Toyota Tacoma 2nd Generation 2005-2015 Review

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Used Toyota Tacoma 2nd Gen

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2nd Generation Toyota Tacoma: What Owners Say

  • Owners love that the 2nd-gen Tacoma is tough and reliable, with durable engines and transmissions that last a long time
  • Because of its inherent reputation for reliability, the Tacoma is quite cheap to run, while good fuel economy on the four-cylinder and strong residuals also help the business side of the buying equation
  • The off-road-focused models are adept off the beaten track
  • The low-set seats aren't a favorite and some owners have noted that they don't find a comfortable sitting position
  • With no diesel or V8 opinion and a reputation for iffy rear suspension, the Tacoma wasn't designed for carrying large loads or hauling heavy rigs
  • Owners complain of inadequate rustproofing in rust-belt states and often apply additional measures themselves to keep frame rot at bay, somewhat tarnishing Toyota's image

Second Generation Toyota Tacoma Facelift

There were two facelifts during the Tacoma's production run - a very minor one for the 2009 model year and a more comprehensive one for 2012. The general design of the interior remained largely unchanged.

2009-2011 Tacoma 2nd Gen  Facelift Front Changes CarBuzz
2009-2011 Tacoma 2nd Gen Facelift Front Changes

The 2009 Tacoma is basically unchanged at the front, with a barely noticeable nip and tuck to the radiator grille on some models1. The headlight clusters are the same but on the 2009 TRD Off-Road, TRD Sport, and X-Runner trims, they have a smoked finish2.

2012-2015 Tacoma 2nd Gen  Facelift Front Changes CarBuzz
2012-2015 Tacoma 2nd Gen Facelift Front Changes

More substantial changes can be seen on the 2012 model, which retains its pyramidal grille shape, but flattened out and slimmer1, and with the pyramidal theme repeated in the new bumper below it2. The fog-light slots are no longer round but angular3. The headlight clusters are brand-new4; the Tacoma loses its wide-eyed visage in exchange for slimmer light units with slots cut out of their lower halves where the lights meet the grille and turn signals integrated into their upper halves, above these slots.

2009-2011 Tacoma 2nd Gen  Facelift Rear Changes CarBuzz
2009-2011 Tacoma 2nd Gen Facelift Rear Changes

The only change to the back of the 2009 facelift is new taillights that lose the all-red treatment in exchange for contrasting clear-and-red lenses. The brake lights retain the circular motif but are white, while the LEDs illuminate in red. The turn signals and backup lights retain their incandescent bulbs1.

2012-2015 Tacoma 2nd Gen  Facelift Rear Changes CarBuzz
2012-2015 Tacoma 2nd Gen Facelift Rear Changes

2012 models look virtually identical from behind and retain the LED brake lights1, but revert to all-red light clusters on the lower trims, with the clear center semi-circle containing the brake lights retained for the upper trims.

2009-2011 Tacoma 2nd Gen  Facelift Side Changes CarBuzz
2009-2011 Tacoma 2nd Gen Facelift Side Changes

From the side, the 2009 facelift looks the same as the old model, save for the two-tone taillights1 and new available wheel designs2.

2012-2015 Tacoma 2nd Gen  Facelift Side Changes CarBuzz
2012-2015 Tacoma 2nd Gen Facelift Side Changes

Few of the 2012 facelift's changes can be spotted in profile, other than the all-red taillights and different front-bumper treatment1, as well as changes to wheel designs2.

2009-2011 Tacoma 2nd Gen  Facelift Interior Changes CarBuzz
2009-2011 Tacoma 2nd Gen Facelift Interior Changes

The 2009 facelift is virtually identical to the 2008 model, save for an updated standard audio system1. The Access Cab models have a redesigned rear seat and power windows.

2012-2015 Tacoma 2nd Gen  Facelift Interior Changes CarBuzz
2012-2015 Tacoma 2nd Gen Facelift Interior Changes

The 2012 model received a substantial interior freshening with a moderately restyled dash1 and new steering wheel designs2. Satin-silver vertical steering-wheel spokes are echoed in the satin-silver uprights on either side of the center stack that contains the restyled air vents3; said center stack is notable for its new audio system with larger display screens4. The gauge cluster retains its general layout, but with updated dials sporting contrasting white rings for the numerals 5. The 2014 models can clearly be distinguished from other years on the inside, thanks to a standard 6.1-inch infotainment screen, even on base models.

