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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.


joseph o Johnson (not verified)    January 5, 2020 - 10:49AM

I have a 2001 Tacoma with 415 k miles on it and still running strong. Hit a few deer and one hog here in Texas but still running. A new Tundra backed into my rear bumper in the parking lot, done a lot of damage to the tundra but just a little goose egg on my bumper lol Has been a very reliable truck.

joseph o Johnson (not verified)    January 5, 2020 - 10:50AM

I have a 2001 Tacoma with 415 k miles on it and still running strong. Hit a few deer and one hog here in Texas but still running. A new Tundra backed into my rear bumper in the parking lot, done a lot of damage to the tundra but just a little goose egg on my bumper lol Has been a very reliable truck.

Jim (not verified)    February 15, 2020 - 6:01PM

When I asked about how long they last I was thinking about how long they last without taking them for regular maintenance. When did things start going wrong with the engine or drive train. Things that would be expensive. Now it could be replacing computers.

Indy the Adventurer (not verified)    May 27, 2020 - 11:43PM

Hi. Very impressive the above readings regarding toyotas. I have a 2003 Toyota Tacoma Prerunner extended cab with the 2.7 liter engine. Bought in 03 with 30,000 miles. Now, May 2020, 185,000. 17 years old! Regular oil changes and maint equals few/no problems. Majority of components original. Runs just like when i purchased it. Best truck ive ever owned. Living in the western states never had a frame rust issue. Liked to see this truck get 400K. Eyeing next potential vehicle: 2015-2019 Toyota 4 Runner 4x4 for more camping, fishing, hunting, mt biking. Rock on Toyota! Built to go the distance!

Desmond McGrath (not verified)    July 1, 2020 - 3:23PM

My two Cents worth
I have owned and do own a number of vehicles currently a 1987 AMG 6.0 Mercedes SEL, a 1967 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, a 1962 T-Bird and a 1995 JAG 4.0 Celebration. All bought from previous owners after either an accident or some seriouis mechanical failure. I also own a few British bikes and BMW motorcycles. I have a 1998 Toyota Tacoma SR5 extra cab with the 2.4 Liter engine.

It is my third Toyota the two previous being a 1973 Celica GT twin cam rusted out with shock towers caved in for $50.00, With some welding finesse it was a daily driver in college for three years before the rear suspension joints separated from the chassis. It Never Broke Down winter or summer (Newfoundland Winters can be devastating with the addition of serious road salt). My next one was a 1977 Corolla Lift back wagon with a 1200 4 speed $100 from a family friend after it was in a winter accident that damaged the front. It cost about $250 to get it on the road in spring 1984. I did synthetic oil in the engine 4 spd and rear end. A mechanic friend told me the rear ends were a weak link if towing a trailer a long distance in hoy weather. I was towing a UHaul LV 4x6 enclosed trailer 3,500 miles in July. I rigged up a drip line from my large coleman cooler to drip melted ice water on the differential with some AC filter foam and it kept it cool from St. John’s Newfoundland to Butte Montana but the oil was dark when changed shortly after arriving. Car lasted me three years and 45,000 miles and I sold it for $400, again no breakdowns.

I bought the only new car I have ever owned a 1987 Honda Accord which I did not sell until 2004 with 385,000 miles. Good maintenance and synthetic oil. Three timing belts, two alternators and three brake jobs

My current 1998 Toyota Tacoma SR5 extra cab with the 2.4 Liter engine and Auto transmission was bought new in 1997 by my late father in law, WWII battle of the Bulge army veteran. I have had it since he stopped driving it after 12 years and 78,000 miles. It now has 254,xxx miles. When I became the owner, I flushed the cooling system and Transmission. Synthetic oils in the rear end and engine.

I installed a Frantz bypass filter and have been using MobilOne 0w-40 European spec synthetic oil for 11 years. I change the TP filter element every 90 days or 3000 miles and the main oil filter twice a year or 9000 miles and topping up the oil. I plan on keeping that up until the engine quits. Oil consumption has not changed from about 0.15 L per 3000 miles.

I just overhauled the brakes for the first time and installed a new master cylinder, ground the rotors/drums and put in new stainless brake lines and higher performance EBC pads on the front.

