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Toyota Tacoma: Problems & Solutions



  • glenn43glenn43 Posts: 15
    I plan to pay out of pocket to get my front windshield replaced due to a crack. The prices in my area (MD/DC/VA) vary greatly from as low as $145 to as high as $290. These are all rates for after market windshields as the shops I've contacted either won't install a Toyota ordered windshield ($230 ordered from dealer)or will install but won't warrantee it. Are after market windshields just as reliable and simular in tent and appearance as dealer parts? Also, does anyone in the DC/MD/VA area have a shop they could recommend for reliable work at a decent price. Thanks :)
  • khinanightkhinanight Posts: 2
    Windshields are imported into the country and are just as good as the Japanese replacements. They must meet minimum standards for tempered saftey glass.
  • gtoddhgtoddh Posts: 10
    I'm going to look at a '99 SR5 XtraCab PreRunner V6/Auto with 67K miles tomorrow. It's got many features, such as power windows and locks, cruise, etc. I don't know alot about what came standard and what was an option on this truck. The internet advertised price for the Tacoma is $12990. What do you think I should offer? If I make the deal I'll be trading in my '02 Accord SE, which is 2 years into a 3 yr lease. The Accord payment is only $259/mo and I can only do the deal if I can keep my payment on the truck within a $20 range of that.

    I keep reading about the excellent reliability of Tacomas. I'm wondering what I should be on the lookout for when test driving and examining the truck. What questions should I ask the salesman? The only Toyota truck I've driven before was an '87 4x4, and that was about 10 years ago. I realize it's not going to feel anything like my Accord. Should I be listening for any Tacoma-specific tell-tale signs that the truck might have problems? I know a fair amount about vehicles so I do have a good idea of what might be wrong in general, I just don't know about any Tacoma quirks.

    Thanks in advance for your input.

    Please feel free to email me directly.


    Todd Huestis
  • bearcrkrdbearcrkrd Posts: 167
    I have a 2001 Reg Cab, 4x2, 5spd. Went on a 600mi trip - 12/2001- one month after purchase. Lots of snow, sand, ice, little rocks along the way. Always thought it was that stuff thrown up by the big rigs during the snow storm that caused my bumper paint to flake so soon. So, never said anything to dealer. What's left is still flaking. I don't scratch or scrape it myself. The under stuff is fine. Going in for 60,000mi service in the next 2-4 weeks. Not sure if I'll say anything at this point. I get a bit of ticking, but only at idle. The owners manual said it was normal, as is using a bit of oil, which has not happened at all. Happy owner, but am real curious about the next generation Taco base model!!
  • bearcrkrdbearcrkrd Posts: 167
    Can't help with prices in your area. I live in the Seattle area. Had my rock-cracked front windshield replaced last summer. The sightseeing improved a ton afterwards. Didn't realise the amount of scratching that was there, also. $195 I wanted Toyota glass so it would say Toyota and be stock. They said it was expensive and took a day or two to get. They were done in an hour, and the Toyota label on the glass was just that, a stick on label (I guess), because they must have taken it off the old windshield and stuck it on the replacement!! Nothing to do with windshields, but I believe my 2001 2.4L has a timing belt, not chain. Right?? Just thought that from day one, it's not the result of research or anything. The 2001 Nissan Frontier I test drove when looking back when had a chain, I think. Not sure when I'll be back on the board, but it was nice to check in this early morning. Later...
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    How did you make out looking at that Prerunner? I have a 2000 XtraCab (4 banger SR5) and the only issue I've had is the uncomfortable seats. I hope you took a long enough test drive to find out if you could live with the seats.

    Yesterday I went to a Relax the Back store and bought a back support for it. It helps quite a bit - enough that I'm now planning on keeping the Taco for a couple of more years. We have over 156,000 miles on it now, and I expect it will go another 100,000 miles before I get rid of it. The only maintenance issue I might have in the near future could be a new clutch (still has original one). I don't know what the signs would be for a worn clutch, since I've never had a MT vehicle long enough before to find out! What should I look for?
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    I too have been looking at Tacomas in the 98-00 years, specifically looking for a 4 cyl Prerunner Xtra cab. The best prices I've seen here in Orlando have been around $12K for a 99 or 00 for that type of truck with about 50K miles. Yours has much more so $12990 isn't bad if they'll deal. There's a 98 4 cyl Prerunner with 70K miles advertised here for $11990. Going from an Accord to a Tacoma, I'd pay close attention to the ride and comfort. Other than making sure it's been properly maintained, not sure what else I'd recommend. I've heard about the Toyota oil sludge problem with the 6 cyl engine, but not sure if 99 Tacomas were affected. Even Toyotas and Hondas won't hold up w/o proper maintenance. Good luck.
  • gtoddhgtoddh Posts: 10
    I didn't get to see the truck. I had called them at about 7pm friday night. I got there around noon on saturday. The had sold the truck the night before at 9:30. Last day of the month...