Engine, Transmission, and Drivetrain

The 2nd-gen Toyota Tacoma was only ever offered with two gas engines and these remain the same from day one until the third generation launched. The first is a 2.7-liter inline-four with 164/159 hp and the other is a 4.0-liter V6 with 245/236 hp. Being a truck, both RWD and 4WD drivetrains are available. The four-cylinder engine is mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission; 2WD models with both transmissions and a 2WD automatic were available from the start, with the 4WD automatic only added for the 2011 model year. From beginning to end, the V6 was available with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission with either 2WD or 4WD.

2.7-liter inline-four
164/159 hp | 183/180 lb-ft
164/159 hp
183/180 lb-ft
Five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission

The base engine is the 2.7-liter 2TR-FE inline-four from Toyota's TR family of engines designed for workhorse applications. As such, it is a simple design with a cast-iron engine block based on that of its 3RZ predecessor, conventional indirect injection, chain drive for the double overhead camshafts, oil jets to cool the pistons, and a forged crankshaft. It delivers 164 hp and 183 lb-ft of torque, re-rated to 159 hp and 180 lb-ft for 2006's revised SAE testing procedures, although the actual engine output didn't drop. In manual guise, the transmission has five speeds and the automatic is a four-speed unit. With proper care, a 2TR-FE should easily last 250,000 miles or more. There are few problems to look out for, but these include leaky front crankshaft seals, cracked exhaust manifolds, and leaky or failing water pumps.

4.0-liter V6
245/236 hp | 283/266 lb-ft
245/236 hp
283/266 lb-ft
Six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission

The 1GR-FE engine is a known quantity too and used in many Toyota products. It is just as durable as the 2.7-liter engine but employs an aluminum engine block with cast-iron cylinder liners, as well as indirect fuel injection and chain drive for the camshafts. It was initially rated for 245 hp and 283 lb-ft of torque, with the emphasis on low-rev torque delivery suitable for a truck application, but the figures were downrated to 236 hp and 266 lb-ft for 2006, in line with the latest SAE testing procedures. It's mated to either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission, depending on the model. Issues are generally few and far between, but these engines have been known to blow the odd gasket now and again.

2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma 2nd Generation Real MPG

The four-cylinder engine is often praised for its efficiency and 25 mpg on the highway for the base manual truck is no mean feat. Even the other models do well and all except the 4WD V6 manual manage to top or beat 20 mpg on the highway. Generally speaking, owner-submitted real-world fuel economy figures are in line with EPA combined estimates. The notable exception is the four-cylinder 4WD automatic, which cannot match its combined EPA estimate in the real world. This suggests that it is an underpowered package that struggles with the added weight of the 4WD system and the old-fashioned four-speed automatic transmission, and has to be driven hard to offer anything resembling acceptable performance. All Tacomas have the same 21.1-gallon gas-tank size and, in terms of distance traveled on a tankful on the combined cycle, they range from a best of 464 miles to a worst of 358 miles.

EPA MPGReal-World MPG *
2.7 2WD 5-speed manual21/25/22 mpg22.6-25.9 mpg
2.7 2WD 4-speed automatic19/24/21 mpg19.5-24.8 mpg
2.7 4WD 5-speed manual18/20/19 mpg18-25.1 mpg
2.7 4WD 4-speed automatic18/21/19 mpg16.5-18.2 mpg
4.0 2WD 6-speed manual16/21/18 mpg15-21 mpg
4.0 2WD 5-speed automatic17/21/19 mpg17.5-20.3 mpg
4.0 4WD 6-speed manual15/19/17 mpg15.8-18.5 mpg
4.0 4WD 5-speed automatic16/21/18 mpg14.8-19.3 mpg

* Real-world mpg and MPGe figures are provided by the EPA. Once a car has been on sale for a significant period of time, the EPA gets real-world figures directly from the customer base. These figures are then provided on the EPA website. Real-world figures are not available for certain models due to a lack of sales, or not enough people partaking in this after-sales survey.


Safety standards weren't terribly high when the second-generation Tacoma saw the light of day and items such as backup cameras and stability control were not yet compulsory equipment as they are today. As such, the only safety features standard across the board on the 2005 Tacoma are ABS brakes with brake assist and two front airbags. Stability control, side- and curtain airbags, hill-start assist, and downhill assist were all on the options list - but at least they were available, so you'll have to check which of these have been fitted. Some safety options were exclusive to some body styles or drivetrains. The 2006 models have standard tire-pressure monitoring. Stability control, traction control, side airbags, curtain airbags, active front headrests, and a limited-slip differential are standard on all 2009 Tacomas.

