Let’s face it, cars are expensive, and if you’re anything like the other 1.4 billion drivers around the world, you want a car that will last. The last thing anyone wants to do is spend thousands of dollars on a car only to turn around and sink thousands more into it to keep it running. If you’re in the market for a new truck, odds are good that you’ll come across a Toyota Tacoma, but how long will it last?
The Toyota Tacoma was built to last, and it’s not unusual for a properly maintained Tacoma to last 300,000-400,000 miles. However, buyers should be aware of rust issues with some models.
Below we’ll look more closely at the Toyota Tacoma and answer any questions you might have about the mid-sized trucks.
How Many Miles Will a Tacoma Actually Last?
We can look at statistical data from car manufacturers that compute the average lifetime of parts and vehicles, or we can hit the street and find out for ourselves. To get a better sense of how long a Tacoma will actually last drivers, we searched for high mile Toyota Tacoma’s in two popular marketplaces, and this is what we found.
- 2005 Toyota Tacoma – 398,709 miles.
- 1999 Toyota Tacoma – 391,276 miles.
- 2002 Toyota Tacoma – 388,328 miles.
- 2009 Toyota Tacoma – 377,115 miles.
- 2004 Toyota Tacoma – 375,600 miles.
- 2018 Toyota Tacoma – 441,200 miles.
- 2008 Toyota Tacoma – 403,228 miles.
- 2004 Toyota Tacoma – 403,188 miles.
- 1999 Toyota Tacoma – 391,276 miles.
- 2002 Toyota Tacoma – 382,000 miles.
These vehicles have all been driven by real drivers under real conditions and still lasted upwards of 400,000 miles. However, it’s important to note that these results do not guarantee that your Tacoma will hit 400,000 miles, but it does show that when maintained properly, the vehicle is more than capable of doing so.
How Much Does It Cost to Maintain a Toyota Tacoma?
The easiest way to ensure a vehicle doesn’t last as long as it can is to neglect to service the vehicle. There’s a reason that all cars come with a service schedule. This content is owned by moc.sotuaytsur. If you don’t replace or change the recommended parts on time, they can create much bigger problems within the different systems.
According to CAREDGE, your Toyota Tacoma will cost you an estimated $6,420 for maintenance and repairs within the first ten years, which is $3,645 less than many other trucks on the market today. During this time, there is an average 18.51% chance that your Tacoma will need a major repair.
Below you will find a list of inspections and repairs that you will need to keep up on to get the most life out of your Toyota Tacoma.
|Inspection/Replacement||Intervals||Price of Parts/Service|
|Rotate/Replace Tires||Tires should be rotated every 5,000 miles and replaced as needed.||Tires: $150 – $350 each. |
Service: $35 – $44
|Inspect/Replace Brakes: Linings/drums Pads/discs||Brakes should be inspected every 5,000 miles and replaced as needed. Lines and hoses should be checked every 15,000 miles.||Service: $219 – $262 |
Parts: $139 – $161
Labor: $80 – $100Engine Oil and Filter ReplacementFirst 10,000 miles/Every 3,000 – 7,500 miles after (depending on the oil you use).
|Service: $117 – $133 |
Parts: $78 – $84
Labor: $39 – $49
|Inspect Ball Joints and Dust Covers||Every 15,000 miles and replace as needed.||Service: $229 – $433 |
Parts: $123 – $300
Labor: $106 – $133
|Drive Shaft Boost||Every 15,000 miles and replaced as needed.||Drive Shaft: $200 – $250 Splicer: $15 – $20|
|Inspect Engine Coolant||Every 15,000 miles and change as needed. Check periodically between intervals.||Coolant Flush: $71 – $90|
|Inspect Radiator and Condenser||Every 15,000 miles.||Radiator Replacement: $450 – $534 |
Parts: $351 – $409 Labor: $99 – $125
What Are the Most Common Problems with a Toyota Tacoma?
- Lower ball joint wearing quickly: Toyota issued a recall due to ball joints wearing prematurely.
- Replacement: $228 – $444
- Parts: $123 – $300
- Years: Recall for years 2001 – 2004 but affects years 1995 – 2007.
- Throttle position sensor: This can cause the transmission to shift improperly.
- Replacement: $149 – $169
- Parts: $97 – $103
- Cracked front lights: The front amber lights are prone to cracking and melting.
- Replacement: $150 – $300
- Bad starter: Issues with the starter causing the vehicle not to turnover have been reported quite commonly in the Tacoma.
- Replacement: $321 – $410
- Parts: $223 – $287
- Faulty crank position sensor: The crank position sensor does not measure the rpms as the crank turns which will cause the vehicle to stutter or stall.
- Replacement: $239 – $357
- Parts: $108 – $123
- Years: 2016 – 2017
- Rear differential leaking: Toyota issued a recall because the rear differential was prone to leaking oil, which could cause bigger issues with internal components.
- Replacement: It should be covered by the recall.
- Parts: $8 – $22
- Years: Third generation.
- Transmission problems: Hard shifting with the 6-speed transmissions in the V6 engine. Other problems include issues with shifting on the highway and while going uphill. Most commonly a problem with calibration.
- Cracked blower motor: Owners have reported burning smells, reduced airflow, and noises in the dash. This is commonly due to cracks in the cage of the blower motor.
- Replacement: Blower motor replacement – $193 – $202
- Parts: $43 – $159
Most Common Problems Overall
- Premature clutch wear: This can cause the vehicle to hesitate before acceleration and jerk when shifted.
- Replacement: $1,247 – $1,374
- Parts: $793 – $801
- Frame Rust: There have been a lot of complaints about the Tacoma rusting long before it should. This is especially common in areas with cold weather because of the salt on the roads. The reason is most attributed to the frame design, which allows moisture to get into the frame. Luckily, in 2016, Toyota agreed to help people pay for any rust issues that occurred. You can find out more about that here.
- Audio distortion: Oddly enough, users have commonly reported problems with the radio. More specifically, problems with audio distortion and the radio turning on and off by itself. Toyota will replace it if the vehicle is under warranty.
- Replacement: The replacement can be quite costly, so it’s best to have it done at the dealership.
- Parts: $554 – $700
Before buying a used Tacoma or any used vehicle, it’s worth investing a few dollars to check the VIN number against the vehicle database. An audit with a company like VinAudit (links to VinAudit) will guard against Mileage fraud, Salvage rebuilds, Title washing, Vin cloning, and a ton of other uglies.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.