The Toyota Tundra has been an excellent vehicle for people around the globe. It provides great quality, durability, and comfort to drivers.
It has a powerful engine designed to last through many miles of driving. Its driving experience rivals the best offerings from manufacturers such as Ford and Dodge.
While Toyota Tundra offers great design, power, and efficiency to its consumers, it also comes with some issues that can be pretty frustrating.
These issues are limited to a few truck models, so it is advised to look at the model number before completing your purchase.
Let’s list down some of the best and worst years for Toyota Tundra:
Best Years for Toyota Tundra:
Worst Years for Toyota Tundra:
Now that all of these years have been listed, let’s get into what makes them so good or bad.
List Of The Best Years For The Toyota Tundra: What Years To Buy
There are many factors to consider before shortlisting a vehicle for the best year list. In the case of the Toyota Tundra, the reliability, performance, and overall quality of materials used are considered before making any decisions.
All of these will be discussed in detail down below:
#1 Best Year: 2009 Toyota Tundra
Leading the pack is more than a decade-old model of the Tundra. The 2009 Toyota Tundra was a superb performer, with the least complaints out of all.
With a V8 engine under the hood, it was and still is a beast on the road. The truck also has a high-quality interior, which was loved by many.
Unlike other trucks of the time, the 2009 Tundra was designed to take a beating, with it being a perfect vehicle for towing and off-roading.
It is a perfect option for anyone looking for something cheap and who does not want to compromise performance and aesthetics.
#2 Best Year: 2019 Toyota Tundra
Thanks to an amazing V8 engine under the hood, the truck checks all the right boxes. It can provide up to 6800 pounds of towing force, which is impressive.
A decade older 2019 model is another excellent option for users looking for something that meets modern standards. The 2019 Toyota Tundra is mainly popular because of its excellent steering and handling.
It also has a great acceleration, which is possible due to that beast of an engine under the hood. The interior of this model is considered to be luxurious and spacious.
#3 Best Year: 2013 Toyota Tundra
Next up is the 2013 variant of the popular truck. It has an excellent engine under the hood, much like the previous two. The truck’s transmission system has been praised a lot, with it being pretty reliable.
The truck’s interior is another great part of it. It has dual-zone climate control, a high-quality sound system, something you will enjoy, and a keyless entry system. It is a great option for users looking for an intermediate option that is not too ancient.
#4 Best Year: 2015 Toyota Tundra
The 2015 Toyota Tundra is a bit of a downgrade compared to others that came before it.
This should not be confused because the truck is a solid performer, thanks to its V8 engine. The 2015 variant was not offered with a V6 engine, which was a source of contention for many.
Overall, the truck was built like a tank, except for the interior, which was downgraded slightly. Some of the materials were not of high quality, but, overall, it was preferred and loved by many.
#5 Best Year: 2018 Toyota Tundra
The 2018 Toyota Tundra follows the same trend as the 2015 one, having mostly the same pros and cons. The engine is a V8 one, which is simply a power horse. It is a great option for users who want something to make their rides more memorable.
The only drawback of the engine was that its towing capacity was reduced compared to the previous models. The interior is pretty good and solid, apart from a few materials.
#6 Best Year: 2011 Toyota Tundra
The 2011 Toyota Tundra is the last one on this list. Purchasing this truck is a no-brainer for performance, but when talking about the interior, it was not as premium looking and feeling as other models.
Many disliked this because even the 2010 model had a decent interior. The infotainment system was pretty limited, which was not a good thing.
Regardless of these quirks, the truck is solid and holds up pretty even a decade later. It should be considered before making the final decision.
List Of The Worst Years For The Toyota Tundra: What Years To Avoid
Moving onto the worst years list, these models should be avoided at all costs. Unless you are willing to spend thousands of dollars on repairs and maintenance, you should not even think about buying these trucks.
#1 Worst Year: 2007 Toyota Tundra
Topping the list of the worst possible Toyota Tundra you can buy is its 2007 model. Although it is 15 years old, as of writing this article, it was one of the most poorly designed trucks Toyota ever made available.
