How Long do Toyota Tacomas Last?

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

Two-hundred-thousand miles. That sounds like a lot. Better get rid of your vehicle.

Wait… don’t junk it just yet.

If you have a Toyota Tacoma it’s not quite time to junk it yet. Toyota Tacomas last an incredibly long time, a lot longer than you would expect.

Whether you’re looking to sell or keep your Toyota Tacoma, by taking the proper precautions your Tacoma will hold its value for a very long time. 

Let’s take a deeper look into the extended lifespan of the Toyota Tacoma and how to keep a good car for a long time.

Toyota Tacoma, 25 Years Strong

The first generation of Toyota Tacomas was manufactured in 1995. Since then, this midsized pickup has gone through a lot of changes, but one thing stays the same – the quality. There are still Tacomas from the ’90s on the road today!

Toyota likes to keep things simple with its Tacomas. All current Toyota Tacoma models are 4×4 double cab, 3.5 ltr V6, perfect for offroading. The SR, TDR-Offroad, and Limited all have 5ft beds. While seemingly streamlined, each model offers something a little different. 

The first and second generation of Tacomas could only tow 3,500 lbs. When they upgraded to a V6 engine, in 2016, the Tacoma could pull up to 5,000 lbs. The 2020 model can tow up to 6,800 lbs. 

Small but mighty, the Toyota Tacoma completely dominates in its field, and it has for years. Toyota sold almost double the amount of Tacomas as the next leading midsize pickup, the Chevy Colorado, in 2019 and 2020.  

Toyota is notorious for producing reliable quality vehicles, and they are constantly looking for ways to improve. Because of how well made Toyota Tacoma’s are, their resale value is higher than other midsized trucks. This truck will retain its value better than most would expect regardless of mileage. 

How Many Miles Is Too Many?

How much does mileage matter? Well, that depends a lot on how well taken care of the vehicle is.

Standard cars are known to last up to 200,000 miles, while a well-maintained Toyota Tacoma will last far past 300,000 miles.  Some reports say that Toyota Tacomas have lasted over 400,000 miles. The comparable Chevy Colorado has an approximate lifespan of about 200,000 miles. 

The Toyota Tacoma’s ability to last hundreds of thousands of miles longer than its competitors is what sets it apart and makes it the best. Assuming you maintain your vehicle properly, your brand new Tacoma today could last until your children get their driver’s license in 15 years. 

Car Maintenance Checklist

When your check engine light comes on, you need to take care of that right away. Car maintenance is extremely important. The better you take care of your Toyota Tacoma, the longer it will last. 

Even if you don’t plan to keep this vehicle forever, you still should maintain it properly to ensure the best resale price possible. Proper maintenance will also maintain the highest gas mileage your vehicle can get. 

Here are some important areas to make sure you maintain: 

Vehicle Inspection

A shocking number of states don’t require a vehicle inspection. Even if your state doesn’t require one, it is good to have an inspection done so your vehicle stays in good condition.

Yearly inspections will check the main systems of your vehicle to make sure they are in good condition. Some states have mandatory yearly inspections to guarantee that all the vehicles on the road are in decent working condition. 

Oil & Oil Filter

For an efficient and healthy engine, you need to stay current on your oil changes. Oil changes should happen every 3000-5000 miles.

It’s also a good idea to replace your oil filter at the same time as your oil change, although some say that you can keep a filter for up to 7500 miles. 

Toyota recommends changing your Tacoma’s oil and oil filter every 10,000 and 20,000 miles. 

Choosing quality oil for your vehicle is vital. Make sure you’re choosing the right oil for your truck, and a high-mileage oil if your vehicle has over 75,000 miles. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the proper oil. 

Fluid Levels

Always keep your fluid levels full, and as soon as a light appears make sure you resolve it. Most fluids are only low in the event of a leak and that needs to be taken care of as soon as you can.

The Toyota Maintenance Schedule recommends that you check all fluid levels at least every 500 miles. 

Transmission Fluid

Your transmission fluid will only be low if there is a leak. If the transmission fluid light comes on, take your truck to a mechanic as soon as possible. Low transmission fluid can be detrimental to your vehicle. 

It isn’t widely known by non-mechanics, but you should change your transmission fluid every 30,000-60,000 miles. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure you are changing it enough.  


Another fluid that will only be low if there is a leak is the coolant. Coolant protects your truck from extreme temperatures and is vital for the health of your engine. 

A rising temperature gauge is generally the first sign of low coolant. If you do need to add coolant, make sure your engine is cold when you add it. The cooling system is pressurized and removing the cap will result in extensive burns. 

Coolant should be changed every 5 years, minimum.

Brake Fluid

Low brake fluid is a sure sign that your vehicle needs new breaks. If this light comes on make sure you get new brake pads extremely soon.

Your brakes cannot work without ample brake fluid, the leak needs to be fixed immediately and you should not drive your vehicle until the fluid is at least replaced. 

