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How Long Should a Toyota Tacoma Last? Not Judging - Just asking

Tell us, and we will make sure Toyota hears you, how long you think a Tacoma should last - and why.

Walk past Easton Phalin's Toyota Tacoma in a parking lot (above image) and at a glance, it would seem to be a new truck. However, it is not a new truck, it is a 13-year-old Tacoma. Torque News reached out to the Facebook Toyota Tacoma Enthusiast's group for help with the image for this story and we immediately had a long list of pristine Tacomas older than 10 years to use.

The reason this story is asking the question "How long should a Tacoma last" relates to the frame rot issue so many Tacoma owners have suffered through. In Toyota's defense, the company has gone farther than any other automaker we can think of to solve a problem it has taken responsibility for. However, many owners are still not satisfied, and since the problem happened twice, not once, they are justified in their anger.

This week the publication iSeeCars released the results of a survey they did which asked owners how long they keep their cars. This was no small survey. They looked at owner sales data on 2.5 million cars. Toyota models dominate the list of vehicles that owners kept the longest. The top four are Toyotas (and half of the top 10 are Toyota models).

The Tacoma is the third truck on the list's truck breakout which measures what percentage of owners keep a pickup more than ten years. In the case of the Tacoma, 21.4% of owners keep their Tacoma longer than ten years. That said, this data does not answer our question fully, since these vehicles are then sold used in most cases and the new owners keep them - often for a long, long time.

Aaron Genske from the Facebook Tacoma club showed us an image of a compact Toyota pickup that is now 20 years old and has 337,000 miles on it. We don't expect many Tacoma owners to report they expect that kind of life, but we would like to know how long they think is a fair life expectancy. One commenter under a story about the frame rot issue took the time to write and say that he was angry his 1999 Toyota truck was no longer in service due to frame rot. Should Toyota be expected to fix an 18-year-old pickup, or compensate the owner if it eventually quits? If so, tell us how you come to that expectation. We are not judging, just asking. What is a fair life expectancy in years and in miles for a Toyota Tacoma before it is put to rest?

One footnote to those who think badly of Toyota trucks' overall longevity. Aaron Genske's 20-year-old truck was taken off the road due to the frame rot issue. It is now a bare-bones, stock race truck. He races it in a "Tournament of Destruction" demolition derby series. It has survived two races so far and he plans to keep on racing it indefinitely.


Aaron Genske (not verified)    December 29, 2016 - 4:51PM

This is Aaron Genske here,

My truck is a 1996 Tacoma 2wd with the 2.4L Inline 4 cylinder 5 speed manual. I bought it for $800 as a daily driver in Sept. 2014 and took as good care of it as I could. Then after awhile I got carried away and drove it like I stole it, exhaust didn't want to be quiet, got a new muffler put on it and a week later the pipe fell off where the catalytic converter was supposed to be. Welded it back on and another weld let loose. I drove it for 6 months without an exhaust attached. Only exhaust manifolds, surprisingly I ever got pulled over. I would redline 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears like it was nothing. It leaked oil from a small hole I put in the oil pan from running over a small engine and had to put 2-4 quarts in every other week. At one point when money was tight I ran it dry of oil, and at another time there ended up being water in my oil. After a new/used oil pan all was well. Now the truck has been in two TODs and was T-boned by an Astro van, I backed into a bunch of other trucks, rear ended and hit other cars to where the radiator van was pushed up into the engine block. Before the next event I pulled the core support out so that fan could spin freely and fixed the ground to the battery. In the 2nd event I ended up rolling and sliding on my drivers door with the truck still running and got put back on all 4 wheels and get driving her hard. The frame is still intact but not looking good. The bed is all smashed in and looks like hell. But 3 months after I went to drain the radiator and pull the battery before the cold weather came and started the truck up. It started with no issues, had oil pressure right away and it went into gear with no issues. I'm proud of this little bullet proof truck and will always talk highly of older and newer Toyotas. I now drive a 2012 Tacoma and love it just as much.

