The Tacoma's bed power outlet is a useful tool to power your camping trip or worksite, but it can be confusing to use upon first glance.
Your new Tacoma may be capable of more than driving around town. With the available Toyota Tacoma power outlet, your next adventure just got better.
I show you what the power outlet on Tacoma trucks is good for and how to use it. I also cover some issues you may face using the Toyota power outlet and illustrate some important safety precautions.
Overview of the Power Outlet
If you’ve ever been camping or exploring off-road trails, you know how useful having a power outlet nearby might have been. With newer model-year Tacoma trucks, this dream is a reality.
There’s an available 120V/400W bed power outlet with Tacoma trucks. With 2024 Tacomas, we now see the introduction of a 120V/1200W power outlet on some models. This outlet supplies power to electrical devices, from phones to small appliances.
How to Use It
It would seem self-explanatory how to use a power outlet, but it’s not as simple as it should be. In fact, Toyota labeled the button “400W AC 120V 100W,” as if that means anything to drivers.
To use the power outlet, follow these steps.
- Set the engine switch to ACCESSORY or ON.
- Locate the power outlet switch (pictured above). It’s to the left of the steering wheel.
- Push the power outlet toggle button. At least one light should illuminate on the button.
- The power supply takes a few seconds to start up.
- Open the lid over the power outlet socket in the truck bed.
- Plug in your device.
The maximum capacity of the Tacoma outlet depends on these conditions:
- Maximum capacity of 120 V AC/100 W: when the shift lever is moved to a position other than P or N with an automatic transmission or the clutch pedal is pushed with a manual transmission.
- Maximum capacity of 120 V AC/400 W: when the shift lever is in P or N with an automatic transmission or the shift lever is in N, and the clutch pedal is not pushed with a manual transmission.
You may notice changes to the indicator light when the power outlet is in operation. You may also notice the sound of the cooling fan from the front console box. There’s no need to worry about this as it is normal and doesn’t indicate any malfunction.
Once you figure out how to use the Tacoma power outlet, you’ll inevitably want to test it out. There are plenty of ways to use the Toyota power outlet.
Here are a few items you can use with the Tacoma’s power outlet:
- Power tools: drill, saw, Shopvac, impact gun
- Road safety equipment: portable tire inflator, small air compressor
- Household items: mini fridge, coffee maker, vacuum, microwave, toaster oven
- Electronics: phone charger, portable lighting, laptop, tablets, radio, clock
- Camping needs: airbed compressor, portable hot water heater, electric griddle
To see how capable the power outlet is, I plugged in a high-powered guitar amp. There were no issues operating the amp at maximum capacity, and I never noticed any drop in sound quality.
There have also been other suggestions offered by users at Tacoma World. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
As with any electrical equipment, there’s always the chance of a malfunction while using the power outlet. Here are some common problems and a few tips on how to fix them.
If the power outlet interferes with normal battery operation, turn off all of the electronics and accessories on the truck, including the air conditioning and headlights. See if the car battery charges normally without this load on it.
If you are using electrical appliances that consume more than 100W for a long time, it can drain the battery.
Blown Power Outlet Fuse
If the 12V power outlet stops working, check the fuse. When connected equipment draws more power than allotted, the fuse blows to protect the connection.
If the fuse is blown, replace it with the same amperage. Depending on the Tacoma trim level, it could be 15A or 20A.
Damaged Accessory Relay
The power accessory relay controls the accessory power in the Tacoma. When the key is off, the relay is also off. However, when the key is turned to “ACC,” the relay allows power to the accessory outlets.
The power outlet no longer works if the relay becomes damaged because of excessive use or a surge current. Here are some steps to follow:
- Open the fuse box cover located under the steering wheel
- With a voltmeter, check the 12V controller fuse terminal’s power
- If there’s no power, the accessory relay isn’t working
- Pull out the defective relay and replace it.
Bad 12V Socket and or Dirty Socket
It’s possible that the socket has become contaminated or is no longer functional. Here are a few troubleshooting tips.
- Open the center console and check the 12V socket. If you have an older Tacoma model, a fuse could be integrated with the 12V socket in the center console.
- Replace the 12V socket if there’s any noticeable damage. Parts can be purchased from a Toyota service center or salvage yard.
- Look inside the port to see if any debris is blocking the connection.
- To clean the port, turn the main switch off and wipe it with a soft, clean cloth. Don’t use any cleaners, even if they are organic and natural, as they can damage the power outlet.
Power Supply Cut Off
If the protection circuit is activated, but there’s no power supply, follow these procedures:
- Park in a safe location and apply the parking brake.
- If you have an automatic transmission, ensure the shift lever is in P or N.
- If you have a manual transmission, make sure the shift lever is in N, and you aren’t pushing the clutch pedal.
- Double-check the power consumption of the electrical device to ensure it’s within the maximum capacity range.
- Try to press the power outlet main switch again.
If the cabin has gotten too hot, the power supply may shut off. Open the windows and cool down the truck. Once it has returned to normal temperature, try pushing the main switch again.
If you can’t get power back, it’s time to contact a Toyota dealership.
Electrical system malfunctions can be difficult to troubleshoot and repair. We recommend reaching out to a qualified mechanic for more help. Before you schedule, run through this list of possible problems.
- Check the 12V power outlets for debris
- Check electronics equipment, including the horn, radio, and accessories, to verify operation
- If the power out is loose with the electrical equipment plugged in, it needs to be replaced
Sometimes, the 120 V AC appliances may not operate, even if the expected power consumption is below maximum capacity. There could be problems in these conditions:
- Equipment has high initial peak wattage
- Features require extremely stable power
- Measuring devices need to process precise data
It depends on what equipment you have plugged in. The battery won’t run power tools as long as it would your phone charger. If you plan to keep a device plugged in, it’s best to let the Tacoma idle every thirty minutes to keep the battery charged.
Before using the Tacoma outlet, here are some general guidelines that ensure your safety.
- Don’t use the power outlet when it’s wet because there’s a risk of electrical shock
- Children should never use the power outlet
- Watch your body parts when closing the power outlet lid
- Follow all instructions with the electrical devices you plug in
- Do not modify, disassemble or repair the power outlet or inverter
- Secure all equipment before using
- Avoid using any equipment that is distracting to the driver
- Do not plug in electric heaters while sleeping
- Avoid using equipment that gives off too much heat
- Read the Toyota owner’s manual for more prevention tips
The Power Awaits
With so many ways to use this power outlet in the Tacoma, it’s time to start living it up. You can put this outlet to good use on your next camping trip, tailgate party, or vacation.
Just remember to use the outlet in accordance with the guidelines. If you have any trouble, it’s best to get help from a qualified Toyota technician.