2002 Toyota Tacoma SR5 from North America - Comments

15th Oct 2010, 15:13

Hey guys.

No. No commercial use. Just drive back-and-forth from work with it. No towing, plowing, no off-roading even.

As for regular maintenance. Washed it regularly. The rotting bumper was comical at work having the guys bet on when it'd fall off. It was a joke for a four year old truck to do that.

Changed (ing) the oil every 3,000 miles. Never beat on it. The 2.7 couldn't spin a tire even if I wanted it to.

The guys at work said, "Well you just got a lemon." I chose the Tacoma because they're not supposed to make lemons. Turns out that Toyota grows more lemons than Sunkist.

I'm surprised that some of you Toyota guys haven't heard of the frame recall going on for '01-'04 Tacomas. No buy-backs like the earlier frame rot recall, just frame replacement. Mine was in the shop for 62 days having a new frame put on. Still cost me $1052.00 for stuff that broke during the frame install.

Dana Corp. in California was the manufacturer of the Tacoma frames, and their engineers told Toyota that the rust preventative coating methods specified by Toyota was far sub-par, and Dana Corp. actually had Toyota sign a release waiver before production. I found this out 9 years later.

15th Oct 2010, 17:31

Having owned Japanese vehicles, these problems sound pretty typical to me. That's why we switched to longer lasting and more reliable GM and Ford products. Never a single repair on any of our Ford or GM vehicles before 100,000 miles.

15th Oct 2010, 18:14

That's too bad. I wish you better luck on your next truck! Nothing surprises me anymore in the auto business. Toyota is not really above anyone else when cutting corners and things like that.

16th Oct 2010, 12:51

"Toyota is not really above anyone else when cutting corners and things like that."

I've worked on cars for many years. Anyone who argues that ANY Japanese car is better built than a domestic vehicle obviously has never worked on either. Japanese car companies have gotten rich cutting every possible corner in both materials and build quality. Billions were spent on ad hype that created the "Japanese is better" myth that is now being shown to be just that... a MYTH.

17th Oct 2010, 10:35

Huh, I've known many very successful mechanics that are really good at what they do, and they always have told me imports are the better choice for overall reliability. They would never have gotten so popular based on some "myth" that they are better. If people were fixing them, and wasting so much money on them above and beyond their monthly payments, it would have caught up to them long ago. This is why they basically buried the domestics in the last decade. I still can count at least three to one on imports over any domestic, every time I go out the door and drive somewhere.

The only myth is that domestic cars gained 10 years of innovation in one year, and suddenly topped all the quality surveys. To believe this is anything but a boost tactic for American auto sales really places too much faith in an industry that has proven its incompetence time and again. They couldn't even manage their own companies last year, and suddenly their products are at the top?? Yeah right. At least import cars have an actual proven track record.

Tell you what, after 10 years, if the domestics are still topping charts everywhere, I'll concede they are good.

17th Oct 2010, 14:37

I sat in one at the Delaware Auto Show last Sunday, and it was uncomfortable without even driving it. Banged my head on it also, just getting in. I am 6 ft tall.

18th Oct 2010, 12:03

I too have worked in cars for years and if something goes wrong with anything in our family - I'm usually the one they call. I would argue that specific brands not "Japanese" in general brands are better than others. Toyota and Honda are above and beyond better overall quality than the bulk of what Ford, GM, and Chrysler produces. On top of that, they are actually easier to work on and better laid out, thus easier to service. The machining quality on almost any Honda and Toyota product I've worked on is night and day compared to the typical Ford or GM product I've fixed.

For example, Toyota and Honda uses mostly heavily yellow anodized or galvanized nuts and bolts on everything, even for body panels, on their cars and trucks. Thus, even if you're removing a starter motor from a 14 year old Toyota truck, it's going to come out easily. On the other hand, my brother's Ranger uses a lot of painted hardware that rusts to the engine block. I've broken bolts off on his truck more than once as a result. It's the small things that you never see that Toyota and Honda took the time to do right that makes their overall product better.

I will say that Mitsubishi, Nissan, Isuzu, and Mazda are all hit and miss, which isn't surprising given Mazda is a Ford nameplate and Isuzu a GM brand. Mitsubishi builds awful vehicles. Nissan is a mixed bag. They have definitely let their quality slip significantly.

I own a 14 year old Tacoma and so far the only thing I've done is change the clutch, which lasted for 215,000 miles. The truck now has over 240,000 miles and it shows zero signs of mechanical or even cosmetic wear. My brother's Ranger, which was of the same vintage, is long-gone.

19th Oct 2010, 02:54

Japanese car companies make just as many lemons as domestic companies do. All car companies are cutting corners these days, and we are paying more for the cars on top of it. If you want top value for your dollar, get a used GM or Dodge; bad resale value, so you can get a killer deal on a used one. Japanese cars have high resale value, so you rarely ever get a good deal on a used one.

Most people buy an import for the class and status; a domestic car makes you working class. It's not about reliability or fuel economy, every one just wants a more expensive car than their neighbor. I always drive domestic with the exception of a few imported lemons I've owned. There is so much pressure from advertising, etc to get an import, but screw that. You are stabbing your own country and economy in the back.

Buy local!

19th Oct 2010, 09:29

So are you saying that people who buy Nissan Sentras and Toyota Corollas are elitists - being the "imports" that they are?

And I totally agree about buying local: The Toyota Tacoma I own was built in Fremont CA, about 15 miles from my house.

19th Oct 2010, 09:38

Buy local? I don't live in Detroit.

Seriously though, why does this argument continue to dominate this site? Buying imports does not stab your country in the back. Please, we would fall flat on our faces if we suddenly stopped buying imports. It's called global economy. Besides many of the parts and even models of the domestic car companies are foreign based, so this makes the argument of import vs. domestic even weaker.

Just drive what works well for you and stop judging others on what they drive. There are great choices both domestic and import these days so plenty to choose from. Do we really need to go on about this?

Also, the myth that imports are more expensive is old and tired. Try actually pricing out comparable cars from both import companies and domestic companies, and you'll find that they are pretty close in most cases.

I actually found that many of the domestic cars were at a premium when I shopped the last few cars I've purchased. Look at the Grand Cherokee for example; that now starts at about $31K with 2WD and a V6 in it as a base Laredo model. The Toyota Highlander, which is now direct competition since the Jeep is a unibody mid sized SUV, starts at $27,300. Even the larger 4 Runner starts at $29,500. Pretty close overall, but the advantage is on the imports in this example. When we priced the Escape vs. our RAV4, it was almost identical price to features. No real price advantage there for the domestic either.