Toyota Tacoma Years To Avoid and The Best Years

Toyota Tacoma Years To Avoid – When it comes to reliability, durability, and off-road prowess, few trucks can match Toyota Tacoma’s impressive track record. As a favorite among pickup enthusiasts, the Tacoma has earned a reputation for its robust performance and long-lasting build.

However, just like any other vehicle, not all model years are created equal.

In this article, we’ll explore Toyota Tacoma’s journey through the years and identify the ones you might want to avoid.

While the Toyota Tacoma has consistently proven its mettle, there have been a few model years that fell short of the mark.

Toyota Tacoma Years To Avoid

It’s essential to be well-informed before making a significant investment in any vehicle, and Tacoma is no exception.

Knowing which model years may have experienced issues can save you from potential headaches down the road.

Toyota Tacoma Years To Avoid

Throughout its production history, the Toyota Tacoma has seen various updates and improvements, resulting in more refined models year after year.

However, certain years have been plagued by particular problems, ranging from minor inconveniences to more significant mechanical issues.

By learning from the experiences of past Tacoma owners, you can make a better-informed decision when searching for your ideal truck.

Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom in the world of Tacoma trucks.

Many model years have received accolades for their exceptional performance, reliability, and features.

By steering clear of the problematic years and setting your sights on the best ones, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable ride.

Toyota Tacoma Years To Avoid

Fortunately, the list isn’t excessively long, but it’s vital to approach these models with caution.

Read Also: Toyota Land Cruiser Years to Avoid

The following model years are associated with various issues that have caused headaches for some Tacoma owners:

  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2016
  • 2017

Identifying Persistent Issues

Between 2006 and 2009, several Tacoma model years fall within a close range. The problem with this proximity is that even a small number of complaints can indicate a recurring issue. Let’s delve into the specific problems reported for each of these years:

2006, 2007, and 2008 Toyota Tacoma

These models have been known to face issues with paint chipping and peeling, along with concerns related to transmission and engine failures.

A major problem with the 2006 model is rust or frame breakage around 100,000 miles, necessitating costly repairs amounting to $3,500 or more.

The 2007 model is particularly troublesome, with sticky accelerators and peeling coats leading to repair costs ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 in many cases.

2009 Toyota Tacoma

This year’s model has been plagued by problems with interior accessories that tend to malfunction frequently. In addition to this, there have been complaints about various lights, body defects, and engine issues.

2011 Toyota Tacoma

The 2011 model year has seen widespread complaints covering almost every component. Reported issues include malfunctioning headlights, cracked covers, and a recurring clicking sound.

Read Also: Toyota Tundra Years to Avoid

2012 Toyota Tacoma

Common problems with this model year are related to the drivetrain and engine. Owners have also noted heavy vibrations while driving, typically surfacing around 30,000 miles.

2016 and 2017 Toyota Tacoma

These years share similar issues, with both models experiencing unreliable transmissions. The 2016 model, in particular, is infamous for its faulty engine, causing wandering and improper shifting, especially in cold weather conditions.

Out of all the problematic Toyota Tacoma years mentioned, the 2007, 2016, and 2017 models stand out as particularly unsafe due to their reported safety concerns.

The transmission flaws and faulty engines in these models make them less than ideal-choices for potential buyers.

Toyota Tacoma Best Years

The Toyota Tacoma is undoubtedly on your radar. This iconic pickup has a long and storied history, offering both durability and versatility. However, not all Tacoma model years are created equal.

To ensure a worry-free ownership experience, it’s essential to identify the most reliable Toyota Tacoma years and steer clear of any potential defects.

Toyota Tacoma Best Years

We’ll explore Tacoma’s best years, highlighting their reliability and performance, allowing you to embark on memorable journeys with confidence.

The Most Reliable Tacoma Model Years

When it comes to choosing a used Toyota Tacoma, selecting the right year is paramount to avoid any hazardous defects.

Read Also: Most Expensive Toyota Cars in the World

We recommend the following Tacoma model years as exceptionally reliable and safe options for your adventures:

  • 1995 Toyota Tacoma
  • 1996 Toyota Tacoma
  • 1997 Toyota Tacoma
  • 1998 Toyota Tacoma
  • 1999 Toyota Tacoma
  • 2000 Toyota Tacoma
  • 2001 Toyota Tacoma
  • 2002 Toyota Tacoma
  • 2003 Toyota Tacoma
  • 2004 Toyota Tacoma
  • 2005 Toyota Tacoma
  • 2010 Toyota Tacoma
  • 2013 Toyota Tacoma
  • 2014 Toyota Tacoma
  • 2015 Toyota Tacoma
  • 2018 Toyota Tacoma
  • 2019 Toyota Tacoma
  • 2020 Toyota Tacoma

Reliable Performers

The Toyota Tacoma model years from 1995 to 2004 have garnered a well-deserved reputation for their high reliability.