Chad Kirchner (not verified)    December 30, 2016 - 11:52AM

I believe there's a strong desire to keep these trucks for awhile. All trucks, including mid-size, are getting larger in size with each refresh. In my town I see a lot of Rangers and older Tacomas for this very reason. Then add the cult following the truck has and I'm not surprised to see so many owners not want to part with them.

Marc Stern    December 30, 2016 - 11:58AM

When the frame rot issue was settled, Toyota, to its credit, stepped up and supported all of its pickups affected. The settlement gave owners new frames or repaid them for work already done. Not many automakers do this -- unless they are told to by the court -- which makes Toyota's support so much more commendable.

Let's look at something, though, age. The original suit in this was filed sometime in the 2009-2011 timeframe. It became a class-action lawsuit sometime in 2013 and was settled in 2014. The provisions of the settlement go back to the early 2000s. This means that, even with warranty extensions, some of the trucks are getting long-in-the-tooth, putting some of them at better than 15 years old. I think this is more than enough time for Toyota to provide support.

I can see 10 years of support; 15 years tops. That's more than enough time. Why, automakers usually only keep about 15 years of parts on hand for older models, so 15 years would seem to be a good time for the automaker to back away. Some might even argue 10 years is more than enough time, but, Toyota's problems began in the early 2000s and there are some vehicles still out there that are a tad newer out there that may need the automaker's TLC (or a new frame), so those vehicles should be supported. . Just my opinion.

Patrick Rall    December 30, 2016 - 12:52PM

Expecting a modern vehicle to last more than 15 years without significant repairs is pushing it and blaming an automaker because your 18 year old pickup is out of commission is ridiculous.

When you have a truck with known issues of this type, you are the only one to blame when the known issue occurs.

Marc Stern    December 30, 2016 - 1:06PM

There are some vehicles out there where you can have an expectation that they will last and last. For example, I know of one 1989 Honda that's trundling around Central California daily. The mileage is somewhere over 400,000 and climbing. The car the driver gave up -- and to his son -- was a 1993 Mazda that had had lighter use and only had about 350K on the clock. The last I knew it was running fine, as well. The point to this is that there are lots of old cars out there that just keep on rolling. But, I have to agree with you that there's a point where it's not on the manufacturer anymore. I think 15 years max is a good compromise in a situation like Toyo's where there's a known problem. I can see your point, though. There comes a point where it is the owner's responsibility, no matter how good the manufacturer is.

Nick (not verified)    February 15, 2020 - 1:24PM

In reply to by Marc Stern

The key point is owner's responsibility and knowledge for the longevity of the cars. I have 2004 Toyota Sport Runner with 3.4 V6 engine and 5-speed manual transmission. I keep it in garage. Maintain myself the pickup. In Southern Arizona there is no snow and ice. The only enemy is the Arizona Sun...that's why I have a garage. I don't have any intention to sell this is 2/15/2020. I have 1996 Chevy 1500, and still keep it. I have 1999 Buick LeSabre Limited Edition with GT package, and still keep it. I can't say anything bad for these 3 examples, because there isn't any problem with them for all those long years. To keep a car for long time, you have to be ready to replace some small parts and do that. That;s normal. The main two big "parts"....the engine and transmission are the key point for the longevity of the car. When I say there is no problem with a car, I mean these two main "parts".

Sully (not verified)    June 19, 2020 - 3:09PM

In reply to by Nick (not verified)

I have a 2005 Tacoma the 2TR-FE 4 Cyl Inline;5 Spd Manual.
Original Owner. Just hit 150k miles. The clutch is starting to slip, it's the original. What is the typical lifespan of manual clutches?

Parks McCants    December 30, 2016 - 1:29PM

As a multiple brand truck owner, I've owned 3 Toyota pickup trucks over the years going back to the mid 80s. In our region, Cal Trans and O-Dot do not salt the roads in winter. So I haven't experienced frame rot. My immediate neighbor drives a 1996 Toyota 4-runner with 300,000 + miles on the odometer. It's here daily driver. And, outside of normal maintenance, has required ZERO major mechanical or aesthetic repairs. This would appear to be a regional issue. and yes, a body off frame replacement is possible, although generally not cost effective.