    I did go to the local carmax and test drove both a Nissan Frontier Desert Runner V6 and a Tacoma PreRunner V6. The DR was a '00 with 30K for $13K. Pretty good deal I think, but I wasn't overly impressed with it. The Taco was a '02 or '03 with 21K for $19K. I really liked the Taco. The engine felt much stronger than the Frontier.

    I'm going today to another dealer that has what appears to be pretty much the same Tacoma as I had originally planned to see. I'll let you know how it turns out.

    As far as test drives - the carmax test drive route isn't very long. I'll ask to take a pretty good drive today in the Tacoma. The one big thing that stood out driving both the Tacoma and the Frontier was the road noise from the tires. I guess that's to be expected on these types of trucks. Also, they both danced around a bit on bumps - a result of the live axle and no rear weight I think. These are just a couple of the things I'll have to get used to going from a sedan to a truck.

  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    "Also, they both danced around a bit on bumps - a result of the live axle and no rear weight I think. These are just a couple of the things I'll have to get used to going from a sedan to a truck."

    If the light rear end bothers you, just put a couple of bales of hay, or a couple of cement blocks or a couple of pre-hung doors (what we did recently) and the ride smooths out very nicely.

    One of the things I notice about the Taco vs. my Wrangler is that the Taco leans quite a bit. If you get the Prerunner, my guess is that the suspension would be stiffer and would take care of that (but I don't know since I haven't driven the Prerunner).
  • gtoddhgtoddh Posts: 10
    The second truck I had intended to look at was gone too! Seems PreRunners are pretty popular around here these days.

    I did get to check on out at this one place. It was a '99 Black PreRunner SR5 TRD with 73K miles. It had a solid fiberglass tonneau cover and the bed was lined with some type of padded carpet. It seemed to be a good truck. I was able to take it on a nice 20 mile or so drive. The selling price was $14.5K. I was able to negotiate the trade of my car and the price was in my ballpark, but for some reason the truck just didn't do it for me. I was a little concerned about the miles, although I might be ridiculous for thinking that's a problem. I don't know. One little thing that really kind of annoyed me was that the grip part of the steering wheel was loose from the steering wheel frame itself right at the top of the wheel. It allowed the grip part to rotate a little bit. I don't know if I'm describing this well enough. Basically I could twist the steering wheel grip much the same as I twist the throttle grip on my motorcycle. I don't know how easily this could be fixed but I do know that it would have bugged me to no end until it was fixed. I also don't think I want a black truck. I'm going to narrow my search to lighter colors.

    So anyway, I know I still like/want a Tacoma, I just didn't want that Tacoma.

    However, I have expanded my search to include Nissan Frontiers. Since Tacomas in my price range seem to be hard to come by I'm considering Frontiers now too. Even though the one I drove at Carmax didn't do much for me I'm going to give another one a try before I rule them out.

    Thanks for your responses. I'll keep you posted on how my truck searching progresses.

  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I have to agree with you about the black truck - I have one black vehicle and one white vehicle. The black is significantly warmer.

    Based on my experience, I wouldn't worry too much about 70,000 miles, as long as the engine hasn't been abused. I was thinking about selling my 2000 Taco and getting something with more comfortable seats, but changed my mind when I got the back support. Mine has 156,000 miles on it and I'm hoping to get at least another 100,000 miles before I finally sell it.

    One of the reasons I have the Taco is that I didn't care for the Frontiers. I've owned several Nissans, including a Hardbody pickup that I kept for 11 years (and 290,000 miles). I'd probably still own it but it was an auto and I moved to the mountains. When the second tranny went, I sold it, even though the motor was still in good shape.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    The price for the '99 Black Prerunner seems quite high (IMO). I've seen 99/00 Xtracab Prerunners advertised here in Orlando for under $12K and with less than 60K miles. I think they're still listed at I test drove a 99 Xtracab Prerunner, gorgeous truck, 46.5K miles, listed at $11395 with a $399 dealer fee, but when I called them back after the test drive they just didn't seem to want my business.
    The truck will be for my son, replacing his '98 Mustang.....LOL.
  • spyd3rm4nspyd3rm4n Posts: 5
    I just purchased a 2004 Tacoma 4x2 XtraCab 2.4L Auto two months ago. Since I bought this truck, I have not been able to get better than 18MPG, and that includes highway driving! I have checked just about everything I could think of - Tires are inflated properly, I have tried driving with and without air conditioning, I have tried cruise control at 55, 60, 65, and 70MPH, I have tried various types of acceleration ranging from normal to extremely light, and I have tried several brands and grades of gasoline. No matter what I do, I can't get better than 18MPG! I have been told that during the first 1000 miles I should expect to see lower than rated fuel economy since it's the break in period, however I have 1800 miles on my truck and it's still getting the same mileage as when it was new!

