If you’re the proud owner of a Toyota Tacoma, you’re familiar with the cult loyalty commanded by the “Taco,” and there’s a good reason for this enthusiasm. It isn’t just a Toyota; it’s a Toyota truck. Consider the legends that bear the Toyota brand name, such as the 4Runner and the Land Cruiser. Off-roading super-fans are willing to part with heavy chunks of change for a 6-digit mileage Land Cruiser, so it stands to reason that Tacoma fans likely feel the same way.
Considering reliability, there’s probably none better, at least as far as reputation is concerned. As a result, most buyers don’t even look at the Toyota Tacoma warranty or consider a Toyota Tacoma service agreement.
All About the Toyota Tacoma
The current-generation Toyota Tacoma is the most powerful it’s ever been (ignoring the dealer-installed supercharged versions that are roaming around out there). Starting in 2016, Toyota added many awesome features to the Tacoma, including an electronic locking rear differential, which ensures you have traction no matter what. The powerful 3.5 L V6 is no slouch either, producing 278 bhp.
But the Tacoma’s not all brute strength. Toyota outfitted the “Taco” with all kinds of tech goodies like crawl control, which electronically assists your ascent or descent in difficult terrain. There’s also multi-terrain select, which lets you dial in the terrain you’re traveling, so the Tacoma sorts out throttle sensitivity, traction control, and braking to ensure you always have ample traction. Some models even come with a suspension lift and Bilstein shocks. That’ll make the off-roaders happy.
Common Repairs and Service Required by the Toyota Tacoma
It’s not all extra cheese and sauce for this metaphorical Taco. Like any complicated machine, it can have its fair share of issues, and some of them can cost a lot of money, especially once your Tacoma warranty ends.
Still, before you go off in search of a Toyota Tacoma extended warranty, read on to learn more about whether or not this coverage is as complete as you need it to be.
Lower Ball Joint Problems
The lower ball joints tie into the lower element of the spindle, the part of the suspension that carries the front wheel. There’s one on each side. When they wear out, you’ll both feel it in the steering wheel and hear it as a clicking or clunking sound coming from the front wheel area as you traverse bumps or make steering inputs. You’ll also notice the steering wheel shake under deceleration. If that’s the only symptom you notice, you might think you have warped brake rotors due to the pulsing sensation.
After the ball joints are worn, the play in the suspension creates uneven tire wear and abuses other suspension components. It’s a pretty involved job to get it fixed, and if you don’t have a Toyota Tacoma extended warranty in place, it can cost you.
Faulty Automatic Transmission in High-Mileage Toyota Tacomas
Probably the last thing you want to hear about any vehicle is that it has transmission issues. Those usually come with a four-figure price tag. If your Tacoma isn’t shifting properly, the fix is going to mean not hours but days in the shop.
Technicians have to diagnose and remove the transmission from the truck, and if it’s rebuildable, it might be a little cheaper to fix than simply replacing it, but the extra time in the shop will cost you a hefty storage fee, not to mention the labor hours. Nothing about a transmission problem is small.
Cracked Amber Front Parking Light Lens
Though issues with them may seem small, it is, in fact, shocking to learn how expensive new lenses can be. Expect a bill as high as four hundred dollars, and that’s just for one side. They’re so expensive because getting in to replace them is a pain and a half, but you can’t just leave them. Moisture will condense inside the lens and burn out bulbs, contaminate LEDs and electrics, and cause other issues.
Faulty Air Flow Meter
The common name for an air flow meter is a MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor, and it isn’t cheap. It sits in line with your intake system, usually on top of the engine, and its job is to tell the engine’s ignition system about the quality of the air it’s getting so that combustion can be efficient.
If there’s a problem with this piece of tech, your Tacoma will absolutely not run right. Replacing your MAF is expensive, not just for the part but for the labor. You’ll be able to tell if the MAF is going bad because you’ll lose power, your gas mileage will drop, and the engine will start to hesitate or jerk. You’ll also probably see black smoke coming from the tailpipe.
Throttle Position Sensor Problems
The TPS (Throttle Position Sensor) is basically the MAF’s right-hand man, which makes us wonder if there’s a larger issue with the Tacoma’s induction system as a whole. The symptoms are similar to a failing MAF, but you may stall, misfire, and even improperly shift from the transmission.
A new TPS isn’t as expensive a fix as the MAF, but you can bet your mechanic will recommend replacing the MAF if he’s already replacing the TPS and vice versa. Maybe a Toyota Tacoma service contract would be a good idea.
Bad Starter Prevents Engine from Starting
If your starter is dead, your engine won’t crank. This fix is at least $500 these days and a day in the shop to boot. Thankfully, a bad starter is only the culprit 20% of the time, though, to be fair, that represents a one-in-five chance.
Extended Warranties for Toyota Tacoma
Right about now, you’re probably thinking it’s a great idea to look into the Toyota Tacoma extended warranty your dealer’s been pushing. But those often don’t cover you as well as they’re purported to do, plus they do tend to come with the run-around, and you usually have to use their mechanic.
Looking at Toyota’s factory warranty for its Tacoma pickups, the warranty lasts for three years or 36,000 miles (whichever comes first). It can be a decent chunk of change up front because Toyota’s extended warranties can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500.
Here are the details on the coverage:
1. Toyota Powertrain Extended Warranty This warranty protects the powertrain (the engine, transmission, and the rest of the drivetrain). It lasts for six years or 100,000 miles. If you’re buying used, this plan can add another two years or 24,000 miles, or up to 13 years or 150,000 miles if you’re buying from a dealer.
2. Gold Extended Warranty In addition to the powertrain, the Gold Extended Warranty covers nearly every system in the vehicle, including the suspension, steering, cooling, AC, brakes, fuel system, electrical system, and even high-tech equipment. It will last for eight years or 125,000 miles. If you buy used, this plan can increase coverage by five years or 60,000 miles if the vehicle is younger than 10 years old and has fewer than 150,000 miles.
3. Toyota Platinum Extended Warranty This is the top choice when looking for a Toyota Tacoma extended warranty, covering even more of the electrical system and high-tech parts than the Gold warranty. New cars can get up to 10 years or 125,000 miles, and used cars can get up to five years or 60,000 miles.
Toyota Warranty Coverage Gaps
These warranties may sound great, but there are some catches. First, the warranties require you to go to dealerships for repairs. This is a problem if the dealer needs to fix some non-warrantied parts because it can cost much more. Furthermore, even the Platinum warranty doesn’t cover maintenance, cosmetic parts, wear and tear, corrosion, or environmental damage.
The Difference Between Extended Warranties and Service Agreements
A service agreement contractually obligates your service provider to pay for or perform any repairs covered by your policy. In this way, it’s very similar to a warranty.
Just to be clear, you can’t get a Toyota Tacoma extended warranty from anyone but the manufacturer. However, you can get the same coverage as you might with an extended warranty (sometimes better), and you can cover older cars with more miles, depending on the service agreement you purchase.
CarShield service agreement coverage comes in many tiers, allowing you to pick and choose what protection you need.
1. CarShield Aluminum This tier covers mostly electrical and computer-related parts. If you have a reliable powertrain and drivetrain but are worried about parts like your alternator or electrical system, this is the package for you.
2. CarShield Silver Silver takes care of the most vital parts of your car, such as powertrain and drivetrain parts.
3. CarShield Gold Building on the Silver tier, Gold covers even more parts, such as your AC and fuel delivery system.
4. CarShield Platinum This service agreement is excellent protection if you’re driving a higher mileage Tacoma. It covers everything Gold covers and adds protection for the steering system, suspension, brakes, instrument cluster, and even the factory audio system.
5. CarShield Diamond This service contract is the most like the manufacturer warranty that comes with the purchase of a new car. This most comprehensive contract covers up to 5,000 parts, including engines, starters, and fuel pumps.
Toyota Tacoma Vehicle Service Agreements
A Toyota Tacoma service agreement through CarShield is the better way. You get to choose your own mechanic (just like you choose your own adventure in a Tacoma), and it can be quite a bit cheaper in the final analysis — because a Toyota Tacoma service contract can cover more than an extended Toyota Tacoma warranty does. When you choose a vehicle service agreement, you can choose month to month coverage with no mileage or year limits, flexible coverage options to meet your budget, 24/7 roadside assistance, and more! Find out more.