Auto Broker Magic

Home New Used Contact

Josh Rosenberg By Josh Rosenberg
Updated Jan. 16, 2024

Older Second Generation Toyota Tacoma Overview (2005 - 2015), Reliability, Possible Maintenance Problems, Overall Pros And Cons

Related: How To Get The Lowest Price On A "Brand New" Toyota Tacoma

In today's extremely overpriced used car market, many shoppers are now looking for "older" models that have aged well as a way to save significant dollars. And the Toyota Tacoma is certainly one of these models, making them a viable and definitely more economical option at this time.

2009 Toyota Tacoma

In fact, history has proven that older Tacomas (10+ years) have earned an excellent reputation for reliability with its durable engines and transmissions that last a long time.

Still, all cars likely have some reported mechanical issues, including some that may be more specific to a particular model, even those with strong reliability reputations. That's just a natural part of car ownership.

So here, ...

- We'll do an overview of an earlier Toyota Tacoma generation, specifically the second, covering the 2005 - 2015 model years.

- Then we'll list possible mechanical issues that have been reported by at least some owners so they can be checked before buying one today.

- And then we'll summarize the overall pros and cons of an older Tacoma worth consideration for potential buyers today.

But first, and very importantly ...

Things To Do When Considering An "Older" Vehicle

Locate Lower Mileage Vehicles: They are certainly out there to be found with careful and patient shopping. Be willing to drive a distance if you have to.

Vehicle History and Maintenance: Ask for the vehicle history report (CarFax or AutoCheck) as well as documented maintenance and repair records. If not provided by the Dealer or private seller, it's usually best to move on.

Pre-Purchase Inspection: Have the vehicle independently inspected before making a final decision. This usually will cost in the $150-$200 range but is well worth it given the potentially thousands in savings over the long term.

Second Generation Toyota Tacoma (2005 - 2015)

We happen to like Tacomas. We think they're a very dependable, durable and versatile truck with good handling, performance, and surprising comfort. Not bad on gas mileage either.

We had a number of them here over the years and they continually impressed. We were particularly struck with their construction quality, maneuverability and interior space and comfort. It's just a solid truck and a mainstay in the midsize pickup segment.

Toyota Tacoma Double Cab (2005)

Toyota has a reputation for building durable and long-lasting vehicles, and the second generation Tacoma has not been an exception. With proper care and regular maintenance, a Tacoma can have a long lifespan, reaching well over 200,000 miles and even 300,000 miles.

Of course, individual experiences may vary, and factors such as driving conditions, maintenance practices, and how the vehicle is used can influence its longevity.

This second generation Tacoma comes with either a 4-cylinder 2.7-liter or V6 4.0-liter engine, with both being quite capable. The 4-cylinder comes with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. The V6 can be found paired with either a 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic.

One of the big advantages of the Tacoma is its availability in many body styles and trim levels, thereby meeting the needs of many compact and midsize truck shoppers. Regular, extended cab (Toyota calls it the Access Cab) and crew cab (called the Double Cab) are available along with both short and long cargo bed sizes.

In addition to the base model, there's also a PreRunner and sporty X-Runner model. The PreRunner has the appearance and suspension of a 4-wheel drive, but is not actually a 4WD. And the X-Runner has additional modifications that improve street performance, such as a 6-speed manual transmission, aero lower body trim, low-riding sport suspension, and 18-inch wheels.

And there's also an off-road package for the 4WDs for those looking for rough and tumble driving abilities.

Toyota Tacoma Reg Cab (2008)

And there were relatively few changes during this run. It should be noted that the 2005 Tacoma had higher engine output numbers than its predecessor, but this was merely a result of a subsequent change in the testing procedure and not in the actual horsepower.

Among more significant changes, stability and traction control, front seat side airbags and side curtain airbags were optional features before the 2009 model, so some of these older Tacomas may not have them. In addition, power door locks and windows were also optional for the first four years of this generation.

In 2012, there was a mild refresh with all trims getting a revised interior which included a new steering wheel, vanity sunvisor lamps, and updated audio systems. Also new was a more angular grill, a new bumper and hood, and redesigned head and foglamps.

And the regular-cab body style disappeared for the 2015 model.

2005 - 2015 Toyota Tacoma Possible Mechanical Problems

The second generation Tacoma is generally known for its reliability. However, like any vehicle, there have been some reported mechanical issues that owners have encountered that therefore should be included in an inspection before buying one today.

