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Toyota Tacoma Transmission Problems



  • chiweihochiweiho Posts: 51
    Well.. mine is finally screwed....after 125k it died. I had the same problem as you guys since 2001, the slip, clunk, the dealer mechanic and Toyota Office of the president "go screw your self" speech, if you guys have the problems now, please make sure you document it and stay on it, after a year the dealer will blow you off.

    "this is the first time i heard about it" from Toyota is bogus, i called since 2001 about my transmission. "computer to learn my habits" is bogus too.
  • tacomashanetacomashane Posts: 27
    Chiweiho, was your transmission run by a computer?

    For everyone else, here is an update on my Tacoma. Since I took it back to the dealer and they reset the computer, it seems to be better as it has not slipped or had that hesitation to engage the gears when I slow down and turn onto another street. Still not a smooth shifting pattern though like my 2000 Nissan Frontier. My Nissan transmission is still like new and I barely feel any shifting to this day and it has 150,000 miles on it.
  • hackattack5hackattack5 Posts: 315
    After reading all the problems on the 09s I bought a new left over 08 tacoma double cab TRD and I am happy to report after 1800 miles it is still shifting fine. I also got it for $6000.00 under sticker.
  • jodyg69jodyg69 Posts: 4
    Traded in my 09 Tacoma TRD Doublecab (crap) for an 09 Honda Ridgeline RTS...WOOOWWW!...10x the truck..may not be an off road machine but man its smooth going down the highway..and has a trunk!(or in-bed beer cooler):-)..hope someone at Toyota reads this..your quality control and customer support has gone to hell!
  • hackattack5hackattack5 Posts: 315
    not sure in a few months if you are going to be happy with that Ridgeline. Maybe you should of researched the government site for recalls and service bulletins, seems Ridgelines have a bad design on the windshield (crack for no reason) and water from the bed runs under the carpet inside the cab. It has no frame so you can't haul or tow anything. There was a number of issue's and then there is the bad gas mileage. If I were you I would trade that thing in for a Nissan Frontier.
  • ferbferb Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Tacoma, when the engine is not in gear all is ok. But when put in gear, i get this whirling noise. Sounds to me like the pump, but i'm not sure. Any suggestions?
  • befuddled2befuddled2 Posts: 111
    I see many posts here and elsewhere describing the hesistant transmission problem on Tacoma's with automatic transmissions. I've talked to some people with the problem and some without. I've called the Toyota National Hotline (800-331-4331) to document the problem. After 3 weeks resolution has not been forth coming. Apparently, Toyota considers this a characteristic of the vehicle and therefore not a problem. It is a safety hazard as while you wait for the computer to decide what to do the potential for positioning you in a situation of a T-Bone accident is very real. Since I see no resolutions to this problem posted here I recommend everyone with this problem call the number above and document it with Toyota. In all reality the problem won't get fixed until enough of us register our concerns.
  • I last posted on May 20th to let everyone know that my transmission was operating smoothly since the computer had been reset. Well, for the past two weeks it has gone back to its old tricks of hesitating, etc. I am convinced this is an issue, but Toyota will not acknowledge it. I have already called the 800#, but may do so again. Ridiculous!! To top it off, I now have two rattles/vibrations coming from the passenger side door (the window and door lock panel) and from under the glove compartment. Driving me nuts. Guess Toyota was right when they issued a statement a few weeks ago that their overall quality had declined in the last few years.
  • wabbitzwabbitz Posts: 1
    590 miles in..
    and the tranny drags coming out of overdrive
    its a lease so its going in for a checkup
    i guess ill report back on the service i get
  • tacoma1958tacoma1958 Posts: 21
    I have filed paperwork for arbitration concerning the transmission problem on my 2009 Tacoma. The company that is conducting the hearing is hired and payed for by Toyota.I was given the options of either presenting via oral presentation or via documents only. I chose the latter. I do not have hopes of winning but am keeping my fingers crossed.
  • casteebcasteeb Posts: 13
    Maybe we should be doing a class action law suit? Start a petition on-line and see how many owners will join? If we have enough, maybe we can find a way to file.
  • texas14texas14 Posts: 1
    I will! I HATE driving my 09 Tacoma. Sickens me to know I traded in a great vehicle for this piece of crap.
  • befuddled2befuddled2 Posts: 111
    Whom did you fill the paperwork with for arbitration. I think all of us with this problem should do the same. Thus far I'm being tossed from one person to another within Toyota and the dealership. I believe it to be a problem with serious repercussions. Keep posting so we can stay on top of this. Thanks
  • djwtarheeldjwtarheel Posts: 14
    I must say that as I am currently looking for a small/medium size truck to purchase in the next few weeks, I will not be looking at the 2009 Tacoma any further with so many problems reported. I had narrowed my choice down to the Tacoma and Frontier and these posts just made up my mind for me...maybe if they start losing sales, they'll take notice and fix this serious problem. I hope you all get resolution to your problems...good luck...
  • befuddled2befuddled2 Posts: 111
    Well, surprise surprise. A manager from Toyota called me today to state that it appears that Toyota's position on the hesitation problem is going to be considered a characteristic of the vehicle and therefore they will do nothing. Hog wash. Consider me in if anyone wants to start a class action. I still consider it to be a safety issue. If, I can't count on the accelerator and transmission to react when needed I am therefore put in the position of being T-Boned because I couldn't get out of the way. That's a serious problem and I don't want to be dead right. I'm working up a list of agencies to get involved in this. Anyone with ideas please share. Have a good one.
  • tacoma1958tacoma1958 Posts: 21
    I, too, consider it a safety hazard. I no longer drive my truck. It has been parked for a month or more. The only agency I know of to contact is NHTSA.DOTGOV. I filed a complaint via their web site.
  • pesteele1pesteele1 Posts: 5
    I've been lurking for awhile but thought I'd share this re my 2009 Tacoma standard cab automatic 2WD. I purchased this vehicle in mid-April & now have ~1,150 miles.

