Hitting the Road in Review of Trucks from Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet, & Ram

Top Trucks Report

The 2015 Fixya Truck Report covers common issues and their solutions from popular trucks from Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet, and Ram. Overall, our report discovered some consistent problems across all trucks with the vehicles transmission and suspension, but found that each individual brand had unique problems with their trucks that could not be found with their competitors.

Buying a car is a big financial decision – it's important to do the right research and be as knowledgeable as possible beforehand. We've created this report to keep consumers appraised on the most common problems with each of these top-selling vehicles, so that they can purchase with confidence. In addition, we’ve provided a list of solutions for the common problems each vehicle experiences, offering future and current vehicle owners the knowledge to complete any repairs themself or help inform their mechanic of possible fixes they should look out for when fixing their car.

Drawing from our unique and proprietary data found on Fixya and its 30 million monthly users, as well as the Fixya Fixboard (http://www.fixya.com/fixboard) which provides unique actionable insight on today’s top brands, we will cover some of the the most common issues and solutions that each company has with its trucks and give you the tools to find a solution.

The report takes into account all models from the past 7 years, and is an assessment of the vehicle line itself (rather than by specific model year). The report has multiple sections for each vehicle. They are as follows:

  • A list of the top problems experienced with each vehicle, as a percentage of the total problems for that vehicle.
  • A synopsis of each vehicle and major findings.
  • A breakdown of each issue with the most common problems and the most likely explanations for why these problems are occurring.

Let’s get started.

Toyota Tacoma (7,640 total problems posted on Fixya)

Top Toyota Tacoma Issues

Synopsis:

The Toyota Tacoma, a mid-sized pickup, has remained a dedicated mainstay in the truck world since being introduced in 1995 and one of the most versatile trucks for both residential and off-road drivers across the world. The typical Toyota reputation of its compact sedans, known for their durability and longevity, isn’t lost on this mid-sized truck, as it possesses some of the best lifespan expectations out of the trucks we cover in this report. Toyota’s 2016 edition of the Tacoma is the first of its third generation Tacoma series, with some notable upgrades and changes expected on the horizon for the vehicle.

However, as with any car, the Tacoma still has issues that potential and current owners should be aware of. Let’s dive into some of the more common issues below:

The Issues:

Suspension - Suspension is an important part of any vehicle, especially with trucks which typically sit higher off the ground than their sedan and compact vehicle counterparts. The importance of a truck’s suspension can not be understated, as the handling, driving safety, and passenger comfort when on the road are all related to a good suspension system.

Unfortunately for drivers of the Tacoma, suspension issues were an issue for users reporting issues on Fixya. The various issues with the Tacoma’s suspension were as follows:

  • Bumpy ride for passengers while driving
  • Leaf spring in suspension has various issues
  • Suspension moving slightly out of position and rubbing up against other parts of vehicle

Fixya Experts offering their solutions, as well as the initial users who reported the problem (who either took the car to a mechanic or looked at it themselves after receiving a solution) listed several possible reasons as to why this was occurring. Let’s take a look at a few potential reason as well as potential solutions for Tacoma suspension issues:

  • Leaf springs on the vehicle may be fractured due to stress or corrosion and need to be replaced
  • Users are aggressively driving their vehicles in hilly or dynamic road conditions, causing the suspension to bottom out and exacerbating the issues of their suspension
  • Suspension and the Tacoma’s leaf springs move out of place and causes damage to other parts of the vehicle surrounding the suspension, causing issues with other aspects of the truck
  • Leaf spring moves out of position and makes contact with the fuel tank, potentially causing a leak of fuel from the tank. If this issue persists, contact your local Toyota dealership for next steps.

Gas Pedal/Acceleration - Subject to some intense and widespread controversy from 2009-11, Toyota’s vehicles as a whole experienced major recalls related to the gas pedal accelerator on their vehicles. Fixya users, along with a wide variety of media outlets, reported these issues extensively and likely created a situation where users who were experiencing general vehicle issues over-reported and attributed their problems to the gas pedal/acceleration recall.