US NHTSA Crash Test Result 2015

The second-gen Tacoma initially did very well in the NHTSA's crash tests, scoring five stars for the frontal and side crash tests and four stars for the rollover test under the less-strict pre-2011 criteria. It held up quite well when the stricter test standards came into force and the 2011 Tacoma still boasts a good four-star overall rating, with a marginal three stars for the frontal crash, but five for the side crash and four for the rollover test. The last 2015 second-gen Tacoma crept up to four-star frontal-crash ratings on the Access Cab and Regular Cab.

Overall Rating:
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating:
Side Crash Rating:
Rollover Rating:

2nd Generation Toyota Tacoma Trims

The second-generation Toyota Tacoma comes in Regular Cab, extended Access Cab, and Double Cab body styles, two bed lengths, four transmission choices, two engine choices, and in either 2WD or 4WD. Each trim comprises some combination of the above with a varying specification level. Crew Cabs can be had with the V6 engine only but the other body styles can be had with either engine. The basic trims are Base, PreRunner, and X-Runner. The SR5 is sometimes seen as a trim, but is actually an option pack, as are the TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road packages. In fact, most options come in the form of option packages that are added onto existing trims, with the Base trim acting as a blank canvas. All manner of standalone extras can be added to create your own special trim, so few Tacomas from this generation are identical.

More standard features were added over the years, such as tire-pressure monitoring for 2006 and revised audio units for 2007. For 2009, all audio units were upgraded again and all trims have stability control and side and curtain airbags, while the power accessories are standard on the Access Cab for 2009 models, along with a redesigned rear seat. All 2011 Tacomas have standard air-conditioning and Regular Cab 4WD models have front bucket seats, while satellite radio is standard on all trims fitted with the six-CD changer head unit. More options became available, notably the T|X and T|X Pro packages that could be added to TRD-equipped Tacomas with the V6 and Double Cab or Access Cab bodies; the former adds black 16-inch alloys, tubular side steps, and other styling tweaks, while the latter also adds a cat-back exhaust on top of that. These packages are based on the previous year's Tacoma concepts shown at SEMA. You'll have to check which packages have been fitted.

The 2012 Tacoma has better tech yet again, with Bluetooth and USB ports available and the V6 models benefiting from Toyota's optional Display Audio and the Entune infotainment system that enables smartphone-controlled voice commands, navigation, internet music streaming, and HD radio. The 2013 Limited package contains the Convenience and SR5 packages, as well as 18-inch alloys, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a backup camera, and heated leatherette front seats. For 2014, the Entune infotainment system is standard on all trims in any of four levels and the image of the optional backup camera is displayed on the infotainment screen, instead of on the rearview mirror. Even the Base 2014 trim has a 6.1-inch touchscreen. An SR appearance package essentially took the place of the discontinued X-Runner trim and could be specced onto any Tacoma PreRunner or 4WD model. For 2015, there is no Regular Cab Tacoma body style anymore and the TRD Pro package replaces the TRD TX Baja. You'll have to check very carefully which of the myriad of extra packages and standalone features have been added to a Tacoma because the combinations are endless. The TRD Pro Series trim joined the lineup for 2015 only.

2.7-liter inline-four/4.0-liter V6
Five-/six-speed manual or four-/five-speed automatic

The Base trim is a bit bare-bones but comes with a tachometer, two power outlets, ABS brakes, two airbags, a manually tilting/telescoping steering column, cloth upholstery, power steering, 15-inch steel rims (16 inches on 4WDs), a composite bed liner, and a CD player, to which the Access Cab adds air-conditioning and front bucket seats, while the Double Cab additionally has full power accessories and keyless entry. The SR5 package adds exterior styling tweaks, fog lights, wheel flares, a chrome grille, cruise control, and better interior trim like a leather-trimmed steering wheel. The TRD Sport package adds a hood scoop, sport seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, better tires, and sport-tuned suspension, and the TRD Off-Road package adds heavy-duty suspension, 16-inch alloys, a locking rear differential, and off-road tires. As mentioned above, several features were added to the range in general over the years.