I serviced the injectors at 200,000 miles and put in a new fuel filter. The vehicle had the following replaced just once; alternator and AC compressor and rack and pinion (leaky seals). the only Engine related issue I had was the harmonic Balancer outer ring became loose from the inner at 199,000 miles. I checked the valve clearance and used a Borescope to look at the Cam Chain Followers at the time, they were all good. I know someone who has 430,000+ miles in his 1999 Tacoma 2.4 commuter truck. I would say that the 2.4 Tacoma is the gasoline equivalent of the Mercedes OM617 3.0 Liter diesel.

Henry (not verified)    September 21, 2020 - 11:59PM

Haha I bought a 2003 tacoma 2.7L 4banger 4wd auto (couldn't find a manual) in June 2020 so a little bit back Its been reliable as crap but I've had to do some stupid ass work to it. Had to put in a manual temp gauge because the wiring was screwed up somewhere and it cost less to just put in a new one, I had to get a new MAF sensor which is a common problem. Had to redo the valve cover gasket because it was toast and was letting oil into the spark plugs, drove it like that for 2 months with 0 issues except that it was a little slow WITH A CRAPPED OUT VALVE COVER GASKET!!!!!!!! Brought it to the mechanic he took it apart and was like holy shit how did you make it here. Didn't even realize anything was wrong I had put about 600 miles on it at that point. Spark plugs were dripping oil when he pulled them. Also had to replace ignition coil but it always started on the first crank. Bad cat pulled it n have one left I'm in SC so no emissions tests. So so far Ive done an oil change, belt job, trans flush, tune up, inspection before the whole valve cover deal, inspection after that had to take it to the dealership for just the temp gauge and they did a free inspection and found that whole oil situation out, new MAF sensor, valve cover gasket, Ignition coil, spark plugs, temp sensor, and did a free recall on my spare tire rack. All in all about 2500 in repairs which blows but I have had no issues since. Need to probably do the air fuel ratio sensor next but it drives perfectly. O2 sensors are shot so I have a stupid check engine light on. Best vehicle I have ever owned, Hope it lasts to 320K miles on original engine and transmission, but if they blow I will definitely find the money to replace them. Truck is awesome 4wd works like it was brand new, ac is freezing cold but I don't use it because it just puts more wear on the engine and I have that 355 AC goin on god made windows for a reason. Bare bones as anything everything manual and I love it because I don't have to worry about it failing on me. Girlfriend loves it, parents love it, my 3 brothers always take it whenever I'm home to go cruising, and my 12 year old sister drives it in the parking lot of the high school and loves it (don't tell mom) more than anything even just riding in it. Jump seats suck but the front ones are awesome. Only thing that even slightly bugs me is I have to push in the headlights and turning signals on the front back into the truck every once in a while because they get super loose but that's a weekend zip tie job for later. Im 19 and I will keep this truck until its a pile of dust. Use to have a 2010 traverse completely died at 202K miles. It was the definition of a shitbox, no airbags, no ac, optional seatbelts (they never worked) one speaker, one window that still worked, a crapped out transmission, struts and shocks were shocked so it bounced like a lowrider every time I went over a pothole which was interesting, one break caliper stopping the whole car, 4 tires balder than my dad, no horn, and no power steering, this is what I remember off the top of my head every repair was quoted at over 1K, GM makes shit cars. We had owned it since new and I got it for $2000 off my parents at 175K miles when I turned 16. Died on the 4th of July 2020. Trust me, if you are even considering a new vehicle buy a tacoma, don't buy a f*cking traverse they're complete garbage. Daily drive this truck from Chucktown to folly daily to surf, occasionally drive it to Georgetown, but im planning on a trip to OBX soon for a surf trip n camping on the beach I know that well make it just fine. Best made vehicle Ive ever had, way better than the traverse and my old Baja bug.

Vinnie (not verified)    November 20, 2020 - 11:49AM

2003 Tacoma 4x4 2.7 liter 4 cylinder. 222k going strong, but replaced steering rack, gas tank, oxygen sensors, emissions system. Put on new tires and hope to get it to 300k then retire or sell it.

Alex Goicochea (not verified)    August 25, 2021 - 11:55PM

I have a V6 2000 Toyota Tacoma 277,000 miles on it. Just about every part on the car is original. No modifications, needs a paint job the forest green from being in the sunny Florida made the paint look like Golf grass other than that no issue at all. I don’t drive it over 70 just like my dads friend drove when he had it. Oil changes every 3,000 miles, and normal up keep with belts, tires, etc.. I love my truck. It would be very hard for me to let it go.