Regardless of the number of reports however, issues with the gas pedal/acceleration were still a significant issue for Toyota Tacoma owners on Fixya. The various issues with the Tacoma’s gas pedal/acceleration are as follows:

  • Gas pedal causing issues with vehicle stability control system
  • Gas pedal causing issues with antilock brakes
  • Gas pedal sticking while driving
  • Gas pedal entangling to floor mat while driving
  • Gas pedal becoming difficult to move or unresponsive

Fixya Experts offering their solutions, as well as the initial users who reported the problem (who either took the car to a mechanic or looked at it themselves after receiving a solution) listed several possible reasons as to why this was occurring. Let’s take a look at a few potential reasons as well as potential solutions for Tacoma gas pedal/acceleration issues:

  • There could be issues with your gas pedals, whether it’s high friction on the gas pedal, or the fact that your pedal sensor is worn out and/or smooth and in need of replacement.
  • Issues could be caused by something as simple as floor mats that are unsecured or need replacing.
  • In some cases, the throttle position sensor might need to be updated.
  • This could also caused by user error from not shifting to neutral before shifting into gear.

Air Bags - Similar to the gas pedal/acceleration issues users experienced with their Tacoma’s (and Toyota vehicles as a whole), a recent recall related to air bag issues may have contributed to the number of user concerns about the safety of the airbags in the Tacoma. However, considering the number of users citing issues with this safety feature, it’s safe to assume there is some merit to the issue and should cause a hard look to be taken at any potential fix. Here are a few issues users have described with the Toyota Tacoma’s transmission:

  • Air bag warning light coming on
  • Flexible Flat Cable (FFC) is damaged
  • Airbag deactivating
  • Airbag will not function properly in the event of a crash

Solutions from Fixya Experts, as well as the initial users who reported the problem (who either took the car to a mechanic or looked at it themselves after receiving a solution), listed several possible reasons as to why these issues with the transmission were occurring. Although every issue and circumstance is going to be different, users should refrain from attempting to fix their airbag on their own.

This is due to both safety concerns, as well as the technical complexity of attempting to fix an airbag on your own. The best and safest step to take is to bring it to your local Toyota dealership and notify them of the problem.

Ford F-150 (34,579 total problems posted on Fixya)

Top Ford F-150 Issues

Synopsis:

The Ford F-150 is one of the iconic trucks in America, representing American ingenuity, ruggedness, and individualism. As one of the United States best-selling vehicles over the past three decades, the truck has undergone numerous adjustments since its release in 1948.—the new 2015 model is the first truck in Ford’s 13th generation of F-150’s, with an emphasis on fuel economy and the new introduction of extensive aluminum found within the body of the truck. Considering its place in the market over the past 30 years, as well as its place in American history as a symbol, there is little doubt that the F-150 is one of the most iconic trucks in the history of the industry.

Despite being well-recognized and almost universally recognized however, the F-150 has had its fair share of issues over the years. Here is a list of common issues and their solutions:

The Issues:

Door Issues - Similar to issues with other Ford vehicles, the doors of the F-150 are sometimes loose and are difficult to shut when entering and exiting the vehicle. Furthermore, certain doors in the vehicle are unable to be locked. Along with posing safety concerns for drivers and passengers of the vehicle, these door issues make it difficult to seamlessly enter and exit the vehicle as well as cause a distracting sound when driving the vehicle on the road. Fixya users described the following issues with their Ford F-150 doors:

  • Doors rattling when driving the vehicle at highway speeds
  • Door open warning switch is lit up on the dashboard
  • Doors are unable to be locked

Fixya Experts offering their solutions, as well as the initial users who reported the problem (who either took the car to a mechanic or looked at it themselves after receiving a solution) listed several possible reasons as to why this was occurring. Let’s look at a few potential reasons as well as potential solutions for Ford F-150 door issues:

  • The causes for door malfunction are fairly broad, and can range from blown electrical fuses, to a shot battery (both of which will need to be replaced), or a faulty electrical system that needs to be examined in entirety.
  • Examine the vehicle’s master switch and ensure door switch is turned on.
  • Try cleaning the pivot area of door. Grime can build up, causing it to be unable to be locked.
  • You can also install a lubricated seal near the door catch, which could aid in the ease of opening/closing.

Transmission - Although every part of a vehicle has to work in concert with one another in order to provide a quality driving experience, the transmission is one of the most crucial aspects to any vehicle. Shifting into gear, whether the vehicle is a manual or automatic, is a crucial part of the process of driving a truck, and any type of issues with the transmission from starting the car to driving it can both reduce safety as well as limit your ability to get where you need to go without causing even more damage to your truck.

