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Toyota Tacoma Common Problems

If you happen to own an older model Toyota Tacoma or are considering buying one, here are some of the problems you are likely to face according to experts who create repair manuals used by many Toyota owners and those who hire out their repair needs and want to verify the repairs.


A Temporary Series of Articles
For the next two weeks we will cover a series of articles on auto repair that focuses on repair advice from the staff of Haynes repair manuals. In this piece, we will learn what common problems you may experience with your used Toyota Tacoma built between 2005 and 2018.

Why DIY or Verify Your Repairs?
As a way to cut costs, ensure that you are not being scammed, and take some pride in your vehicle ownership, the good folks at Haynes have been the go-to repair manual guys for a good number of years that many car and truck drivers have counted on for repair instruction and advice.

The value of owning one of their manuals particular for your vehicle is that it can help you not only identify what part is where on your vehicle---or what that doohickey is really called---but how to go about diagnosing where the problem likely lies, how to remove the affected component, and how to install a new part.

For non-DIY owners, the manuals are a good way to understand what repairs are recommended by a mechanic or clipboard-carrying service technician so that vehicle owners can take some control of their repairs and verify whether a repair needs to be done…and if it was done right. A little further investigation can also help owners determine if the estimated repair cost is in the ballpark of what is typical.

The Value of This List
The value of this summarized list is that while it does not go into depth on repairs, it does alert you to potential problems common to the Toyota Tacoma and can serve those considering buying a used Tacoma built between 2005 and 2018.

That said, here is a list of common Toyota Tacoma problems summarized from the Haynes website.
Toyota Tacoma Common Problems

1. An oil-leak problem: Some Tacoma owners have experienced an annoying oil leak problem that while not large enough to put their engine at risk of serious damage in most cases, it can puddle enough to become an eyesore or embarrassment.

According to the staff at Haynes, the problem is due to the crankshaft seal on the front timing cover failing, allowing seepage to occur. The fix for this is replacement of the crankshaft seal with a new one. And while the repair is labor intensive, it is doable for most DIY types with a few tools and a step-by-step guide from a Haynes manual. The result is saving yourself hundreds of dollars in labor costs.

2. Bent tailgate problem: The second generation of Tacoma is known to have a tailgate that is prone to bending resulting in difficulty in opening and closing.

Fixing the problem requires replacing the tailgate, which involves “…removing all the various locking and lighting components from the tailgate, removing the old tailgate, fitting the new one and replacing all the relevant kit,” all of which is a simple job with guidance from a Haynes Toyota Tacoma manual that covers this problem.

3. Glovebox closing problem: Part of your regular maintenance is occasionally replacing the cabin filter. However, sometimes the instrument panel pin for the glovebox winds up damaged in the process resulting in a “…glovebox damper that doesn’t seat properly.”

You think you’re doing the right thing by replacing the cabin filter in your Tacoma, and you certainly are, but it’d be doubly annoying if it caused another issue to arise. Well, it can, because sometimes this procedure can cause the instrument panel pin for the glovebox to become damaged, which then means the glovebox damper doesn’t seat properly.

The fix is to replace the glovebox damper, which is described under the interior trim guide section of their manual.

4. Headlight problems: According to the Haynes manuals website, the early second-generation Tacoma appears to suffer from a deterioration problem where the daytime running light/turn signal lens can become distorted and bubbled and/or appear to be cracked. The fix is nothing more than a simple replacement procedure provided in the Tacoma manual using upgraded replacement lights.

5.. Sticky clutch-pedal problem: Some owners reported a sticky clutch pedal problem where the clutch pedal appears to not be returning as quickly as it did when new. The fix for this problem involves removal of the clutch release cylinder which can sometimes be repaired with cleaning. However, if corrosion was the problem, the clutch cylinder will need to be replaced with a new one and is covered in the Tacoma Haynes repair manual.

And finally…

For additional news related to the Tacoma, here are a few articles for your consideration:

Toyota Tacoma Common Problems to Watch Out For Explained by This Toyota Expert

Toyota Engine Oil Switching Advice You Must Follow Warning

Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

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Hipolito Perez (not verified)    March 18, 2023 - 9:44PM

I bought a brand new 2016 Trd off road Toyota Tacoma directly from the dealership and online have 15k miles on it. No oil leaks yet, maybe because I don’t use it much for I have other vehicles. My question is shouldn’t the dealership be responsible for any repairs that may come up because of any defects that need ironing out due to a faulty gasket or seal ?.

Timothy Boyer    April 7, 2023 - 11:34AM

In reply to by Hipolito Perez (not verified)

I'm a little confused here: 2016 bought new and has only 15K miles on it??? If that's the case, then time-wise it is past most vehicle warranty periods. Plus, it is being driven way too few miles to be healthy for the engine. Dealership warranties sometimes vary, so it is best to ask your dealership 1st before seeking repairs elsewhere.