2.7-liter inline-four/4.0-liter V6
Five-/six-speed manual or four-/five-speed automatic

The PreRunner is a truck that borrows its butch exterior styling and heavy-duty suspension from the 4WD Tacoma but employs 2WD instead, so it's more about the pretense and looks than about ability. It runs on 16-inch steel wheels by default. Annual upgrades mirrored that of the Base trim. An SR appearance package could be ordered on the PreRunner from the 2014 model year and might be present.

4.0-liter V6
Six-speed manual

The X-Runner attempts to combine a sporting driving experience with truck utility. To this end, it comes with the V6 engine only, 2WD, and the six-speed manual transmission. It also has lowered, sport-tuned suspension, additional underbody bracing to aid handling, 18-inch alloy wheels, a hood scoop, a body kit, and fog lights. The X-Runner received the same annual upgrades as the other trims and its last model year is 2013.

TRD Pro Series
4.0-liter V6
Six-speed manual or five-speed automatic

The only-for-2015 TRD Pro is essentially a Tacoma with the TRD Off-Road package and equipment, as well as unique paintwork, side graphics, an increased ride height for the front suspension, Bilstein shocks, more aggressive styling, 16-inch TRD alloy wheels, and a cat-back exhaust system.

Second Generation Toyota Tacoma Features

BasePreRunnerX-RunnerTRD Pro
Leather SeatsN/AN/AN/AN/A
Keyless EntrySSSS
Keyless StarN/AN/AN/AN/A
Alloy WheelsN/AN/ASS

Interior, Trim, And Practicality

Toyota Tacoma 2nd Gen Interior Overview Toyota
Toyota Tacoma 2nd Gen Interior Overview

Throughout the 11 model years that the second-gen Toyota Tacoma were for sale, its interior was updated with many new safety and luxury features, but never properly redesigned, retaining the same basic layout and materials throughout. While this was perfectly acceptable in the beginning, the Tacoma was falling well behind the times by the time the final 2015 model rolled by. There are plenty of brittle plastics on display and while there is a good amount of space to settle down in, the seats are mounted too low to the floor. Also giving away its age is the Entune infotainment system, which can be difficult to fathom compared to more modern rivals' systems.

The backward-opening rear doors of the Access Cab add practicality, but any passengers you put back there will be cramped, given the measly 28.2 inches of rear legroom. At least the Double Cab offers over four inches more rear legroom. Overall, it's a rather mundane interior composed of workmanlike plastics and lifted only slightly by the available leatherette upholstery upgrades and infotainment screen. At least everything is bolted down securely and we already know Tacomas are hardy trucks that can run for many thousands of miles.

TrimBasePreRunnerX-RunnerTRD Pro

2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma Maintenance and Cost

Toyota stipulates that the oil and oil filter on the 2nd generation Tacoma should be replaced every 5,000 miles and if you stick to this schedule, you should be able to rack up hundreds of thousands of miles on either of the two engines. These minor lube services typically cost less than $200 at an independent dealership. The spark plugs, cabin filter, and engine air filter are due every 30,000 miles and these larger services usually work out at around $800 a pop, since a lot more vital systems are checked at the same time. We would change the transmission fluid at least every 60,000 miles at a cost of around $250 to ensure the longevity of the automatic transmission.

With proper care, reliability is a given on the Tacoma, but consider flushing and refilling the cooling system from time to time to keep it in top shape, as the V6 has a tendency to eat a head gasket every now and again if neglected. Besides that and the odd occasional cracked exhaust manifold or leaky water pump on the four-cylinder, there are no mechanical deal-breakers to keep you up at night.

Second Gen Tacoma Basic Service

Engine Oil Change Including Filter

Oil capacity: 5.8L (6.1 quarts) for 2.7 inline-four, 4.5L (4.8 quarts) for 4.0 V6, 5.2L (5.5 quarts) for 4.0 V6 4WD and PreRunner

Recommended viscosity: 5W-30 synthetic oil 2005-2006 2.7-liter engine and 2005-2015 V6 engine; 0W-20 synthetic oil 2007+ 2.7-liter engine

How often to change: 5,000 miles

Average Price: $67


2.7-liter four-cylinder engine

Part number: 00544-35060-550

Replacement: Every 3 to 5 years

Average Price: $139

4.0-liter V6 engine

Part number: 00544-24F60-575

Replacement: Every 3 to 5 years

Average Price: $141

2nd Generation Toyota Tacoma Tires

Base 2WD
Tire Size:
Between $404 and $468 per set
Base 4WD, PreRunner 2WD, TRD Pro
Tire Size:
On-/off-road all-terrain:
Between $653 and $958 per set
X-Runner 2WD
Tire Size:
Between $692 and $1,167 per set