With very few reported complaints, these early models showcase robust build quality, offering peace of mind for owners.

The reported issues, if any, are minor defects that typically surface after surpassing an average of 100,000 miles.

In rare cases, flaws may appear in the first 50,000 miles, but they are generally inexpensive to fix, costing around $500.

Stepping into the Later Years

While the 2014, 2018, and 2019 Tacoma model years are still commendable choices, they are slightly less reliable than their early counterparts.

These models display a similar number of defects; however, the issues tend to appear much earlier in their lifespan.

The 2014, 2018, and 2019 models have reported problems such as premature seat wear and malfunctioning A/C units, occurring under 40,000 miles.

Additionally, both the 2018 and 2019 models have experienced early vibration issues.

Though these problems are generally fixable, it’s essential to be aware of them before making a purchase.

Read Also: Toyota C-HR Years to Avoid

The 2013 Toyota Tacoma shares similar vibration and drivetrain concerns, but it has received slightly more complaints, making it less sturdy compared to its peers.

Considerations for Specific Years

2005 Toyota Tacoma

While the 2005 model has garnered a decent number of complaints, most of these relate to paint chipping and peeling after exceeding 80,000 miles.

As such, this issue shouldn’t be a significant concern for potential buyers.

2010 and 2015 Toyota Tacoma

For the 2010 and 2015 model years, there is a slight possibility of encountering early engine or brake problems, such as squeaking or worn pressure plates.

However, the chances of these issues arising are relatively low, making them generally safe choices.

The Safest Bet

If safety and peace of mind are top priorities, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma stands out as the safest overall choice.

This model year boasts zero reported complaints, demonstrating its exceptional reliability and build quality.

Choosing the right Toyota Tacoma year model can make all the difference in ensuring a memorable and trouble-free off-road experience.

From the highly reliable early models of the late ’90s and early 2000s to the commendable later models of 2010 and beyond, there’s an array of reliable options to suit your needs.

Before finalizing your decision, conduct thorough research, inspect the vehicle thoroughly, and consult reputable dealers or mechanics.

Read Also: Toyota FJ Cruiser Years to Avoid

Toyota Tacoma Problems

The Toyota Tacoma has earned a reputation for its rugged performance and off-road capabilities, making it a popular choice among truck enthusiasts.

However, like any vehicle, the Tacoma is not without its share of common issues that potential buyers should be aware of.

Toyota Tacoma Problems

In this section, we will delve into some of the most frequent problems reported in various Toyota Tacoma model years, providing valuable insights to help you make an informed decision when considering this iconic pickup.

1. Not Shifting Correctly

One of the significant problems reported with some Toyota Tacoma models is their tendency not to shift correctly.

This issue can lead to serious problems when driving, such as unexpected reversals or sudden bursts of power.

Notably, the 2016 and 2017 Tacoma models were particularly affected by this problem, but it appears that more recent releases have addressed this issue.

2. Sticky Accelerators

A sticky accelerator can be a serious safety concern, especially when driving in heavy traffic or on roads where unplanned acceleration can pose hazards.

While this problem was more pronounced in the 2007 Toyota Tacoma model, it was primarily resolved in later years.

If you are considering a newer or older Tacoma, this issue is unlikely to be a cause for concern.

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3. Clear Coat Peeling and Cracking

While paint issues are generally more cosmetic than functional, they can still impact the vehicle’s appearance and require attention.

The common problem of clear coat peeling and cracking can be a concern, as it may disguise potential body panel issues underneath the paint.

This can lead to rust and other problems that require prompt treatment to prevent further complications.

4. Excessive Driving Vibration

Driving vibration might not seem like a severe problem at first, but it can become troublesome, especially during long drives.

Certain Toyota Tacoma models have been known to experience excessive vibration, which can not only affect driving comfort but also contribute to driver fatigue over extended periods.

5. Issues with Lower Ball Joint

Premature lower ball joint wear is a common complaint among Toyota Tacoma owners. Signs of this problem include uneven front tire wear, harsh cabin vibrations, loose steering feel, and irregular rattling noises.

In extreme cases, the lower ball joint may disconnect from the suspension, posing a safety risk.

This issue affected Tacoma models from 1995 to 2007 and led to a recall for Tacoma models built from 2001 to 2004 due to a manufacturing flaw in the lower ball joint.

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6. Faulty Air Flow Meter (MAF)

The Toyota Tacoma is also susceptible to a faulty Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor. A defective MAF can lead to various issues, including slow acceleration, loss of power, engine hesitation, misfires, and poor exhaust emissions.

Tacoma models built between 1996 and 2013 are particularly prone to experiencing problems with the MAF system, often caused by dirt accumulation on the sensor.

