Toyota Tacoma Transmission Problems

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The Toyota Tacoma is a popular mid-size pickup truck known for its ruggedness and dependability.

It has a reputation for handling tough terrain and heavy loads, making it a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts and people who carry heavy loads.

However, despite its much strength, it is not a truck that is problem free. It is not immune to issues when it comes to transmission, it can show many signs and symptoms.

These issues can range from minor annoyances to major breakdowns and can be wearisome and costly.

The most common Toyota Tacoma transmission problems are:

  1. Shifting Delays
  2. Jerking Movement
  3. Transmission Lurching
  4. Difficulty In Shifting
  5. Noise When Driving
  6. Complete Transmission Failure
  7. Shuddering When Driving
  8. Grinding When Driving

This article will explore these transmission symptoms in more detail, looking at the causes and potential solutions.

I will also provide tips on how to prevent transmission problems from occurring in the first place and how to maintain your Tacoma’s transmission for optimal performance.

8 Signs Of Transmission Problems In A Toyota Tacoma

Is your Toyota Tacoma transmission reliable? Read my article to find out

Tacoma has had a long history of transmission issues.

Those issues are often associated with symptoms, such as those mentioned in the introduction.

This section will take a detailed look at them, so you can understand what is wrong with the system.

1. Shifting Delays

Shifting delays are a common sign of transmission problems in a Toyota Tacoma. This refers to a hesitation or delay when shifting gears or a reluctance to shift into certain gears.

Various issues within the transmission could be the cause of shifting delays, such as:

• High Temperatures
• Worn-Out Gears
• Valves Sticking To The Valve Body

Overheating the transmission can cause the gears to expand and bind, resulting in shifting delays. Low transmission fluid levels can cause this, or the fluid itself is broken down.

Worn-out gears can also cause shifting delays and grinding noises when the transmission is in use. Read more about this issue in a minute.

2. Jerking Movement

If your Tacoma is jerking whenever shifting gears, then it is possible that the transmission is to blame.

For those who don’t know, it is a sudden or abrupt movement of the truck, often when shifting gears or accelerating.

A faulty sensor within the transmission can cause jerking movement due to it sending incorrect data to the TCM.

Another possible reason is that the transmission fluid level has reached a point where the gears cannot function without it, which can also cause jerking movement or difficulty in shifting gears.

3. Transmission Lurching

Transmission lurching is something that owners will certainly notice once it happens. It is an unexpected movement of the truck when the transmission shifts gears.

This may seem similar to jerking, but it is not. When the Tacoma lurches, it jumps forward unexpectedly.

Several potential causes of transmission lurching include worn-out gears and a faulty transmission control module (TCM).

The TCM is a computer that helps to control the operation of the transmission, and if it becomes faulty or malfunctions, which may result in it sending incorrect commands to the transmission.

The gears within the transmission are exposed to a lot of friction, which can lead to them wearing and tearing.

And over time, they can become worn or damaged. This can cause transmission lurching.

4. Difficulty In Shifting

When your Toyota Tacoma is having issues while shifting, then it means that the transmission needs to be looked at.

It becomes difficult or impossible to shift the transmission into gear in a scenario like this.

The clutch allows the engine and transmission to disengage from one another when the truck is stopped or shifted into neutral.

If the clutch is not releasing properly, it can cause difficulty shifting. Shifting difficulties can also arise when the transmission cannot function at its full capacity.

As it has been the case with many issues in this article, this normally happens when the fluid level is too low or it has become dirty or useless.

5. Noise When Driving

If the transmission on the Tacoma emits sounds when driving, then something is prohibiting it from functioning properly.

Many possible noises can arise from the transmission, so finding the cause may be a bit hard.

A gurgling noise, when driving, may be caused by excess air in the transmission line, which can be caused when the fluid level is low.

A bad input shaft bearing may cause a growling noise when driving, a component within the transmission that helps support the input shaft and allows it to rotate smoothly.

When these bearings become faulty, the transmission can emit a sound. This can happen when it is in neutral too.

6. Complete Transmission Failure

Complete transmission failure is the worst possible outcome for a Toyota Tacoma with transmission problems.

In a case like this, the transmission completely ceases to function, resulting in the truck being unable to move.

There are several probable reasons for complete transmission failure, including end-of-life and lack of maintenance.

The transmission on the Tacoma has not been designed to last forever.

It has a limited lifespan, and when that is reached, the probability of system failure increases significantly. That time could come earlier if proper maintenance is not conducted.

7. Shuddering When Driving

If you experience shuddering while driving your Toyota Tacoma, it could be a sign of transmission problems.

Shuddering is a vibrating sensation that occurs while the truck is in motion. Many factors, including dirty transmission fluid and a faulty torque converter, can cause shuddering.

Transmission fluid is essential to your truck’s transmission, and it must be kept clean and fresh to function properly.

If it is dirty, it prevents proper pressure contact between the transmission plates. This can lead to a shuddering sensation.

The torque converter could also be blamed, if it is faulty and the clutch inside it cannot be applied smoothly.

8. Grinding When Driving

Grinding when driving is something that cannot be taken lightly. A loud, harsh noise occurs while the truck is in motion.

The gears in the transmission are subjected to a lot of wear and tear as the truck is driven.

Over time, these gears can get damaged or even chipped, which can cause them to grind against each other.

