The 2016 Australian Rally Champion was just over five minutes off the pace at the Kilometre 39 waypoint on Stage 12, shortly before a brake on her Can-Am seized.
That led to a fire and, ultimately, to her and co-driver Dale Moscatt pressing on with a heavily compromised brake package.
“We only just made it to the finish, to be honest,” admitted Taylor on her Instagram page in comments made during a sandstorm.
“About 40, 50km in, the rear-right brake calliper seized, couldn't really go very fast, and then all of a sudden the brakes went to the floor and we lost everything.
“[We] pulled over, brakes were on fire, ripped the camelback out, put out the fire with the camelback [water], managed to do that, managed to pull off the brake line so we could drive out, but basically 180km with next to no brakes.
“So, I feel like that was just the final adventure we needed to cap off our Dakar experience.”
Taylor clocked the 36th-fastest time of the 44 drivers who set out in SSV for the Bisha-Jeddah stage, and slipped one spot from 13th at the start of the day in the overall classification.
Also in the Can-Am Factory South Racing camp, American Austin Jones moved back ahead of Spanish team-mate Gerard Farres Guell to take a first Dakar title, after the latter suffered an electrical problem on the last day.
Along the way, she also picked up seven stage top 10s, including the prologue which counted as Stage 1A.
“It's been every single emotion but we're so proud to be here at the finish, through all the ups, all the downs, lots of positives to take away, lots of learnings, and I think we experienced a true Dakar,” said Taylor.
The 33-year-old also signalled that she will compete in the Dakar again.
“We've got the taste for it and we'll definitely be back for more,” she added.
Rokas Baciuska (South Racing Can-Am) won the final, 164km special stage.
In Trucks, Dmitry Sotnikov wrapped up a second straight Dakar title with victory on the final stage.
Not only did his Kamaz-Master team lock out the top four overall, the Russian quartet won all 13 stages and filled 33 of those 39 stage podium placings.
Eduard Nikolaev finished the rally 9:58s behind Sotnikov, with Anton Shibalov third and Andrey Karginov fourth at 1:49:55s off the pace.
Best of the rest was Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco's Janus Van Kasteren, who ended up more than an hour behind the fourth Kamaz-Master entry.
The Quads title went to Alexandre Giroud (Yamaha Racing – SMX), who prevailed by more than two hours.
Light Prototypes honours were taken by Francisco Lopez Contardo (EKS – South Racing), with a margin of 51 minutes.
CLICK HERE for Bikes report
CLICK HERE for Cars report
CLICK HERE for extended highlights of Stage 12