    When I took it to the dealer, they told me there was nothing they could do because the check engine light wasn't on! I have called Toyota and filed a complaint, and I am in the process of sending them a written complaint.

    This truck is rated at 22 city, 25 highway, and I a can't beat 18MPG on the highway! My main reason for getting this truck instead of a 4WD Tacoma or Full Size Chevy or Ford was the fuel economy! I got the 2.4L 4x2 beacuse I don't mind sacrificing some power for better fuel economy, but this little truck is very sluggish and still doesn't get good gas mileage! Something is seriously wrong. If Toyota can't fix my truck to get better gas mileage, I would like a replacement or refund. I am going to go through arbitration if they cannot fix this problem.

    Car manufacturers always claim "Your Mileage May Vary", however I have tried varying my driving technique even to the point where I drive like a grandma and I still can't get better mileage! A friend of mine has a 2002 4x4 Tacoma that averages 20MPG, and that's a heavier truck with a bigger engine and bigger tires!

    Has anyone else experienced poor fuel economy on their 2.4L 4x2 Tacoma?
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I have a pretty much the same vehicle (2WD, Xtracab, 4 banger, mine is a 5 speed - is yours an auto?) except it is a 2000 and I usually get 26-28 mpg. That's almost all highway, driving 70-75 and includes an altitude difference of around 5,500 feet (start at close to 6,000 feet, go to sea level and then back up). It went over 160,000 miles today and I've been quite happy with the mileage. It doesn't have any extra power, but it gets me to work and back. The seats are uncomfortable, but the back support I recently got has helped enough that we are going to keep it for a couple of more years.

    Good luck trying to get the dealer or Toyota to do something about your mileage.
  • gop4evergop4ever Posts: 5
    I have a 2002 4WD Tacoma 2.7 and Im getting 25mpg. Granted it is a manual and I drive very conservatively, but Im still beating the epa estimate.
    I have noticed that my mileage has continually improved since I got the truck, they seem to take a while to break in.
  • ata3001ata3001 Posts: 30
    I have an 04 Tacoma reg cab 4x4 2.7L w/automatic that I bought new in April. I now have approximately 6200 miles on it an am getting just under 23 mpg combined city/hwy driving. This is with 265/70x16 tires and 4.56 rear end gears (stock). Not exactly the 38 mpg combined city/hwy mileage I got from my 01 Corolla S 5 spd. but I can't complain. The Corolla couldn't pull a 2000 lb trailer though as I have with the Tacoma. Now if only the price of gas would come down again...hmm....
  • bearcrkrdbearcrkrd Posts: 167
    I have a 2001 4x2 base model, small cab, 5spd manual, with a spray in bedliner, which adds some weight. It just passed 60,500. Have had the 30 and 60,000 mile services at the Toyata dealer, and changed oil every 3-4,000, with air filter change every 15,000. I get 24-30 overall, with the 24-25 and 29-30 not too common, but have seen it more than once. Most often I see 26mpg, with about 70% freeway. I drive a bit more than 'average', but also take it easy on corners and stop and start smoothly. I keep track of every tankfull. That started partly because of concerns about a neighbor dipping into my tank, but has continued after I stopped thinking about that! I don't have any advice, sounds like you are doing what I would do....
  • ata3001ata3001 Posts: 30
    I went out today driving about 210 miles. I'm not a lead foot driving 55-65 mph. Speed limit was 55 & 65 mph in various places. and I managed to get 27 1/2 mpg. Not bad considering the EPA rating is 18/21.
  • deeztoodeeztoo Posts: 2
    I just bought an '02 Tacoma extended cab and have a question about the interior dome (ceiling) light. The only time it will come on... other than when I turn the switch on, is when I put the key in the door to unlock the truck. Does anyone know how to make the light automatically come on upon opening the door to get out or when the passenger door is opened? Thanks
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