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You can save big when finding a used truck like the Toyota Tacoma. Overall, the Tacoma has a great reputation for being durable and long-lasting. But unfortunately, not every model year was created equally, and a few lemons exist. Watch out for the worst Toyota Tacoma years. 

How reliable is the Toyota Tacoma? 

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma off-roading in the wild
2023 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

Currently, the 2023 Toyota Tacoma has an above-average reliability ranking. J.D.Power gave it a score of 83 out of 100. Anything between 81 to 90 is great, but scores between 91 to 100 are best. Also, anything in the 70 to 80 range is average. 

This ranking is based on problems reported in previous Tacoma years by actual owners. While the typical pickup truck can survive until 200,000 miles, the Tacoma can easily surpass 300,000 miles. Some owners even report that their Tacoma is still going after reaching 400,000 miles. 

But it still helps to know which used Tacoma model years need to be avoided. If you want a long-lasting model, then watch out for these three recent model years with the most problems and headaches. 

1. The 2019 Tacoma could struggle 

Engineering says the 2019 Toyota Tacoma is one of the worst model years available. The rankings are based on reports from Kelley Blue Book, the NHTSA, Edmunds, and J.D.Power. 

The 2019 Tacoma received a mid-cycle refresh with better off-roading packages and modern tech. However, the transmission seems to be the source of a few significant problems. It’s a little sluggish and clunky. 

There are reports of the transmission jerking and vibrating. The truck may lurch forward or suddenly lose speed without warning. The truck seems to slip gears and suddenly accelerate or lurch forward too. 

There are also reports of fuel system issues. Fuel pump failure may cause the engine to stall without warning. It seems to impact braking as well. 

2. Avoid the 2016 Tacoma 

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma is another model year to watch out for. This is when the latest generation debuted with suspension and engine upgrades. But sometimes, the first year of a new generation has a few issues to correct. 

Transmission problems strike again with loud knocking sounds, vibrations, lurching forward, losing speed, slipping gears, delayed acceleration, and a loud howling noise. The transmission can get violently loud and shaky at speeds around 45 mph. 

There are also tons of electrical problems listed. Some drivers found that some of the heaters failed early on, the radio would freeze or turn off, indicator lamps suddenly illuminated, a heated seat burned a hole in the upholstery, and all the lights randomly stopped working. 

3. The 2012 Tacoma isn’t the best 

How reliable is the 2012 Toyota Tacoma?
2012 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

The 2012 Toyota Tacoma is one of the worst model years, but it got a refreshed style and a few tech upgrades. Engine problems caused this truck to randomly enter limp mode. The check engine lights would light up, and they would be limited to 25 mph. 

Sudden bursts of acceleration may occur, the air injectors could fail, the ECM computer could be bad, the fuel injector is prone to failing, the traction control system will turn off, and the engine would vibrate. 

Drivers reported brake problems too. Some owners experienced a sudden loss of braking power and ended up in a ditch. Also, while not moving, some trucks suddenly accelerate rapidly. 

Sometimes the vehicle would lock up and slide, releasing the gas would lock one wheel up, the lights would go out, or they would become super grabby. 

There are plenty of great Toyota Tacoma model years to jump on. But do your research and review the vehicle history if these options become available. They have the most reports of severe problems in recent years.