Trucks & SUVs

The Most Common Problems Toyota Tacoma Owners Complain About

The Toyota Tacoma is one of those beloved vehicles that no one wants to part with. Whether you’re driving through the city streets at night or tackling deep mud, the Tacoma can handle it all. Unfortunately, even the Tacoma has its problems.

According to RepairPal, there are a few repairs that will require you to break out the big bucks. Here are the top three issues and how much you can expect to spend in order to get your Tacoma back on the road.

Toyota Tacoma recall for lower ball joint problems

The most reported problem with the Tacoma is that the lower ball joint has premature wear. This is due to improper finishing in production. 13 model years were impacted by this problem, beginning in 1995, and continuing up until 2007.

Toyota put out a recall to address this issue. However, the catch is that it only applies to the 2001-2004 models. Why only four model years were included in the recall when it was an issue for 13 straight years is not clear. It would make sense to include all the Tacoma’s impacted by this problem, especially since it’s a manufacturing issue, but automakers rarely make sense.

According to the NHTSA,

“During the manufacturing process, there is a possibility that the surface of the ball portion of the Front Suspension Ball Joint in your vehicle may have been scratched. In this condition, the Front Suspension Lower Ball Joint in your vehicle may experience excessive wear and looseness causing increased steering effort, reduced vehicle self-centering and noise in the front suspension.”

This can lead to the lower ball joint separating, which results in a loss of control. If you’re curious to know how much it will cost to repair, you’re looking at $227-$465. You’ll have to replace the suspension ball joint or have a wheel alignment. 

Some drivers reported that the dealership quoted them repair costs in excess of $1,000, so don’t be afraid to shop around for a cheaper price. Also keep in mind that many consumers report that they had to replace their ball joints multiple times. This isn’t one of those repairs that you deal with, and then you’re done. You may be facing it for many years to come. 

Automatic transmission

The transmission is one of those repairs that no one wants to deal with because it’s rarely a simple repair. Even if it is, many times it may cost more than you want to shell out. Thankfully this is a problem that doesn’t require a complete overhaul of your Tacoma’s transmission.

The problem with the Tacoma’s transmission is that it doesn’t shift correctly. This usually shows up at a higher mileage of 125,000-150,000 miles. RepairPal reports that this is due to the throttle position sensor.

It needs to be adjusted so that it can work correctly. The other problem is that the shift solenoid needs to be replaced. Over 20 model years are affected, starting in 1995, and continuing all the way through 2015. There was no quote for how much repairs will cost. 

Cracked amber front parking light lens

This may not seem like such a big deal, but it is. The problem is easy enough to fix. All you have to do is have the lights replaced, and your local Toyota dealership can do that. The problem arises when you get the bill. So how much are you looking at? According to some consumers, over $1,000.

RepairPal has a different estimate, and we’re not talking a few bucks. The fair price estimate is $88-111. That’s a huge price difference, which makes one wonder what Toyota is doing with all the extra money. There are seven model years that are affected. The 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and the 2013. If your Tacoma is one of the trucks impacted by this, try giving your local mechanic a shot before rushing off to the dealership. 

Overall the Tacoma is a great truck and these problems shouldn’t make you cross this truck off your list. Just be aware of the issues so that you know what to look for when going to a test drive or inspection.