3 Top Toyota Tacoma Problems—According to a Mechanic
The Toyota Tacoma enjoys a reputation for legendary reliability. But the truth is that every vehicle is predisposed to its own unique problems. Luckily for us, the expert mechanics at 1A Auto have compiled a list of the top problems they encounter in third-generation (2015-present) Toyota Tacoma.
Failed engine crank position sensor hinders the Tacoma’s acceleration
The Toyota Tacoma’s engine adjusts its ignition timing as you accelerate. This ensures the best possible combination of fuel efficiency and power. But it uses a crankshaft position sensor to accomplish this, and if the sensor wears prematurely, the truck may stumble as it accelerates–according to 1A Auto.
How can a position sensor tell exactly where a spinning crankshaft is? This sensor simply uses a magnet mounted on the internal combustion engine to get a reading. One of the top Tacoma problems is this sensor wearing out and causing the truck to stumble, especially if you go from a slow idle to hard acceleration.
Luckily, it is relatively easy to access and replace this sensor. It is mounted on the engine, tucked in beneath the manifold. But by removing the fender well lining, you can swap out the crank position sensor and restore proper performance.
A leaking gasket can destroy the rear axle differential
The point where the driveshaft enters the rear axle differential is sealed by the pinion gasket. Normally, this gasket should last a long time. But on third-generation Toyota Tacomas, these gaskets can wear early and cause problems.
The first sign of a leaking gasket is gear oil dripping from the truck’s solid rear axle. If this problem is left unaddressed, it may starve the rear differential of fluid, in which case it can begin to vibrate, rattle, or chatter. Eventually, the rear differential will run completely dry and make a grinding noise which means it may be severely damaged.
Toyota has issued a recall because of this rear differential leak. If you take a leaking Tacoma into the dealership, the technicians there will replace the pinion seal, and possibly even the axle seals, free of charge.
A wonky computer stalls the engine when you turn the steering wheel
The final top Toyota Tacoma problem creates very unique symptoms. If you are sitting in your idling truck and try to turn your front wheels, your engine speed may drop. In extreme cases, your truck may even stall.
This problem can actually manifest in the opposite way: your engine speed dramatically increases when you try to turn your front wheels. This is a problem you’re most likely to notice while parking or while starting out.
When the truck stalls, you may suspect some manner of mechanical issue. What’s interesting about this Tacoma problem is that it’s software related. Luckily, Toyota has created a software patch to address this problem and issued a recall. If you bring in an affected truck, they can simply update your ECU and solve this issue.
It’s smart to check that any Toyota Tacoma–whether you own it or are considering buying it–doesn’t have any open recalls. If you know the VIN you can call your local dealer or Toyota’s customer service at 1-800-331-4331.
Next, see reliable alternative to a used Toyota Tacoma or see 1A Auto’s guide to the top Tacoma problems for yourself in the video below: