Toyota Tacoma Years To Avoid

Toyota Tacoma Years To Avoid – What Is The Worst Model Year?

Are you looking for a used Toyota Tacoma and you want to learn the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be quite a lot to cover on this topic.

Doing the proper research before you decide where to spend your money should be one of your top priorities. Why we are saying this? Well, because it is true. Nowadays trucks are worth a whole fortune. It is not like back in the day when you could have gotten a really good truck for a screaming deal.

And on top of that, the Toyota Tacoma also has some fair share of problems that you need to be aware of before you buy. And this is not only a Tacoma issue but an issue with every type of vehicle. All cars have some kind of problems. Some of them are more, while some of them are less. It is up to you to investigate the issue deeper and try to find out which model performs the best. But you shouldn’t worry because we are going to help you out.

First, we will learn what is the Toyota Tacoma and why this model is so popular. Then we will cover all three generations of this model. We will briefly go through their specs, we will also cover the common problems, reliability, and the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid. So, if you want to learn something new, follow along.

What Is The Toyota Tacoma

Now before we dive into the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid, let’s first introduce ourselves to the topic and learn more about the Toyota Tacoma in general. What is this particular model and what category of vehicle it belongs to?

So, what is the Toyota Tacoma? Well, the Tacoma is the mid-size pickup truck that Toyota offers for the US market. This means that this model is only available here in the US and not anywhere across the world.

We all know about the Hilux and its legendary status. And most Americans really love to see this model here. But unfortunately, for some reason, Toyota decided to create a separate model for the US market and introduced the Tacoma in 1995.

In fact, there are a lot of differences between the two trucks. The Tacoma is specifically tailored to the US market with a prime focus on handling, comfort, ride quality, vehicle safety over the ruggedness, and also bigger payload capacity.

So, Toyota knew what the American audience needed and they decided to create this separate truck. This is quite needed since they couldn’t afford to create such an expensive mistake and put out a product that will be a complete failure.

And frankly, they nailed it on the first try. The Tacoma has become a true legend in the US market with its ability to tackle any task and also any terrain possible. And till now there are a total of three generations of this model.

But what are the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? Well, more on that, we will cover it in a bit. Now let’s further elaborate on the Tacoma.

Why The Toyota Tacoma Is So Popular

So, we learned what is the Toyota Tacoma and learned that this is a mid-size pickup truck that was introduced by Toyota in 1995, solely for the US market. Now let’s take a look at why this model is such a good seller and people just want to buy it.

Well, the Tacoma as we mentioned is tailored for the US market and this makes it attractive for the people who are just tired of GMC, Chevy, RAM, and Ford.

This is the type of truck that is intended for people who are familiar with the Toyota quality and the Toyota way of doing things. And as we all probably know, when it comes to Toyota models, there is a slim chance of getting a basket case, right?

Toyota Tacoma Years To Avoid

Well, more on that we will cover later on when we will elaborate on the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid. What is important for you right now is to understand that even though these vehicles are mid-size pickup trucks, they are really capable off-roaders.

Here comes the interesting part, the Tacoma shares the same platform with the 4Runner. And the Toyota 4Runner simply is something out of this world when it comes to proper off-road performance. And the Tacoma performs similarly quite well.

So, for the people who want to off-road, this is the perfect truck. The aftermarket is also quite full of companies that produce cool mods. But what about the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? More on that, later on.

Toyota Tacoma Generations

We have covered the basics of the Tacoma and learned why this model receives such praise. And now it is time to move on and discuss the Toyota Tacoma generations.

As you are probably aware, there are three generations of this pickup truck released on the US market and each of them has something different. So, we think that it is time to cover them in detail and learn more about their specs. After that, we will move on and cover more of the problems, as well as the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid. So, follow along.

First Generation Toyota Tacoma 1995 – 2004

The first generation of the Toyota Tacoma was introduced in 1995 and was put into production at the Fremont factory in California. The model was produced until 2004 when it was replaced by the second generation Tacoma.

This model shared some of the componentry with the international model of the Hilux. But most of the equipment was completely newly designed solely for the American audience.

Namely, since the model had to be a bit bigger and include more powerful engines. As well as to be able to tow and haul quite a bit more.

But what about the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? More on that, we are going to cover it in a bit. Let’s first take a look at the engines and transmissions that were used in this model.

Engines & Transmissions

The Tacoma came with three engine options. The smallest engine was the 2.4L inline-4 engine that produced 142hp and 160lb-ft of torque. The second most powerful engine was the 2.7L inline-4 which produced 150hp and 177lb-ft of torque. The most powerful engine was the 3.4L V6 which produced 190hp and 220lb-ft of torque.

In terms of transmissions, there were two available. A 4-speed automatic, and a 5-speed manual.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy was decent. The 3.4L V6 delivered 21 mpg combined fuel economy, while the 2.4L was most efficient with 26mpg. The 2.7L delivered 20 mpg. But what about the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Safety

The next thing we would want to discuss is safety. In terms of safety, this truck cannot be considered a safety marvel since it is an early 90s design. It lacks a ton of modern safety equipment. So, be aware of this. But what about the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? More on that in a bit after we cover the problems.

Toyota Tacoma Problems

When it comes to problems with the first generation of the Tacoma, it is worth noting that this generation has the least issues out of every other generation.

The biggest problem is the problem with rust. Rust is eating these things quite severely. So, finding one in good condition, especially on the east coast, can be a challenge. Otherwise, there are no major problems to report.

Toyota Tacoma Reliability

When it comes to reliability, these trucks are truly really good and very reliable vehicles. But take note that these models are more than 20 years old. So, they have a ton of miles on them and it is really tough to find one in good condition nowadays.

Best Year For Toyota Tacoma

When it comes to the best year for the Toyota Tacoma from the first, generation, we would advise you to get something newer like a 2004 or 2005 model. These are more up-to-date with modern standards and you will be less likely to have major rust problems.

Toyota Tacoma Years To Avoid

When it comes to the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid from this generation, we would recommend you to stay away from vehicles that are produced in the early 90s. These vehicles are probably not worth anything right now since rust has probably eaten them away. Now let’s move on to the second generation of the Tacoma.

Second Generation Toyota Tacoma 2005 – 2015

The second generation of the Tacoma was introduced in 2004 for the 2005 model year and this model has enjoyed a very long stint when it comes to production. Lasting for a whole decade on the market with the production ending in 2015.

The second generation was assembled in the Fremont factory in California, as well as in San Antonio, Texas from 2010 to 2015.

Nevertheless, this new generation of the Tacoma was a big refresh in comparison to the earlier generation that we covered. This model included a lot of new features that were not present in earlier models.

The platform of this generation of the Tacoma was shared with the 4Runner, just as with the previous generation. But what about the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? More on that in a moment.

Engines & Transmissions

When it comes to the engines and transmissions, this model offered quite an improvement in comparison to the previous generation.

The base model engine displacement was the same 2.7L inline-4 but a different engine. This engine produced more horsepower, 159hp to be more precise, and also 180lb-ft of torque.

The more powerful engine was the 4.0L V6 which produced 236hp and 266lb-ft of torque. And definitely, this is the engine that we recommend.

In terms of transmissions, there were a couple of them. 4-speed and 5-sped automatics, as well as 5-speed and 6-speed manual transmissions. But what are the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? More on that in a moment.

Fuel Economy

When it comes to fuel economy, the Tacoma of this generation is a big improvement from the previous one. The 2.7L engine gets 21 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. While the 4.0L gets 15 mpg in the city, 19 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg combined.

Safety

When it comes to safety, it is worth noting that this model was a big improvement in comparison to the first generation.

On the 2006 NHTSA tests, it got 5 stars overall and scored 5 stars on most of the tests. Also, the IIHS tested the Tacoma and gave it “Good” scores and the 2009 model got the IIHS Top Safety Pick award. But what about the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Toyota Tacoma Problems

When it comes to problems. Overall, this model is more problematic than the first generation. This generation also has problems with rust issues on the frame. And the frames can rust quite heavily on these models.

Also, the paint peeling off is also a big problem, especially on the earlier models of this pickup truck.

2009 model year has serious electrical problems, more precisely with the radio that turns off all of a sudden. Also, there are other problems reported with the radio as well.

There were also headlight issues and other minor electrical problems. But overall, there are no major issues with the powertrain.

The 4.0L V6 engine is also notorious for water pump failures, blown head gaskets, and ignition coil issues. So, be really aware of these problems. But what about the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Toyota Tacoma Reliability

So, what about the reliability of the Tacoma? Well, this model can be considered a really reliable vehicle.

There are no major issues whatsoever. The main concern is the rust development on the frame which often is a problem in the 2005 to 2008 model years. So, better avoid these models.

Best Year For Toyota Tacoma

When it comes to the best year for Toyota Tacoma, we can say that the years after 2009 have the least problems reported and each one of them is a really good purchase.

But the best year overall is 2014 with the least problems reported overall. And we would recommend you to check some of these models. But what about the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? More on that next.

Toyota Tacoma Years To Avoid

Now let’s discuss the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid, which are the worst years of this generation?

When it comes to the worst years, we would definitely recommend avoiding the model years between 2005 and 2008. Mainly because of rust and paint peeling problems.

But if you can find a really good sample that you are going to like, there isn’t much for you to worry about overall. Now let’s move on to the next generation of the Tacoma.

Third Generation Toyota Tacoma 2016 – Present

The third generation of the Tacoma is the present generation that is still in production. This model was introduced in 2015 for the 2016 model year and this Tacoma is probably the most revolutionary model in this lineup.

This model looks quite modern and up to date with modern standards. The model is assembled in Tijuana, Mexico since 2021. Before moving to Mexico, the model was assembled in San Antonio, Texas.

This generation of the Tacoma shares the same platform as the 4Runner and also shares a lot of the technologies inside. But what about the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Engines & Transmissions

Now let’s take a look at the engines. The base engine is a 2.7L inline-4. Basically the same engine as the previous generation. This engine produces about 159hp and 181lb-ft of torque.

The more powerful engine is the 3.5L V6 which replaced the 4.0L from the previous generation. This new engine was rated at 278hp and 265lb-ft of torque. And these honestly are really respectable numbers.

In terms of transmissions, there are two manuals. A 5-speed and 6-speed manual transmission, as well as a 6-speed automatic. But what about the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Fuel Economy

In terms of fuel economy, the 2.7L gets about 21 mpg combined. While on the other hand, the 3.5L V6 gets only about 20 mpg. The 3.5L is understandably thirstier. But produces a lot more power, so going to this engine I think it’s worth it.

Safety

In terms of safety, this model is considered to be quite safe. It was tested by the IIHS and scored good grades on their tests. And also implements a lot of modern safety features, unlike the previous generations.

Toyota Tacoma Problems

When it comes to the problems, we can say that 2016 and 2017 have more reports than any other production year.

More precisely, problems with the automatic transmission. A lot of owners reported problems with delayed engagement in drive and hesitation, or hard shifts.

Also, owners of the V6 model reported abnormally high noises inside the cabin. The engine simply produces noise like you are driving a diesel. Nothing serious but the engine is too noisy for a gas-powered engine. The problem was sorted out after 2018, there are no reports on it on carcomplaints.com. But what about the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? More on that in a moment.

Toyota Tacoma Reliability

When it comes to reliability, this model is really reliable with no major flaws. The biggest problem is the automatic transmission which sometimes can be clunky. So, it might be better to choose a manual.

Best Year For Toyota Tacoma

Any year after 2017 is a good year. There are almost no reports on the 2018 model year and after. So, if you want something really good, going for a 2020 model might be the right call. These models are basically brand new and do not carry a lot of issues like the 2016 and 2017 model years do. But what are the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? More on that next.

Toyota Tacoma Years To Avoid

So, what are the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid? Well, when it comes to the years to avoid, we would recommend that you avoid 2016 and 2017.

Toyota Tacoma Years To Avoid

Most of the reports are on these two years on carcomplaints.com. There are no major issues though, but still, the later model years of the Tacoma are much more refined than the earlier ones and also have a lot more features to offer.

Conclusion

In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the Toyota Tacoma. We learned what the Tacoma is and we covered all three generations of this model.

We covered the specs, the problems, and the reliability, as well as the Toyota Tacoma years to avoid. Overall, each model has some problematic years and we strongly hope that after reading this article, you are far more aware of the possible downsides with certain model years.

F.A.Q

Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

What Is The Most Reliable Truck

All trucks are fairly reliable. They have a purpose to be proper workhorses and get things done. So, manufacturers do not go cheap on these products. Still, when it comes to reliability, Toyota pickup trucks deserve your attention. Especially the Tacoma.

Where Are Tacomas Made

This really depends on the generation. The first generation Tacoma models were assembled in Fremont, California. Then the second generation was moved to San Antonio, Texas. And the third generation since 2021 is made in Tijuana, Mexico.

Is The Toyota Tacoma A Good Truck

Yes, the Toyota Tacoma is a really good truck. Especially if you go for the 2.7L engine. There are almost no reports with these engines. But the thing to be aware of is frame rust, especially on models produced till 2009 or so.

Are Toyota Tacoma Reliable

Yes, these models are really reliable and can push for many miles. Just beware that they tend to suffer from rust. More specifically models till 2009. Before you buy always check the frame for possible rust issues.

Why Are Tacomas So Expensive

Overall, they are not quite more expensive compared to competitors. Their high selling point might be the reliable powertrains that Toyota is installing on them that can last for hundreds of thousands of miles with no problems whatsoever.

What Year Toyota Tacoma To Avoid

From our experience, avoiding models produced till 2009 might be the best thing. Mainly because of frame rust problems that these models have. The frames tend to corrode quite a lot and having a rusted frame is something that you don’t really want.

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