Check Before You Buy

Technical Service Bulletins according to the NHTSA. Check service book for:

Toyota was conservative in the design of the 2nd-gen Tacoma and took no chances. The mechanicals are tried and tested, the engines are naturally aspirated, and there is no sign of advanced technology such as turbocharging or direct injection that might have been cutting-edge but unreliable back when the Tacoma was launched. There are a few weak spots, such as frame rust in rust-belt states, weak rear leaf springs, and quite a lot of issues with the radio/infotainment system, with 2009 being the worst year for this issue. There were quite a lot of 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma recalls too, but those problems should have been taken care of for free long ago and even if they weren't, Toyota will still fix the problems if you bring the vehicle in.

The rear leaf springs are weak and may flatten out and break when hauling and towing, potentially punching a hole in the gas tank. In a 2005-2011 Toyota Tacoma leaf spring recall, Toyota recalled more than 710,000 2005-2011 Tacomas to replace their rear leaf springs. In one of the biggest 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 Toyota Tacoma safety recall notices, nearly half a million Tacomas were recalled to replace airbag spiral clock-spring cables that may fail. In several other airbag-related recalls, many 2005, 2006, and 2010 Tacomas were recalled to have airbag inflators, wiring, and cabling replaced that may cause airbags to fail or deploy improperly. Some 2005-2010 Tacomas were also recalled for loose seat-belt screws, while there were various recalls for incorrect load-information labels.

One of the biggest recalls was for pedal entrapment, where Toyota issued recalls affecting 2005-2010 Tacomas for floor mats that may trap the accelerator pedal in the open position, as well as faulty pedals; another pedal-related recall covered faulty parking-brake pedals on 2005 Tacomas. Additional recalls were for faulty seat heaters that may pose a fire risk on 2006-2011 Tacomas, driveshaft failures on 2007 Tacomas, incorrectly calibrated tire-pressure monitoring systems on 2008-2011 Tacomas, and incorrectly calibrated occupant-sensing systems on 2009-2012 Tacomas. The 2012 and 2013 Toyota Tacoma recalls for faulty brake-actuator assemblies were issued because they may disable the ABS and ESC systems. Some 2013 and 2014 Tacomas could suffer broken valve springs that may lead to an engine stall and there were recalls for 2012 and 2013 Tacomas' incorrect spare-wheel lug nuts and 2011-2015 Tacomas' accessories such as the hood scoops or running boards detaching in an accident. Finally, the 2010 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 recalls covered possible rear propeller shaft failure.

Here are some typical 2nd-generation Toyota Tacoma OBD2 error codes:

  • The Toyota Tacoma code P0022 is for over-retarded bank-two camshaft timing and could be caused by dirty oil, a faulty oil-control valve, or problems with the variable valve timing or ECM
  • The 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma engine code P0031 is a generic motor-industry code for a problem with the oxygen (O2) sensors, in this case, a low bank-one, sensor-one heater-control circuit, possibly caused by a problem with the O2 sensor, the ECM, or the wiring.
  • The Toyota Tacoma engine code P0102 means the mass airflow (MAF) sensor's circuit is low and that it is functioning outside its normal operating range, usually indicating a problem with the sensor being faulty or dirty, but it can also be due to an intake manifold leak or clogged catalytic converter.
  • The Toyota Tacoma 2.7 4-cylinder engine code P0171 or P0174 indicates problems with the fuel mixture strength and both of these are for over-lean mixtures, possibly caused by a leaking intake manifold, other vacuum leaks, or a problem with the MAF sensor. The Toyota Tacoma code P2441 may also be present in the case of a vacuum leak.
  • The Toyota Tacoma V6 4.0L code P0333 or P0420 code refers to problems with the emissions-control system. P0333 refers to a knock sensor two high input, which can be caused by a faulty or shorted knock sensor or a faulty ECM. P0420 refers to catalyst efficiency being below threshold, which can be caused by a bad O2 sensor or catalyst, or by an exhaust leak.
  • The Toyota Tacoma 2.7L code P0335 indicates a crankshaft position sensor A circuit malfunction, which may be caused by a bad sensor or sensor wiring or a problem with the reluctor ring.
  • The Toyota Tacoma code P0441, P1442, or P0456 indicates that there are problems with the evaporative emissions-control (EVAP) system. P0441 refers to an incorrect purge-flow rate in the system. P1442 and P0456 indicate that the system has a leak.
  • The Toyota Tacoma P0500 VSS code indicates that something is wrong with the vehicle speed sensor (VSS) or that the incorrectly sized tires have been fitted to the vehicle.
  • The Toyota Tacoma engine code P2714, P0705, or P0756 indicate problems related to the automatic transmission. P2714 means that there is a problem with pressure-control solenoid D, probably due to a faulty shift-solenoid valve SLT. P0705 means that there is a transmission range sensor malfunction, possibly due to a faulty, maladjusted, or shorted Park/Neutral position switch, and P0756 means that there is a shift solenoid B performance issue, possibly due to a problem with the solenoid itself or due to low or dirty transmission fluid.
  • The Toyota Tacoma engine code P1604 indicates that there is an engine-starting problem.
  • The Toyota Tacoma P1609 code indicates that there is an engine-immobilizer problem.

