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Toyota Tacoma Care and Maintenance



  • You might want to look for a vacuum leak. On older cars the advance/retard on the distributor was a common cause for this, but I don't know how that relates on newer engines. Another thing to look at is fuel pressure.
  • At 30k, my owners Manual recommends oil change,replace engine air filter, Spark plugs (not sure why so early for plugs), engine coolant,and overall inspection of other components. The dealers 30k check up recommends replace trans fluid, diff fluid, pcv valve,fuel filter along with inspecting everything else.They're asking between $340 to $380. Any reason why there's a huge difference from owners manual to dealer recommended 30k maintenance? I'm considering doing my own maintenance checkup following the owners maual recommendation. Chilton only covers Tacoma's up to 2000. I assume the engine for 2000 and 2001 are simular.
  • tcasboytcasboy Posts: 214
    The reason for the difference between the dealer's recommendation and the factory's is the $340-380 worth of needless work for the dealer's service department.
  • Yeah, I was kinda thinking that myself. All the more reason why I've decided to do the work myself according to my Owners manual service schedule.Does anyone know if the mechanical and electrical layout for the 2000 and 2001 are similar? Chilton reps tell me they won't be printing a book for the 2001 Tacoma any time soon. The current book goes up to 2000 (same with Haynes). That's fine with me if the parts are in the same place.
  • My '96 2wd Extra cab has 57K miles on the clock and needs new shocks. I was thinking of using KYB Gas-A-Just front and rear. The Chilton manual makes it sound pretty straightforward. Is this something that a reasonably practical person could do? Are there any major complications or problems I might encounter?


  • coni1coni1 Posts: 3
    I am about to buy an 04 Tacoma 4x2. The dealer is suggesting that I buy the extended warranty up to 100,000k. Should I? Is it worth the value, or is it just a dealer's ploy to make $$$? Please advise ASAP - today is the day for the purchase.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    I had Edelbrock shocks put on my 96 2wd LX V6. I paid an independent shop to install them after I purchased them off a web-site.

    The front shocks are mounted inside the coil spring which complicates the installation. Also gas shocks have to be compressed to get them onto the mounting studs.

    I decided to let someone with a lift and all the proper tools do the deed. I don't get the thrill that I used to from crawling around under cars. (To each their own) :)

  • jonjonsjonjons Posts: 19
    Hey James,
    Thanks for the information (again). I suspected that the shocks would need to be compressed. You are right about working on cars. Realistically, I would rather spend the time with my daughter!

    Still looking at Foresters? We love our '99 S. The XT looks nice huh?

  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    Jon -

    Forester turbo, oh yeah!! I've test driven both the auto and 5-spd versions and they are both terrific. I know that I would love to own a 5-spd Forester, turbo or otherwise, but having driven a compact pickup for the last ten years, I just can't give up the utility that a pickup offers.

    Maybe in a couple more years, when my truck's mileage gets too high to use as my daily driver, I'll buy a Subie and keep the Tacoma for occasional duty.

  • mga58mga58 Posts: 17
    I am considering step tubes or running boards for my 02 Tundra. Any suggestions for brands for bolt ons? Comments on ease of installation and durability are welcome. Thanks.
  • edgexedgex Posts: 6
    I purchased a pair of Challenger brushed stainless steel oval running boards for my new 04 Tundra DC. Its actually a dealer part and direct bolt on. $359. No drilling required and installed in a snap. I had factory running boards on my 94 Toyota pickup that were nice too, but the drawbacks were that they collected salt/dirt over time and seem to help contribute to my doors rusting on the bottom that occurred over a 10 years period. Plus they were steel and the paint flaked/rusted over time too. The Challenger steps are strong with four mounting hinges. I read alot of the posts of the the tundra solutions forum board on the net. Most said to stay away from the black or chrome painted steel and buy stainless. Don't know if this helps.
  • I purchased Performance Products tube steps for my 2001 Tacoma - they also supply for Tundra. Easy installation and no after-installation problems, but you do need a torque wrench to do it right. Took about 2 hours to spend crawling and wrenching. I highly recommend the chrome-on-stainless choice. Appearance is great.
  • beer47beer47 Posts: 185
    Today in frigid NJ I jumped my garaged '74 Hilux so I could run it a little before a coming snow storm. I try to run it once a week to keep it up in cold weather. After the jump, I could start it but it would not idle at all, but stall. The "CHG" light also came on and stayed on while I would goose the gas to keep it running. I tried to run it around the neighborhood but with all the stalling it was just too dangerous. Did I burn something out during the jump? The turn signals strangely enough would not work either, but the 4-ways would. I checked the fuses and they were all intact. What the heck is going on, any ideas? thanks in advance.
  • paul_ppaul_p Posts: 271
    I've done my own maintenance on my 1993 Toyota Pickup and at 189,000 miles can't say that its been bad for the vehicle. I stopped bringing it to the dealer 4 years ago when they charged me $65.00 to change my manual transmission fluid - about $5.00 worth of oil. A regular oil change at the same dealer uses about the same amount (4.5 qts) of oil and was only $19.99 which should cost even more because they have to install a new oil filter too. What's up with that? Rip Off.

