A line-up of Toyota pick-up trucks on grass.

Transmission Problems in Toyota Tacoma Trucks

By Michelle Fausto

Toyota’s tagline – “Let’s Go Places” – reflects its commitment to producing better, more reliable cars that can take consumers places far and wide. Unfortunately, some consumers of Toyota Tacoma models have trouble even leaving their driveways less than a year after their purchase. Thousands of owners of 2015-2019 Tacoma models have complained about transmission and overall powertrain problems in their vehicles, which have yet to have been sufficiently addressed by Toyota.

Delayed Engagement in Tacoma Automatic Transmissions

A very common automatic transmission problem, delayed engagement refers to the delay that occurs for a few seconds when shifting into gear or between park, drive, reverse, or neutral. A perfectly functioning transmission will engage your vehicle immediately when you shift into gear. Delayed engagement in these Tacoma models is a public safety concern, as many owners have extensively complained about the transmission’s failure to engage while driving on the streets. 

Delayed engagement is not only frustrating, but can pose a serious safety risk for the driver and those in close proximity to the vehicle. One owner of a 2016 Tacoma complains about the slow engagement of the transmission when cold, stating, “I was almost involved in a wreck pulling into traffic when the transmission…went into neutral for a few seconds when I let off the gas”.

Another owner expresses their frustration with their less-than-a-year-old Tacoma, stating that the car “starts clicking and grinding in gear and rolls backwards” on an uphill grade when the brake pedal is released. They recount the mortifying experience of having “nearly hit a child in the street as it rolled backwards and would not engage even though it was still in drive”. Another driver recalls backing out of their driveway and waiting “up to 1 minute without the transmission engaging” when they put it in drive, arguing this to be “a major safety issue as you can be stranded in traffic until the transmission engages”. 

The Tacoma Lurch

Once the transmission finally engages, Tacoma owners can still face issues with their vehicles “lurching and jerking”, as one owner puts it. This sudden and uncontrollable vehicular movement can occur at really low speeds from 1 to 5 mph, or even when coming to a stop or shifting gears. The lurch occurs when trying to engage the transmission, and happens very abruptly once the transmission finally engages. The truck is lunged forward when shifting from park into reverse, for example. 

A 2016 Tacoma owner expresses the danger of pulling and out of tight spaces like garages, stating that they “have to keep on the brake because it will just try and lunge at anytime”. A 2019 owner says that this “lurching and jerking” usually happens when the car is in reverse and your foot is putting some pressure on the brake. Similarly, a 2017 owner states, “When I am at a stop and hit the accelerator, the truck jumps a little, then falls on its face. Most of the time it happens when I’m trying to pull into traffic and I need the truck to go.” The possible accidents that this lurching could lead to makes Tacomas a danger to the road. 

Affected Toyota Tacoma Models

Among the vehicles affected with transmission problems, these makes and models warranted the most complaints from Tacoma owners:

  • Tacoma SR V6
  • Tacoma TRD Off Road 4×4 3.5L
  • Tacoma TRD Sport 4×4 V6
  • Tacoma Trd Off Road V6
  • Tacoma SR5 V6

How We Can Help 

If you are the owner of any 2015-2019 Tacoma models and have been experiencing transmission problems, our attorneys at The Lemon Firm are happy to help. It is our priority to get you fairly compensated for the issues Toyota has lacked to address. Please call us today for a free consultation to learn how we can assist you: (833) LEMON-FIRM.