Owning a vehicle is almost a necessity in today’s time. Could you imagine getting your kids and yourself to the locations where you needed to be on time without a vehicle? Sure, public transportation has come a long way over the past couple of decades, but it just isn’t that reliable. Not only does one need a dependable ride that will get them and forth to work, but they need a dependable ride that will stand up against the rigors of everyday life. And, if there is one vehicle that has proven time and time again that it can do this and more, it is the Toyota Tacoma.
The Toyota Tacoma is without a doubt one of the best small pickup trucks on the market despite what the sales rates are showing. Its sales growth rate is only 5% compared to 24% of the previous year. However, if you look at the US small pickup sales growth in 2018 and the second quarter of 2019, you will clearly see that the Toyota Tacoma still remains the undisputed segment leader.
There is simply no disputing the fact that the Tacoma is one of the most versatile vehicles out there and that is why it still remains are the near top. There are models that not only come with enough room to lug your kids and their friends from location to location, but there are specific models available for about every situation. Whether you need a good dependable right to get you safely back and forth to work or you need a truck that you can work out of, Toyota offers a Tacoma that will suit your very specific needs.
What to Look for When Buying a Used Toyota Tacoma?
It doesn’t take a gear head to see the benefits of owning a Tacoma. Unfortunately, this does not mean that buying one will be easy. In fact, choosing a Tacoma that suits your needs right down to the letter can be more complex than one might imagine. When you are making your decision there are a variety of things that you will have to factor in. You will not only need to set a very specific budget, but you will need to consider the miles on the vehicle, the type of engine, the trim, the electronic, the cab size and so on.
1. How Man Miles Will a Toyota Tacoma Last?
Any time you are shopping for a vehicle, you must always factor in the miles. The mileage is probably one of the most important considerations because it will tell you several things. This is especially true for those individuals that are shopping pre-owned. The miles can give you a good idea of how old the vehicle is without even looking at the date as well as giving you a general idea of how the truck has been treated over the years. It goes without saying that you always want a vehicle with as little miles as possible.
Unfortunately, getting a vehicle with lower miles might not always be possible. This is especially true when shopping used or on a limited budget. However, higher miles doesn’t always mean you are at a disadvantage when shopping for a Tacoma. These trucks are known to go for a lot of miles when properly cared for. In fact, there is currently a gentleman on Facebook with a compact 20-year-old Tacoma that has 337,000 miles on it. Others have gotten anywhere from 150,000 to 200,000 out of their Tacomas before giving deciding to end their lives. It really comes down to what you want to put into the vehicle.
Another major important consideration is the engine. The engine will not only determine what kind of horsepower you get out of the vehicle, but it will pretty much determine where and when the truck will be limited. Even the basic Tacoma with the smallest stock engine is pretty powerful, but it does have its limits. This is why you must always consider what you are going to use the vehicle for before deciding on engine size. Tacomas are known for their off-road abilities. But if you are going to use this vehicle in this manner, you might want to opt for a model with a bit more power and better handling.
The most basic Tacoma will come with a factor 2.7-liter engine that is capable of pumping out 159 horsepower along with 180 pound-feet of torque. For individuals that are looking for a bit more, there is a V6 model available that is capable of producing nearly 300 horses along with almost nearly 300 pound-feet. Neither of these engines is particularly refined, but the V6 isn’t quite as sluggish as the basic model. There is also a manual six-speed transmission available for individuals that prefer the manual transmission.
3. Configuration, Trim Level, Mileage
It is equally important to carefully check the trims of your new Tacoma when shopping. This will not only help you make sure that you are getting the features that you want, but it will prevent you from wasting money on features that you do not want or need. The Tacoma current comes available in 8 different trims with 29 configurations. There would simply be too many to mention them all here, but to give you a basic idea here is what you can expect from trim levels and configurations.
Trim: SR5 With 4×2 Access Cab 127.4 in. WB – This base model of this vehicle starts at a price point of nearly $28,000. It also offers a 2.7-liter engine with 159 horses that get right around 21 miles per the gallon. This model offers 4 seats along with 6 exterior color options. It is also a 4×2 vehicle with a 6-speed automatic transmission and overdrive.
Trim: SR5 With 4×2 Double Cab 127.4 in. WB – This model offers the same engine, horsepower, and gas mileage. However, this model does cost almost $1000 more. And, this is because it has 5 seats instead of four. Another difference with this model is that it only offers 5 exterior color options.
4. Test Drive
You can set and look at any Tacoma on paper all you want and it is going to look great. However, you aren’t really going to know what you are getting until you get behind the wheel. This is when you will be able to really tell what kind of condition the vehicle is in. Test driving any vehicle when buying is a must. This process will not only give you a chance to see how the vehicle handles, but it will give you a chance to check the electronics along with all the safety mechanisms. When test driving any Tacoma always make sure you are checking the seat belts, trying out the heating and air, tuning the radio along with checking how the vehicle drives and handles.
5. Check Their Recalls
Unfortunately, there are some vehicles that are put on the market with flaws. These flaws are later discovered by drivers and reported to the factory. If there are enough drivers that report similar problems the issue will become known as a recall. Recalls are extremely common in the automotive industry and the manufacturers are usually willing to correct them free of charge. Well, Tacoma is no different, as they have experienced their fair share of recalls. And, this is why it is important to understand which models have been recalled and why they were recalled before you ever even think about buying a Tacoma.