The truck was a solid performer, but it was prone to many issues, with the most common one being the failure of the air injection pump. Issues also arose with the pistons and the air pump. All of these parts need replacing and come at a very high cost.
#2 Worst Year: 2005 Toyota Tundra
Coming extremely close to the two-year newer variant is the 2005 Toyota Tundra. It had many issues, most of them related to the engine.
Unfortunate owners of the vehicle reported issues such as failure of the secondary air pump and the check engine light turning on unexpectedly. Some people also complained about Tundra’s exhaust system issues which caused a performance decrease.
#3 Worst Year: 2006 Toyota Tundra
The 2006 Toyota Tundra had a poor build quality overall, with most issues arising due to low-quality paint being used. They complained that the roof was badly painted, and the body was prone to rust, which shortened the truck’s lifespan by a lot.
There were many transmission issues too, with some of them being noises coming when driving at slow speed and the 4×4 mode not enabling, which would result in the truck not going uphill.
#4 Worst Year: 2008 Toyota Tundra
Unfortunately, even in 2008, a few years later, the Tundra had severe issues that resulted in it ending on this list. The truck was riddled with electrical, engine, and even interior issues, making users dislike it.
The electrical issues were pretty serious, with some of them being the power locks failing and the alternator dying. Although these issues can be fixed, the costs can add up pretty quickly. The inconvenience of owning this truck also increases a lot.
#5 Worst Year: 2014 Toyota Tundra
Although Post 2013, Toyota increased its quality control and reliability greatly, there were still many issues.
Let’s take the 2002 variant, for example. Its basic features would stop working, such as the door locks and the AC vents. There were even reports about the audio system failing.
The truck also has minor breaking issues, shaking when brakes were applied. Although it performed great, these issues made owning this model of the Tundra a huge inconvenience.
#6 Worst Year: 2002 Toyota Tundra
We have finally arrived at the final model of the Toyota Tundra in this article. The 2002 variant is the best of the worst when it comes to buying one, with most of the issues related to the paint only. Many consumers reported a similar issue of frame rusting.
The bumper was also poorly painted, chipping off after light use. Other users had steering issues, but they were fixable. Regardless, the 2002 model, despite being two decades old, is still better than many other recent Tundra models.
What Are The Most Common Problems With The Toyota Tundra?
Although the Toyota Tundra has been in the market for a long time, a few issues are found on a majority of the models. These problems, which will be discussed in detail below, have caused the most issues for consumers.
1. Truck Frame Rust
The Toyota Tundra is one of the most popular trucks on the road today, with over a million sold since its inception.
Unfortunately, there have been some issues with rusting in the past, but Toyota has addressed these. If you are concerned about rust, you can visit Toyota’s website and contact your local dealer to determine if your model has been affected.
The problem got so serious that the manufacturer had to recall many of the trucks. The issue was so widespread because the frame and the body had not been treated with anti-corrosion chemicals, which led to the structure being compromised.
The problem was mostly seen in the 2005 to 2008 models of the truck.
2. Issues With The Electrical System
The truck’s electrical system has never been too good, with there being frequent complaints of parts acting up. The issue is mostly seen in post-2010 models when newer technologies were included with the truck.
The issues that have been reported most commonly are the failure of the alternator, the power locks failing, and even the power steering causing problems.
There have also been issues with the infotainment system and the car stereo system acting up. All of them pose a safety risk while driving and are not cheap to fix.
3. Slipping Transmission System
The 2000 to 2006 variants of the Toyota Tundra had way too many issues, with the most reported ones being related to the transmission.
After a lot of research, it was found out that the part of the radiator that cools the transmission fluid was rupturing on these trucks, which caused it to mix with the engine coolant.
The color of the mixture was pinkish, which led to it also being called the strawberry milkshake. With no coolant left to cool the transmission fluid, it would overheat severely and fail much quicker than expected.
The problem could be easily noticed as the normal operation would not be possible. There were noises while shifting gears and the check engine light would stay on.
4. Air Injection Pump Issues
Next up is another problem that was frustrating for many users. Many of you may already know that the fuel pump on a vehicle is responsible for providing the exhaust system with clean air.