    Now I change all the fluids myself. The peace of mind I get knowing I'm not getting ripped off is well worth my time and getting a few cuts and scrapes on my hands (none if I'm real careful).

    I also had an independent mechanic try to tell me my transmission was gone (at 177,000 miles) when all that was wrong was a shifter linkage bushing. Thank goodness for a really sharp friend & Toyota parts dude and the Internet, that's how I figured out and fixed the problem with a $9.00 part. So I try to do almost everything myself, except for starter and fuel filter replacement - a bear on this model truck.

    Unfortunately the independent shop had installed a new clutch in an effort to diagnose before I stopped them, but with 90,000 miles on the old clutch I figured it was not really a rip off I guess. But I'll bet the old clutch would have lasted much longer.

    Sure, by now the '93 truck is out of style but it will have 200,000 miles on it by this summer, and Gosh is it cheap to run! :-)

     - P.
  • paul_ppaul_p Posts: 271
    Sounds like something electrical happened during the jump. At first I thought it might be an electric choke issue, but if the CHG light stays on when you give it the gas, it's probably electrical.

    I had that happen once on a 1966 Plymouth Belvedere, I burned out a fusible link and the alternator gauge when I replaced a valve cover (shorted the wires together when I bolted the cover on). That problem took 4 months for me to find, and caused the lights to be dim, battery not to charge, and many calls for towing in the cold Northeast.

    Did the cables reverse by accident, even for a brief moment? You might also want to check your alternator and/or voltage regulator to see if anything's burned out there. Does anyone know if parts stores will test alternators for free or do they charge (no pun intended)?

     - P.
  • touctouc Posts: 28
    I have not even burned my first tank of gas yet, and I am already thinking about my first oil change. How soon should I do it (for the loose, break in particles, etc.)? And, when I do it, should I go sythetic blend, or totally sythetic yet? Or, not do sythetic at all? Any guidelines to follow here? Thanks.
  • I have a 2002 Tacoma. How do I adjust the headlights? The dealer tells me he's done it right, but I think the lights shine too high.
    Thanks in advance.
  • ageylingageyling Posts: 16
    Is anyone familiar with the spark plugs on the V8 Tundra Engine? I believe it is the 2UV-FE Engine. I have a 2003 and the manual says there are spark plugs but when I look at the engine, where the spark plugs should be there are flat rectangular black caps. The caps have a bolt holding them down adn there is a four pin connector attached. Following this wire to the harness, I find that the other 7 similar caps lead to the same harness and the harness goes in a large black cover on the front of the drivers side valve cover. So I assume these rectangular caps are the spark plug covers and the black cover on the front of the valve cover is the distributor, but this leaves me with one issue. Why four wires leading to the spark plug and why are they so small? Normally spark plug cables are much thicker due to the high voltage.
  • ageylingageyling Posts: 16
    Found an answer somewhere else for a 2000 Tundra. I assume it is the same.

    They are located under each coil boot...Instead of one ignition coil like in older vehicles...each spark plug has its own coil boot.
  • spydspyd Posts: 3
    Hey all. I have an 2001 Tacoma DC, I'm quickly reaching 50K miles and need to change all 4 tires, 5 with the spare. But I'm also thinking about trying to improve the ride quality by changing the shocks and struts, the ride is just a little too bouncy for me as an everyday driver. My questions are:
     1. If changing the shocks and struts, along with new tires are enough to improve the ride, or is it there not going to be much difference?
     2. Is there a particular brand/make I should be looking for?
     3. Should I just get my tires changed and the 50K mile service, and save the money for the Scion tC for the "better" ride?

