2018 Toyota Tacoma Top Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Vehicle speed control, brake, engine and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Truck enthusiasts looking for a compact pickup often find themselves drawn to the 2018 Toyota Tacoma. While the Japanese company claims that the newer models are “built for the endless weekend,” we think they meant to say it was built to sit at the dealership. It seems owners face many repairs because of the defective powertrain, malfunctioning service brakes, a faulty engine and broken vehicle speed control.

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Powertrain

When it comes to a capable and well-made truck, the vehicle must have a reliable powertrain. Otherwise, it’s not going to haul and tow the way it should.

Tacoma owners know that this truck doesn’t check that box. Just look at this one Edmunds review. “Do not buy this truck until Toyota fixes the auto transmission. Bought a new 2018 TRD Offroad in April. From day one had issues with the trans. Really hard shifts for no reason, roar and vibration in 5th gear, and just a full blown slipping feeling while at steady speeds and accelerating. This is the third year for this trans and Toyota is still trying to fix it with software updates. Also the rear drum brakes were out of round and had to be resurfaced, on a new truck! Lets also not forget fit and finish. The gap between the rear bumper and body was noticeably different between the left and right side. Very disappointed in this truck so I sold in July. It was my third new Tacoma and my last until Toyota fixes the transmission and gets control of the quality issues.”

The automaker is fully aware that there are transmission issues with this model year. In Service Bulletin #T-SB-0062-18, the company talks about a stumbling upon take-off in high altitude areas. To fix the problem, a reprogram is needed to the ECM. Other bulletins talk about noises and vibrations as well. Sadly, there is nothing about this ride that is comfortable for most consumers, except for those who like to be on a bucking bull.sue a debt collector.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Toyota Tacoma Transmission Problems

BOUGHT TRUCK BRAND NEW. WITHIN A COUPLES OF WEEKS NOTICED RANDOM SHUDDERING VIBRATION WHEN DRIVING THE VEHICLE NOT AROUND 35-45 MPH. TOOK IT TO TOYOTA. THEY STATED THEY COULD NOT IMITATE THE ISSUE. SHUDDERING IS WORSE AND CONSISTENT AROUND 35-50 MPH. CURRENTLY AROUND 2000 MILES ON ODOMETER. SCHEDULED ANOTHER APPT WITH TOYOTA THIS WEEK.

WHEN SITTING ON A HILL, WHEN YOU MOVE FROM THE BRAKE TO THE GAS THE TRANSMISSION (AUTOMATIC) APPEARS TO GO IN NEUTRAL AND THE TRUCK WILL ROLL BACKWARDS A WAYS BEFORE THE TRANSMISSION ENGAGES AGAIN. I TOLD A SERVICE TECH AT DEALERSHIP ABOUT IT AND HE SAID THEY ALL DO IT AND THERE IS NO FIX.

TRANSMISSION LOCKS OUT IN 4TH GEAR, MID SPEED SURGE, SURGE AT IDLE WHEN TURNING THE WHEELS. CRUISE CONTROL DOESN’T FUNCTION IT WILL INCREASE RPM’S ON A FLAT ROAD.

Service Brakes

When hauling and towing, it’s vital that the braking system works as it should. Drivers require heavy-duty systems to stop them in time with this added weight applied.

As we see in this NHTSA complaint, that’s not the case with the Tacoma. “The contact owns a 2018 Toyota Tacoma. While driving approximately 30 mph and attempting to stop the vehicle, the brake pedal extended to the floorboard when it was depressed and the stopping distance was extended. In addition, the brake sensor indicator illuminated. The vehicle was towed.”

It sounds like this vehicle was included in the recall labeled NHTSA Campaign Number 18V888000. 44,000 vehicles suffered from a brake master cylinder that was improperly machined. This led to an increase in stopping times and reduced brake performance. In the meantime, it’s possible that many crashes happened prior to the brakes being fixed. Between the vibrations, unusual shifting patterns and failure to brake, this truck can’t decide what it wants to do.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Toyota Tacoma Brake Problems

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 TOYOTA TACOMA. WHILE DRIVING VARIOUS SPEEDS, THERE WAS A VIBRATION IN THE BRAKE PEDAL WHEN IT WAS DEPRESSED. THE BRAKE PEDAL WAS APPLIED AND TRAVELED TO THE FLOORBOARD. THE VEHICLE FAILED TO RESPOND. THERE WERE NO WARNING INDICATORS ILLUMINATED. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO TOYOTA OF SPRINGFIELD WHERE IT WAS DIAGNOSED THAT THE ROTORS NEEDED TO BE ROTATED, RESURFACED, AND THE DRUMS NEEDED TO BE REPAIRED. THE VEHICLE WAS REPAIRED, BUT THE FAILURE RECURRED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS CONTACTED AND PROVIDED CASE NUMBER: 1905151322. NO FURTHER ASSISTANCE WAS PROVIDED. THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE FAILURE WAS SIMILAR TO NHTSA CAMPAIGN NUMBER: 18V888000 (SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC). THE CONTACT REQUESTED DIAGNOSTIC TESTING ON THE MASTER CYLINDER. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS APPROXIMATELY 14,900.

WHEN APPLYING BRAKES, BRAKE PEDAL WENT ALL THE WAY TO THE FLOOR. VEHICLE IS NOT EVEN 1 YEAR OLD YET AND BRAKES SHOULD NOT BE HAVING PROBLEMS.

