Skip to main content

Problems With Your 2016-2018 Toyota Tacoma Brake Drums - Read About This Axle Problem

A new lawsuit alleges that Toyota is selling defective axles on the current Tacoma that creates rear brake drum issues for owners.


A new lawsuit alleges that Toyota incorrectly manufactured rear axles for the 2016-2018 Toyota Tacoma. The problem manifests itself as out of balance or out of round brake drums. As every Tacoma owner knows, the Taco does not have rear disk brakes.

The story goes that Toyota, in its haste to push parts out the door to meet exploding demand, did not properly validate parts for the current generation Tacoma. Some axles were manufactured incorrectly and installed on trucks that owners are just now finding have problems that are hard to diagnose and hard to remedy.

William J. Johnson alleges that he has information that suggests Toyota is knowingly providing these problematic parts. He has filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and is represented by the Hanson Law Firm and the Consumer Law Group of California.

Mr. Johnson says that after multiple attempts to correct his out of round rear brake drums Toyota tried to change the axle. The new axle also was defective according to Johnson. In his frustration, Johnson asked Toyota to buy back the truck, which he paid nearly $39,000 for. Toyota refused.

Citing safety concerns, Johnson asks that Toyota pay damages, stop selling the possibly defective 2018 Tacomas, remove the defective axles from inventory, and inform dealers and consumers about the bent rear axles.

This is just the latest in a series of issues including transmission problems and universal joint and prop shaft issues that owners of current generation Tacomas have complained about.

Hat tip to for the story lead.


James (not verified)    December 11, 2018 - 7:22PM

I just bought 2019 Tacoma and drove for 3 day and brakes cavitate or shudder instantly. No disclosure from dealer. Shame on me for not knowing. Shame on Santa Margarita Toyota for knowing and not disclosing. I drive about 600 miles for relocation this week and call dealer and tell him point blank, brakes shudder at hard stop and downhill. He played dumb. Said maybe I should take to dealer and check out. I take it to dealer today and they run VIN. It has a laundry list of repair from play dumb dealer with axle repairs at 15 miles and they said nothing. I left out all my dummy lights are coming on on my dash and Toyota couldn't replicate. So I have monkeys with greasy hands driving my new truck and gas hard trying to replicate? They already know.! They resurfaced my brand new warped drums? Turned off dummy lights and sent me on my way.

Rick (not verified)    May 15, 2019 - 1:19PM

In reply to by James (not verified)

My 2019 tacoma sport has done it since day 1. When I reported it to my dealership, they required that I drive it for at least 1,500 miles before Toyota would even consider looking at it. I did that and have had it in the shop two times. Each of which they said they fixed it, but did not correct anything concerning the issue. I brought it in the third time and brought to their attention the TSB and lawsuit pertaining to the bent rear axles. Amazingly, they said mine was a part of that TSB and they would have to replace the rear axle in the unit. I told them I want out of this defective unit and out of that lease agreement and at this point I am still waiting on a solution

John William Hanson (not verified)    February 24, 2019 - 4:14PM

Toyota issued a revised TSB that was supposed to list all the affected vehicles by VIN. Wrong. Vehicles are still turning up with the bad axles and OUTSIDE of the run of VINs listed in the TSB.

Troy Navarro (not verified)    March 5, 2019 - 9:28AM

This is the second 2018 Tacoma truck I purchased that has the same issue.
I’m currently dealing with Eastern Shore Toyota to resolve the issue, but the told me they don’t know how to fix it. Rear braking issue.

stacey (not verified)    June 18, 2019 - 1:41PM

Same issue. Just bought a brand new tacoma 2019 and the shutter and brake pulse is occurring. In the shop trying to get it fixed. Toyota Canada will do nothing.

