2002 Toyota Tacoma TRD-double cab 4X4 3.6 from North America


In my opinion, the "TRD" designation (phonetic) says it all


Left front axle seals (3 so far).

Front differential (at mechanic now).

Both rear axle bearings this winter about 3 months apart - seal failures - changed diff oil yearly.

Snugtop rear liftgate needs new pistons every 4-5 months, and falls on you without warning, especially when cold.

General Comments:

I had a 1980 Toy (4cyl/4spd manual) and it was awesome off road. Traded at 205,000 miles for a Bronco, and wish I had kept it instead (still).

Poor ground clearance, wheel well clearance and short overall - I'm 6'5" and keep hitting my head on the door frame.

Too much console - very tight fit.

Front differential is a stupid design. I have a BS in Engineering, and there is no rational reason that the front differential/left front axle turn all the time. Extra drag and extra wear (see things gone wrong above). Actual 4X4 engaged maybe 1,200-1,500 miles total. Local Toyota dealer has no idea how to adjust front diff to correct problems as all parts are within spec. Suggested total replacement of diff - at less than 70,000 miles? What a joke!

The recent flooding almost got the truck, and it would not have bothered me a bit.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th May, 2010

1st Mar 2011, 19:30

This comment is a follow up to my own post last year.

Front differential removed/rebuilt/reinstalled in late July 2010 with diff drop kit - all bearings worn out - no moisture & regular gear oil changes (with 62,000 miles - 67k was error) Minimal highway only driving until 11/10. Front right CV axle died at 66K. Left front CV axle died at 67K. Never even put mud tires on this year: no rain/no mud; maybe 100 miles in actual 4X4-snow/ice.

DR side diff. seal and bearing are loose - not leaking: yet. Both diffs use synthetic gear oil.

Mechanic, diff shop, 4 of my mechanical engineer friends from college (I was a Chemical Engr before I became an attorney-Consumer protection.) are in complete agreement that front diff failure is due to stupid hubless design of front axle and unnecessary wear on CV axles, front diff and driveshaft.

Anybody know where I can get a kit to convert the front axles to lock in-lock out hubs, and stop this TRD design from chewing on my wallet, and taking my truck out of service?

2nd Mar 2011, 21:13

My advice : get another truck!

The Tacoma is by far the most overpriced truck, both new and used, and it is one of the flimsiest.

Some of my friends had Tacoma's for a while, they all eventually traded them in for Ford, GMC or Mazda trucks.

Older Toyota's were great, but in the 2000's their quality and reputation for reliability has gone down, they have been cutting too many corners to save costs.

I would never buy a newer Toyota, not worth the price you pay at all, when other brands make a better truck for less.

4th Mar 2011, 10:50

I have never met anyone who has traded in their Tacoma for a Ford or GM product. Most anyone I know with a Tacoma has had stellar performance and reliability. They are also one of the most popular choices for off-roaders, thus they are not flimsy. Mine is now going on 16 years old, and I have never had any problems with it. These are the best trucks money can buy. Period.

2002 Toyota Tacoma 2.4L 4 cylinder from North America


Would buy another Tacoma; worked for the co. for a while and parents bought one because of my truck


No failures.

Low brake fluid light went off intermittently at 55000 miles. Turned out that fluid level was low, and due to hills and other terrain, it would go off occasionally. Sensor was correct and did not malfunction.

General Comments:


Vehicle is built rock solid. Little changed from mid 90s to early 00s models, allowing the company to work out many problems.

Starts and runs like the first day I drove it 100,000 miles later.

Very easy and minimal maintenance needed thus far. LOW maintenance cost... oil changes, gas, 30k, 60k, 90k maintenance (all performed easily by myself in my driveway at home). Cost would be higher at dealer, but not high at all relative to other vehicles.


Rough ride compared to newer truck designs. Newer Tacomas 07 and above have less bang for buck.

Smallish cabin for people over 5' 8".

AC fan squeaks on occasion due to a slight problem with a bearing... has done so for last 20,000 miles in GA heat. Not bad compared to an old Mitsubishi Mirage I owned... AC died at 35,000 miles and reasonable usage (again in GA summers). ACs are expensive to replace!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd January, 2008