    Thanx in advance
  • jyd2jyd2 Posts: 2
    My 2001 tundra needs the required 30,000 mile service done.

    My local toyota dealer is quoting $429.95 to do the job, while an independent mechanic is advertising something like $280.00 in the newspaper.

    My question is whether or not i'm required under warranty to have the work done by a Toyota mechanic. Am I stuck having to pay the inflated dealer price if I don't want to void the warranty? I really don't have that much money and it would be a great help to save over 100 bucks.

    i have the 3 extra year extended warranty with Toyota also..doubt that makes any difference.
  • doochemdoochem Posts: 1
    I would like to know if Tundra owners in southern states like Florida are using toyota recommended 5w30 motor oil. It seems to me that in hot climates it would be wiser to use something like 10w40 instead. I have been told that the only reason Toyota recommends the lighter oil is to eke out a little higher gas mileage. I have always used 20w50 in my former cars, and it worked out very well. I drove each one of them over 150,000 miles and neither of them was consuming any oil at that point. What is the general feeling among Toyota owners? I have a 2003 Camry and a Tundra that I have to service. each vehicle has over 1000 miles on it. Thanks
  • deritzderitz Posts: 1
    Years ago I used to do all my own maintainance on my vehicles... & still do my own oil changes. But now with the high prices being quoted, am ready to do it again. However the manual makes sure there is NO information so you are enticed to go to the dealer or outlet.. What I need is the recommended brands of Transiition fluid, Differential Oil & Trasfer Case oil & the amounts needed for a 1999 Toyota Tacoma SR5 4x4 3.4L-V.6 As a female guess I am going to have to get over grease & dirt on my hand for the sake of economy... Found a great site at but it just states fluid of your choice & it's been so long I am at a loss. Thanks for any help anyone can give.
  • baltychenbaltychen Posts: 50
    My truck now have over 210k miles and recently I put a rebuilt engine. The only problem I have is it won't shift to OD drive and the manual OD button malfunctioning. Otherwise, everything runs OK. Anyone can give me some tips? Thanks.
  • ageylingageyling Posts: 16
    Anyone know what the 2003 Tundra with a V8 has for timing? A belt or chain? I'm looking through the maintenance guide and it only mentions replacing the timing belt for the V6 at 90k. Nothing about the V8.
  • pamelaqpamelaq Posts: 1
    I need to change my brake pads. I changed them once before, but had a friend help me. Can't ask him this time. I don't have $130 for a maintainance manual. Does anyone know the step by step directions to change my brake pads? Have a manual and can skan the page? Know of an on-line reference page that serves like a maintainance manual? All I need is something as a guide so I have confidence, I can take it from there.
  • dwbehrensdwbehrens Posts: 15
    Those 'caps' are power packs which contain an ignition coil and solid state switch (taking the place of the 'points') which receive their orders fron the on-board computer. The iridium core plugs are under the 'caps'.
  • dwbehrensdwbehrens Posts: 15
    2003 V8 Tundra has a belt, not a chain. Should be changed at 75,000 miles (I stretch it to 100,000 with no problems)

    The dealer (Towne Toyota in NJ) that I bought mine from has a sign in her service department stating prices for common repairs. For the 4.7 V8 timing belt replacement is $525.00!!! I asked one of the service writers if people actually paid that. He said "Yup". I will be changing it myself when the time comes. has a page which informs readers of 'belt or chain' for all Toyota vehicles for the last ten years or so.
  • morgan4morgan4 Posts: 5
    The book says change oil every five thousand miles.....just wondering what others are doing? I was thinking of sticking with every 3500 miles since I tow a boat......comments please.

    also....don't most Toyota dealers use Castrol 5w30?
  • mmullinmmullin Posts: 10
    I have a 2002 4 cylinder Tacoma and am looking for information on changing the spark plugs. I found a web site with detailed instructions including photos but it is for the 6 cylinder. Has anyone found anything for the 2RZ-FE? Other than the manual? Thanks in advance, Mike
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