Toyota Tacoma Transmission Problems [4 Common Issues]

The Toyota Tacoma is a reliable pickup truck model that has spanned three generations, being in production for over 25 years.

Its superb handling, fuel consumption, engine performance, longevity, incredible towing capacity, and outstanding bed design make it one of the best trucks from Toyota’s lineup.

Toyota Tacoma

However, the Toyota Tacoma is not without problems. One of the issues you may experience with this car is a faulty transmission.

In this post, I’ve covered the common transmission problems your Toyota Tacoma transmission may develop over time. You’ll also learn the steps to take to fix your car’s transmission. Let’s get started.

Toyota Tacoma Transmission Problems

1. Jerking and Lurching (The Tacoma Lurch)

One of the most common Toyota Tacoma transmission problems is jerking and lurching. This usually occurs because of delayed transmission shifting.

This delay occurs when you shift between gears, such as reverse, neutral, park, or drive.

The delay between gears usually lasts from 2 to 4 seconds. You may experience the jerking and lurch—popularly referred to as the Tacoma Lurch as soon as the transmission engages, which can occur suddenly.

When your Toyota Tacoma truck lunges forward while changing from park to reverse, something could be wrong with your transmission.

Get your vehicle to the nearest auto repair for proper diagnosis and repairs.

2. Shifting into the Wrong Gear

This automatic transmission problem generally occurs after you have been driving your Toyota Tacoma for quite some time.

Your Toyota Tacoma’s transmission may suddenly shift into the wrong gear when driving. You may need to re-adjust the gear lever before it shifts correctly. This transmission problem causes a slight delay in movement, and if you’re not careful, it may result in an auto accident.

When you experience this transmission shifting into the wrong gear, it may result from a displaced throttle position sensor.

Another likely culprit behind this Toyota Tacoma’s transmission problem is the shift solenoid. The shift solenoid may have worn out after enduring thousands of miles, usually after 150,000 miles.

This transmission problem is commonly associated with first and second-generation Toyota Tacoma. Fortunately, you won’t have to overhaul your transmission in order to fix this issue.

Instead, you should replace the bad solenoid or re-adjust the throttle position sensor, and your Toyota Tacoma’s transmission will return to normal.

This is not something most owners can do themselves. Therefore, if you fit into this category, get your truck to a reputable auto repair shop for repairs.

3. Delayed Engagement

This is another well-known transmission problem with the Toyota Tacoma. Delayed engagement is the few seconds’ delay that occurs as you try to shift between park, reverse, drive, neutral, or into gear.

When your transmission is in good condition, it engages your vehicle immediately—as soon as you shift into gear. However, the reverse is the case if your car transmission is faulty.

This transmission problem can be frustrating and should be addressed as soon as you notice this development. Get your Toyota Tacoma to the auto repair shop in your region for diagnostic tests and repairs.

4. Throttle Position Sensor Issues

The Toyota Tacoma models with throttle position sensor problems were built from 1995 to 2015. As mentioned earlier, a misaligned throttle position sensor can interfere with the smooth operation of a Toyota Tacoma’s automatic transmission.

Toyota Tacoma throttle position sensor issues may come up due to the buildup of carbon on the sensor or worn-out throttle body. When the throttle position sensor goes out of alignment, it advances idle timing.

Your Toyota Tacoma’s engine generates less power, more harmful emissions that harm the environment, and generally wastes more fuel. The throttle position sensor could be the culprit when you notice such developments.

But you can only confirm this and make the necessary adjustments or replacements by getting your Toyota Tacoma to your auto mechanic for evaluation and repairs.

Can You Drive a Toyota Tacoma with a Bad Transmission?

Most Toyota Tacoma owners believe that as long as the off-road beast can make it up and down the road with a bad transmission, there’s no issue to worry about until they fix it.

But this is not a good idea, especially if you notice most of the symptoms outlined in this article. A transmission is an embodiment of several moving components. If your Toyota Tacoma’s transmission is bad, you should make a beeline to the nearest auto repair shop.

If you keep driving your Toyota Tacoma with a bad transmission, it may eventually damage one or several components. This will result in more costly repairs and downtime.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Toyota Tacoma Transmission?

The average cost of replacing your Toyota Tacoma’s transmission ranges from $4,500 and $6,000. The labor costs of uninstalling the old transmission and installing a new one, including related repairs, the costs of components, taxes, and fees, have yet to be factored in.

Moreover, the quote posted above may vary, depending on your location and your Toyota Tacoma model year.

Which Toyota Tacoma Model Years Have the Highest Transmission Issue?

According to, the Toyota Tacoma model years with the highest transmission issues are the 2016 and 2017 Toyota Tacoma models. The 2016 version also reported a defective engine.

How Long Does a Toyota Tacoma’s Transmission Last?

Standard vehicles last as much as 200,000 miles. However, a well-maintained Toyota Tacoma’s transmission can last from 300,000 to 350,000 miles. A few Toyota Tacoma owners even report that their vehicle’s transmission lasted over 400,000 miles.

Tips to Make Your Toyota Tacoma’s Transmission Last Longer

Here are the tips you should follow if you want your Toyota Tacoma’s transmission to last longer:

  • Check your Tacoma’s transmission fluid from time to time—every 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Always make use of the recommended transmission fluid.
  • Service your transmission according to the guidelines outlined in the owner’s manual. This usually includes checking and changing the fluid filter periodically, at least once every 2 years, for new Toyota Tacoma models or 40,000 to 50,000 miles. Older vehicles should be serviced every eighteen months or 20,000 to 30,000 miles.
  • Modify or adopt a more serene driving style. Driving like James Bond may look cool, but it takes a severe toll on your Toyota Tacoma’s transmission, despite its ruggedness. Ensure that you use your cruise control while on the highway to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on your transmission.
  • Always drive in the correct gear.
  • Always stop your Toyota Tacoma completely before shifting gears. This is crucial, especially between a reverse gear and a forward gear.

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Wrapping Up

The Toyota Tacoma is a reliable pickup truck that has been in production for over 25 years. Its excellent handling, fantastic bed design, and seeming ruggedness make it one of the most loved vehicles today.

But as with other vehicle, you may sometimes be faced with transmission issues. If you notice any sign that indicates a transmission problem, get your mechanic to inspect and fix your car.