    The automatic transmission is largely electronically controlled & has a known software issue that Toyota has already issued a TSB for. Unfortunately, the TSB seems to have made the problem worse, at least in my case, & Toyota doesn't seem to have another fix in the works. For now they'll at least admit there is a
    problem but are stalling on what if anything they'll do about it longer
    term. I sense the dealer is frustrated as well & the service advisor said
    he was sorry but until Toyota stepped up and addressed the problem, he
    couldn't really offer a resolution. Toyota for the time being seems to be
    holding to the line its not a safety or driveability issue at least in the
    sense the vehicle can't be driven.

    The problem first manifested itself at around ~400 in my case with a coarse vibration /shudder on deceleration. Evidently the torque converter locks up early and often (to increase fuel economy) but then doesn't want to let go. This is a bit like lugging a manual in a lower gear than it wants to be in. The vehicles I test drove (&
    mine) are silky smooth until the this issue develops. I never would have
    bought the vehicle if it had driven this way at the outset. The TSB (a
    software download that reflashes the ECM) simply moved what was originally a
    shudder/light vibration when coasting at around 25-30 mph to a more severe
    vibration at around 20 mph, now present on light throttle as well. Another
    issue (potentially a NHTSA concern) is the vehicle will maintain speed and
    even slowly accelerate with your foot completely off the gas on level
    ground - feels like cruise control is on but my vehicle doesn't have it
    installed. The TSB also killed the tight, smooth shifting & turned the
    transmission into a 'slushbox' with dead spots around 1,500 - 2,000 rpm
    where the engine will start winding up but the transmission doesn't really
    respond. At other times it will drop down & grab a lower gear when it didn't
    need to. On other occasions it will feel like it is being manually
    downshifted on deceleration as you would on a long downhill, with slight
    but noticeable engine-braking, followed by the transmission completely

    If you're doing your research, you're aware that the Tacoma is
    class-leader in terms of features (especially safety) & overall design.
    Build & material quality is good. Mine has one clink/rattle somewhere in the
    suspension or the body-frame connection which I could live with. Less
    impressive is the audio which is going in next week to be replaced under
    warranty - intermittently turns itself off on its own, display goes out,
    controls don't work, etc. Evidently Toyota got a whole bad batch from
    whoever the supplier is but at least here there is no argument on replacing it - service advisor said most of the ones from the fall 2008 build are failing this way.

