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

Brake and electrical issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners


Consumers have lots of choices when it comes to finding a capable full-size truck. What appeals to many drivers is that the latest Tundra lineup claims to be the “definition of strength.” Unfortunately, that’s not what we see with the 2018 Toyota Tundra. This full-size pickup features many faults from the shoddy electrical system to the malfunctioning electronic stability control. Maybe the slogan should be the definition of inadequacy instead.

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Electrical

Most components in a modern vehicle require the use of the electrical system to operate correctly. When something in this critical system is defective, it affects the entire performance.

One NHTSA review illustrates what happens when the electrical system malfunctions and puts people in harm’s way. It says, “I purchased a 2018 Toyota Truck in 1/2018. On 3/5/19 at approximately 8 am, I assume an electrical fire started beneath the center console. While at a standstill, in my driveway, around 8 am, a fire started inside the Toyota. The fire could not be extinguished with water and continued to grow and only after a fire extinguisher was used was the fire extinguished. The flames had consumed the plastic in the center console to the automatic gear shift. The fire had run along the same path as the wire which could be visually seen. We tried to move the vehicle a distance from a building but could not shift it forward, only backwards. We contacted our insurance and after inspection they determined it was an electrical fire. There has been no aftermarket additional to this vehicle. We contacted Toyota and the vehicle was towed to the dealership on 3/8/19. A claim was filed with Toyota thereafter. It is now May 2019 and to date we do not have our car back nor know of the status of our claim. As an FYI, the truck was serviced on 8/2018 and they advised us that they had to replace the truck battery with a brand new battery on this same new car – something about not keeping the charge. The fire was on 3/5/19 and it is now 5/3/19 and we have not been advised on the status of the vehicle.”

If that’s not scary enough, almost 170,000 Toyota vehicles, including this Tundra were involved in a massive recall labeled with NHTSA Campaign Number 18V685000. This is related to another electrical problem, mainly the air bag electronic control unit. It appears that the ECU detects a fault that doesn’t exist. When this happens, the air bag will not open during a crash. While many car owners will never need to deal with a car fire or non-deploying air bags, Tundra owners have the pleasure of facing both. Maybe it is Toyota’s way of illustrating their “strength?”

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Toyota Tundra Electrical Problems

TOYOTA SAFETY SENSE SENSORS RANDOMLY MALFUNCTION AND FLASH FALSE WARNING LIGHTS. MY TRUCK WILL TELL ME TO BRAKE AND BEEP ALARMS AT ME EVEN IF NOTHING IS IN FRONT OF ME. THIS HAS HAPPENED AROUND 10 TIMES, AND ONE TIME MY TRUCK SLAMMED ON MY BRAKES ON THE INTERSTATE FOR NO REASON. LUCKILY THIS WAS AT NIGHT WITH NO OTHER VEHICLES AROUND. MYSELF AND MANY OTHER FOLKS HAVE HAD SERIOUS ISSUES WITH THIS SYSTEM AND TOYOTA DOES NOTHING TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE PROBLEM.

TOYOTA’S PRE COLLISION SENSOR IS UNRELIABLE AND INTERMITTENTLY PRODUCES AN ERROR “PCS SENSOR UNAVAILABLE — CLEAN SENSOR”. THE SAFETY PORTION OF THIS COMPLAINT COMES WHEN DYNAMIC CRUISE CONTROL IS SET. WHEN THE SENSOR NO LONGER DETECTS A VEHICLE IN FRONT OF YOU, AND THERE IS CLEARLY THERE, THE VEHICLE WILL ACCELERATE AT A HIGH RATE OF SPEED BEFORE THE ERROR SHOWS ON THE DASH CLUSTER IF THE CRUISE CONTROL IS SET ABOVE THE TRAFFIC FLOW. I EXPECT AND REALIZE THAT THIS SITUATION COULD OCCUR, AND I AVOID USING THE SYSTEM. HOWEVER, IF SOMEBODY NOT FAMILIAR WITH THIS FAULT IS USING THE PCS SENSOR AND DOES NOT REALIZE THIS PROBLEM, THEY WILL END UP REAR ENDING ANOTHER VEHICLE, POSSIBLY AT A HIGH RATE OF SPEED BEFORE THE SYSTEM SHUTS ITSELF OFF AND LETS OFF THE THROTTLE. I KNOW I AM NOT THE ONLY PERSON DEALING WITH THIS ISSUE. SEVERAL OTHERS ON DIFFERENT FORUMS HAVE DESCRIBED SIMILAR SITUATIONS WHERE ACCIDENTS HAVE BEEN NARROWLY AVOIDED BECAUSE OF THIS FAULT. THE LOCAL TOYOTA DEALERSHIP HAS BEEN HELPFUL IN RESOLVING THIS ISSUE AND HAVE PULLED CODES FOR A FORWARD CAMERA COMMUNICATION ISSUE. A NEW CAMERA HAS BEEN ORDERED AND WILL BE INSTALLED NEXT WEEK.

Service Brakes

Today’s driver depends on the braking system with their life. It’s expected to stop a vehicle before it collides into something else. In addition, newer braking technology helps you know when it’s time to brake. The downside to that is when the software and systems start to fail.