Troy (not verified)    June 19, 2019 - 8:51PM

In reply to by stacey (not verified)

Sorry to hear about your Toyota Tacoma issue, I feel your frustration. Yes, I purchased two brand new Toyota Tacoma’s from the same dealership and had the same issue with both vehicles. My solution for the problem is arbitration, or trade it in on a Ford 150 xlt crew cab like I did.
Good luck, Troy 06/19/2019

Russ Jensen (not verified)    August 12, 2019 - 5:58PM

Purchased a 2018 Tacoma in August of last year. Brakes began vibrating when used at high speed around 20,000 miles. Dealer turned front brake disks with no effect. Returned and dealer said they turned the rear brake drums. At 25,000 miles, no issues. We'll see.

James P Abbott (not verified)    September 4, 2019 - 2:09PM

bought my 2017 Toyota Tacoma almost 2 year ago! At 10,000 check up, I told the that the brakes would shudder when going down hill. They said they looked at it and found nothing. Today, I took it for my 15,000 mile checkup and once again complained about the braking issue. The service attendant asked me to come back and look at the brake pads. They showed that it was rusting, and their excuse that it was not driven enough????? What??? It has 15,000 in less than two years! I asked if it was covered by warranty and they said no, it was a wear and tear item! I asked WHAT WEAR??? I said this was obviously a defective pad since it wore out so quickly. They said no, and that I could continue to drive it until the pads needs replaced!! Wow!!! I even got the extended warranty from Price Toyota!! What a joke!!

Cyrus (not verified)    September 13, 2019 - 7:32PM

The exact same thing is happening with my brand new 2019 Tacoma and the dealers did acknowledge the brakes vibrating at low speeds and they determined defective axles were the issue. I picked up my truck today and while it’s improved there’s still a slight shudder at low speeds so I called the law firm representing you to see if the lawsuit is still pending and I’m now waiting for their call.

Cyrus (not verified)    September 16, 2019 - 12:48AM

The exact same thing is happening with my brand new 2019 Tacoma and the dealers did acknowledge the brakes vibrating at low speeds and they determined defective axles were the issue. I picked up my truck today and while it’s improved there’s still a slight shudder at low speeds so I called the law firm representing you to see if the lawsuit is still pending and I’m now waiting for their call.

Robert Odham (not verified)    September 30, 2019 - 10:36AM

In reply to by Cyrus (not verified)

My 2019 Tacoma TRD has shuddered when applying brakes from day 1 and 11500 miles later still not repaired. I was told normal for the truck. Today at Hendrick Toyota trying again. I do know the shudder is coming from the rear end because I can duplicate by slowly pulling up emergency brake and the shudder starts without me touching the brake pedal. Maybe I need to be in a lawsuit also. Any help would be appreciated

Brian Miller (not verified)    December 10, 2019 - 8:58AM

I purchased a 2019 Tacoma TRD Sport back in March of 2019. It is currently at the dealership for the second time for this same vibration/pulsation that shakes the whole truck when applying the brakes on highway and now back roads as well. I have also felt the shuddering from day one when coming to a stop, but thought that it was just a characteristic of the truck since this is my first truck purchase. The harder, more prominent, vibration/pulsation that is happening now did not start until a couple weeks ago. My first trip to the dealership they mentioned the open TSB and replaced the rear drums. I was about a mile down the road and noticed the sensation has become worse. It is currently back at the dealership and I am waiting for a reply. They gave me an 2019 SR5 model Tacoma to drive as a loaner, and it is doing the same thing with significantly less miles on it. Is the Class Action suite available for those of us with 2019s? Or has a new one been started anywhere else for this year and up?

Allan Choy (not verified)    February 29, 2020 - 1:51AM

I own a 2018 Tacoma 4x4OffRoad. I have 15,400 miles on it & was recently pulled over by a CHP officer who informed me that my left rear tire had a noticeable wobble while driving at moderate highway speeds. I brought it in to One Toyota of Oakland to have the issue diagnosed. The following day I received a call & was explained that the left rear drum had slighly warped due to excessive heat & rust. I tow a 19' boston whaler boat occasionally but dont believe such a load at short distances would cause excessive wear & heat especially at the rear drum brakes. The mention of rust though, was not in my favor. My appointment intensified when I was informed that toyota would not honor their warranty on such condition since I had an aftermarket airbag lift kit installed on my suspension which voided any coverage on brakes & suspension. Frustrated I left the dealership & am currently finding solutions to get a pair of new OEM rear drum brake kits & have them installed.
I figure trying to fight a corporate giant like toyota may be futile especially with 2 unfavorable issues (rust & aftermarket air bag lift kits) however if a class action suit ensues, I'll be on the lookout for a claim / settlement. That's that
Anyone who has any feedback or insight please reply!