Engine

While the Tacoma isn’t a heavy-duty truck, it still needs a powerful engine to get the job done. With the right amount of horsepower and torque, this truck could be a front-runner in the market. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what the specs are of this pickup because the engine quality is so poor.

Just take a look at this Edmunds review. “Apparently Toyota continues to sell the 2018 Tacoma. Knowing there is a computer problem with the fuel system. AFTER buying and bringing it back to the dealer with about 600 miles, to complain about a jerky acceleration and deceleration, was told that there had been several complaints, so Toyota was aware of the problem but continues to sell it! After complaining at the dealership and with the Toyota customer service, was told there was a computer program problem and that a service advisory was coming out. Sometime this fall (2018)!!! After filing complaints with Toyota and the NC Attorney Generals Consumer Protection Agency, I received a call a week later from the local dealership, stating they had a “remedy,” now not this fall. Took it in waited around for the “repair,” was told it was ok now. NOT! Still has the same problem, so don’t buy a Toyota V6 without driving and check for a rough acceleration!”

While the company hasn’t officially acknowledged the above complaint, there are plenty of other issues with this truck’s engine. In Service Bulletin #T-SB-0316-17, Toyota discusses a knocking noise coming from the vacuum pump. If this occurs, a replacement is issued. Honestly, it’s probably just the truck trying to get the driver’s attention. Knock Knock – it’s time to get a new truck.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Toyota Tacoma Engine Problems

2018 TOYOTA TACOMA. CONSUMER WRITES IN REGARD TO A MANUFACTURING DEFECT AND SAFETY HAZARD. CONSUMER STATES VEHICLE ENGINE NOT PROPERLY CIRCULATING OIL WHEN ASCENDING HILLS.

FOUND METAL SHAVINGS IN THE ENGINE WHEN CHECKING OIL LEVEL ON THE DIP STICK WHEN THE CAR ONLY HAD 1,000 MILES. THE NEXT DAY I WENT TO TELL THEM AND THEY SAID IT WAS NORMAL BUT I ASKED FOR AN OIL CHANGE AND ASKED FOR MY FILTER AND OIL BACK WHEN THEY WERE DONE. ON THE REPORT THEY GAVE ME THEY SAID THEY DID NOT FIND ANY METAL SHAVINGS BUT ON MY FILTER I FOUND MANY, I STILL HAVE THE FILTER AND OIL JUST INCASE I NEED PROOF. TILL THIS DAY I STILL CAN SEE METAL SHAVINGS WHICH WORRIES ME I FOUND THIS IN OTHER TACOMAS TOO AND I DONT KNOW WHY THEY ALWAYS SAY IT’S NORMAL WHEN IT’S NOT.

Vehicle Speed Control

On modern vehicles, the speed control is meant to protect drivers and passengers. When this sophisticated system fails, it only spells danger.

As we see with this Edmunds review, a lot happens when the speed isn’t adequately controlled. “Believe 2016+ Tacoma owner’s complaints about the issues regarding the engine/ automatic transmission. I purchased my 2018 relying on its past reputation and, unfortunately, not doing enough prior research. I never thought I would run into to such issues having purchased a new car though. Especially at a price of over $37,000. Have you ever driven a large moving truck when it is packed to its gills and can barely move because it is so loaded down? That’s what driving this truck feels like. On a daily basis, my Tacoma hesitates upon acceleration and at certain speeds, surges unpredictably at idle (yes, even with the A/C off) and falls on its face after the transmission decides to go up a gear. It also clunks very loudly sometimes when decelerating. There are also various other clunks/ bangs heard from other parts of the truck when just starting out and the truck has sat for a few hours. Not too worried about these since it is, after all, a truck. Being new it should probably not do this though. I am stuck in a 39-month lease with this ‘THING’….only 36 more months to go….UGGGGHH!!!”

We don’t see any service bulletins related to this issue but have to wonder why the automaker chose to remain quiet. Is it because they have so many other problems to deal with that they are just too busy or do they want people to think everything is fine. The good news is that when the truck is experiencing massive shifts in speed, most other vehicles will gladly choose to stay away from it.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Toyota Tacoma Speed Control Problems

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 TOYOTA TACOMA. WHILE DRIVING APPROXIMATELY 65 MPH WITH THE CRUISE CONTROL ACTIVATED, THE VEHICLE SUDDENLY ACCELERATED TO OVER 100 MPH. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO SUBURBAN TOYOTA WHERE IT WAS DIAGNOSED THAT THE FAILURE WAS DUE TO A FAULTY SENSOR. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT REPAIRED. THE CONTACT INDICATED THAT THE FAILURE OCCURRED ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOT NOTIFIED OF THE FAILURE. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 19,500.

I WAS DRIVING THE TRUCK AND IT JUST TOOK OFF ‘LIKE A RUNAWAY VEHICLE OVER 100 MPH” AND IT DID THIS TWICE.I WAS DRIVING ON EXPRESSWAY APPROX 65 MPH. MY INJURY IS THAT I AM PARANOID TO DRIVE THIS TRUCK. THE TRUCK DOES WHAT IT WANTS.

THIS VEHICLE HAS A 5 TO 8 SECOND DELAY IN ENGINE RESPONSE THAT MAY CAUSE A FATALITY. TOYOTA CORP HAS BEEN CONTACTED AND REFUSES TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT

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