In what is an increasingly depressing – and predictable – turn of events, Toyota is recalling 150k 2001-2004 Tacoma in the so-called “rust belt” over concerns that the spare tire carrier underneath the bed may rust to the point of failure.
During manufacture, the spare tire carrier lift plate may not have been sufficiently coated with phosphate. The lack of phosphate coating combined with prolonged exposure to high road salt use and other environmental factors may contribute to the development of more than normal corrosion of the lift plate on some vehicles. Over time and in limited cases, corrosion of the lift plate could cause it to break and result in detachment of the spare tire from the vehicle.
This is a carbon copy of the problem that plagued 2000-2003 Toyota Tundras, which were also recalled because the portion of the frame that held the spare tire could rust away.
What’s more, the recall of 2000-2003 Tundras ultimately led to a larger and much more expensive special Tundra frame replacement program that has the automaker cost millions and left many 1st generation Tundra owners less than satisfied with both their trucks and their local Toyota dealer.
Why Can’t Toyota Build A Truck Without a Rust Issue?
Since the Tacoma and Tundra were launched, they have been plagued with high-profile rust issues. While Toyota has generally taken care of their owners (their buy-back program for 1st-generation Tacoma owners was popular with consumers), they’ve also demonstrated a profound lack of understanding about seriousness of these issues.
Trucks that can literally rust away aren’t the image of durability, and these rust problems serve to undermine Toyota’s reputation for quality while simultaneously arming Toyota truck critics with evidence of the automaker’s inability to build a “real” truck.
Let’s consider the list of Toyota truck rust problems of the last decade or so:
- 2001-2004 Tacomas recalled for rusting spare tire carriers (this recall)
- 2005-2012 Tacoma TSB for rust stains under door handles
- 2008-2010 Tacoma TSB for rusting chrome rear bumpers
- 2001-2012 Tundra TSB for rusting rear bumpers
- 2000-2003 Tundra frame rust recall and frame replacement program
- 2007-2012 Tundra TSB for bed bolt rust issues
- 2007-2011 Tundra TSB for bed floor rust
- 2007-2012 Tundra TSB for rusting tailgates
All told, that’s eight documented rust issues on Toyota trucks, including two recalls and one massively expensive frame replacement program.
Toyota – WTF is going on?