The Ford F-150 experiences a wide range of transmission issues, although the vast majority of them do not effect the car when it is transit at high speeds. Instead, the majority of its transmission issues crop up when a vehicle is moving from a stationary position into motion. Issues with the F-150’s transmission can be found below:

  • Difficulty shifting into gear
  • Problems with the body control module
  • Truck shifting into gear without pressing down the brake
  • Difficulties putting the vehicle into reverse

Fixya Experts offering their solutions, as well as the initial users who reported the problem (who either took the car to a mechanic or looked at it themselves after receiving a solution) listed several possible reasons as to why this was occurring. Let’s take a look at a few potential reason as well as potential solutions for F-150 suspension issues:

  • Leaf springs on the vehicle may be fractured due to stress or corrosion and need to be replaced
  • Users are aggressively driving their vehicles in hilly or dynamic road conditions, causing the suspension to bottom out and exacerbating the issues of their suspension
  • Suspension and the Tacoma’s leaf springs move out of place and causes damage to other parts of the vehicle surrounding the suspension, causing issues with other aspects of the truck
  • Leaf spring moves out of position and makes contact with the fuel tank, potentially causing a leak of fuel from the tank. If this issue persists, contact your local Toyota dealership for next steps.

Brakes - Brakes are a key component of safety across car manufacturers, and any issues (however minor) that affects your ability to stop your vehicle is inherently going to be a big factor for potential owners to look at before purchasing a vehicle. Brake issues with the Ford F-150 that users have had are as follows:

  • Car vibrating when brakes are applied
  • Brakes squeaking when applied, even at moderate reported speeds
  • Brakes needing to be replaced quicker than other previous vehicle experiences
  • Braking taking longer to complete

Fixya Experts offering their solutions, as well as the initial users who reported the problem (who either took the car to a mechanic or looked at it themselves after receiving a solution) listed several possible reasons as to why this was occurring. Potential reasons as well as potential solutions for F-150’S brake issues include:

  • Warped brake rotors, or worn down brake pads, might need to be replaced.
  • One potential fix could be replacing and installing the brake pin connecting the brake pedal to the braking system.
  • Another potential solution could be replacing old struts and shocks with brand new versions to reduce wear on the brake pads

RAM Trucks-1500 (14,857 total problems posted on Fixya)

Top Ram Trucks Issues

Synopsis:

Although the Ram was formerly sold under the Dodge name, it split off into its own line in 2010 following a decision by Chrysler to focus on hardcore customers who need the various upsides of a truck in their daily lives compared to the casual customers that enjoy the vehicles based off aesthetic and status appeal. Throughout its history, Ram Trucks have developed a solid customer base and earned numerous industry awards, including Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year a total of five times since the first generation was released in 1981.

Despite its notable accomplishments and loyal customer base, Ram Trucks still have issues that plague owners of the vehicle. We’ll dive into some of the more common issues with the truck below, as well as give future and current owners an idea of how to fix them:

The Issues:

Engine - Fixya users have reported issues with the Ram’s engine. These engine-based issues have a wide variety of causes and manifest themselves in various ways, but the overarching takeaway is that the RAM engine is prone to give to owners some frustrating performance if they have an edition that was affected.

Engine issues with Ram Trucks that users have had are as follows:

  • Fuel heater becoming hot and producing condensation
  • Fuel leaking from the vehicle
  • Engine warning lamp lights up when driving the vehicle
  • Difficulty shifting the vehicle from one gear to the next
  • A distinct grinding noise when shifting the vehicle from one gear to the next
  • Engine not starting
  • Engine shuts off for a short period of time while being driven
  • Engine shuts off for a short period of time when sitting in idle
  • Engine turns on but vehicle acceleration takes a long time to kick in

Fixya Experts offering their solutions, as well as the initial users who reported the problem (who either took the car to a mechanic or looked at it themselves after receiving a solution) listed several possible reasons as to why this was occurring. A few potential reasons as well as potential solutions for Ram’s engine issues include:

  • The problem could lie with the Engine Control Module. If this is the case, it will need to replaced.
  • Inspection needed on the fuel heater, which may have issues with the electrical connection of the vehicle. This could potentially cause leakage and should be inspected immediately by a certified technician or mechanic.
  • Another potential cause could be hairline cracks developing on soldered points of the engine. This is a larger issue that will require a trip to your dealership or your local mechanic.
  • The issue could also be due to a malfunctioning circuit board.
  • Some Fixya users reported improperly installed fuel filter to be the cause of these issues.
  • The vehicle’s cam belt, also known as a timing belt, might need to be replaced.

