2021 Toyota Tacoma Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Powertrain, steering and engine issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners


2021 Toyota Tacoma

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma might not be as popular as the Big Three, but customers still tend to flock to this pickup. After all, the automaker claims it is “built for the endless weekend.” With that in mind, the endless weekend could include sitting at the service center because of the defective engine, malfunctioning powertrain or poor steering capability.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2017   2018   2019   2020

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Problems with the Engine

For a truck to have enough power for towing and hauling, it must be equipped with a potent engine. However, numerous customers are running into issues with the motor under the hood of the Toyota Tacoma.

One Edmunds review states, “The engine has a knocking noise when cold that seems to almost go away when it’s warmed up. Lots of research says piston slap. I cannot find a definitive answer on whether it is harmful to the engine or not.

Toyota has yet to discuss the defects occurring with the engine, but it’s clear there are some. Service Bulletin #T-TT-0615-20 shows that the Toyota Quality Group wants to hear from customers regarding the vehicle surging and hesitation issues. With this information, the company plans to issue some guidance on how to repair the problems. How long will it be until more guidance is given out? It’s possible this communications is simply a ploy to never resolve the problem, but merely make it look as if the automaker cares. At least Toyota still cares about appearances and doesn’t completely brush off the consumer.

Problems with the Powertrain

The complaints with the powertrain are just as disturbing. It seems that the new Toyota Tacoma can’t provide the smooth drive that consumers are hoping for.

Another Edmunds review states, “Whenever I am decelerating, the RPM goes up. Especially when gears are changing the speed is changing from 40 to 38 or from 20 to 29. Sometimes, even the speed also raises and I feel a pull and then it starts going down like normal. I too it to the dealer because I Still have warranty from factory. And then found nothing. I am in the city and I do continuous stops. It is very annoying driving like that. I also feel like I am going to hit someone if I am not being careful. At the dealership I was told that the computer did not pick anything up. And that I need to be on a look out for recalls. I made a research ( after I bought the truck) and I see Transmission and gear problems from 2016 all the way to 2020. So there is nothing yet out there for 2021.”

At least this time, the company is willing to make some warrantied repairs to the powertrain and suspension. Service Bulletin #T-SB-0124-20 acknowledges that 4WD Tacoma models with the automatic transmission might suffer from a vibration while decelerating, which is different than the original complaint. The vibration can be felt in the steering wheel, floorboard and seat. It requires replacing the steering wheel damper and occasionally the leaf springs to repair. However, this fix doesn’t do anything about the RPMs rising when slowing down. Maybe the Tacoma wants to be the tough guy on the block and is looking to race the vehicles next to it. In that case, it belongs on the drag strip instead.

Problems with the Steering

To top off all of the problems, the steering isn’t much better with newer  Toyota Tacoma trucks. After all, who needs to control the pickup while hauling heavy goods?

A final Edmunds review states, “The steering on the 2021 Tacoma SR5 is terrible. Very little feedback on hi-speed curves feels like it wants to oversteer. The bump steer at higher speeds is dangerous, my truck jumped almost 1/4 lane after hitting a minor bump at 60 mph.”

Toyota hasn’t released any information about this problem, probably hoping it would simply fade into the background with the larger complaints taking center stage. Meanwhile, owners are left trying to keep the pickups under control on the roadways. Let this serve as a warning to other drivers, stay far away from Tacoma trucks unless you want to be the victim of this dangerous oversteering situation.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work aid your lemon at no cost to you. The law makes Toyota pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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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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