Rust Issues: Some owners have reported premature rusting on the frame of their Tacomas, particularly in regions where road salt is used during the winter. Toyota acknowledged this issue and implemented a frame replacement program for affected vehicles.

Find your next car, truck or SUV on

Transmission Issues: There have been reports of transmission problems, particularly with the automatic transmission. Owners have reported issues such as rough shifting and, in some cases, complete transmission failure.

Water Pump Failure: Some owners have experienced water pump failures, leading to coolant leaks.

Leaf Spring Issues: In certain cases, there have been reports of leaf springs breaking or sagging, affecting the vehicle's suspension. Toyota issued a recall in 2014 to address potential issues with this.

Drive Shaft Vibrations: A few owners have reported vibrations in the drive shaft, particularly at highway speeds. This issue may be attributed to imbalances or other driveline-related problems.

It's important to keep in mind that not all Tacomas will experience these problems, and most owners have had positive experiences with the reliability of their vehicles.

Overall Pros And Cons Of An Older Toyota Tacoma

Older Toyota Tacoma Pros

Cost Savings: Obviously, older Tacomas tend to be significantly cheaper than newer ones, saving a substantial amount of money upfront. However, this savings has to be weighed against the increased risk for possibly higher maintenance and repair costs going forward.

Reliability: Toyota has a reputation for building reliable vehicles, and the Tacoma is no exception. The second generation continued this tradition of durability and longevity.

Off-Road Capability: The Tacoma is known for its off-road prowess. Models equipped with the TRD Off-Road or TRD Pro packages have features like off-road tires, skid plates, and locking rear differentials.

Resale Value: Tacomas tend to retain their value well over time. This is often attributed to the brand's reputation for reliability and the high demand for used Tacomas.

Versatility: The Tacoma is available in various configurations, including different cab sizes and bed lengths, allowing buyers to choose a setup that suits their needs.

Abundant Aftermarket Parts: The Tacoma has a robust aftermarket, offering a wide range of accessories and modifications.

Towing Capacity: Depending on the configuration, the Tacoma can have a respectable towing capacity, making it suitable for towing trailers or smaller boats.

Fuel Efficiency: While not class-leading, the fuel efficiency of the Tacoma is competitive for a midsize pickup truck.

Older Toyota Tacoma Cons

Potential Maintenance Costs: While older Tacomas are generally quite reliable, any used vehicle can come with potential maintenance needs or develop them going forward, potentially offsetting some or all of the upfront cost savings.

Transmission Concerns: Although not widespread, some owners have reported issues with the automatic transmission, including rough shifting. It's essential to consider the maintenance history and have a pre-purchase inspection.

Outdated Interior: One common criticism of the second-gen Tacoma is its interior design, which some find outdated compared to competitors. This includes issues with the materials used and the layout of controls.

Limited Interior Space: The interior space in smaller cab configurations may be limited, especially for passengers in the rear seats.

Fuel Efficiency: While competitive in its class, the Tacoma may have higher fuel consumption than the class leaders, particularly with its larger engines.

Ride Comfort: Some users find the ride quality to be somewhat rough, especially when driving on uneven surfaces. This is a trade-off for the truck's off-road capabilities.

Limited Safety Features: Older models may lack some of the advanced safety features that have become more common in newer vehicles.

Also, Always Know The Value Of Your Trade-In!

Whether you are trading or selling on your own, it's just a good idea ... even whether you are in the market or not at the moment. You can then use this important information for a number of purposes ... to negotiate with a dealer, or to know how to price your car in the retail market, or simply to know the value of one of your assets, which is always a good idea.

Getting trade-in values online tend to vary a lot from site to site. But I've found the one at Edmunds Trade-In Quotes is particularly comprehensive and accurate.

It's free, it's quick and there's no contact by any third parties. I think what helps its accuracy is the inputs will include either your plate# or VIN#. They really focus in on the specific vehicle.

Lastly, Suggestions For Getting A Low Tacoma Price

First of all, here's a Lowest Price Used Car Buying Guide that details a very effective method.

Here's another method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.

In addition, you can also try the Public Car Auctions in your own geographic area. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them.

And for those of you who might be interested in a "brand new" Toyota Tacoma if the price was really good, here's info on The Best Way To Buy A New Car. This works just phenomenally well.

And checkout our Facebook page for more tips, car news and fun.

Related Older Model Articles:
Older Used Tundra
Older Used Chevy Truck
Older Used Dodge Ram
Older Used Nissan Titan
Older Used Ford Trucks
Older Used Ford F-150
Older Used Chevy Silverado
Older Used Ford Ranger
Older Used Dodge Dakota