2002 Toyota Tacoma SR5 3.4L V6 from North America
Front differential actuator blew a gear tooth at 90,000 miles.
Emergency brake actuators seized up over the life of the vehicle.
Brake light tends to come on when the pads are only 15-20% worn.
Squeak in the dashboard on rough roads; very annoying, but not serious.
I have had little to no problems with this vehicle.
The front differential actuator is not very robust, and I only changed the oil in the front differential after it blew a gear tooth (probably not smart on my account).
Never fails to start, never stalls, no runnability problems ever.
This vehicle is also a TRD version, and has gotten out of some of the worst slop and snow that would leave most vehicles right where they got stuck.
A few minor quirks, but nothing is perfect.
Comfortable and roomy interior for a mid sized pick-up, and the reliability of this vehicle is as solid as the ground it rides on. I have pulled many vehicles with amazing agility and power. Talk about grace under pressure; this truck is powerful when it demands, and the low range makes it unstoppable with the rear locking differential.
There was a recall on the lower ball joints, and the left inner tie rod end needed to be changed, Note: The left front inner tie rod end is considered a normal wear-tear item like brakes.
The first time I changed the front brake pads was at 103,000 miles!!! That is unheard of. P.S. The front pads had 3/32" of lining left when I changed them!!! It has developed a slight brake pulsation in the rear drums; easily cured by machining them.
The throw out bearing is very noisy and the fan clutch squeaks when cold.
The battery is still original, and the rear shoes still have 8/32" left.
No major leaks, but the driver's side valve cover is damp and needs to be changed, no other leaks.
I tend to average a range of 350 miles on 1 tank of gas from full to empty, and get about 20 mpg.
Acceleration and torque are remarkable, as it develops more torque than horsepower. In third gear it will burn rubber at 60 mph when down shifting to pass.
I have pulled/towed a number of other vehicles, boats and trailer with minimal effort. Also note, I have been very rough on this vehicle at times, and I have failed to break it.
I was not impressed with BF Goodrich tires that came from the factory. My second set of tires were Cooper Discoverers M+S, and they were quieter and performed better in all conditions.
The aluminum rims tend to corrode at the bead seats, and need to be polished at every tire change over.
The spark plugs are NipponDenso dual electrode iridium plugs, and cannot be substituted with any other plug, or problems will arise, though they are 100,000 mile plugs. At 15 bucks each, it is definitely a down side.
The undercarriage has very little rust, as Toyota has made great strides in that department. Watch out for the 02 sensor nuts, as they tend to rust away to nothing, and the 02 sensors fall right out of the pipe. DO NOT attempt to remove them, as the stud will break off, and you will end up buying a new pipe (very costly). Take it to the shop and have them do it, preferably a guy who has experience in doing that job.
I have spent very little money on up keep for this truck, but do service it regularly.
If you are a little old lady, changing a flat tire is impossible. Toyota supplies this truck with a crappy little telescopic bottle jack that does not want to turn. The 16 inch tires are heavy and awkward. Lining the lug nuts up with the rim is difficult and frustrating in the pouring rain, and getting the rim off of the hub often requires an 8 pound sledge hammer. Hope you little old ladies have AAA.
Make sure that when you have successfully changed the tire, that you jump up and down on the lug wrench to tighten the lug nuts, otherwise you will be waving bye-bye to your wheel as you watch it roll by on the freeway.
In the end, I would willingly pay 10,000 dollars more for this truck than any other in its class, due to its minimal to non-existent failure rate. If you are looking for a plow truck, it would be better to go talk to your GM or Ford dealer. This truck simply isn't meant to plow snow.
Be careful not to lock your keys in it, as it is extremely difficult to break back into it.
There are a few minor things that could have been done better, but to remain cost effective to the consumer, those things are good enough. Would I buy this truck again? YES, but the new body style Tacoma is completely different from the mid 95 to the 04's. The new Tacoma is a completely different vehicle. I am happy with my Tacoma, and would recommend this truck to anyone.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 6th October, 2006