On March 27, 2019, Toyota issued a recall on its 2019 Tacoma. This issue affected nearly 4,000 vehicles and it was quite a serious one. The vehicle is being recalled because the text on the load capacity level might become illegible. If you are not using the vehicle for towing or know the weight limit by heart, this is something that you really won’t have to worry about. However, just a simple trip to the manufacturer and they will replace the tags will ones that won’t fade over time.
It seems that the 2018 Tacoma was issued a recall as well. The only difference was that this one involved the master brake cylinder. It seemed that the cylinder seal wasn’t properly doing its job, causing vehicles to take longer to stop.
The 2005 to 2009 models have also been recalled for vibration problems. It seems that with these models the steering wheel will begin to vibrate over time. If this becomes a problem it can potentially damage the spiral cable assembly, which is the part that power the driver’s side airbag. Unfortunately, over time this could cause the airbag light to come on the dash, which means that the airbag will be deactivated in the event of a crash. The airbag will not deploy if the vehicle is involved in an accident.
The 2008 to 2011 models have also been issued a recall due to the tire pressure monitoring system. It seems that the factory-installed wheels and tires were replaced with Toyota authorized accessory wheels and LT tires prior to the first sale. Vehicles that went this change will experience problems with the tire pressure monitoring system. When the factory tires were swapped out, it seems that the manufacturers didn’t properly re-calibrate the monitoring systems. All this means is that the vehicle will not display a low tire pressure when the tires are low on pressure. As long as you are checking your tire pressures on a regular basis, this is some that you can avoid.
5. Prices for Used Tacomas
It is also important to go into any situation knowing the value of what you are about to buy. This is especially true when you are buying used vehicles. If you do not know the value of the vehicle how do you know you’re paying a fair price? You wouldn’t and this is why it is always important to have a general idea of what a vehicle should be worth.
A 2019 Tacoma with the basic 2.7-liter engine values in at anywhere from $27,000 to $29,000. The same model in the SR5 Trim would value at anywhere from $28,700 to $30,000. A 2020 basic model with few miles will value in at right around $25,0000. The 2020 models with the SR5 Trim will run you nearly the same. Just keep in mind that these values are just to give you a general fair market price. These prices can vary depending on the cosmetics and mileage on the vehicle. You can easily search for their prices online before investing in yours.
Best Years to Buy and Years To Avoid
During your search for the perfect Tacoma, you will probably hear people talk about the first, second, and third-generation Tacomas. These individuals are not talking about specific makes and models. No, they are talking about the year of the vehicle. The second-generation Tacomas are the models that were built from 2005 to 2015. The third-generation models will be the 2016 and up. The first-generation models will obviously be anything older and 2005. These models might seem quite outdated in today’s time. However, it is important to note that there are still tons of these models out there in circulation.
It will be easy to find a first-gen model at a fairly affordable price. As reliable and as tempting as it might be, you will want to make sure that you avoid the 2005 to 2010 models. This is because in 2016 Toyota faced and paid out against a class action suit regarding excessive frame rust. It seems that on these models the frames rust excessively to the point of where they are no longer usable. As part of the settlement, Toyota agreed to remove the body and change the frames on these models. You probably want to avoid these years altogether. But if you do go down this road, you will without a doubt want to make sure that the previous owner had the frame replaced by the manufacturer.
If you are in the market for a used Tacoma, it will be the second-gen that is your best option. This is not only because the vehicles are a bit older, but they will be cheaper. Even though a vehicle is older it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be loaded down with miles. The Tacomas are suitable for all types of individuals and people use them for everyday uses as well as just once in awhile trips. Although the send-gen models are your best option, it should be noted that not much really changed from the first-gen to the second-gen.
Finding a second-gen truck that is suitable for all your needs will prove quite challenging and take some time. This is because there are 18 different configurations that you will have to sort through. This will include three cab configurations, four transmission options, three engines, and two-bed lengths. The three cab configurations consist of a regular cab, access cab, and double cab. The transmission options are a 4-speed automatic, a 5-speed automatic, a 5-speed manual, and a 6-speed manual. As for the beds, you will have to decide between the 6-foot and 5-foot options.
The engines come available is a 4.0-liter V6, a 3.4-liter V6, and the 2.7-liter V4. It should be noted that V6 models seen many new enhancements like the tow rating and payload capacity. Both the tow rating and payload capacity were increased from the first-gen models. The truck is now capable of handling a maximum tow load of 6,500 pounds along with a payload capacity of 1,650 pounds. These models are capable of producing right around 236 horses and 266 lb-ft of torque. The smaller 2.7-liter engines are less expensive due to their lack of power, but they still offer an impress 159 horsepower along with an equally impressive 180 lb-ft of torque.
It would be highly advisable to just go ahead and opt for the V6, because the V4 models are known to feel a bit sluggish. Even if you don’t need the extra towing power of torque, it would be best to opt for the V6 because they simply have more get up and go.
As you can easily see, there are tons of things that you must consider when shopping for a Tacoma. Not only do you have to consider the price of the vehicle, but you have to consider the features along with how you are going to use the vehicle. All that aside, it is always in your best interest to take the time to do some planning and research before buying a Tacoma. This will not only ensure that you get the most out of the vehicle, but it will ensure that you do overpay. A Tacoma is a big investment. However, with the right knowledge and care, you can turn it into a long-term investment that will more than serve its purpose and value.