    So, good luck but I'd stay away. You'd think Toyota, of all manufacturers, would realize that their perceived quality & reputation is their single most important asset & that burning customers w/ a poor design and quality and then refusing to address the problem isn't going to work well for them in the long run. I can think of a couple of recent examples of what eventually happens.....
  • befuddled2befuddled2 Posts: 111
    Very good description. I've noticed the feeling of downshifting when coasting as well. Didn't really associate it as being part of the problem but I suppose it could be. I agree to pursue this issue with the NHTSA. Don't know if a common trait with this problem is where it is made. Mine was made in Mexico. A question to be asked also is other vehicles by Toyota employ the drive by wire method as well. Doesn't seem to be near the problem with them. What's the difference in the systems?
  • tacomaryetacomarye Posts: 11
    I have noticed this performance issue as well. When I spoke to the dealer technician about it, he told me that the 5 speed auto transmission (v6) is a "busy" transmission. I have found it to be quite jerky at times.

    It seems to shift to first gear when I turn corners. Which makes the truck seem to jump a bit. Then it shifts to second. Is this the problem in which you are speaking?

    Also, I first noticed that when I brake, I feel the vehicle would shift and it seems to make the braking a bit more difficult. A few times I had to press the peddle to near the floor to get it to stop. I spoke to the dealer about it, they claimed my rear brakes needed cleaned and they also tightened them. It has seemed to fix the problem (or i just adjusted my driving habits)

    As for the transmission, If the computer does learn your driving habits, I feel the amount of shifting has decreased as I am now at 6000 miles.

    I am new to the forum and hope that what I learn from my vehicle can help others.

    I enjoy the truck and have found it handles better than most. Just thought the transmission was tricky.
  • tacoma1958tacoma1958 Posts: 21

    I have not heard about a TSB for the '09 Tacoma. I would much appreciate the number if you have it. I have made multiple trips to the dealer and even met with 2 regional reps from Toyota and they made no mention of a TSB.

  • befuddled2befuddled2 Posts: 111
    I don't know what the TSB # is either. Hopefully, it will show up here. I currently am waiting for the Regional rep to look at the truck. I want to say that I find this rather silly that this is proving to be such a challenge. Don't know why it can't be resolved nor why Toyota is apparently so resistant to tackle the problem.
  • casteebcasteeb Posts: 13
    Yes, good question what it the TSB number. I've sent 4 people to the Nissan dealer in the last 2 months who were considering Toyota Tacoma in Florida, You would think they would wake up one day and realize that fixing this could not possibly be as expensive as loosing their reputation in the small truck business. Apparently they don't get it. The funny part is, about the time they figure that out, it will be too late.
  • pesteele1pesteele1 Posts: 5
    Hi Everyone & thanks for reacting - I wish Toyota would do likewise.

    I'm looking at my service invoice & it states:

    "Test drove vehicle. Verified concern. Found TSB #0096-09 pertaining to concern. Recalibrated ECU per TSB. Test drove - passed." Obviously I don't agree it passed but I can't fault the dealer, I think they are trying but Toyota is just looking away and pretending none of this is happening.

    My suggestion to the group is to:

    - Keep at Toyota at every opportunity - start a case #, send emails & calls as appropriate. I've read some other posts where folks report Toyota Customer Care and dealers claim they've never heard about a compliant about this - I'd take this excuse away from them.
    - Keep posting here - I'd guess someone from HQ lurks here to see how restless the natives are getting.
    - Post on the review pages on Edmunds,, Yahoo, Epinions, etc. Drive their satisfaction numbers down & scare shoppers away.
    - When someone at work or in a parking lot says 'Hey - sharp truck - howdya like it?', tell them. I bet I've already killed a couple sales for them.
    - Answer your Consumer Reports and JD Powers surveys if you get them. My 90 day anniversary is coming up and Toyota better pray JD Powers doesn't sample me.
    - File a complaint w/ NHTSA re inappropriate shifting - I don't want to run down a pedestrian in cross walk because the truck whimsically decided it wanted to drop down a gear too many. Likewise, I did a long 3-4% uphill and it would not shift down.
    - See what recourse you have in your locality re lemon laws, state attorney general, consumer affairs, etc. Probably not much chance here as these are pretty uniformly stacked against the consumer, but you could at least make some noise.

