3 Toyota Tacoma Problems Your Dealership Will Fix for Free
The Toyota Tacoma is the bestselling midsize pickup in the U.S. Like any other vehicle, this truck suffers from specific mechanical issues. But one way Toyota maintains its fan base is by stepping up to address such problems: Here are three of the top third-generation (2016-present) Tacoma problems that your local dealership will fix for free.
Leaking differential fluid can damage axle components
When 1A Auto compiled a list of the top third-generation Toyota Tacoma problems, it listed a differential leak near the top. You may ask what’s wrong with a bit of gear oil dripping on the ground. But if you don’t address a differential fluid leak, it can end up starving your differential gears of oil. At first your vehicle will begin to vibrate, then emit a chattering sound, and finally, a grinding noise. That’s bad news.
A gasket allows the driveshaft’s pinion splines to rotate inside the solid rear axle differential without any fluid leaking out. In third-generation Tacomas, this gasket or the backing plate behind it can wear out prematurely.
Toyota issued a recall for certain 2016 and 2017 Tacomas to check them for a leak. If these components are worn, Toyota will replace them for free. The NHTSA calls this recall number 17V285000, while Toyota internally calls it Tacoma recall HOG.
Erratic engine rpm when turning the steering wheel
Some third-generation Tacoma owners reported that if they are sitting in their truck at idle and turn the steering wheel, the engine rpm can increase or drop way down. If it increases, this could make parking dangerous. If it drops, the truck could stall out altogether.
This might sound like a mechanical issue, but it’s actually just a software problem. The good news is that Toyota was able to write replacement software. If you take an affected truck to a dealership, they will update it for free.
Slow or jerky automatic transmission shifts
When my colleague Nathaniel Ehringer wrote up the most common Tacoma problems as reported by owners, a poorly shifting transmission made his list. In fact, RepairPal recorded 254 owner complaints of an automatic transmission mis-shifting.
The experts at 1A Auto revealed that this issue usually comes down to the Tacoma’s automatic transmission shifting later than it should. But this can manifest as “hard” or jerky shifting. It can also look like a truck lurching while starting out uphill or shifting from reverse and into drive. It can even feel like random shifts while cruise control is on.
Again, this is often due to a software issue. Toyota has already created a software update and will happily upload it to trucks experiencing transmission problems for free. But if that doesn’t fix it, you made need to have your throttle position sensor calibrated or your shifting solenoid replaced.
Next, find out if a 100,000 mile Toyota Tacoma is actually reliable or see 1A Auto’s review of the top issues for yourself: