Engine and powertrain issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
The 2023 Toyota Tundra is a full-size truck built by a Japanese manufacturer. The Tundra has been driving on America’s roads since 1999. Just a year after its introduction, it was awarded the North American Truck of the Year award by Motor Trend. It won the same award again in 2008. Today, it’s the only full-size pickup still manufactured in Texas.
The best sales years of the Toyota Tundra were 2005 and 2006. However, the 2022 Tundra isn’t much lower than these years, proving it’s still a leader. The 2023 Tundra could show even better sales numbers when the year is over.
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Most Common Problems with the 2023 Toyota Tundra
Many drivers look forward to hauling, towing and going off-road with the 2023 Toyota Tundra. It’s packaged as a capable truck meant for any adventure. Yet owners have been left dealing with a great number of mechanical malfunctions. Whether it’s the engine issues or the powertrain failures, most drivers are caught off-guard. There have also been reports of electrical system issues and trouble with the tires and wheels, as well as issues with many other components and systems These include backover prevention, equipment, forward collision-avoidance, brakes, steering, structure, vehicle speed control, and visibility.
One of the most recent problems to emerge relates to the fuel/propulsion system. In addition to complaints, one of four recalls issued for the Tundra and other Toyota vehicles is because of a fuel leak problem. There is also a class action lawsuit that alleges 2022-2023 Tundra trucks risk catching fire.
2023 Toyota Tundra Complaint Summary
|Complaint Category||Number of Complaints|
|Fuel System, Gasoline|
|Back Over Prevention: Rearview System Braking|
|Unknown Or Other|
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control|
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking|
Problems with the Fuel Line and Gauge
Complaints to the National Highway Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the 2023 Tundra fuel/propulsion system started in June 2023. Ironically, they don’t report a fuel leak, which is the reason for the fuel system recall, but rather a fuel gauge issue.
The first complaint states that the fuel gauge was at ¾ of a tank. But after parking on a ”slight incline” for two hours the gauge had “issues”. The main issue was that while driving home, the owner noticed that the “fuel gauge was reading completely full.”
A more recent complaint, from an owner in Nevada in August 2023, also reports a faulty fuel gauge. Initially, when fueling up, the gauge remained static as though no fuel had been put in the tank. Then, after driving, there was still “no change to the fuel gauge. I parked the vehicle at home and planned to take it into the dealership the following day, but my fuel gauge corrected itself later displaying a full tank. I’ve seen in the forums this has been a problem.”
Fuel System Recall
On August 10, 2023, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) issued a recall for 168,179 2022-2023 Tundra and Tundra Hybrid vehicles. The initial problem is that a “plastic fuel tube routed near metallic brake lines may chafe against the brake lines and become damaged, possibly resulting in a fuel leak.” But more dangerously, a fuel leak near an ignition source is a very real fire risk.
NHTSA Campaign Number 23V566000 states that dealers will undertake an interim repair until a final remedy is available. This involves installing “protective materials and a clamp on the fuel tube, free of charge.” When there is a “final remedy,” they will replace the fuel tube, free of charge.
Even though the recall was posted on the NHTSA website on August 10, documentation from Toyota shows that owners will only be notified by October 9, 2023.
Class Action Lawsuit
On August 24, 2023, two weeks after the recall was announced, Benjamin Murphy filed a class action complaint against Toyota in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, Lufkin Division. The preliminary court statement provides details of the action brought “on behalf of himself, and all similarly situated persons who purchased or leased any 2022 or 2023 Toyota Tundra Trucks.”
It states that the “aggregated claims of the individual Class members exceed the sum or value of $5,000,000, exclusive of interests and cost.”
Some of the points mentioned are the fact that the defect is a massive fire risk because of the highly flammable liquid gasoline and vapor. Additionally, environmental and economic impacts include the potential waste of millions of gallons of gas and “the volatile nature of the earth’s climate.”
Murphy states that he believed he was buying a high-quality, highly reliable vehicle. While he heard about fuel line defects on social media, no-one affiliated with Toyota informed him of any defects. He maintains that the resale value of the vehicle is now diminished because it has “the reputation of being a faulty vehicle.”
The lawsuit alleges that the recall is “a repeatedly ineffective waste of time” because “ there is no true fix for the fuel line defect.”
Problems with the Engine
- Throttle lag: When pulling out from a stopped position, acceleration seems to lag. It can take a few seconds before the truck kicks in and starts moving. This also occurs when attempting to make a left turn while moving.
- Premature engine failure: Some drivers with the hybrid engine have been dealing with complete failure, often occurring while driving. Even when Toyota can’t figure out what’s causing the problem, dealerships are refusing to buy back the trucks. One owner, in particular, reported engine failure occurring at 35 miles.
- Loud, clunking noises: Owners have heard loud noises coming from the rear of the vehicle. These noises often get worse when driving slowly. One dealership told a customer that the problem was bad rotors after 1,100 miles, but it turned out to be a bad driveshaft and damaged rear differential.
- Disappointing 4wd system: Drivers are leaving complaints about the four-wheel drive system. Many people find it works just like 2wd, not providing any extra traction, especially in the snow. It can also take time for the truck to shift in and out of 4wd.
- Transmission failure: Some owners have experienced complete transmission failure within 5,000 miles. In some cases, the truck wouldn’t move at all.
Electrical System Issues
- Faulty speedometer display: The speedometer has been known to turn off and stop displaying. Not only do drivers lose the speedometer when this happens, but all temperature information and driver-assist displays also disappear.
- Warning lights: At random times, warning lights can appear on the dashboard, with or without other failures. For example, one owner had the Power Lost, Hybrid System Failure and Park Failure messages when the truck stopped accelerating above 50 mph. This problem occurred while merging in heavy traffic.
- Crashing Apple CarPlay: Every few minutes, the CarPlay system in some trucks can crash. Additionally, there have been reports of other malfunctions, such as the sound going back and forth between the sound system and the phone or losing map functionality.
- Defective wireless chargers: When owners plan on charging their devices on the way to work, they sometimes find out it’s not possible. Even when trying multiple devices, there have been several occasions where the wireless chargers fail to do their job.
- Unstable tires: The Bridgestone Dueler H/T 265/60/20 tires seem to be unstable for users. The truck often sways with these tires installed and defects have been noticed in the tread pattern. If left unchecked, the defects could even lead to the problems outlined in the next bullet point.
- Blowouts: Other drivers have experienced blowouts, even with less than 5,000 miles on the tire. One owner says the rear tire blew out while going 55 mph. There was a vertical split in the sidewall, proving a defect occurred.
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What To Do If Your 2023 Tundra is a Lemon?
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