    I'm a realist and I've got Toyota's truck and they've got my money and not much I can do at this point. Sad thing is, I like the truck & if they'd address the transmission issue fairly, I could be retained as a customer (& send some more their way) if they'd quit this GM/Chrysler-like behavior.

    A wise man once said better to make $100 from a customer ten times than $200 once. Balls in your court Toyota.
  • ccl1961ccl1961 Posts: 4
    After reading all this, they have lost a customer for now. I will wait and see what happens but only for a month or so and then here I come Nissan!
  • Seems from the posts that at least word is getting out to potential customers about this issue. My truck now has around 8300 miles on it and still the transmission gets hung up when turning corners, downshifts a little rough when slowing down around 35 mph, and is jerky at times when accelerating. I have also just recently noticed that at around 25-35mph when the transmission starts the downshifting, if I lightly touch the gas, the truck will shudder until I adjust the pressure I am applying to the gas pedal. I have spoke to several 09 Tacoma owners now and everyone I have talked to has experienced the same general issues with the transmission. Problem is, they have not taken any action to complain! I have urged everyone to bring it to the attention of Toyota. And as much as I like everything else about the truck, each time someone asks me how I like it, I tell them about the transmission. Wake up Toyota. You are losing customers. I will not be completely satisified with my truck nor will I be a future Toyota customer unless you address this issue.
  • bishtacobishtaco Posts: 3
    I too have the same tranny issue. Vibration from 25-10mph deceleration and a slip at 10mph. Service says it's normal. Started around 400 miles, now have 1500. Had I known I'd have this issue I would have bought a ridgeline. When toyota fixes this I'll give a posting. Mine is an 09 prerunner four-door SR5. Very frustrating for a new truck. I'd expect this from Ford, not Toyota.
  • casteebcasteeb Posts: 13
    I would not count on Toyota fixing this for you, they haven't for anyone else. I believe we will have to organize a class action suit to get them to do anything about it, they show no interest in the problem.

  • I bought a new 2007 fully loaded Tacoma Manual TRD. There's always been reasons to take it into the shop, though a big one was for a squeaky manual transmission that ended up being replaced after about 20k miles. Since then the front passenger side suspension started squeaking, which the dealer cant find a problem to. I dont offroad. Bigger problem is that when I press or release the accelerator (even turn off and turn on the cruise control) there is a lag and a knock...feels like the engine mounts need replacing. knocking started after 30k service, maybe coincidence, but its not been long after transmission replacement. Second time out of dealer for the knocking last week and dealer refuses to admit there is a problem.

    Overall, though I have tried to ignore it, it appears that I have bought a lemon. I cant find similar problems to mine on the internet, and it does appear that all my problems have been related to car assembly rather than component manufacture, which apparently occur in USA and Japan, respectively. Not finger pointing, just trying to state observations, all of which are up for challenge.

    I hope that some of you have some useful opinions, and even recommendations, but my current state of mind is that i have to sell this tacoma. I had hoped to keep for a few years, and I did do my research which did show that I would spend a little more but get reliability. But I cant trust the truck, I cant trust my dealer, and I dont know when this truck is going to fail again because my conclusion is overall lack of quality during assembly.

    I hope you can help me decide one way or another, either I sell it (and lose my investment money from buying new/cash), or I get dirty with Toyota, which will cost a lot of time and anguish..and probably low expectation of success..and what is success?..they solve the latest transmission problem....and then overall lack of quality yields a new problem in 6 months..?

    Looking forward to your input,
  • ccl1961ccl1961 Posts: 4
    Sounds like you have dealer problems more than assembly problems.
  • befuddled2befuddled2 Posts: 111
    What an excellent description of the problems. I had the Toyota rep look at my truck yesterday and apparently they can't see the problem. Therefore, I filed a complaint with the NGTSA today. I get the feeling this is going to be a long hard road. A necessary one however for safety reasons. Everyone with this problem should file a complaint. Hang in there.
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