really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,061 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Toyota Tacoma steering problems

steering problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2004 Toyota Tacoma:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2004 Toyota Tacoma Owner Comments

problem #16

Jan 292016


  • 160,000 miles


When driving home from having the truck serviced, the front drivers wheel broke and crashed into a curb. After taking it to Toyota and calling there help desk, theye confirmed it had a lower and upper ball joint failure. At this time Toyota will not honor this recall and will not provide any assistance with the repairs.

- Norco, CA, USA

problem #15

Oct 162012


  • 48,000 miles
Loose steering. Lots of play in the wheel, had to have the steering rack bushings replaced at 48K miles because the rack would just move around and the truck was uncontrollable. After replacing the rack, sway bar bushings, and struts @ 48000 mile with no offroad driving the steering is still extremely loose. Is you hit a bump while in a curve on the freeway you feel like you are just along for the ride with almost no control. Dealership advised no recalls and truck is out of warranty. They could not pinpoint what the problem is but stated it could the rack, the steering shaft, or bad ball joints. I had an 88 Toyota 4X4 that I just sold to a friend this year, I drove that truck as hard as possible offroad and never had any of these problems replace bushings and shocks when needed but never felt out of control. Toyota need to fix these Tacoma steering issues.

- Gardena, CA, USA

problem #14

Oct 152014


  • 127,059 miles
My 2004 Tacoma has ~127,500 miles and has been subject to frame corrosion and spare tire retainer corrosion recalls. My dealer recently advised that the left rear leaf spring is broken which is resulting in an unpredictable response when driving, especially in 4WD in snowy weather. This lack of steering control is a safety issue. I believe this fracture is directly linked to the corrosion issues in the Tacoma frame and suspension design on the Tacoma. Toyota usa has reviewed the case and is unwilling to cover the cost of the leaf spring repairs. This is despite an extensive recall on 2005+up Tacoma's for distressed leaf springs.

- Amston, CT, USA

problem #13

Feb 012014

Tacoma 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


I have a 2004 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. This has had a very bad for a year. The other day the mount for the right rear broke and the front end of the rear spring was rusted away from the frame. This is the same problem my 1996 Toyota pickup had. That one the bought back and I now have this one. The rest of the truck is pretty good. The rack and pinion steering also rusted away and started to leak fluid. This leak was under the right mount of the rack. This was also fixed by me. This is my work truck and personal way of getting around. These are both very serious safety problems !!! I contacted the CEO of Toyota, Toyota sales in califorina and girard Toyota. They said I slipped through the cracks and I did not get any notices !!! they are putting tons of frames on for other peoples but I have been singled out some how and I cannot get one. This problem has been going on for 20 years !!! this with out question should be a recall and all items concerned should be replaced free of charge. Please help with this serious problem. Thank you.

- Clinton, CT, USA

problem #12

Feb 292008

Tacoma 4-cyl

  • 35,488 miles
Power rack and pinion system failure, bad seals in unit, unit replaced under warranty, failed again, at 10K miles on January 14, 2014.

- Fircrest, WA, USA

problem #11

Jan 192011

Tacoma 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
On January 19, 2011 at approximately 7:15 am, I was driving approximately 15 mph on a dirt road, came around an approximate 90 degree right hand turn heading down hill, slid on mud or ice and hit a rut. After all wheels had passed through the rut the vehicle drove up and over a small rise (bump) in the road. After coming over the rise, the right front of the vehicle dove into the dirt and the truck came to an abrupt stop. I turned off the truck and got out of the vehicle to inspect the front end. The right front ball joint had completely separated from... "?"... what ever it is supposed to be attached to. The right front wheel was perpendicular to the wheel well with the inside leaning toward the front of the vehicle. I have several photographs of the vehicle taken moments after the equipment failure. I'm glad this happened where it did because only a few miles further into my trip to work, I would have been traveling 75 mph on the interstate. Amen! I had never received any notification from Toyota concerning recall no. 50J. I only accidentally came across the information while surfing the web within the past week.

- Ash Fork, AZ, USA

problem #10

Mar 032011


  • miles


Loose steering on 2004 Toyota Tacoma 4X4. Isolated looseness to upper steering shaft spline connection. Tack welded spline to fix play in steering shaft. My steering had gotten progressively worse so after a lot of examination I found what appears to be the problem. I would like Toyota to come out with a redesigned steering column. I have taken vehicle to the dealer about this with no resolution from them.

