Toyota Tundra Transmission Problems

WVDOT Automotive is reader-supported. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Introduced in 1999, this Toyota Tundra is currently one of the best pickup vehicles on the market. The vehicle was previously nominated as Truck of the Year in 2000 and did so again in 2008.

The car has reached its third generation and is still going strong. However, this has not always been the case as the Toyota Tundra has been a victim of many issues.

The second generation is widely considered to be full of problems. This is, no doubt, the result of countless issues and problems. The Toyota Tundra transmission problems are the worst of them all.

These problems are mostly the following:

  1. Shaky Drives And Annoying Vibration
  2. Gears Being Tough To Move
  3. Check Engine Light Activating
  4. Leaky Transmission Fluid
  5. Grinding And Whining Noises
  6. General Lack Of Power

In this article, I will go over all of the issues you can find in the Toyota Tundra regarding transmission. Additionally, I will highlight the years you need to watch out for to get good value from your purchase.

6 Signs Of Transmission Problems In A Toyota Tundra

If your Toyota Tundra's transmission acts up then read my guide to solve the issuesIn this section of the article, I will go over the areas where you can face issues in the transmission of the Toyota Tundra.

1. Shaky Drives And Annoying Vibration

The easiest way to identify if your transmission is having issues is if you feel shaking or vibration. This should be easy for you to do as the Toyota Tundra has a record of this symptom.

If you feel that your car is shaking or vibrating when it should not, there is likely an issue with the transmission. This is likely to be caused by a lack of transmission fluid.

2. Gears Being Tough To Move

Generally, you should be able to shift between gears without any issues. This can no longer be the case when you have a bad transmission. This is also an issue seen constantly in the Toyota Tundra.

Additionally, this can also result in the gears being unresponsive in general. This is likely the result of many issues ranging from bad transmission fluid to a bad engine computer.

Since there can be a lot of problems, you should carefully assess the situation and isolate the source of the issue.

3. Check Engine Light Activating

Another prominent way to determine if the transmission is not acting as it should be to look for the check engine light. The check engine light should turn on when the transmission is seriously damaged.

It should also display a code, which will tell you the exact problem the transmission is facing. Know that the light may not always turn on and only does so when the damage has been done.

4. Leaky Transmission Fluid

Fluid leaking from the transmission is a surefire way to confirm that your transmission has problems. While the Toyota Tundra is mostly fine in this regard, the car has displayed a leaky transmission fluid.

A fluid leak is not that big of a problem but a lack of transmission can easily cause various issues. Many of them have been mentioned above.

5. Grinding And Whining Noises

Another easy way to check if your transmission is not functioning as intended is if you hear any grinding or whining noises. This can usually be heard near the rear end of the car.

The problem is also the result of a lack of transmission fluid and is the sound of the transmission’s moving parts. Additionally, this can also lead to component damage and transmission wearing out.

6. General Lack Of Power

The Toyota Tundra brings a lot of power since it is a pickup truck. Due to this attribute, any loss in power is easily noticed by the driver and passengers inside the car.

Sadly, this, too, is the result of a bad transmission and can easily result in you getting into an accident. This sign is also quite common in the Toyota Tundra, so you best be on your guard.

How To Prevent Your Toyota Tundra’s Transmission Issues?

If you are dealing with any of the above transmission problems, you should have the issue identified beforehand.

Now you can focus on preventing the problem. I will go over actions you can take to mitigate, reduce and fix any transmission problems you might face.

1. Top Up The Transmission Fluid Of The Car

You fill the transmission fluid up to the optimal level. If it is close to full, then you can skip this step.

Otherwise, you should add as much as you can. This should easily prevent overheating and other transmission fluid-related issues plaguing your Toyota Tundra.

2. Get Your Toyota Tundra Serviced

Servicing your Toyota Tundra can be another way to reduce and stop potential issues with the transmission. This can clean up any gunk or grime that may have gotten into the car.

3. Replace Worn Out/Faulty Components Of The Transmission

If you think your transmission has more life, you can have it checked out by a mechanic and then see which component needs to be fixed. You can then take steps to replace the part.

How To Fix The Toyota Tundra’s Transmission Problems

In today’s world it may be more economical to fix the transmission yourself. Granted, this can only be possible if the transmission has not sustained major damage or suffered from complete transmission failure.

If you want to start fixing up your transmission, you should first check the transmission fluid level. If it is low, you need to fill it up to the optimal level.

Additionally, look for any damaged or worn-out parts. You should be able to easily swap them out for new components. If your transmission is completely busted, you will have no choice but to buy a replacement.

Which Year Did Toyota Tundra Have Transmission Problems?

In this article section, I will go over the years when the Toyota Tundra displayed the most transmission problems. The list will be based on years that were widely complained about.