One NHTSA user documents this very situation. The review states, “Pre-Collision System Warning and Brake Warning Light keeps coming on and warning me for no reason. Toyota has reset the sensor 3 times so far and the system keeps failing. My biggest concern is the vehicle will start braking for no reason and end up getting rear-ended by another vehicle. This has been happening since we bought the truck.”

The automaker doesn’t have a lot to say about this situation. They do offer some guidance regarding the Pre-Collision System, just in case the average consumer is an idiot. In Service Bulletin # T-SB-0059-18, they suggest turning off the system whenever planning to drive off-road, use chains for winter weather, tow another vehicle or use the truck as a tow vehicle. It appears that the automaker is going to start offering driver’s education classes. Considering how well they make their vehicles, it might be best to pass on getting advice from them.

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

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 TOYOTA TUNDRA. WHILE DRIVING 25 MPH, THE CONTACT NOTICED AN ABNORMAL NOISE COMING FROM THE REAR DRIVER’S SIDE WHEEL. WHILE APPROACHING AN INTERSECTION, THE BRAKES SEIZED WITHOUT WARNING WHEN THE BRAKE PEDAL WAS DEPRESSED. THE CONTACT EXITED THE VEHICLE AND NOTICED THAT THE BRAKE CALIPER WAS TANGLED IN THE WHEEL. THE CONTACT ATTEMPTED TO DRIVE THE VEHICLE WITH THE EMERGENCY BRAKE ACTIVATED, BUT IT CAUSED MORE DAMAGE TO THE RIM AND REAR DRIVER’S SIDE WHEEL. TEAM TOYOTA OF GLEN MILLS DIAGNOSED THE VEHICLE AND INFORMED THE CONTACT THAT SOMEONE TAMPERED WITH THE BRAKE SYSTEM, WHICH CAUSED THE FAILURE. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT REPAIRED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS MADE AWARE OF THE FAILURE AND PROVIDED CASE NUMBER. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 13,900.

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 TOYOTA TUNDRA. WHEN THE VEHICLE WAS STARTED, THE BRAKE PEDAL TRAVELED TO THE FLOOR WITHOUT WARNING. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO DEALER TO BE DIAGNOSED, BUT THE CAUSE OF THE FAILURE COULD NOT BE DETERMINED. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT REPAIRED AND THE FAILURE RECURRED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS MADE AWARE OF THE FAILURE AND STATED THAT THE VIN WAS NOT INCLUDED IN A RECALL. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS APPROXIMATELY 14,531.

Electronic Stability Control

Electronic stability control is a modern system designed to help drivers keep control of their vehicles. It works in conjunction with other components to keep everyone safe on the road.

So far we’ve seen that the Toyota systems don’t provide a lot of confidence, but for further validation, just read this review from the NHTSA website. “Driving truck on freeway with cruise control at 80-85 mph. Road was flat and it was a clear sunny day. No cars near the truck and the pre-collision sensor went off causing the truck to almost emergency brake before I turned cruise control off. There was nothing in front of the truck to cause this. A few weeks before the pre-collision sensor and lane departure sensor went off and told me the truck needed to be taken to the dealer. The sensors have gone off a few times saying they are inoperable.”

It shouldn’t be a shocker that there is also a recall for these systems. According to NHTSA Campaign Number 18V122000 over 64,000 models might have an electrical interference in the power supply circuit that causes the electronic stability control system to deactivate. When that happens, this truck no longer complies with the FMVSS standards. This truck might have been tough – back in the caveman days before modern tech came to be. Now, it just seems to fail on so many levels.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Toyota Tundra ESC Problems

DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD THE FOLLOWING LIGHTS CAME ON THE DASH SOME OF THEM FLASHING AND LOUD BEEPING SOUND, ALSO DISPLAYED THE FOLLOWING ERRORS ON THE CENTER LCD.

LIGHTS: ABS, BRAKE, 4LO, 4HI, HAZARD TRIANGLE, BSM, TRACTION CONTOL, RCTA.

WARNING MESSAGES:

DRIVE START CONTROL MALFUNCTION, VISIT YOUR DEALER.

BLIND SPOT MONITOR MALFUNCTION, VISIT YOUR DEALER.

TRAILER BRAKE ERROR, IF TOEING COME TO A SAFE STOP WITH MANUAL CONTROLS, CONTACT DEALER.

REAR CROSS TRAFFIC ALERT MALFUNCTION, VISIT YOUR DEALER.

WHEN THIS HAPPENED I PULLED OVER TO A STOP, PLACED THE TRUCK IN PARK AND TURNED IT OFF. WAITED 10 SEC AND TURNED IT BACK ON, SAME MESSAGES AND LIGHTS WERE ON.

APROX 30SEC LATER ALL LIGHTS TURNED OFF AND EVERYTHING WAS BACK TO NORMAL.

VEHICLE PRE COLLISION SYSTEM (PCS) MALFUNCTION/OFF LIGHT WILL ILLUMINATE UPON ENGINE START AND TURN OFF ONCE SEVERAL MINUTES HAVE PASSED WHEN DRIVING. LIGHT SEEMS TO ILLUMINATE MORE OFTEN WHEN THE TEMP IS <40F. UNKNOWN IF THE PRE COLLISION SYSTEM IS ACTUALLY WORKING WHEN THE MALFUNCTION LIGHT ILLUMINATES.

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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