Should a manufacturer be held accountable for a near 20-year old frame? Hell no. Cheers!

Armen Hareyan    December 31, 2016 - 4:06PM

I haven't owned a truck, but in my opinion how long a vehicle lasts depends on how well an owner will maintain it. One major thing is how often you will change the oil, as an example.

Marc Stern    December 31, 2016 - 5:18PM

Quite true, but, there was a series of trucks manufactured over several years that were prone to frame rustout. There was a lawsuit settled for about $3 billion to handle the costs of this. Toyota also acknowledged the problem beforehand by providing repairs to those who asked and repaying others owners who paid for the repairs themselves. Not many automakers do this.

Bob Forgy (not verified)    August 25, 2017 - 10:59AM

In reply to by Marc Stern

I have an 02 Tacoma with the V6, manual transmission. It just turned 230,000 miles this week in Ketchikan, Alaska. That's a little more than 3,000 miles from home. I never gave a second thought whether it would make it or not

My son gave it to me in May 2015 with 185,000 miles. I've used it to go camping for 10 months of the last 24 months. Gotta do something when you're retired!

The only issues have been rubber parts like boots, belts, etc have worn out as expected for a 15 yr old vehicle. My son replaced the timing belt at 175,000 miles.

But any dollar I spend on maintenance is the only money I've put into it!

Michael Nerren (not verified)    October 27, 2017 - 9:17AM

I have a 2006 with 165,000 miles on it, that is 11 years old now in 2017 and it still drives like it did when it was new. I have only replaced a u-joint and a wheel bearing so far. I talked to a master mechanic at toyota and he said to expect to get 250,000 miles minimum out of it and he sees them in the 300,000 mile range from time to time for maintenance. So, I would say 20 years would be a good estimate for a 12,000 miles a year driver and maybe more. If you do the scheduled maintenance it will last 20 years with no major issues. After that it is a case by case I think. Hard to put an exact number on it.

James (not verified)    March 18, 2018 - 3:14PM

I just purchased a 2006 Tacoma SR5, 4 door, 4.0L, 5 speed automatic with 158,000 miles, the bank did not hesitate to finance the complete purchase price of the vehicle. I am expecting to at least double the miles on it if not triple with minor repairs.

Carey (not verified)    May 1, 2018 - 2:48PM

My 1999 tacoma has 312000 and runs great. I think toyota has given me my money back aleady in its reliability. I have zero complaints. If it dies tomorrow I've gotten enough out of it. But I just might drive it past 500k based on how good it drives.

Lynn (not verified)    August 9, 2020 - 11:24PM

In reply to by Carey (not verified)

In 1997 I bought my new 1998 Toyota Tacoma extended cab, 5 speed. 290,000 miles later and it still runs like a champ and looks almost new. I added a custom ARE cap in 2004 for traveling and camping in the woods to watch the deer. Best purchase I ever made. I take excellent care of it and it’s been extremely reliable. I recommend this product for anyone. My next vehicle purchase will be a 4WD Tacoma.

T buzbee (not verified)    June 24, 2018 - 11:32AM

2002 taco 4 cylinder with 245,000. No problems. Best vehicle ever. I'll take it with me to my grave. My advice? Change the oil people! Don't listen to the ads that say you can go 15,000 miles between changes. What kind of nut would want to do that anyways. One more tip. Wash the undercarriage regularly. It just takes a couple of minutes. No rusty frame problems.