- Valdez, AK, USA

problem #9

Aug 192010


  • miles
My 2004 Tacoma has very low mileage (around 64,000 miles). The steering wheel feels very loose and has alot of abnormal play. Driving down the road, the steering wheel shakes, vibrates, and rattles around all the time and becomes really bad on rough roads. When there is a slight bump in the road, turning a corner, being blown around in a little wind, or trying to avoid other cars, the trucks steering is so loose that I consider it a major safety hazard. I've done my research online and have found no recalls or tsb's for this problem from Toyota, but I have found multiple solutions to the problem which all relate to a poorly designed steering shaft on the column which wears out and results in loose steering. We shouldn't have to resort to the only known fix of welding the two parts of the shaft together. Someone should really be concerned about this as it's a major safety hazard.

- Wellton, AZ, USA

problem #8

Jul 082010


  • 50,880 miles
Steering wheel shakes violently when driving over bumps in road, feels like driver could loose control of vehicle, or steering component could fall off.

- Bellevue, NE, USA

problem #7

May 202010


  • 84,000 miles
I own a 2004 Toyota Tacoma, all factory standard, very clean, with about 80,000 miles on it. The steering wheel has a very noticeable amount of play in it (about 0.5 to 1" at the rim). The play causes rattling on rough roads, and reduced control on smooth highways. The source of the problem has been narrowed down to the steering shaft. I just researched the issue on line and found a large number of mentions of that very same issue on Tacoma and 4-runners. I consider this a manufacturing defect and want Toyota to repair it. I assume it could also be a safety issue as it relates to steering. What are my options?

- Santa Fe, NM, USA

problem #6

Aug 282009


  • 179,698 miles


Complete loss of steering.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #5

Jan 012009


  • 34,000 miles
I have a 2004 completely stock Toyota Tacoma that has never been off road with 36000 miles on it. The steering column upper shaft at the slip joint below the tilt ball joint has become loose. There is play in the steering now causing control of the truck to become less and less precise. I am not the only one with this problem as many people have complained about it on many different Toyota Tacoma forums. People have had to replace the upper steering shafts but the problem comes back within a few thousand miles usually. Toyota needs to recall and redesign a much sturdier part that keeps the steering play at original specs for control and safety.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #4

Dec 122008


  • 51,000 miles
2004 Toyota Tacoma X-tra cab, 4cyl. With A/T developed power steering leak at 51K. The dealer diagnosed the problem as bad seals in the rack and pinion. When I replaced the rack and pinion, I discovered that a pinch bolt in the steering column had rubbed a hole in the metal power steering feed line going to the rack and pinion. This issue was brought to the dealers attention but the dealer refused to acknowledge the problem and I have been without the use of my '04 Toyota truck for 5 months.

- Jonesboro, GA, USA

problem #3

Jan 102009

Tacoma 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
1) power steering fluid began to leak from area of rack and pinion. 2) Toyota dealer mis-diagnosed problem as leaking seals in rack and pinion. 3) leak occurred in metal power steering line (routed too close to steering gear), where friction from pinch bolt in steering gear has worn a hole in metal power steering line. 4) this causes all fluid to leak from power steering system. 5) 2004 Tacoma sr-5 xtra cab, 2.4 litre 4cyl./auto trans, 51K.

- Jonesboro, GA, USA

problem #2

Mar 012006


  • 31,846 miles
2004 Tacoma rack and pinion system was replaced twice per the suggestion of the mechanic. Mechanic informed consumer that the steering rod was also broken. Although this part was broken the dealer returned the vehicle back to the consumer because they didn't have the part available to repair it. The dealer said there was no danger in driving the vehicle with a steering broken rod.

- San German, PR, USA

problem #1

Oct 152005

Tacoma 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
: the contact stated the rack and pinion steering has been replaced twice due to cracks. The vehicle has been taken to a service dealer who determined that there was a faulty bushing. After the second repair, there was a lot of play in the steering, causing reduced control. The steering rod also failed. Updated 04/11/06.

- San German, PR, USA

Not what you are looking for?