The level of transmission issues will vary from model to model. I will also talk about what exactly was wrong with the models. This will give you an idea of what to expect from those models.

2007 Toyota Tundra

The most complained-about model in the entire lineup was the 2007 Toyota Tundra. While transmission issues were not the main problem in this model, they played a part.

It would start with leaky transmission fluid and go towards the rear transmission seal leaking and the motor mount breaking. All of this would spell disaster for the car.

2005 Toyota Tundra

The 2005 Toyota Tundra did not fare any better. People hoped that things would get better, but the lineup regressed. This year only had a few issues in the transmission, but they were quite common.

The gears would have frequent lunges, and the transmission would slip constantly. These issues were most prominent in the automatic transmission.

2006 Toyota Tundra

While having more issues in the 2006 Toyota Tundra, they were less common and frequent. Despite this, the sheer number of problems has to be discussed.

The main issues included the car not shifting at all. There would be a lot of difficulty going uphill. You could often hear a clunk noise when you start and stop the car. These are only half of the issues faced by owners of the car.

2008 Toyota Tundra

The 2008 model of the Toyota Tundra needed more time to be worked on. While the number of transmission issues was relatively low, all other systems failed miserably. This model had a bad case of transmission failure.

This issue was most common in the automatic version of the transmission. People could hear noise from the driving train, and there would be a constant vibration while driving.

2012 Toyota Tundra

An overall okay vehicle, the 2012 Toyota Tundra had a fair amount of issues it needed to deal with. On the transmission side, the car owners had to deal with transmission failure. This would often occur prematurely.

Additionally, the transmission would not shift to park and release the key. The power train also received a lot of complaints from the NHTSA.

2016 Toyota Tundra

2016 would expand on the previous models of the Toyota Tundra. An overall improvement from the 2012 model, the 2016 Toyota Tundra would often emit grinding noises.

Along with this, shaking and vibration were also pretty common. The car would go into 4 x 4 all by itself. The NHTSA also reported further issues. If you could ignore the shaking, the car was pretty good.

2001 Toyota Tundra

When it came to the 2001 Toyota Tundra, there were a lot of complaints, mostly from the NHTSA. People talked about the vehicle randomly losing power. Decelerating in the middle of traffic. Others talked about how the car was difficult to shift.

Again, most of these issues were well-known in the automatic transmission. Additional issues included the park/neutral start switch having bugs.

2002 Toyota Tundra

The Toyota Tundra had a lot of issues when it came to most of its automatic transmissions. This was also the case for the 2002 Toyota tundra. This vehicle had a terrible case of its transmission going out completely.

Moreover, the shift level also had a bad habit of breaking. There were various level and linkage issues, which made the car annoying to deal with.

2014 Toyota Tundra

Another case was where a bad transmission brought down an overall good car. The 2014 Toyota tundra was the subject of shifting problems.

It was simply very difficult to shift and had a lot of problems. This can easily lead to a lot of annoyance and even accidents which is why this single problem must be mentioned.

2000 Toyota Tundra

The final model on this list is also the first in the lineup. The 2000 Toyota tundra was the victim of rare cases of transmission failure.

It was also the start of a long-running line of transmission issues that would occur in automatic transmission. Gear positions and lever and linkage were also persistent problems in newer models.

Related: https://www.wvdot.com/best-and-worst-years-for-toyota-tundra/

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How Much Does A Toyota Tundra Transmission Replacement Cost?

If you are in the market to replace the transmission of your Toyota Tundra, you should be prepared to drop a lot of money.

A replacement transmission for the Toyota Tundra can easily cost upwards of $1000. The average cost range between $1,600 and $3,500 easily. This does not include labor costs either.

Q2. What Is The Lifespan Of A Toyota Tundra Transmission?

If you give the utmost care and respect to the transmission of your Toyota Tundra, you can expect a value between 100,000 and 200,000 miles. If you do not do the work, it can easily fall below 100,000 miles.

Related: https://www.wvdot.com/how-long-do-toyota-tundras-last/

Q3. Is It Safe To Drive A Toyota Tundra With A Bad Transmission?

It is never a safe idea to drive any car with a bad transmission. This is especially the case with the Toyota Tundra, which has displayed cases of deceleration and complete transmission failure.

You can easily get into an accident or get stranded in the middle of the road if you drive with a bad transmission. Hence, you should get the transmission fixed before doing anything else to the car.

Conclusion

The Toyota Tundra is by no means a bad car. While there is a lot of Toyota tundra transmission problems that you need to deal with, the lineup has generally improved.

Over the years, post-2016, there have been little to no issues regarding transmission. For this reason, I completely recommend the lineup.

Just make sure you buy one of the latest models as they seem more stable and have fewer problems.

Additionally, even if you have an old model, you must maintain the car and keep the transmission topped up with fluid. This should help you avoid most problems.