2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma Truck’s Main Problems

Frame Rust

Although Toyota did recall many Tacomas to replace weak rear leaf springs that may break, there was no recall for the frame rust - the biggest of the 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma rust problems. Frames can rust so badly that they rot through completely, potentially weakening, mostly in rust-belt states - according to a class-action lawsuit. Following the lawsuit, Toyota paid out $3.4 billion to replace entire frames and paid out owners who previously paid for frame replacements - for vehicles up to 12 years old. Most problems were on 2005-2008 Tacomas that are now more than 12 years old anyway. Some frames were repaired or replaced under warranty according to Toyota's discretion, but if the corrosion wasn't too bad, they often just applied additional rustproofing. You're unlikely to get joy from Toyota on an old Tacoma's rusted frame today, so walk away if the frame is rusted.

Mileage: From as early as 40,000 miles

Cost: $60 for a frame inspection, various amounts ranging up to over $3,000 for frame repair work and welding, or $15,000 for a brand-new frame

How to spot: Rust on the frame, underbody, axles, and brake components, often invisible to the eye, so take an expert along for an evaluation

TPS Failure

Toyota issued a 2008 recall for throttle position sensor (TPS) failure, but it seems the problem recurred on some 2009 and 2010 Tacomas as well, which weren't covered under the recall. A TPS can go out of adjustment or fail and can sometimes be adjusted but should be replaced because it's an important component and it affects throttle response, acceleration, and fuel consumption if it plays up. It's not an expensive part.

Mileage: From around 36,000 miles

Cost: $136 for a new TPS

How to spot: Poor acceleration and fuel consumption, and sometimes erratic shifting from the automatic transmission

Air-Injection Pump Failure

A 2012 Toyota Tacoma engine trouble code P0418, P1613, P2433, P2438, P2442, P2445, or P2440 accompanied by the Check Engine light usually means the air-injection pump has a problem of some kind. On 2012 Tacomas, moisture tends to penetrate the pumps and the only remedy is the replacement of the pump, its cover, its air-switching valve, and its gaskets.

Mileage: From around 60,000 miles

Cost: The pump costs between $300 and $400, its cover around $50, and its check valve around $120, without gaskets and labor, so it can end up an expensive job

How to spot: Check Engine light and the P2440 and/or P2442 error codes.

2TR-FE Engine Problems

The 2.7-liter 2TR-FE engine is very tough and some people will remember a report in the news about a Tacoma covering a million miles, 800,000 of those on its first 2TR-FE engine. So, there are very few 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma 4-cylinder engine/motor problems. They can certainly do many hundreds of thousands of miles if they get clean oil frequently and are properly maintained and problems are few and far between. It has a timing chain. However, two of the problems you may encounter on this engine are oil leaks from the front crank seal on 2005-2008 models before the seal was modified, and cracked exhaust manifolds.