Matt Rash (not verified)    February 29, 2020 - 4:17PM

2019 Tacoma - same shudder - almost always did it. It is likely the rear end. The rear end on 3rd gen Tacoma is Hino Motors Thailand garbage - they stopped buying them from Dana Corp in favor of higher corporate profits with lower quality. I and others all experience howling/wirring noise from rear end differential. I had differential already replaced once and noise is coming back - the rear ends on these trucks are complete GARBAGE!

Scott m (not verified)    June 10, 2020 - 10:16PM

Having same issues on a 2017. Taken to dealer twice to be fixed. Said issue was “normal”. Feels like truck has lopsided wheels when slowing down while braking.

JC Baltz (not verified)    August 18, 2020 - 7:16AM

2020 Sport TRD Tacoma. The rear end is bouncing along at many different speeds. Nothing smooth, 1500 miles taking it to dealership and dropping it off this morning. I was thinking it was the Firestone tires, but after reading about these drum and axle problems I am not so sure. But, I also don't want to be in a law suit that drags on, I may go find another truck. This is VERY frustrating because I believe in Toyotas, I expect it to work correctly and them stand by product.

Craig (not verified)    February 12, 2021 - 7:53PM

Yep my 2020 off road is in the dealer for the third time, so they can replace the replacement parts that were replaced last time. They stated that the machined ridge on the outer rear axle shaft was too small causing a oscillation and locking my rear wheels in certain braking conditions. However this time it locked up and I had to engage and disengage the parking brake to get it to move again. So, I would sure like to know why the replacement axle were not checked to make sure they weren’t using bad parts in the repair??? I am beyond upset.

John Schramm (not verified)    March 18, 2021 - 12:32PM

2020 Tacoma Offroad - Double Cab - Long bed.
While off roading the truck my rear right tire locks up completely at random. Its not high speed situations, its more off chamber or ascent / descent. Disabling the DAC does nothing. Taking it to a dealer does nothing. Ive re geared the truck so I wouldn't imagine it being the axel. I believe the DAC brake assist system is malfunctioning. It shouldn't fire the drum brakes if I've turned off the system via holding the Traction button for 3 seconds in park. its extremely dangerous and cause the truck to fall onto rocks it shouldn't have and damaged my slider. I feel so helpless at this point. I bought the truck to offload and when I do I end up dragging the rear tires around and pumping the brakes to disable the system.

Cw (not verified)    April 5, 2021 - 10:08AM

I have a 2020 TRD off road 4by4 that has has issues with the following starting at 2k miles.

-Rear brakes lock up under certain braking conditions - dealer replaced just the drums
-transmission shifts erratic- dealer stated transmission “ fluid level out of spec”
-left rear brake locked up -Rear brake components replace with defective parts by Toyota and the factory Toyota representative
- Rear brakes still locking. Toyota again replace all axles and bearings , but this time I requested they spec out the parts before installing-
Now I have a shutter in the rear durning any braking . This truck has 6400 miles on it now. I have been without my truck 20 days so far and during a heavy snow storm the dealer was kind enough to rent me a Corolla 2wd. Gee thanks.

Cw (not verified)    December 26, 2021 - 10:43AM

In reply to by Cw (not verified)

Update: 9100 miles, and there is still a very very rare lock up issue 2 times. But the vibration during braking has returned. So I returned it to McCords Vancouver Toyota. To be told they will no longer cover this issue and that this was from Toyota themselves. But I didn’t buy it from Toyota themselves. I bought it from McCords Vancouver Toyota. I am not sure why Toyota claims that the 2016-2019 rear brake issues caused by cheap Chinese made axle was fixed. I think it was swept under the carpet, but that’s just my opinion… Time for a new Dealership and Brand!