As it is responsible for lubricating all of the moving parts inside the transmission, without it, friction will increase greatly.

This will lead to them rubbing against each other and producing the dreaded grinding sound. The same can happen if the fluid level reaches a critical point.

How To Prevent Your Toyota Tacoma’s Transmission Issues

If you are a new Tacoma owner, then reading about the issues above may have you concerned. If you take these preventative steps, you won’t have anything to worry about.

1. Regularly Check And Maintain The Transmission Fluid

It has been established that the transmission fluid is extremely important for your truck’s transmission, and it must be dirt and contaminant free.

Check the transmission fluid level regularly, and have the fluid changed at the recommended intervals. In the case of Tacoma, the number can vary from 60000 to 100000 miles.

2. Use The Correct Type Of Transmission Fluid

Using one with the correct viscosity in your Toyota Tacoma is important.

Using the wrong type of fluid can cause problems with the transmission, such as overheating, quicker wear and tear, and poor drive quality.

3. Avoid Extreme Driving Conditions

Extreme driving conditions, such as towing heavy loads or driving in extremely hot or cold temperatures for extended periods, can put additional strain on the transmission.

If possible, try to avoid these driving conditions to reduce the risk of transmission problems. This will slow down the effect of wearing it too.

4. Do Not Overload Your Truck

The transmission in your Toyota Tacoma is designed to handle a certain amount of weight and load.

Overloading the truck can stress the transmission and increase the risk of problems.

Be mindful of the weight and size of the items you carry in your truck, and keep the load within the manufacturer’s recommended limits.

If you go above that, then you are in unchartered territory. The transmission may perform roughly and may cause issues too.

How To Fix The Toyota Tacoma’s Transmission Problems

To fix transmission problems in a Toyota Tacoma, it is important to accurately diagnose them.

This may require using diagnostic tools and techniques to identify the source of the issue.

Once the problem has been identified, the appropriate fix can be applied.

Depending on the nature of the problem, this may include replacing faulty sensors or other components, or it may involve rebuilding the transmission altogether.

It is important to follow Toyota’s recommendations and guidelines when performing any repairs on the transmission.

As the transmission is perhaps the most complicated system on the truck, in some cases, the transmission may be beyond repair, and a replacement may be necessary.

In these cases, it is important to get a replacement transmission to ensure that the truck can operate correctly and reliably.

Which Year Did Toyota Tacoma Have Transmission Problems?

If you are looking to avoid models of Toyota Tacoma that have proven transmission problems, this section will certainly help you out.

2007 Toyota Tacoma

Although there were not many complaints about the transmission on the 2007 Toyota Tacoma, there were still cases in which it would act up and shift roughly.

2008 Toyota Tacoma

The 2008 model for Tacoma had no complaints when it came to driving. But it did have issues when to start and stop.

The transmission would not engage once the truck was stopped. And it also tended to produce a grinding sound when starting up.

2015 Toyota Tacoma

The good news is there was not even a single transmission problem with this model. There were no complaints, meaning the transmission was as perfect as possible.

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Unfortunately, with the 2016 model, Toyota could not replicate the same reliability.

The model had many issues, including delayed engagement and rough shifting. It would also lurch when the transmission engages.

2017 Toyota Tacoma

There was only one thing that was complained about with the 2017 model of the truck: it would not shift correctly. Many people reported this, so the issue was not isolated.

2018 Toyota Tacoma

In 2018, Toyota went back on track. Although there were a few complaints, they were too few, and it cannot be said that the transmission of this model was at fault.

2019 Toyota Tacoma

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma had a jumpy transmission. It would also shudder, which meant that the driving quality was severely degraded.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How Much Does A Toyota Tacoma Transmission Replacement Cost?

If you want to replace the Tacoma transmission, you need to survey the market. Different sellers will give different rates.

As Tacoma is a big truck, a new transmission is not cheap. You can expect to get one around the $5000-$6000 price point. This does include labor costs.

Q2. What Is The Lifespan Of A Toyota Tacoma Transmission?

The longevity of a Toyota Tacoma’s transmission is subject to various factors, such as the truck’s maintenance history, driving habits, and the conditions in which it is driven.

On average, a Toyota Tacoma’s transmission can last from 200,000 to 300,000 miles, although some may last longer or shorter depending on the quality of its care.

Proper maintenance and care can help in prolonging the transmission’s lifespan.


Q3. Is It Safe To Drive A Toyota Tacoma With A Bad Transmission?

It is not a good decision to drive with a faulty transmission in a Toyota Tacoma.

A malfunctioning or damaged transmission can affect the overall performance and safety of the truck.

Driving with a bad transmission can cause further damage and increase the risk of a breakdown or accident.

So, it’s best to avoid driving when the transmission of the Tacoma cannot be relied upon.


In conclusion, if you experience transmission issues with your Toyota Tacoma, it is important to accurately and quickly diagnose the problem and apply the appropriate fix to maintain the truck’s performance and safety.

This may involve replacing faulty components, rebuilding the transmission, or using a high-quality replacement transmission.

By addressing the Toyota Tacoma transmission problems promptly and effectively, you can help ensure that your truck will remain in good working order and will also avoid costly and inconvenient problems down the road.

I hope you can fix the system without costing you too much money or time.