Exterior Lighting System - When driving their vehicles during the night, Ram owners reported issues with the strength and functionality of their headlights, issues with the turn lights, and other related vehicle safety lights on the truck that caused decreased visibility. For certain Fixya users, these issues also affected the visibility of their vehicle to other drivers on the road, which was a concern that made driving at night even more worrisome. Fixya users described the following issues with the headlights with their Ram Trucks:

  • Turn lights not functioning properly
  • Warning indicators on the dashboard not coming on which notify driver of issues with the exterior lighting system
  • Low strength of high beams and regular vehicle headlights
  • Headlights not turning on when prompted
  • Headlights flickering on and off in short spurts while driving the vehicle

Fixya Experts offering their solutions, as well as the initial users who reported the problem (who either took the car to a mechanic or looked at it themselves after receiving a solution) listed several possible reasons as to why this was occurring. Potential reasons as well as potential solutions for Ram’s headlight issues include:

  • Missing Amber side reflect reflector which needs to be replaced
  • In some cases, a seal in the wiring harness connector could need to be replaced.
  • Headlamp bulbs could be aligned incorrectly, causing flickering, and requiring readjustment while car is turned off.
  • One potential cause for this is malfunctioning wires that go from the battery to the car body that should be reconnected or replaced.
  • Another possibility for faulty headlights could be due to a blown fuse. If this is the case, you’ll have to replace them.

Suspension - Suspension is an important part of any vehicle, especially with trucks which typically sit higher off the ground than their sedan and compact vehicle counterparts. The importance of a truck’s suspension can not be understated, as the handling, driving safety, and passenger comfort when on the road are all related to a good suspension system.

Unfortunately for drivers of the Ram, suspension issues were an issue for users reporting issues on Fixya. The various issues with Ram Trucks’ suspension were as follows:

  • Difficulties braking
  • Suspension moving slightly out of position and rubbing up against other parts of vehicle
  • Bumpy ride for passengers while driving
  • Rear shocks becoming loose
  • Leaf spring in suspension has various issues

Fixya Experts offering their solutions, as well as the initial users who reported the problem (who either took the car to a mechanic or looked at it themselves after receiving a solution) listed several possible reasons as to why this was occurring. Let’s take a look at a few potential reason as well as potential solutions for Ram’s suspension issues:

  • Leaf springs on the vehicle may be fractured due to stress or corrosion and need to be replaced.
  • Shocks need to be tightened and the weld to the vehicle examined. If the weld is the primary issue, the shocks will need to be replaced.
  • Users are aggressively driving their vehicles in hilly or dynamic road conditions, causing the suspension to bottom out and exacerbating the issues of their suspension.
  • Suspension and the Ram’s leaf springs move out of place and causes damage to other parts of the vehicle surrounding the suspension, causing issues with other aspects of the truck.
  • Leaf spring moves out of position and makes contact with the fuel tank, potentially causing a leak of fuel from the tank. If this issue persists, contact your local Ram Truck dealership for next steps.

Chevrolet Silverado-1500 (20,001 total problems posted on Fixya)

Top Chevrolet Silverado Issues

Synopsis:

Mechanically identical to the GMC Sierra but sold under different banners, the Chevrolet Silverado is another iconic American vehicle similar to the Ford F-150. With a history dating back to the mid-30’s (although the “Silverado” name would only first appear in 1999), Chevrolet has years of experience behind their iconic American vehicles and a wealth of experience in the market that few truck-centric companies can boast. The truck has been named Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year in three years, an impressive total considering the Silverado’s name first appeared in 1999 as we had previously mentioned.

However, as with any truck, the Chevrolet Silverado still has issues that potential and current owners should be aware of. Let’s dive into some of the more common issues below:

The Issues:

Electrical System—The Chevrolet Silverado has had reported issues with the electrical system on the vehicle. These issues affect a wide variety of assets of the vehicle, including the headlights, dashboard, and other aspects of the vehicle. Reported issues from Fixya users about the electrical system are as follows:

  • Headlights turning off and on while driving the vehicle
  • Trailer lights not functioning properly when a trailer is attached to vehicle
  • Engine stalling (usually while increasing speeds and changing gears)
  • Dashboard lights flickering on and off while driving at night
  • Electrical features working intermittently or not at all

Fixya Experts offering their solutions, as well as the initial users who reported the problem (who either took the car to a mechanic or looked at it themselves after receiving a solution) listed several possible reasons as to why this was occurring. A few potential solutions for the Silverado’s electrical system issues include:

  • These issues might be cropping up due to the Integrated Motor Assist system in the vehicle needing to be replaced.
  • Another potential cause could be the voltage converter in the vehicle needing to be replaced.
  • For trailer lights, it is possible that the ground location for harness or trailer connector is weak or ground connection has loosened over time. This can be fixed by inspecting the harness to ensure the fuse and relays are not blown.
  • In some cases, a seal in the wiring harness connector could need to be replaced.
  • Headlamp bulbs could be aligned incorrectly, causing flickering, and requiring readjustment while car is turned off.
  • One potential cause for this is malfunctioning wires that go from the battery to the car body that should be reconnected or replaced.

