Toyota Tundra Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Toyota Tundra based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

One or more oxygen sensors may fail resulting in illumination of the Check Engine Light.

Toyota issued a recall on the lower ball joint due to the possibility of premature wear from improper finishing in production. The ball joints will be replaced under the recall. There are two separate recalls combined here, one applies to 2002-2004 and the second to 2004-2006 Models.  Please contact you local Toyota dealer to see if your vehicle is included.

The V8 models can experience exhaust manifold failures. A leaking exhaust manifold will sound like an exhaust leak or an audible ticking noise from the engine compartment and will be especially pronounced when the engine is still cold.

The 2000-2006 Toyota Tundra with the automatic transmission may develop an issue which is commonly known as the "strawberry milkshake".

The name is based on the color and consistency of the fluid found in the coolant reservoir, transmission, and radiator.

The radiator on these models has an isolated portion for cooling automatic transmission fluid(ATF) that is pumped in and out by the transmission. This area of the radiator is known to rupture internally, and the following occurs:

  • Transmission overheating warning light
  • Transmission slipping (engine revs high and vehicle moves slowly)
  • Engine overheating
  • ATF and engine coolant mix in the radiator, engine, and transmission

Engine coolant in the transmission can cause severe damage, and if not caught immediately may require replacement or rebuild of the automatic transmission.

To correct the situation, the radiator must be replaced, and the engine cooling system must be flushed thoroughly. Also, the transmission will need to be professionally flushed, inspected, and possibly repaired or replaced.

To prevent this from occurring, proactive replacement of the radiator is necessary and recommended.

Corrosion protection for the frame of the 2000-2003 Toyota Tundra is insufficient for the rear crossmember, under the truck bed. The crossmember is designed for chassis rigidity, truck bed support, and mounting for other components. When the crossmember rusts through there is a loss of rigidity, and can be metal-on-metal vibration from the truck bed. 

Toyota has addressed the issue by applying a new coating to the rear of the frame when this issue arises. If deep rusting is present, the crossmember must be replaced. 

Proper cleaning of the frame, especially in locations where road salts are used, can help protect the coating. 

Four wheel drive models of the 2007 Toyota Tundra may suffer from premature failure of the rear driveshaft (prop shaft). Failure occurs at the u-joint due to insufficient material strength for the application. 

When failure occurs, vibration increases with speed, and popping or clunking between gears is audible, especially when downshifting to accelerate or when shifting into drive or reverse. 

Toyota has issued a revised part which will resolve the issue.  


A defect in manufacturing may cause camshaft failure in the 2007 Toyota Tundra. The camshaft is too soft from the factory, and cam lobe wear is inevitable. This may cause:

  • Check engine light illumination
  • OBD trouble code p0300
  • Rough idle
  • Loss of power
  • Poor fuel economy
To correct the issue, the camshaft must be replaced using the revised part number. 
Maintaining the engine properly with the correct engine oil and oil change intervals can reduce the risk of camshaft failure. Also, letting the engine warm completely before any spirited driving or towing will help.

Drivers may hear a loud noise, much like a vacuum cleaner, coming from their engine on cold starts. This affects the 2005-2009 Toyota Tundra iForce V8 models. 

The noise is from the secondary air pump, which sends hot air to the catalytic converter when the engine is cold. This allows the catalytic converter to clean exhaust better, and lower emissions while the engine is warming up.

Pump failure may result in:

Fixing the issue involves removal of the intake manifold, and replacement of the secondary air pump.