Mileage: Crank seal can leak at any time, but manifolds take around 100,000 miles to crack

Cost: A complete exhaust manifold costs around $400 excluding labor and bolts, so you're looking at around $1,000 all-in. Having the front crank seal replaced should cost between $300 and $400

How to spot: A cracked exhaust manifold might be visible to the eye, but it will also make a ticking sound at idle, especially when the engine is cold, accompanied by exhaust fumes under the hood. A failed and leaking crank seal should leave visible oil on the floor and the oil level may drop if the leak is bad

1GR-FE Engine Problems

The 1GR-FE engine is very tough and regularly exceeds 250,000 miles when properly maintained. It also uses a timing chain. However, there have been a few 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma head-gasket problems on the V6, as some of them tend to suffer a blown gasket around piston six from time to time. Ignition coils may give up the ghost too. Other than these issues, it's a very reliable engine.

Mileage: Gasket failures seem more time- and mileage-dependent and may happen after a few years, while ignition coils often start giving trouble at around 100,000 miles

Cost: Replacing head gaskets may cost up to $1,300 all-in and six ignition coils cost around $150 at most

How to spot: Blown gaskets usually cause the oil to be milky, leave evidence of oil entering the cooling system, cause coolant loss and overheating without visible leaks, and emit white smoke/steam from the exhaust, accompanied by a sweet coolant smell. Any, all, or some combination of these symptoms may be present

Transmission Problems

There are surprisingly few 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma clutch, manual, and automatic transmission and shifting problems on record. The manual transmissions seem to be very reliable, but up to around the 2010 model, there were a few too many cases of premature clutch wear and failure. There was nothing actually wrong with the clutches, but it turns out that, on the 2nd-gen Tacoma, if you don't check your clutch fluid and it runs too low, air can enter the clutch's hydraulic system, reducing the pressure applied to the clutch and causing it to wear more quickly. On the automatic transmissions, there were a few reports of erratic and/or rough shifting on early Tacomas up to around the 2007 model year, but these problems are sometimes related to the failure of the throttle position sensor (TPS) we mentioned earlier and not the transmission. However, shift solenoids in the transmission's valve body occasionally wear out and must be replaced, although this should never be necessary if you replace the transmission oil every 60,000 miles.

Mileage: Clutch problems from around $40,000 miles and valve-body solenoid wear from around 150,000 miles in the absence of transmission fluid changes.

Cost: $1,200-$1,700 for a clutch replacement job, around $150-$370 on average for valve-body solenoid replacements (depending on how many), and around $2,500 for a rebuilt automatic transmission

How to spot: The clutch will start to slip, manifested in poor acceleration, especially when hauling, and often burnt-clutch smells, while the automatic may exhibit rough, delayed, or erratic shifting

Leaf-Spring Problems

Although we've already covered this under the recall section, take note that the recall only applied to 2005-2011 Tacomas, while some reports of failed leaf springs were recorded for later years as well, so you could end up footing the bill yourself. The 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma suspension problems are well-known and -documented. For the record, leaf springs may flatten out, crack, and fail, potentially even causing damage to the gas tank and underbody when they do. Minor repairs and the replacement of spacers may cost a few hundred dollars, but replacing both springs is more expensive.

Mileage: From as early as 25,000 miles, depending on usage patterns

Cost: Between $500 and $1,000 for aftermarket springs, but up to $1,800 for replacing them with OEM parts at a dealership

How to spot: Typical symptoms are sagging suspension at the back, a lopsided vehicle with one side lower than the other, and squeaking from the rear suspension, the latter often due to missing spacers

Steering Problems

There have been a few 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma hard-steering problems with the power steering system. These issues are usually not too commonplace and rarely dangerous, but usually have to do with the steering shaft - its U-joint can go bad, causing hard or stiff steering and eventually rattles, once it's worn enough. There have been a few issues of steering ball joints failing prematurely as well.

Mileage: U-joints can sometimes fail from around 70,000 miles and defective ball joints might call it quits at half that distance

Cost: An OEM steering shaft with a new U-joint costs between $150 and $170 and can be installed by a competent DIY mechanic or for around $500-$600 at a shop, while the truck will have to go to a shop for the ball-joint replacement, which can set you back over $400, excluding the obligatory wheel alignment following the job

How to spot: Stiff, sticking steering, wandering, play, and tracking issues

Headlight Problems

There were various irritating 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma headlight problems, including the daytime running lights (DRLs) melting the headlights' plastic to cracked headlights. Many of the problems occurred under warranty and Toyota replaced the headlights with updated units that don't exhibit the same problems.

Mileage: From around 20,000 miles and quite common at 60,000 miles

Cost: Up to $250 for a set of aftermarket headlights and at least as much again for the labor to fit them; the job may cost $1,000 or more at Toyota.

