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Toyota Tacoma Transmission Problems – Symptoms, Causes, and Fixings

Toyota Tacoma transmission problems can manifest differently. Some owners have reported a “slipping” feeling while driving, where the transmission seems to struggle to shift gears. Others have complained of a “rough” or “jolting” sensation when shifting gears. Some drivers have even reported that their Tacoma won’t shift into gear.

The Toyota Tacoma is a pickup truck known for its reliability and durability. However, there’s been some complaints by owners of this vehicle, as mentioned above.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the causes and symptoms of Toyota Tacoma transmission problems and what you can do to address them. Let’s move on.

Different Transmission Problems of Toyota Tacoma

The transmission problems of Toyota Tacoma come up in different forms. Below are the several types of transmission problems stated in the table.

Model YearTransmission ProblemPossible Fixes
2004 to 2018 and 2019 to 2020Automatic transmission slippingInspect and repair any leaks in the transmission system.
2016 to 2019Rough shiftingInspect and replace any worn or engine mounts.
2015 to 2019Automatic transmission won’t shiftRepair or replace any worn or damaged sensor or solenoid in the TCM.
2005 to 2013 and 2015 to 2019Manual transmission grindingAdjust clutch pedal, replace clutch disk, top up transmission fluid
2005 to 2009  and 2015 to 2022Delayed engagementCheck/fix internal transmission linkage, replace/rebuild transmission
1995 to 2004 and 2018 to 2019Automatic transmission fluid leaksTop up transmission fluid
2004 to 2015Shuddering or shaking during acceleration● Check/replace engine mounts.
● Check/ replace transmission fluid and filter.

Causes, Symptoms, and Solutions of the Toyota Tacoma Transmission Problem

The Toyota Tacoma’s problems with transmissions are prompted by a number of causes discussed below:

Faulty Transmission Control Module

The transmission control module (TCM) is a computer that controls the transmission system. If it goes bad, it can cause all sorts of issues.

Symptoms:

  • When your vehicle feels like it’s slipping out of gear or when it struggles to shift gears.
  • The gears will shift unexpectedly and check the engine light illumination.

Solutions:

  • Replace the faulty TCM with a new or remanufactured unit.
  • Updating the TCM software with the latest available version.
  • Inspecting and repairing any damaged wiring or connections in the TCM circuit.
  • Clearing any stored codes or data in the TCM that may be causing issues.
  • Replacing any failed components in the TCM circuit, such as sensors or solenoids.
Read This Important Article: Convert A 2WD Toyota Tacoma To 4WD

Worn-out Clutch Or Pressure Plate

These parts can wear out over time, especially if the vehicle is driven frequently in stop-and-go traffic or is used for towing or hauling heavy loads. When the clutch or pressure plate wears out, it can cause the transmission to slip or have difficulty shifting gears.

Symptoms:

  • Delayed engagement.
  • Difficulty shifting gears.
  • Slipping clutch.
  • Grinding or shaking while shifting.
  • Soft or spongy clutch pedal feel.
  • Engine RPM increases without a corresponding increase in vehicle speed.

Solutions:

  • Replace the clutch or pressure plate.
  • Bleed the clutch hydraulic system.
  • Adjust the clutch pedal and replace the flywheel.
  • Again repair or replace the clutch cable or linkage.

Low Fluid Levels

Low fluid levels can also cause transmission problems. Transmission fluid is essential for the lubrication and cooling of the transmission. However, if the level of fluid is low, it can cause gears to overheat and malfunction. This is one of the major causes of slipping transmissions.

Symptoms:

  • Engine warning light turning on.
  • Engine overheating.
  • Decreased fuel efficiency.
  • Grinding or whining noises.
  • Strange smell from the engine bay.
  • Difficulty shifting gears.

Solutions:

  • Check and refill the relevant fluid, such as engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, or transmission fluid.
  • Fix any leaks that might be causing the fluid level to drop.
  • Have a mechanic inspect the vehicle for any internal issues that might be causing fluid to leak or burn off.

Lack of Regular Maintenance

The transmission is a complex system that requires regular servicing to keep it running smoothly. If there are no regular oil changes, check and top up fluids and have the transmission serviced at the recommended intervals. Your engine will malfunction or stall.

Solution:

  • Regularly check the overall condition of your engine and promptly address any issues found. Also, ensure the fluid level is ok.

Other Causes

A malfunctioning torque converter, worn out or damaged gears, and engine mounts. Also, problems with the transmission cooler and dirty transmission filters.

For Torque Converter and Engine Mounts:

Symptoms:

  • Transmission slipping.
  • Engine vibration.
  • Unusual engine noise.
  • Engine movement while driving.
  • Poor acceleration.
  • Engine misfire.
  • Engine warning light illumination.

Solutions:

  • Replace the torque converter.
  • Replace the engine mount.

For Transmission Cooler and Filters:

Symptoms:

  • Poor acceleration.
  • Overheating of transmission fluid.
  • Fluid leaks.
  • Delay in gear shifting.
  • Unusual noises.
  • Burning smell from the transmission fluid.
  • Slip or jerky gear shifts.

Solution:

  • Clean or replace the transmission cooler and filters.

Cost of Toyota Tacoma Transmission Replacement:

The Toyota Tacoma transmission replacement cost is about $4,500 to $6,000, with labor and parts inclusive.

FAQs

Questions that people ask regarding Toyota Tacoma transmissions.

How long will a Toyota Tacoma transmission last?

Many Toyota Tacoma can ride up to 200,000 to 300,000 miles if properly maintained. But a Tacoma truck with transmission problems will not last long on the road.

Are Toyota Tacoma transmission good?

The Toyota Tacoma model is known to have a very bad automatic transmission system, among other Toyota truck models.

What kind of transmission is in a Toyota Tacoma?

The Toyota Tacoma has both 6-speed manual transmission and 6-speed automatic transmission. This is mostly found in the 2021 model 3.5L V6 engine.

Key Takeaways:

No matter what the cause of your transmission problems, it’s important to stay on top of regular maintenance and inspections.

This includes checking your transmission fluid levels and making sure they are filled to the appropriate level. Also, having your transmission serviced and inspected by a professional on a regular basis. Consider these key takeaways below.

  • Transmission problems are often associated with the Toyota Tacoma model and are more prevalent in the 2015 to 2022 models.
  • Transmission problems can be caused by lack of regular maintenance, a faulty transmission control module, a worn-out clutch or pressure plate, and low fluid level.

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