When To Regear My Toyota Tacoma?

A Legacy of Reliability, Versatility, and Capability!

Toyota hit a home run with the Tacoma, and every generation of the now iconic platform has brought something special to the table.

From the impressive reliability to the do-it-all capability and versatility, there’s a lot Toyota has gotten right. The Tacoma is a fantastic truck straight from the factory.

For enthusiasts and those who use their trucks for specific recreational or work scenarios, it is common to modify the Tacoma. From simple changes like adding a bed rack to full builds complete with heavy armor and advanced suspension systems, the aftermarket possibilities are practically endless.

When you start modifying your Toyota Tacoma, it can have a snowball effect. One change can necessitate another, and so on. When it comes to overlooked but important upgrades, regearing stands out.


What is Regearing?

The power generated by your engine is transferred to the wheels through a system of driveshafts, axle shafts, and gears. We won’t get into the technicalities of how these and other components interconnect and interact right now, but it’s well worth a bit of research. The more you understand your vehicle, the better you can troubleshoot and work on it!

Gears are a vital piece of the equation, as they set the ratio of driveshaft rotations to wheel rotations. The higher the gear ratio number (and lower the gearing–we know; it’s confusing), the more rotations of the driveshaft per rotation of the wheel.

This is important because it determines how the power your vehicle produces is translated and put into action. Toyota dedicates tremendous effort and resources to figuring out what gear ratio is right for your specific vehicle.

Regearing, simply put, is changing the gearing ratio that your Tacoma came with. This, in turn, affects the performance of your truck.


So Why Should I Regear My Tacoma?

If professional engineers have spent hours concluding the ideal gear ratio for your truck, why would you want to change it?

It’s an excellent question that has a deceptively simple answer – regearing can enhance the performance of your Tacoma, especially if you have modified it.

At a certain point, the stock Tacoma gearing limits the drivability of your Toyota Tacoma. Adding bigger tires to your truck is typically the culprit here, but large quantities of additional weight can also necessitate regearing.

By changing your gearing, you can regain acceleration, low-end power, and the enjoyment of driving your now-modified Tacoma. No longer will those big tires and heavy bumpers make your Tacoma feel sluggish and miserable on and off the road. Regearing might even preserve the longevity of your Tacoma, as it can reduce the wear and tear exerted on the other components.


When Should I Regear My Tacoma?

There is a bit of debate about when a Tacoma should be regeared, and the conclusion will vary based on the year and model of Tacoma you have. The reason for this lack of a definitive answer is that the topic is subjective.

Some people find the Toyota Tacoma’s factory gearing to be substandard from the moment they drive it off the dealer lot. Others might be content running 35” tires on stock gears. People’s preferences and driving habits differ.

As a general rule, you should consider regearing when you move to a substantially larger tire, add a significant amount of weight, or notice an impactful difference in the driveability of your truck. If you can no longer safely merge into traffic, accelerate on the highway, or climb a steep hill off-road, there’s a good chance you should regear. As a bonus, you might even see your gas mileage increase!


How Much Does it Cost to Regear a Tacoma?

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The price of regearing a Toyota Tacoma can fluctuate based on the area you’re in, the extent of the job (are you adding lockers?), and more.

Installing new gears is a fairly complex and time-consuming process. It requires experience, knowledge, and certain tools. As such, it is not uncommon to see quotes ranging from around $2,500 to up to $4,000 for parts and labor.


What are the Best Tacoma Gear Ratios?

For third-gen Tacomas, the two most common ratios people regear to are 4.88 and 5.29. Many people think that 5.29 gears are too low unless you are going for off-road performance, are running massive tires, and have added a ton of weight to the vehicle. However, this is not necessarily the case.

Because Toyota implemented a six-speed automatic transmission with effectively two overdrive gears, 5.29s actually work quite well even for mild Tacoma builds. While this conversation changes if you live in an extremely flat area or have a manual transmission, we recommend 5.29 gearing to almost everyone who is planning to go with 35" tires and an overland setup.

Nothing is worse than playing it safe, then wishing you had gone with the lower gearing, especially when the price is considered. We suggest choosing a 4.88 gear ratio if you intend to maintain your current weight and use tires smaller than 33 inches.


Regearing a Toyota Tacoma – One of the Most Underrated Modifications

There’s nothing glamorous about regearing. Unlike new wheels or a nice rooftop tent, no one can see what is inside your Tacoma’s differentials. When it comes to the impact gearing can make on a build, however, it’s easy to see why regearing is one of the most underrated modifications you can make. The performance gains aren’t just for the trail, they revolutionize your day-to-day driving experience.

TacomaBeast has everything you need to regear your Tacoma and outfit it for adventure. We encourage you to reach out to us with more regearing questions or if you’re looking for guidance for your Toyota Tacoma build. You can also check out our blog and our YouTube channel, both of which are packed with valuable Tacoma information and inspiration.

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