints, CarComplaints takes “factors such as higher repair cost or more problems at lower mileage” into account when determining the “Worst Model Year” for a particular vehicle model. 

Like the 2007 Tundra, the 2012 model’s worst problem is a failed air induction pump. However, the newer model pump failed earlier on average at 78,000 but had a lower average repair cost of $2,900. The more expensive but less frequent “Premature Transmission Failure” occurs at 9,000 miles on average and costs $5,500 to repair.

The third worst problem involves failure of the secondary air injection system at around 77,000 miles with an average cost to repair of $3,000. 

Is an older used Toyota truck a good buy?

According to CarComplaints data, the 2009 Toyota Tundra has only two owner-reported problems.

The top issue was “Swirl Marks All Over” which mysteriously appeared at 67,000 miles. There’s no associated average repair cost as the truck was out of warranty, and the owner elected other solutions to the problem. 

The other isolated 2009 Tundra issue is “Mold in the Heaterbox From Using Defrost,” reported at 20,000 miles. While it only cost $70 to repair, the owner reported the issue after Toyota classified it as “normal maintenance” and not covered under warranty since the truck was less than a year old and still covered under the bumper to bumper warranty coverage.


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