Joel (not verified)    September 20, 2018 - 2:20PM

2000 Tacoma Pre-Runner 2.7L with 255,456 miles. Now at 18 years with no major problems since I purchased it June 2000 with 8 miles on it. I has been a reliable tank for me. I've carried sod rolls, my ATV, 3 kayaks, no telling how many other yard and household goods in the 18 years and it does the job great. I have been using full synthetic (pick a brand) 10W30 oil since it turned 70K and run it around 7,500 miles before I change it and the filter. I have one more son (a teen) who thinks like the others that I'm going to give him my truck when it's his turn to drive...ah, not! It has been my daily driver and I put around 60 miles round trip, 5 days a week, then on the weekends pulling a 2,100lb runabout boat to the lake (Spring/Summer/Fall) in GA. It has been a truly remarkable vehicle that honestly I still love like I did the first time I saw it. :) As for rust problems, none down South so I got off easy there. However, a buddy in Omaha, NE had to turn in his 1998 Pre-Runner and hated doing so. His had almost 200K on it back in 2008. Thankfully, Toyota did him right and he drove away in a very nice Tundra 4x4. I am now looking at 300,000 + miles and when the day comes (engine or transmission), I will either drop a new one in or rebuild. Something to be said for a hard working, daily driver that is overly dependable and paid for. With the prices on even new Taco's, I don't see myself getting a new one; unless someone totals it. That's the only way it will not be running the GA roads. As for Toyota compensating anyone for an 18 year old pickup? I say no. Like someone said, if you've had a truck or any vehicle last 18 years you've gotten your money's worth. Speaking from a person who's Taco is now in the 18 year realm. That's my .2 on the last question. Take care.

Matt Bowers (not verified)    December 4, 2018 - 11:46PM

I have a 2001 4x4 Tacoma. Modified the rear end at 300,000 miles. 2.7 litre 4 cy. Have been driving on dirt, sand, rocks, steep climbs, and on the road. It now has 360,000 miles. Never a problem with original motor. Replaced all the other usual stuff. Tranny has been serviced. I always change the oil, use full synthetic 5w 30. Rust is a problem with the body due to driving in snow and salt. What a truck!

Brett (not verified)    December 16, 2018 - 1:04PM

1995.5 Tacoma 4x4 with 242,000 so far. 2.7 with a/t. Bought last year. Engine and tranny are untouched. Changed front rotors, changed radiator at recommendation of dealer ( they went through it and were impressed). Runs like a top. I did have to change one injector recently (20 minutes for the #1). Arizona truck with zero frame rust- can’t wait to put historical plates on soon! These trucks deserve the reputation they get , especially when left well enough alone - Toyota did a good job on these. My first Toyota and I’m impressed with how these simple tricks have held up.

Glenn (not verified)    December 30, 2018 - 4:16PM

2002 4X2 Tacoma Pre-Runner, SR5 & TRD Off-Road Package, 4.0L 6 Cyl with 483,660 miles on it. Bought used in 2004 with 75K miles. Best vehicle I have ever owned. I pull a 3000 lb boat with it and it is still going strong. Truck has original engine and transmission. I've changed the timing belt out about every 100K miles and of course do regular oil changes. It burns about a quart of oil every 3K miles now so I watch the oil level pretty close. It's been in three wrecks but none did any damage to engine or trans....just rear-end collisions with people going too fast on wet streets. The last one I just left the bumper bent up and my steering wheel "potato chipped" ……..I gripped it hard when I saw guy coming in rear view mirror. Insurance company wanted to total it but I said no......I've become attached to this's least until it reaches 500K!

Scott (not verified)    February 16, 2019 - 1:59AM

I think a Tacoma should last for more than... Well a day? I bought my Tacoma brand new 06/09/2005. Like everyone else who bought a Tacoma with a 1GR-FE engine manufactured before October of 2005, mine was manufactured with faulty head gaskets. After I put approximately $70,000 in to the truck in upgrades, the head gaskets failed. With so much invested... and so many other owners suffering, I had the means, (I thought I did) I filed a lawsuit. It's been over 2 years. More documentation, recorded phones calls, experts, and evidence than can be processed... Literally!

Toyota made me a settlement offer of $2,500 right off the bat.

Now, $30,000+ into the lawsuit... Toyota has basically out spent me. It's become a choice of keep my house and take my loss or keep fighting for what is right and loose my house.

So if you can REALLY make Toyota listen....

Lee (not verified)    March 18, 2019 - 12:29PM

My 2003 Tacoma 4cyl pre-runner has 245,000 and going strong (for a 4 banger). No rust in Arizona but rubber bushings in front have just been replaced. Expect 300,000...

michael sears (not verified)    July 24, 2019 - 7:35PM

I have a 2005 Tacoma 1gr 4.0 with 316k miles and drives even better now than brand new. compression test said its perfect.Ive replaced a catalytic converter and an exhaust manifold.The truck get 26 mpg in the city with the ac blowing ice cold on level 2.Its definitely the best vehicle Ive ever owned. I can smoke rear tires down from a dead start and cruise at 65 mph at 2k rpm.

