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Recall: 150,000 Toyota Tacoma pickups for frame rust

Corrosion problems continue on the 2001-2004 Tacoma, this time involving spare tires that could fall out.

By Exhaust Notes Nov 21, 2012 11:21AM
Toyota isn't finished scraping the rust off its Tacoma pickups. The 2001-2004 model is again being singled out for frame corrosion, this time for the metal carrier holding the spare tire.

The company is recalling about 150,000 Tacoma pickups to inspect and replace the spare-tire carrier on vehicles sold in 20 states. At worst, the metal carrier under the bed could corrode and break apart, dropping the spare tire on the ground, Toyota said. The full list of "cold climate" states is available on Toyota's website, but oddly enough, Colorado and Northwestern states are not included. Dealers will begin the repairs starting in December. Owners can call Toyota at 1-800-331-4331 for more information.

While this is the Tacoma's first rust-related recall, it's a continuation of a much bigger problem that Toyota had already attempted to fix. In 2008, Toyota was forced to extend corrosion warranties and even repurchase Tacoma pickups from the 1995-2000 and 2001-2004 model years -- a span covering roughly 800,000 vehicles -- because entire frames were rotting out. After customer outrage, Toyota backed the affected Tacoma vehicles with new 15-year/unlimited-mile corrosion warranties.

Even while most automakers have perfected rustproofing, Toyota and others still get it wrong. In 2010, Ford recalled about 475,000 Windstar minivans for rusting rear axles that reportedly were falling off the frames and entered a customer-service fiasco when owners demanded Ford buy back their vehicles (eventually, it did). In March, Chrysler recalled nearly 210,000 Jeep Liberty SUVs for suspension components that could rust and possibly break off.

Last week, Toyota recalled nearly 2.8 million cars worldwide for steering linkages that could break and electric water pumps that could fail and disable batteries on the Prius. Earlier in November, Toyota recalled the Scion iQ for airbag sensor problems. In October, Toyota issued the industry's largest recall in 16 years for faulty power-window switches that could cause electrical fires; 7.43 million cars were affected, including 2.5 million in the U.S.

[Source: Toyota]

Nov 23, 2012 2:27AM

 I'm of 2 minds here.  30 years in a dealership in the NE and I've seen a lot of trucks.  Toyota ( and other imports as well ) undercarriages, frames and suspensions last about 5 years at best before major repairs are needed. I've replaced ft control arms that just snapped in 2 from salt corrosion, other times the owner just dumps it and drives off with something else. Domestic trucks are not immune to salt either, but they don't fail. 5, 10 15 years with an occasional engine or transmission oil pan replacement. Replaced a few spring shackles on some trucks from the 90's. Never seen any frame or suspension failures from rust.

 Toyota may have better initial quality, but it doesn't make economical sense to own one when you can easily get 3 times the service life with a domestic truck.

 I understand how destructive salt is to a vehicle. I also know which vehicles hold up better and longer.



I see one of those Tacomas riding around town sagging right in the middle between the cab and bed.  Don't know how he gets an inspection sticker. Also everytime I go to a Toyota dearlers lot, for the past few years, all I see are piles of rusty frames off Tacomas and Tundras. You coudn't give me one.


May 2, 2013 11:25AM

I have a '03 Tacoma w/80K miles & live in the NY.  I was just informed the frame program ended 12/31/12.  Primarily & infrequently used as a utility vehilce.  I have never had a frame rust out before.

We typically get more than 200K on all of our vehicles.  Change oil every 3K, fix issues as they occur. SInce the frame program ended 4 months ago, I am out in the cold with a vehicle that will need to be scrapped.  NOT VERY GREEN  - NOT HAPPY!!!

Nov 21, 2012 12:22PM

same problems i had with my toyota pickups (not to mention the many other problems).

the main reason why i permanently dumped toyota compact pickup's for a light duty full size half ton.

(the car i had was ok)

i ended up with a give away price from chevrolet, i couldn't be more happier.

(maybe try a dodge next time!?)

Oct 28, 2013 5:24AM

After recently rebuilding a wrecked Tacoma and selling my previous vehicle, I can see a major problem with the current population. Almost no one out there knows the first thing about automobiles. People are completely at the mercy of mechanics and are terrified at the prospect of spending 90.00 an hour to have even general maintenance done. No one has any money yet they would not dream of getting their hands dirty and figure things out on their own. People don't know the first thing about cars and don't even look under them when buying one. They won't give anything for a used vehicle because they know nothing about them and are afraid of huge labor costs. Stop being victims. Learn a little bit about your surroundings and do some preventative maintenance yourself. You wouldn't go to a foreign land without learning a little basic language would you? Yet, you drive daily in a vehicle you own and know absolutely nothing about. It makes no sense at all.


There is no need for 1500.00 brake jobs. Almost anyone can do this work, it is easy and can be done for 2 to 400.00. It's worth the savings to get your hands dirty. Especially sense you aren't making anything at your desk job anyway. Get educated and stop being victims. 

Nov 22, 2012 10:31AM

Reason Colorado left out is that they dont use salt, what they use is pea gravel, yes they do. It sand blasted my truck for years and peppered the windshield bad. So dont drive in CO. in the winter if you dont want to be sandblasted.

Nov 22, 2012 8:36AM
The most amazing thing is people keep buying this crap!  Oh well, I guess ignorance is bliss.
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