Well, that started to fail on many models of the truck. The problem could be noticed when there was a sudden fuel economy decrease, and the vehicle would emit too many harmful exhaust fumes.
With there being little to no fresh air entering the engine, there were reports of engines suddenly stalling. The problem was repeatedly complained about on online forums.
The pump can be replaced, but it is an expensive part. Changing it also means that you may need to replace the emission control valve.
5. Exhaust Manifold Failure
The final problem that has been frequently complained about is related to the exhaust manifold. The manifold has often been known to leak, which can be identified when the engine emits ticking noises.
The problem is mostly noticed when the engine is cold. As the metal used by Toyota cannot handle temperature changes well, the constant fluctuations cause it to crack and hence leak.
This is not the only reason. As the Tundra is already prone to rust, the rust may reach the manifold, which may cause it to fail and start causing issues.
There are other indicators of the problem too. You may notice a dip in mpg, which may indicate an issue with the manifold.
The failure of the manifold has also been known to increase fuel consumption greatly. The failure of the manifold can also cause black smoke to rise from the exhaust pipes.
Related: Why Won’t My Toyota Tundra Start?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What Is The Best Used Toyota Tundra To Buy?
With all of the years being detailed above, you may wonder which year of the truck is the best one to buy. Well, the clear answer is 2009 one. It has excellent performance and is extremely reliable.
It may lack some modern electronics, but those can be easily installed. The 2009 version is also considerably cheaper nowadays. The savings can be used to upgrade the infotainment system, and other upgrades can be completed too.
Q2. What Year Did Toyota Tundra Have Bad Frames?
Toyota Tundra frames made between 2005 and 2008 are susceptible to premature rusting. This happens because Toyota did not use an anti-corrosion layer on the bodies of their trucks.
If you own a Toyota Tundra pickup truck manufactured in this year’s range, you should consistently check the frame for rust issues because too much corrosion will result in a structural compromise and can lead to the truck breaking down in the middle of the road.
Q3. Which Toyota Tundra Engine Is Best?
An interesting thing about Tundra engines is that all of them are pretty good, with there being no complaints of the performance lacking in all regards. As most models feature a V8 engine under the hood, users were more than delighted with what they got.
The 5.7L and the 4.6L versions are pretty good, but the first one easily takes the lead. It has the same fuel consumption as its smaller variant.
Q4. How Many Miles Will Toyota Tundra Last?
The Toyota Tundra has a reputation as being one of the most reliable trucks on the market, with many owners reporting that their trucks are still running well after 300,000 miles.
This truck has been built to last, and many examples of that. Of course, this depends on how the truck is kept and how frequently it is maintained. The 300000-mile mark is no ordinary feat, but the Tundra can pull it off.
Related: How Long Do Toyota Tundras Last?
Q5. Is The Tacoma Or Tundra Better?
The Tacoma is a great truck, but it doesn’t come close to the Tundra’s quality and features. The Tundra has everything that you need for an enjoyable driving experience, and it can still haul or tow anything you would like.
You should think about buying Tundra if you want a comfortable ride with added luxury and plenty of power under the hood. It has been tried and tested by hundreds of thousands of people.
If you are on the hunt for a new truck when it comes to best and worst years for Toyota Tundra, I hope that this article gives you a better idea of what to expect with the Toyota Tundra.
While there have been many ups and downs in its history, it’s clear that Toyota is committed to making this vehicle one of the best in its class.
When you are ready to decide which model will be right for your needs, it is recommended to get the truck of your choice properly inspected.
This way, you will know how much it will last and how much work needs to be done on it. Regardless, choosing the Tundra is a great decision, but it solely depends on which year you purchase.
Hi there! I am Tahir Azam, and this is my blog. WVDOT Automotive is a website dedicated to creating high-quality content for car enthusiasts. I am also an avid car driver. I own and drive a Porsche for my daily tasks. It is the perfect vehicle for my family. I am a proud father of two boys. I spend my mornings and evenings catering to clients at my very own software hub. After getting home, I dedicate a few hours of my time to create an article every day. Well, this is a short introduction about me and I am also a publisher on Amazon. I hope you enjoy reading through my articles, and I also hope that I may have helped you choose an upgrade for your vehicle.