Roberto Olivarez (not verified)    August 17, 2019 - 10:19PM

I bought my 2003 Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner SR5 brand new and now have over 200,000 miles in 16 years. It’s been on two traffic accidents, but no problems whatsoever. No rust problems in Texas. It might not be the best looking truck out there, but it mine, paid for and I still love driving it! Best vehicle I’ve ever purchased!!! When it was time to purchase a family car I just had to go get another Toyota!

Tina Luttle (not verified)    September 8, 2019 - 1:38PM

I have driven a Toyota Tacoma since before it was called a Tacoma! I have had several of these trucks through out the years and never had one die on me... I drove the jeep trails from south to north and the only reason I would sell my truck and get another one is because I want to do different customs things to it. I lived through the frame issues and all I can say is Toyota bought those trucks back at 150% of blue book cost whereas another car company that makes trucks has a well known issue with design which translates to it costs approx $2000 to replace spark plugs! (No...that is not a typo!!!) This company is looking at a class action suit because they know this is a design issue and are not willing to make good for their product. That being said, there is no question of who gets my business! I am currently looking to get another truck and I not picky but I am looking for about a 2012, 4 door, 4x4, manuel (have to..knee replacement) to get me back in the game after surgery and being stuck on pavement for 3 years

Jim (not verified)    September 13, 2019 - 3:14PM

I have a 2008 Tacoma TRD 6 cylinder that I just had the carrier bearing replaced. It has 184,000 miles on it. I still have a vibration I noticed after the work was done. I took it back and they looked at it some more, took it apart again and put it back together. Now the vibration is hardly noticeable. But I think it's still there. The Toyota Service says they think it's the driveshaft is out of balance and they don't balance them. Another mechanic doesn't think that because I feel the vibration at 55 to 60 and on up. A driveshaft out of balance would be felt at 40ish. I'm thinking it's time to trade it.

Tony Abbate (not verified)    November 2, 2019 - 2:10PM

In reply to by Jim (not verified)

My 2005 SR5 has 87,000 miles and is doing the same thing. The dealer replaced the drive shaft under warranty a few years ago. This problem is recent. Have you pinned down the cause yet. Are you confident it’s the carrier bearing?

Sam (not verified)    June 13, 2020 - 1:56AM

In reply to by Jim (not verified)

No need to trade it in, yet problem is one of the universal joints on the drive shaft. because you never greased them with a grease gun, most likely the one closes to the rear axle, I hv 2000 tacoma 4x4 ,286000 miles done all the repairs my self ,including carrier bearing then rear u joint many miles later ,I do grease them from time to time ,you can get under the truck and turn drive shaft back and forth a little by hand to find the joint withers the most play in it and replace that one first should solve yer problem ,the part is only about 20$ ,it is a bitch to beat it out with a ball
Pene hammer,if you unbolt from driveshaft and take the joint to shop they probably charge $30,to remove the old one and put the new one in, well worth it ,if you feel the need to beat the shit out of something by all means give it a go just remember to remove the inner clips that hold that unsinkable joint in place before you attempt pressing or beating out ,good luck,, I'm gona go grease my u joints now it's been a while

Kevin Rosendo … (not verified)    November 5, 2019 - 8:07AM

My Toyota Tacoma is as old as me and she gets me from point A to B without a problem she has 364k miles and still being used on a regular bases I’m 18 btw and so is my beautiful Tacoma. We are a 2001 kids

Jim (not verified)    November 5, 2019 - 9:28AM

Yes, it was the carrier bearing. But then they either put something else together wrong or something else was vibrating. The dealer said the driveshaft was out of balance. It was fine before they worked on it. They took it apart again and put it back together and the vibration was better. But when I had the truck going over 80 mph it vibrated badly. So I traded it in for a new 2019 Tacoma. I need something reliable and could see that vibration problem going on for awhile trying to find a solution.