How to spot: Visible cracks and/or melted plastic in the headlight unit

Radio Problems

For many years, there were recurring 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma radio problems - most common on 2008-2015 Tacomas and with 2009 being the worst year - with the radios not working and/or switching on and off uncommanded, especially when driving over bumps in the road. A lot of these happened under warranty and the units were replaced but a dodgy radio on a 2nd-gen Tacoma that you buy today will be for your account. Some owners have managed to get units repaired, but they must usually be replaced.

Mileage: Any mileage

Cost: Sometimes radios can be repaired for between $150 and $300 but you'll usually have to buy a new radio for around $700

How to spot: Radio doesn't work or switches on and off spontaneously, sometimes in response to driving on rough roads

Less Common Problems

Some 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma problems are not very common but do occur from time to time and bear mention here. Some systems are largely trouble-free and to this end, 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma road-handling, steering-box, Bluetooth, brake, ABS, ignition-switch, key, power door-lock, cruise-control, alternator, starter, emissions, fuel-pump, engine low idle, odometer, heater/heating, fog-lamp, air-conditioning - or AC - problems are not frequently reported. However, one that sometimes is is the tendency of the propeller shaft slip yoke becoming sticky with age, causing odd bumps and jolts when coming to a stop. It usually just needs to be greased. Paint problems were worse for the first few production years, but not too bad compared to most other trucks of this vintage, but fading, peeling, corrosion, and rust do occur, especially in rust-belt states.

Unfortunately, this generation of Tacoma also uses Toyota's environmentally friendly soy-based wiring insulation, which can attract rodents that eat it and collect it for nesting material, potentially causing many unavoidable 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma electrical problems. Rodents can cause thousands of dollars of damage to the wiring loom of the vehicle and there is nothing you can do about it besides controlling the rodents where you park your vehicle. The overhead temperature display/compass unit sometimes fails, but you can buy another one for $100 and install it yourself. The occasional Toyota Tacoma wheel bearing problems pop up - these can fail and cost around $730 to replace the front ones - and a few rare cases of the rear differential failing have also been reported. In fact, there are actually very few 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma drive-shaft, rear-differential, TRD off-road, and 4-wheel-drive - or 4x4 - problems. Lastly, the ventilation system's blower motor may fail on 2011 Tacomas.

Which One To Avoid

An early 2005-2008 Tacoma that plied the roads of a rust-belt state should be avoided, so check where your Tacoma was registered. These models may have hidden rot and rust damage and you will not be covered for any repairs. The 2009 model year was terrible for intermittent radio problems and although many have been solved, latent issues might not show up on a test drive. We would avoid the 2.7-liter models with the ancient four-speed automatic transmission, especially in 4WD trim, because the mass overwhelms the drivetrain and makes the truck lethargic and thirsty.

Which One To Buy

For the second-generation Tacoma, the 2010 model year is a particular sweet spot. The 2009 update brought various new standard safety features, such as standard stability control and side and curtain airbags, but suffered relatively many faults, which were mostly sorted out by 2010. It still has the old look, however, so if you don't mind that, it makes for a good buy. Better still is the 2013 or 2014 Tacomas. They benefit from the comprehensive 2012 facelift and have far fewer problems. The best year of all must be 2014 because this is when the infotainment touchscreen became standard on all trims and it is also the year with the fewest problems overall. Your engine choice depends on whether you don't mind sedate performance and care more for efficiency (four-cylinder) or if you want snappy performance that exacts a penalty at the pumps (V6). If you love the 4WD look but don't want the weight and performance/economy penalty that goes with the 4WD drivetrain - and you don't need the AWD ability - the PreRunner is perfectly positioned for you. With the veritable maze of options and package combinations, check carefully to see whether your Tacoma is specced with what you want. There is one out there for every taste.

2nd Gen Tacoma Verdict

The second-generation Toyota Tacoma does mostly what owners would expect from a Toyota. It's a traditionally tough and reliable Toyota truck that is easy to drive, with competent engines and a reputation for extreme reliability if properly maintained. There are a few caveats and hidden frame rot might be one of the biggest pitfalls, so buy carefully. For the rest, there are no glaring issues, as long as you keep our handy guide in mind. A word of warning: 2nd-gen Tacomas aren't really built for hauling and towing heavy loads unless you upgrade the stock rear suspension with something stronger from the aftermarket.

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