Cleaning the sensor may resolve the issue, but in some cases, a replacement may be necessary.

Alternatives to the Toyota Tacoma

If you’re looking for a reliable and capable truck but want to avoid the potential problems associated with the Toyota Tacoma, there are several alternatives to consider. Here are some of the best options:

Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger is a mid-size pickup truck that is known for its reliability and towing capacity. The Ranger comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers plenty of power, and it’s available with features like four-wheel drive and a locking rear differential.

Related: Ford Ranger Years to Avoid

Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon

The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are both mid-size pickup trucks that offer excellent performance and capability. These trucks come with a variety of engines and drivetrain options, as well as features like off-road suspension and a trailering package.

Related: Chevy Colorado Years to Avoid

Nissan Frontier

The Nissan Frontier is a mid-size pickup truck that has been in production since 1997. The Frontier is known for its durability and reliability, and it comes with a variety of features like four-wheel drive and a locking rear differential.

Related: Nissan Frontier Years to Avoid

Honda Ridgeline

The Honda Ridgeline is a unique mid-size pickup truck that offers a comfortable ride and excellent handling.

The Ridgeline comes with a V6 engine that delivers plenty of power, and it’s available with features like all-wheel drive and a truck bed audio system.

Related: Honda Ridgeline Years to Avoid

What is the most reliable year Toyota Tacoma?

According to Consumer Reports satisfaction ratings, the most reliable year for the Toyota Tacoma is the 2005 model. With a nearly flawless rating, the 2005 Tacoma stands out as the most reliable among all generations.

It consistently receives high marks for its dependability, making it the top pick for the best Toyota Tacoma year.

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Are Tundras as reliable as Tacomas?

Both the Toyota Tacoma and Tundra are known for their exceptional reliability. Among them, the 1st generation Tacoma and Tundra are particularly regarded as the most reliable. While these trucks are praised for their dependability, it’s important to note that rust is a common issue affecting all models, regardless of their generation.

Nevertheless, when compared to their competitors, both Tacoma and Tundra are considered to be more reliable.

Is It Worth It to Buy a Used Toyota Tacoma?

Buying a used Toyota Tacoma can be a worthy investment, especially considering its popularity as the best-selling midsize pickup truck in the United States.

The Tacoma is loved for its off-road capabilities, top-notch reliability, and its ability to retain its value well over time.

However, potential buyers should be aware that the Tacoma model may lack certain updates and improvements, especially in older versions.

As a result, pre-owned Tacoma models might exhibit more pronounced issues related to their exterior design and engine.

On the other hand, due to Tacoma’s excellent reliability, older models can still offer longevity and durability.

Keep in mind that Tacoma’s popularity contributes to its higher resale value, which may result in a higher upfront cost for used Tacoma trucks.

Do Tacomas hold their value?

Yes, Toyota Tacomas are known for holding their value exceptionally well. As the best-selling mid-size truck line for the past 17 years, Tacomas are expected to retain approximately 60.6% of their value.

Their strong resale value is a testament to their reliability and popularity among buyers.

Are Tacomas expensive to maintain?

In terms of maintenance and repair costs, the Toyota Tacoma is relatively reasonable. Over its first 10 years of service, a Toyota Tacoma is estimated to cost around $6,420 for maintenance and repairs.

Compared to the industry average for popular pickup models, Tacoma’s maintenance costs are lower by approximately $3,901.

However, it’s worth noting that there is an 18.51% chance that a Tacoma might require a major repair during that time.

Regular maintenance and proper care can help mitigate potential repair costs and ensure Tacoma’s continued reliability.


The Toyota Tacoma is undeniably a popular and reliable midsize pickup truck, loved by many for its off-road capabilities and top-notch dependability.

Among its various model years, the 2005 Tacoma stands out as the most reliable, earning near-perfect Consumer Reports satisfaction ratings.

While older Tacoma models can offer excellent reliability and longevity, they may lack certain modern updates and improvements.

On the other hand, Tacoma’s strong resale value makes it an attractive investment, although initial costs for used Tacomas might be higher.

The Toyota Tacoma has secured its position as the best-selling midsize truck line for the past 17 years, and its reputation for dependability is well-deserved.

Whether you’re considering an older, more reliable model or a newer, updated version, the Tacoma has proven itself as a trustworthy companion for off-road adventures and everyday driving alike.

Remember to perform thorough research, inspect potential purchases carefully, and seek professional advice to make an informed decision when considering a used Toyota Tacoma.

So, when exploring the vast world of Toyota Tacoma models, knowing which years to avoid can be just as crucial as identifying the best options.

By arming yourself with knowledge about the most reliable years and potential problems, you can confidently choose a Toyota Tacoma that will provide years of dependable and enjoyable driving experiences.

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