Power Steering - When driving their vehicle, Silverado owners on Fixya have reported several issues with the performance of their vehicle as well as the stability of their driving wheel. In relation to the power steering on their Chevrolet Silverado, Fixya users reported the following issues:

  • Fluid leakage below their vehicle, which after inspection turns out to be fluid from the power steering apparatus
  • Vibrating through the drivers side floor as well as the drivers gas and brake pedal
  • The steering wheel vibrating when brakes are applied
  • The steering wheel slightly vibrating when the car is idling
  • Increased effort in attempting to steer the vehicle
  • Vehicle becoming hard to turn at increased angles of turning
  • Vehicle shifting from out of park without the key in the ignition

Fixya Experts offering their solutions, as well as the initial users who reported the problem (who either took the car to a mechanic or looked at it themselves after receiving a solution) listed several possible reasons as to why this was occurring. Power steering issues are a bit more serious, but here are a few possibilities for why this might be happening:

  • One explanation for this could be that your front brake rotors need to be replaced. Similarly, break pads becoming run down can affect power steering. If this is the case, these pads should be replaced.
  • This could be occurring due to power steering fluid needing to be flushed and replaced, or the power steering hose needing to be replaced due to deterioration.
  • If you’re experiencing a vibration in the steering wheel, your front wheels may need aligning. Alternatively, a vibration in the floor or the foot pedals could mean that your back wheels need to be aligned. In some cases, the CV axles might also need to be replaced.
  • Another explanation could be attributed to issues with the power steering rack and pinion units.
  • Moisture interacting with the power steering fluid could be the issue here, as could old fluid needing to be flushed out of the vehicle and replaced. A potential fix could be to clean the pressure valve inside of the pressure hose that houses the power steering fluid.
  • Air conditioner drain hose could also be leaking fluid into the engine of the vehicle.
  • One potential solution that worked for some Fixya users was to use a siphon pump and a container to catch the fluid in pump to add new fluid to the vehicle. Following that, starting motor and turn wheel to both sides to circulate fluid and repeat steps until darker fluid have been flushed out.

Transmission - Although every part of a vehicle has to work in concert with one another in order to provide a quality driving experience, the transmission is one of the most crucial aspects to any vehicle. Shifting into gear, whether the vehicle is a manual or automatic, is a crucial part of the process of driving a truck, and any type of issues with the transmission from starting the car to driving it can both reduce safety as well as limit your ability to get where you need to go without causing even more damage to your truck.

Here are transmission issues related to the Chevrolet Silverado:

  • Turning the key is difficult to start the vehicle
  • Slight delay in response time from the vehicle when increasing speeds
  • Truck shifting into gear without pressing down the brake
  • Strange noises coming from the hood while driving
  • Warning lights popping up on the dashboard indicating an issue
  • Difficulty shifting into gear

Fixya Experts offering their solutions, as well as the initial users who reported the problem (who either took the car to a mechanic or looked at it themselves after receiving a solution) listed several possible reasons as to why this was occurring. Let’s take a look at a few potential reason as well as potential solutions for Silverado transmission issues:

  • Inspect the ignition lock actuator and make sure it does not bind and cause your key to be difficult to turn.
  • You could be experiencing malfunctioning shaft bearings, which could potentially be solved by tightening or replacing them. This is a tougher fix for anyone who hasn’t spent much time underneath the hood of a car.
  • Another possibility is malfunctioning solenoids that control line pressure within the transmission.
  • Leaf springs on the vehicle may be fractured due to stress or corrosion and need to be replaced
  • Users are aggressively driving their vehicles in hilly or dynamic road conditions, causing the suspension to bottom out and exacerbating the issues of their suspension
  • Suspension and the Silverado’s leaf springs move out of place and causes damage to other parts of the vehicle surrounding the suspension, causing issues with other aspects of the truck.

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