2020 Toyota Tundra Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brakes, engine, fuel, and headlight issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

While many people focus on the Big Three when choosing a truck, there is a strong market for the 2020 Toyota Tundra. The automaker claims that this truck is “built to go the distance.” But a growing number of drivers wish they had made a different choice because of the many problems their vehicles have.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2021   2022   2023

Most Common Problems

There are a wide range of problems that owners of the 2020 Toyota Tundra are experiencing. Complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show how diverse these are.

In terms of numbers, fuel/propulsion system problems top the list followed by engine and brake problems. But there are no specific issues that stand out. Just lots and lots of problems.

There are many other components and systems that are implicated in complaints as being problematic. These include the electrical system, exterior lighting, steering, airbags, forward collision avoidance, powertrain, suspension, wheels, seats, tires, and visibility/wipers. Additionally, there are several issues that owners categorize as unknown or other. For example:

  • When an owner from Missouri drives at about 15 mph, “I hear and feel a ‘clunk’ sound under the front drive side, and feel it on the gas pedal.” It first happened five days after the truck was purchased. The dealer “cannot fix it.”
  • While driving down the highway, an owner from Colorado experienced the sunroof exploding spontaneously. “Portions of glass (were) traveling up and out of the vehicle, with some falling into the sunshade.”

There are also five recalls that affect the 2020 Toyota Tundra.


The recalls relate to the electrical system, exterior lighting, the gasoline fuel system, and steering.

  1. The fuel pump system of 1,525,742 Toyota vehicles may fail. The recall doesn’t give a reason but warns that if the fuel pump fails, the engine can stall while driving, which increases the risk of a crash.
  2. The headlight electrical connector of 158,489 2018-2021 Tundra trucks may overheat. This increases the risk of a fire.
  3. The power steering gear assembly may leak oil due to incorrect manufacturing. If this happens, the power steering assist can suddenly fail, increasing the risk of a crash.
  4. As above. However, the one recall affects 22,462 Toyota vehicles and the other only affects 151.
  5. The turn signals in 183,397 2018-2020 Toyota Tundra vehicles with LED headlights aren’t bright enough. The danger is that other drivers may not see turn signals or hazard lamps, increasing the risk of a crash.

2020 Toyota Tundra Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Fuel/propulsion System
Unknown Or Other
Service Brakes
Electrical System
Exterior Lighting
Air Bags
Power Train

Fuel System

We can’t pinpoint the causes of fuel/propulsion problems, and there is no way of knowing whether they are related to the recall (No. 1 above). Interestingly, despite the recall, there aren’t any manufacturer communications about the fuel system to dealers!

One of the earliest complaints dated August 2020 is vivid. “When the pump shuts off and is removed from the filler neck, fuel begins to come back out of the filler neck and pours out onto the vehicle and ground.” The complaint is from an owner in New Mexico and the Tundra had only 2,000 miles on the clock. “The spills have ranged from a cup full to half a gallon.” This, the complaint states, presents a “hazardous and potentially deadly situation.”

While this owner’s dealer wasn’t helpful, another dealer told him that “some Toyota vehicles have done this due to a defective overflow valve in the fuel tank.”

Other more recent complaints state that the:

  • Fuel pump is running while the engine is off and the key is turned off
  • The owner is unable to fuel the truck “normally”. The gas stops pumping after two seconds whichever gas station the owner goes to.

An owner from Oklahoma tells a slightly different story. His 2020 Tundra stalled and lost power at about 45 mph several times, always at high speed. The dealership generated “a code for rough idling – low fuel. They did no repairs and offered no explanation.” Then, three miles after picking up the truck from the dealership, it “died in traffic. The safety of my family was certainly at stake and had my wife been driving the vehicle she likely couldn’t have steered the vehicle to safety. These are not low-speed failures, but rather high speeds.”

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Hot weather seems to affect the engine of the 2020 Tundra. But there are other problems too.

An owner from California states that the truck won’t start in hot weather (above 115℉). “This is extremely dangerous.” Predictably, the dealer was unable to replicate the issue because the weather wasn’t up to 115℉.

Another owner from California told the same story, but it happens when the weather is over 100℉. “It will often take a few seconds to start the car. It cranks over, but won’t catch. When the weather gets to 110℉, it would fail to start after it has been driven, then parked.” He then has to wait about 90 minutes before it starts again. “This is a safety issue,” but “Toyota has refused to fix it as they say they need to wait for a 115℉ day to duplicate the issue.”

An owner from Arizona states that if the air conditioning is on when he starts the engine, the compressor “partially seizes.” It also makes a “very loud noise” while driving. When this happens the “truck will slow suddenly as if the brakes were applied until the compressor engages.” The dealer can’t replicate this issue, but says “it sounds like the compressor clutch engaging,” in which case there is “nothing wrong.”


The very first complaint issued to the NHTSA about the 2020 Toyota Tundra was about “exterior lighting.” An owner from Tennessee stated, “Front turn signal bulbs are too dim to view during daylight operation. This creates a very serious, avoidable accident risk while oncoming traffic cannot clearly observe turn signal indicators during daylight hours.”

An owner from Washington wrote, “The front turning indicators are too dim for daytime use. I have had several close calls with vehicles not realizing my indicator was on.”

It turns out that these were more than just complaints, but  true safety concerns. Eventually, the automaker was forced to recognize the problem with a recall (No. 2 above). That was on July 15, 2020. But, nearly two years later, in 2022, owners were complaining that the parts needed for the recall repair weren’t available.


Another vital safety aspect is the service brakes. This system must be in properly working condition to stop the truck before an accident happens. However, there are multiple problems on this level as well.

One NHTSA complaint states that while driving at 6 mph there was an abnormal sound. The dealership said it was the ABS actuator, but the mechanic was unable to provide a cause for the failure. The vehicle was not repaired even though the failure mileage was only 800.

Another complaint states that the brakes, rotors, and caliper broke twice while the truck was “brand new.” And it cost the Florida owner more than $2,400 to have them fixed.

An owner from Montana had a completely different experience while driving in a 25 mph zone. He was approaching a red light and preparing to stop. “I had increased the pressure on my brake pedal and then my foot slipped off the pedal just seconds before I ran into a truck that was stopped at the red light.” He discovered that the brake pedal pad was made from PVC and wasn’t a Toyota part even though the vehicle was purchased new. It had “been substituted by Toyota Manufacturing.” He then discovered that his 2023 RX 350 “has the same brake pad. Both of these pedal pads will be replaced immediately from Toyota.”

There have been several tech tips (TTs) and technical service bulletins (TSBs) about the Tundra brakes. One issue they address is that some brake pads “may exhibit a groan or squeak noise in various driving conditions.” Another is that brakes sometimes degrade after long-term vehicle storage.

Forward Collision Avoidance

Like all the other problem areas, forward collision avoidance issues are varied. For example, the first complaint describes how the automatic braking system stopped the truck suddenly while traveling at more than 70 mph with no other vehicle close. The second time it happened, the owner was lucky that vehicles traveling behind didn’t crash into the truck.

Conversely, when another vehicle struck the right corner of a Tundra, the automatic braking system didn’t respond and the airbags didn’t deploy. The owner, from Florida, was thrown forward into the windshield which resulted in body, head, and spine injuries.

The son of an owner from South Carolina had a similar experience, but, luckily, wasn’t injured. Traveling at about 30 mph, “and not paying attention”, and slammed into another truck that was pushed into a car. “The pre-collision system did not engage and stop or even slow the truck down.”

Next Steps

If you think you might have bought a lemon, don’t sit back and accept your fate.  Rather let experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Toyota pay legal fees, and you may be able to get your lemon out of your life.

Lemberg Law is a lemon law firm with many years of experience. All you have to do is call our Helpline or fill out a contact form and we’ll call you back.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 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.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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