Toyota Tundra Transmission Problems [5 Common Issues]

Your car transmission can sometimes go bad without warning, mostly due to incorrect transmission fluid levels or another significant issue.

But in many cases, the transmission of a Toyota Tundra gives some warning signs when it is going bad or has gone bad.

Toyota Tundra

In this post, I’ve covered the common problems with the Toyota Tundra transmissions, the symptoms, and how to go about the issues.

If that sounds like what you’re looking for, let’s head right into it.

Toyota Tundra Transmission Problems

1. Slow Shifting or Gear Slippage

When driving your Toyota Tundra and there is slow shifting or gear slippage, you should stop your vehicle immediately. Gear slippage or slow shifting is usually caused by transmission fluid leaks or low levels of transmission fluid.

When the transmission fluid levels are low, it implies there’s a leak or two within the transmission system itself. Leakages occur when the driveshaft or seals in the transmission have become defective.

Other signs of gear slippage may include:

  • Higher RPM than usual: A slipping transmission no longer transfers all the energy from your Toyota Tundra’s engine to its rear wheels. The tachometer jumps as the revolutions per minute increase.
  • Immobile vehicle: The transmission may eventually be unable to move your Toyota Tundra.

Check and replace the transmission gasket seals to see if the leak stops. If it doesn’t, your auto mechanic will need to run some tests to know the source of the problem and fix it accordingly.

2. Cross-Contamination

Occasionally, cross-contamination; a situation in which coolant in the radiator contaminates the transmission fluid occurs.

However, this transmission problem is more noticeable with specific Toyota Tundra models from 2000 to 2006 with automatic transmission.

This problem occurs when the part of the radiator responsible for dissipating heat or cooling the automatic transmission fluid ruptures without warning.

This results in the mixture of the engine coolant and the transmission fluid. The result of this mixture is a pink fluid, which most auto repair technicians refer to as a ‘strawberry milkshake.’

This problem causes the Toyota Tundra’s engine and transmission to overheat. This overheating can cause your engine to suffer partial damage. Prolonged overheating of your Toyota Tundra’s transmission can result in total damage and require replacement.

If you notice this development, change the radiator as soon as possible. It will cost anywhere from $570 to $610 to replace your Toyota Tundra’s radiator. Your truck’s engine coolant should cost you from $80 to $105.

The cost of related repairs, taxes, and fees has not been factored in. Your location may also determine the estimated costs of the radiator and coolant.

Your mechanic will also need to flush the entire engine cooling system and the transmission.

Scrutinize your truck’s transmission and engine afterward to see if any other problem has occurred due to overheating.

3. Solenoid Issues

This transmission problem is more noticeable in the 2001 Toyota Tundra model. If you notice that the access-cab transmission is slipping despite the absence of leaks, the solenoid could be the issue.

The solenoid’s primary responsibility is to control fluid flow throughout your vehicle’s transmission. But the solenoid can be severely damaged due to insufficient fluid levels, though some other electronic problems could also be responsible for the damage.

In any case, check the solenoid to see its condition. If it is damaged, you may have to change the solenoid in order to restore its function.

4. Burnt or Bad Transmission Fluid

It is common for transmission fluids to undergo a great deal of abuse. If your Toyota Tundra’s transmission fluid goes bad, check to see its color. Most functional transmission fluids are red.

You can check the transmission fluid color chart, as this will help you determine whether your Toyota Tundra’s transmission has gone bad. If the transmission fluid is black, it is burnt and requires replacement.

Ensure you use the correct transmission fluid. Using the wrong one can make your Toyota Tundra’s transmission worse. Check your owner’s manual to determine the proper transmission fluid type for your Toyota Tundra.

5. Strange Sounds Caused by Faulty Torque Converter

The torque converter can be one source of several issues that may cause transmission failure. For example, when driving your Toyota Tundra and you hear brushing or grinding noises, the torque converter could be the culprit.

However, you won’t hear these strange sounds in most cases when your truck is in neutral.

This makes the torque converter the prime suspect. The noises could result from damaged or worn needle bearing in the torque converter.

When these worn needle bearings get warm, they give off those sounds you hear from the Toyota Tundra’s transmission while driving in gears.

Get your Toyota Tundra to the nearest auto repair shop for proper diagnostics and repair of the faulty torque converter.

Can You Drive a Toyota Tundra with a Bad Transmission?

Driving your Toyota Tundra with a bad transmission is generally a bad idea as it could cause other related damages to the faulty transmission itself or other components aiding its operation.

As soon as you notice your truck’s transmission has gone bad, take it to the nearest auto repair shop for tests and repairs. If you insist on driving your truck with a bad transmission, it will only be a matter of time before your Toyota Tundra packs up and stops moving.

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

The average cost of replacing a Toyota Tundra’s transmission ranges from $1,800 to $3,500. Labor costs and the cost of related repairs, including fees and taxes, have yet to be factored in.

Moreover, the estimated prices quoted above may vary depending on your location and the model of your Toyota Tundra.

How Long Does a Toyota Tundra’s Transmission Last?

The transmissions of different vehicles have distinct lifespans, depending on several factors. The transmission of a Toyota Tundra depends significantly on how the driver uses and treats it. For instance, if most uses you put your Toyota Tundra is towing, your transmission will undergo more wear and tear than one used for regular driving.

However, the transmission of a Toyota Tundra can last anywhere from 100,000 miles to 200,000 miles. Therefore, you can maximize the life of your Toyota Tundra’s transmission by ensuring it is appropriately serviced from time to time.

Tips to Make Your Toyota Tundra’s Transmission Last Longer

Keeping up with these recommended maintenance tips will help ensure your Toyota Tundra lasts long:

  • Change your Toyota Tundra’s transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles in order to avoid slippage.
  • Drain and refill your transmission at 60,000 miles. Do not flush your Toyota Tundra’s transmission; it should only be drained and refilled with new fluid.
  • Keep your Toyota Tundra’s engine cooling system in excellent shape
  • Take care when changing gears, and always make use of the parking brake.

You may also like to read about Toyota Corolla transmission and Toyota CVT transmission issues.


The Toyota Tundra is a robust vehicle that can take on rugged roads. But it also has some issues, such as transmission problems.

Some of the transmission problems you may experience with your Toyota Tundra have been highlighted in this article. In addition, suggestions have also been made for rectifying each problem.