Rotate Tires

Experts will recommend that you rotate your tires every time you get an oil change, around every 3000 to 5000 miles. Manufacturers typically say 5000 to 10000 miles, but you should check your owner’s manual to see the suggested time to rotate your tires for your particular vehicle. 

Rotating your tires is suggested every 5000 miles by the Toyota Tacoma owner’s manual.

Rotating your tires is essential in maintaining the traction on your tires. By not rotating them routinely, you will likely have to buy new tires more often and it will also affect the quality of your suspension.

Belts & Hoses

Inspect your belts and hoses regularly. Broken belts and hoses that leak can lead to an overheated engine, which can result in a completely destroyed engine.

The Toyota Tacoma Maintenance Schedule recommends inspecting your hoses and belts every 30,000 miles. 


You should replace the battery in your vehicle every 4-5 years. You can have your battery tested at almost any mechanic or automobile retailer to make sure it is in good condition.

A lot of people in colder climates find themselves replacing their batteries during the extreme cold season. By maintaining your battery’s health, you can avoid this inconvenient occurrence. 


To keep the suspension in your vehicle well maintained, make sure the tires are always inflated properly. Also, having your tires aligned properly as well as rotating them routinely will help keep your suspension in working order. 

Your vehicle’s suspension is connected to many other parts. You will want to maintain every aspect of the suspension to maximize its lifespan. 

Spark Plugs

Ideally, spark plugs shouldn’t need much maintenance, but they can become contaminated over time and need cleaning or replacing. Replace spark plugs along with the manufacturer’s schedule.

Sometimes there are specific issues that can signal a spark plug error. If your vehicle is experiencing any of these issues, make an appointment with your mechanic.

Breaks & Rotors

Breaks and rotors should be replaced every 70,000 miles. This can vary greatly by your driving style. Watch for signs you need to change your brake pads

Inspecting your breaks and rotors is recommended every 5000 miles by Toyota, and replacing them when needed. 

Air Filter

The air filter in your vehicle should be inspected at least once a year, recommended by Toyota, and replaced every 30,000 miles. 

Although, not changing your air filter rarely ends in permanent damage, not changing it for too long could end up causing the engine to stop running. 

Clean the Exterior 

Rust is one of the major issues that depreciates the value of any vehicle. Rust can appear within the first one to three years of ownership.

Frequent cleaning of the exterior of your vehicle is vital for preventing rust. Wash your vehicle every few weeks and make sure you get the undercarriage. 

Waxing your car twice a year is also a good idea to maintain the appearance. 

Keep Maintaining!

Toyota suggests having scheduled maintenance appointments at 30,000, 60,000, and 120,000 miles. If you keep up with the routine maintenance, your Tacoma will be in excellent condition.

If your vehicle isn’t properly maintained it can be ruined before it’s time. Ensuring your vehicle lasts a long time, follow all the maintenance guidelines in your owner’s manual.

Buying a Used Toyota Tacoma?

If you are in the market for a used Tacoma, be sure to check the CARFAX to be sure that it was properly maintained. A CARFAX will tell you any time the vehicle has been in an accident, how many owners, and the vehicle’s service history records. CARFAX is standard in most modern vehicle transactions. 

When buying any used vehicle be sure to follow these steps to guarantee you get the car you want and the best deal.

A used Tacoma may seem higher in price than its competitors, but that’s because the Toyota Tacoma retains its value much better than other vehicles. The Toyota Tacoma remains one of the most reliable trucks on the market. 

There are a few specific year models to avoid when buying a used Toyota Tacoma…

Issues With The Toyota Tacoma

Over the past 25 years, the Toyota Tacoma has been recalled over 50+ times. The 2009 and 2010 models each have 13 recalls, which is the highest in the history of the Toyota Tacoma. The 2016 and 2017 models were recalled with many transmission issues, engine issues, and some shifting problems. 

Any recalls can be fixed cost-free by the manufacturer. Check your truck’s year and model to make sure there aren’t any recalls to your vehicle. And if there are any recalls, have them fixed by the manufacturer.  

Even with its recalls, the Tacoma remains a high-demand, reliable vehicle.

When Is It Time to Sell My Car?

Toyota Tacomas can basically last forever. If you take good care of your Toyota Tacoma it can remain running for 20+ years. Business Insider named Toyota as the longest-lasting car brand of 2020.  

An incredibly quality brand producing a very reliable model for the last 25 years, Toyota is always a great choice for any vehicle. 

You don’t have to wait until your vehicle barely running to get a new one. The Tacoma has a very high resale value compared to other makes and models. Selling could provide you with a hefty cash down payment on a newer vehicle.

While if properly maintained there isn’t a huge need to sell your vehicles, but you can sell your Tacoma to us if you are interested in a newer or different vehicle.

Cash Auto Salvage

Cash Auto Salvage services the entire United States. We buy any vehicle, no matter its condition. We pride ourselves on being one of the members of the automotive recycling industry. We are passionate about our business and are determined to offer you the most competitive prices for your vehicle. 

We will pick up your Toyota Tacoma, or any car, for free and give you cash on the spot. Click here to get an instant offer on your Toyota Tacoma.

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About the Author


Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

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