2017 Toyota Tacoma Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Transmission, electrical system, and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners


2017 Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma is one of the most dependable trucks on the market, consistently scoring high-reliability ratings in all major surveys. But even the best vehicles have flaws. According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, the main problem areas for the 2017 Tacoma are the powertrain, engine and electrical system.

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Problems with the Transmission

All modern pickup trucks, including the Tacoma, have a rear differential that transfers power from the engine to the wheels. Inside the unit is a collection of gears that must be kept lubricated by oil. Any leaks can cause fluid loss and eventual failure of the assembly.

The rear differential should last the life of the vehicle. Unfortunately, the unit in the Tacoma is known to leak fluid early on, opening the door to premature failure.When this happens, the assembly may seize, causing the vehicle to abruptly stop moving.

Many owners have complained of their trucks leaking differential fluid. One from Parksley, VA, wrote into the NHTSA website, “My Toyota Tacoma is leaking fluid from the rear differential. Currently, there is a recall on some 2016 and 2017 models.”

As the owner mentioned, Toyota addressed the concern quickly, issuing a recall (17V285000) on228,000 of its 2016 and 2017 pickup trucks. The automaker instructs dealers to fix the leak and replace the differential as needed.

Regrettably, the rear differential isn’t the Toyota’s only powertrain problem. There are also numerous complaints of transmission issues, such as delayed engagement, harsh shifting and slippage.

An owner from Whittier, CA, complains to the NHTSA, “The truck often stays at a higher gear and will either lug the vehicle or jerk/rough downshift.”

Toyota has issued a technical service bulletin (TSB) to address the issue. The TSB (T-SB-0077-16) reads:

“Some 2016 – 2017 model year Tacoma vehicles equipped with the 2GR engine and the AC60 6-speed automatic transmission may exhibit one or more of the following shift feeling concerns: · Delayed engagement Park to Drive or Reverse to Drive. · Harsh 1st – 2nd upshift. · Delayed upshift when using cruise control. · Busy shift-like hunting gear behavior when driving on highway speed/slight grade. · Engine flare during 3rd to 4th gear shift when in cold condition after several hours soak.”

The remedy is for dealers up reprogram the truck’s main computer, the Engine Control Module (ECM).

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Toyota Tacoma Transmission Problems

TACOMA REAR DIFFERENTIAL LEAK – MY 2017 TOYOTA TACOMA IS LEAKING FLUID FROM MY REAR DIFFERENTIAL. CURRENTLY THERE IS TOYOTA RECALL ON 2016 AND SOME 2017 TOYOTA TACOMA MODELS.

MY TOYOTA DEALERSHIP HAS HAD MY 2017 TACOMA TRUCK SINCE MID JULY. AFTER WEEKS OF CALLING THE DEALERSHIP THEY CANNOT GIVE ME A COMPLETED REPAIR DATE. TOYOTA HAS FAILED OR IS UNABLE TO REMEDY THE DEFECT WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME AND I WANT TOYOTA TO EXCHANGE MY CURRENT TRUCK FOR A NEW ONE: MY CURRENT TRUCK HAS LESS THAN 10,000 MILES. CALLS TO TOYOTA RESULTED IN NO ACTION TAKEN ON THEIR PART TO RESOLVE THIS MATTER.

THE CURRENT RECALL AFFECTING 2016/2017 TOYOTA TACOMA REAR END DIFFERENTIALS DOES NOT INCLUDE THE OFF ROAD MODELS. MY DIFFERENTIAL IS LEAKING AS WELL AS MANY OTHERS AS EVIDENCED BY TOYOTA TACOMA FORUMS. WHY IS THIS? WE ARE AT THE SAME RISK OF POTENTIAL CATASTROPHIC FAILED AS THE NON OFFROADS MODELS.

Problems with the Engine

Gasoline-powered engines need three things to run: fuel, spark, and compression. On modern vehicles, spark is controlled by the ECM based on input from the crankshaft position sensor (CKP). If the CKP sensor signal is lost, there will be no spark and the vehicle will stop running. Obviously, a huge safety concern.

Some 2017 Toyota Tacoma models suffer from CKP sensor problems that can lead to stalling. An owner from Fort Worth, TX, wrote into the NHTSA, “Engine stalls when attempting rapid acceleration when engine RPM is less than 3,000. This is a safety issue.”

To address the concern, Toyota has issued a recall (17V356000)of 32,000, V6-equipped trucks. In it, the automaker instructs dealers to replace the CKP sensor with an updated component.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Toyota Tacoma Engine Problems

ENGINE STALLS WHEN ATTEMPTING RAPID ACCELERATION WHEN ENGINE RPM IS LESS THAN 3000. THIS IS A SAFETY ISSUE. I RECENTLY ATTEMPTED RAPID ACCELERATION WHEN MAKING A LEFT TURN TO AVOID A COLLISION WHERE AN ONCOMING DRIVER RAN A RED LIGHT. THE ENGINE STALLED. I HAVE EXPERIENCED OTHER SIMILAR INCIDENTS. I HAVE REPORTED THIS TO MY TOYOTA SERVICE CENTER TWICE. THE FIRST TIME I WAS TOLD TOYOTA IS AWARE OF THE CONDITION, WHICH WOULD BE ADDRESSED IN A SOFTWARE UPDATE. THE SECOND TIME I WAS TOLD MY ENGINE WAS OPERATING WITHIN NORMAL SPECIFICATION PARAMETERS, AND NO SUCH SOFTWARE UPDATE WAS FORTHCOMING. IT WAS RAINING THE DAY I BOUGHT THIS VEHICLE, SO IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE TO TEST LOW END ACCELERATION. I WOULD NEVER HAVE BOUGHT THIS VEHICLE HAD I KNOWN LOW END ACCELERATION WAS SO LETHARGIC. ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS IT HAS NEARLY GOTTEN ME KILLED

WHEN DECELERATING AT ANY GIVEN TIME VEHICLE LOSES COMPRESSION AT HE BRAKE PEDALS AND FEELS AS IF THOUGH VEHICLE IS THRUSTING AND LOSING POWER TO ENGINE. AND ALSO WHEN SLOWING DOWN WHEN SPEED REACHES 20 MPH, VEHICLE CAN BE FELT ALMOST WANTING STALL.

I BOUGHT A TOYOTA TACOMA THINKING I WAS PURCHASING A ROUGH TUFF TRUCK. IT IS BY FAR THE WEAKEST TRUCK/CAR I HAVE EVER DRIVEN. IT HAS NO POWER, CANNOT PULL MORE THAN AN INFLATABLE RAFT, DOWN SHIFTS IF A BUTTERFLY FLIES IN FRONT OF THE TRUCK. GAS MILEAGE IS PATHETIC, MY KIDS 2004 FORD RANGER HAS TWICE THE POWER AND CAN CARRY AND TOW THREE TIMES AS MUCH AS THE TOYOTA. THE TRUCK IS PATHETIC! SHAME ON YOU FOR SELLING ME SUCH A WEAK SHAMEFUL TRUCK.

Problems with the Blower Motor

These days, drivers expect the cabin of their vehicle to be temperate at all times. But many 2017 Toyota Tacoma owners are being forced to sweat in the summer, and freeze in the winter, due to a failed blower motor.

As the name implies, the blower motor is responsible for pushing either warm air or cool air into the vehicle cabin. To do accomplish this, it turns a circular fan, often referred to as a “squirrel cage”. In the 2017 Tacoma, the squirrel cage has been known to break apart from the motor, rendering it useless. When this happens, all HVAC operation is lost.

Of the concern, an owner from Collegeville, PA, wrote into the NHTSA website, “I have a 2017 Toyota Tacoma with 53,000 miles on it. The squirrel cage on the A/C blower motor broke today during a 100 degree day. From what I can see online, there is a back order on the replacement part.”

So far, there have been no TSBs, recalls or campaigns from Toyota addressing the issue.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Toyota Tacoma Electrical Problems

I HAVE A 2017 TOYOTA TACOMA WITH 53000 MILES ON IT. THE SQUIRREL CAGE ON THE AC BLOWER MOTOR BROKE TODAY DURING A 100 DEGREE DAY. FROM WHAT I CAN SEE ON LINE THERE IS A BACK ORDER ON THE REPLACEMENT PART. THE PLASTIC FEMALE PORT FOR THE SHAFT CRACKED IN HALF AND NOT THE CAGE MAKES A HORRENDOUS NOISE. POOR DESIGN: METAL SHAFT SPINNING INSIDE PLASTIC IS A RECIPE FOR A STRESS CRACK WHICH IS WHAT THIS APPEARS TO BE. MY TRUCK IS OUT OF WARRANTY SO NOW I AM STUCK PAYING FOR THE REPAIR!!

THE SPEEDOMETER WOULD GET STUCK AND NOT DISPLAY AN INCREASE OR DECREASE IN SPEED WHILE DRIVING. OR IT WOULD DISPLAY AN INCREASE IN SPEED UP TO 60 MPH AND THEN TREAT 60 AS 0. EX. I WAS GOING 45 BUT IT READ THAT I WAS GOING 95. OR SOMETIMES, IT WOULD JUST INCREASE ALL THE WAY TO 120 MPH AND THEN STOP. TURNING THE VEHICLE OFF AND THEN BACK ON DID NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE. THE GAUGE WOULD STILL READ WHERE IT WAS WHEN THE CAR WAS TURNED OFF. I WAS NEVER SURE OF THE SPEED I WAS GOING AND BROUGHT THE VEHICLE INTO THE DEALER WITHIN A MONTH OF THE OCCURRENCE. THE TRUCK WAS ONLY 10 MONTHS OLD. THE VEHICLE HAS BEEN AT THE DEALERSHIP FOR 2 MONTHS. THEY ARE WAITING ON TOYOTA TO CREATE & SHIP A NEW SPEEDOMETER BECAUSE TOYOTA IDENTIFIED THAT THE SPEEDOMETERS IN SOME OF THEIR MAKE/MODELS WERE FAULTY.

TRUCK CAB FAN PLASTIC SQUIRREL CAGE (THE AIR MOVER) HAS SEPARATED FROM FAN MOTOR SHAFT. CANNOT RUN FAN, THEREFORE CANNOT DEFROST WINDSHIELD OR RUN HEATER/AIR CONDITIONER, ALL ARE POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS ISSUES. PROBLEM PRESENT WHETHER VEHICLE IS STATIONARY OR IN MOTION..

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About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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12 COMMENTS
  • 2017 T

    […] 11. 2017 Toyota Tacoma Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your … […]

  • Michael

    blower motor sound is horrible. It defiantly came apart on one of the hottest days this year. July 14 2020. No AC. And from the posts I have read it sounds like the part will be on back order. 2017 Tacoma with 38000 miles , yea factory warranty 36000. But you know even it was at or below the mileage they would fight you on replacing it. Up till now it has been a dream truck. Texas Heat is a killer!!!

  • Kevin C

    I have the 2017 2.7 4 cylinder tacoma with gear hunting issues at speeds of 70mph or higher. Truck will shift into 5th, then 6th, then immediately shift back down to 4th at 5500rpms, kicking the passengers back into their seats, then upshift back into 5th, then 6th, then back down to 4th and the cycle continues. 4-5-6-4-5-6-4-5-6 non stop, making it impossible to drive on the interstate. I’ve taken the truck to my local toyota dealer 3 times for a remedy, however there are no ECU flashes to be done because all of the attention toyota is spending is on the V6 engine. I am extremely disappointed and would like to know what my options are.

  • S. O

    My 2017 Toyota Tacoma is having issues with acceleration. I was making a left turn and it stalled completely. I pushed the pedal to the floor and nothing. It was as if I had ran out of gas! It finally engaged as a truck was barreling toward me. This is the second time this has happened to me. I did notice that each time this has happened there was either a heavy dew that morning or it had rained slightly durning the night. I took it to the dealership today and they said it did not throw codes and they could not get the problem to duplicate, and returned my truck as is to me. I have a 2010 that’s a beast compared to my 2017 piece of crap. Boy Toyota screwed themselves changing a good thing. Mine does down shift if it even senses a hill, a breeze, or a slight incline but it has done that since it was new so I’m use to that, but this trying to kill me thing, it’s new and I’m not liking it much!

  • Richard G

    If the dealership service technicians never replicate the problem, say it’s driving normal, or say they hear the noise but there is nothing to be done, how do we sue for lemon? When I read all of the issues others have with their 2016-2018 Tacomas, I cant believe how consistent and similar all of our complaints are. After numerous visits to the dealership and re-programming of the transmission, I’m still left with an unsafe truck. I have major anxiety trying to complete normal merging and turning across traffic. If your law firm has had any luck helping Toyota Tacoma owners, please contact me.

  • Joel G

    Having all the same problems just at soon as I hit 60k no ac motor making a noise must be a lifter piece junk and told the dealer thought I was buying something reliable now my kid had to suffer for 2 hour drive in the heat to go to a dealer when I already no what the problem is and waste more money for nothing also seals around the doors are peeling off at less then 60k and had to bring in truck for other recalls

  • Robin P

    2018 Tacoma is pure crap with the V-6 auto trans….ZERO power when a slight ask from the pedal, and then it downshifts not once, but twice until the engine revs out of control…..release the gas pedal, and there’s a hard clunk as the transmission engages again…..these things are junk, and the Auto magazines are to blame for this POS being released to the public in this shabby form.

    Wanna talk driving it in the Atkinson cycle fuel saving mode?….the entire vehicle surges and jerks as if someone was pulling the wires from the spark plugs…….and then it downshifts until the engine is screaming to keep up with the speed limit.

    Here is my experience with Hendrick Toyota of Apex ,NC…..service monkey says after driving it, that it drives like all of the other Tacomas, come pick up your vehicle….second time, they do an update for the ECU…(wasn’t available during the first complaint at 500 miles)…….after the third time returning it for the same issues, service monkey cites VIN numbers of the Tacoma’s he compared it to. Told me that I could NOT bring it in on Friday and get the Hendrick Advantage loaner the salesman showed as I was invited into the Hendrick family…(yeah right, complete BS…)

    My response was, “well they’re all as un-driveable as this thing”…..currently waiting for the verdict from Toyota. I don’t think it’s gonna be good. Morale of this sad story? STAY AWAY….these guys build Lexus, my wife has a STELLAR Avalon, and they put out this crap??…..lawyering up seems to be the next step

  • BHB

    My 2017 Tacoma Off-Road transfer case started leaking transmission fluid at less than 10,000 miles. Toyota has to pull the transfer case to replace a gasket. At 16,000 miles it started leaking again. Toyota suspects 1 of 2 seals were damaged by the mechanic when the gasket was replaced. Seals now replaced and so far no leaks. The latest generation Tacoma’s do not have a dipstick to check transmission fluid level, so now I’m paranoid of new leaks and regularly look under the truck for a leak.

  • Stefani H

    Purchased used 2017 Toyota Tacoma at dealership in San Marcos. TX less than a month ago, lifter or rocker arm problems. Very concerned because first owner had it for 13 months, second owner had it for only 1 month according to Car Facts.

  • Art M

    I Have 2017 Tacoma limited . When rains the backup camera is foggy and can’t see behind backing up . When driving on a slight grade trans mission changes to lower gear and stays their even when road levels off . When driving in town transmission shifts too early and cause engine to lag

  • Robert k

    I have been having issues with my 2017 tacoma xp. It has the 6 speed transmission. There seems to be slipping , along with some pretty hard downshiftting!! It also seems as if it could be the rearend!!! The Toyota company in Brunswick supposedly reprogrammed the transmission, but it didn’t help!!! This is the 4th time I have brought it to their attention!! I want my truck ( to be right) !!! It’s a new truck!!!

  • Ken Y

    My concern is for the V6 auto transmission. when at a complete stop, it’s in 4th gear. Base on my experience driving a manual transmission, a complete stop on 4th gear will stall and not enough RPM to take off smoothly. The highest gear at a complete stop should be at the most in 3rd gear for the engine and transmission to be more responsive to the driver. Just my opinion.

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