Toyota Tacoma Frame Recall
John Goreham's picture

Why Toyota Tacoma owners should not fear the frame recall

A Toyota Tacoma owner walks us through the experience and explains why he is still a loyal Toyota fan, and why his truck is now better than ever.

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My neighbor Pete has a 2007 Tacoma he has owned since new. Recently, he was alerted by mail that certain 2005 through 2008 Tacomas in his area (the Northeastern US) needed to be inspected for frame rust. This is not the typical rust that we all see when we look under our cars. Rather, the frames affected are defective and are in some cases rusting through and creating a dangerous situation. If the frames show signs of corrosion, but are still safe and solid, they are being treated with corrosion resistant compounds (CRCs) and returned to customers. Pete’s required a frame replacement. He walked me through the process and told me how he felt during and after the work. The story has a happy ending.

Wondering if the recalls have affected Tacoma’s resale value? Click here to find out.

Toyota Tacoma Frame Rust Recalls
Toyota has had more than one recall on Tacoma frames. In fact, Pete’s previous 2000 Tacoma was subject to a similar recall, but upon inspection was found to not require replacement. However, this time, his 2007 was inspected, and it was determined that indeed, he did need a frame replacement. Pete is very handy, and he knew this would be a serious bit of work. When he was told by the dealership it would take three to five weeks he was not surprised, but certainly not thrilled.

My pictures may not be art, but if you want to see a bonus gallery, click here!

Tacoma Frame Replacement – What’s Involved?
The work itself takes two mechanics two days to complete. However, once a defective frame is identified as needing replacement, it is then “quarantined” by the dealership. A frame is ordered and then the work commences. This is why it takes time. Owners are offered a $35 per day rental car. Pete’s local dealer set him up with a Ford Fiesta courtesy of Hertz. After a few days of driving the Fiesta, Pete couldn’t take it anymore and called the dealer. Pete did not mince words. He called that car a “piece of crap.” His service advisor told him Hertz would be happy to swap it. Indeed they did, and Pete then had a brand new Corolla for the remaining time his Tacoma was at the dealer. That car was fine, and he showed it off to me.
November 12th, 2016 UPDATE - Toyota has settled a class action suit related to this issue - Details here.

Toyota Does More Than Just Replace the Frame
The frame finally came in after about three weeks and Pete’s Tacoma was repaired. Repaired is really not the right word. Replacing a frame on a pickup means it has to come completely apart. Pete and I looked over the paperwork together (see the bonus photo gallery for a copy) that showed the parts list and much more than just the frame is replaced with new parts. The brake lines, exhaust connectors, rear leaf springs and many other parts were also replaced.

The refreshed Tacoma thrills Pete. He says his Toyota Tacoma “Handles like new. Check out our six-moth follow-up story here. The suspension is tight, perfectly aligned, and better than when it went in.“ No rattles, or other issues have cropped up. We looked under the truck together, and the frame is indeed new and it is obvious much more than just the frame was replaced. Other than the exhaust, it looks like a new truck.

Pete says he is not at all unhappy with the experience. In fact, with only 62,000 miles on this truck, Pete expects it might last another ten years. Every part replaced is guaranteed for a full year even though the truck itself is out of warranty.

Toyota has a very loyal truck following, and this defect is no joke, particularly since it has happened on two separate occasions. However, at least by this single account, Toyota’s handling of the situation is keeping customers happy and breathing new life into the trucks that are affected.

Related Stories About Toyota Tacoma
Toyota's secret plan for the Tacoma to match the new Chevy Colorado
Why a 2016 Tacoma Diesel makes more sense than a Tacoma Hybrid
2015 Tacoma TRD Pro Series offers affordable off-road excellence

Photo by John Goreham

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I had my 07 frame replaced. Absolute nightmare. Alignment was bad, plastics were not put on correctly. Radiator was not put on properly. I had no problem with the steering column when i dropped it off, when I got it back it was shot. They said thats how it was when i dropped it off!! absolute lie by the dealer. A month after i had it front left bearing took a dump. I had to pay for that. Front plastic bumper was not put on properly. I took pictures and video of everything. I really could not believe the terrible job the dealer did. Of course they tried to sell me a new one with a trade in. They pretty much called me a liar with the steering column. My front tires are shot from the bad alignment. Cables under truck were not fastened. Fog light was broke, front wheel well was not fastened. Not to mention some kind of oil leak. they did fix that though. But it did leak all over my new drive way. The interior plastics were done terrible. I ended up taking it to a local mechanic to fix alignment, and bearing. They were also amazed at Aubrey Alexander. I contacted Toyota corporate, which seemed to piss off the dealer. I still can't believe the absolute bad job they did.
I was wondering what the issue is with the steering? I have issues with my 05 tacoma when I don't drive it for more than 2 weeks.
the steering knuckle is rusted. should replace it.
What town live in that would do that?
Thanks for your comment Mark. I have an update for my truck.... A few days after taking it in, they called me with a laundry list of things that "need" to get fixed. Some of the things didn't sound right, like a leaky water pump (287 dollars)... so I argued that it wasn't leaking when I brought the truck in.... I checked my levels all the time, and never left spots (my GF just had her driveway done, etc) I stopped the guy right there, and proceeded to tell them that I decline any "repairs" because my vehicle had been inspected a month prior... and they didn't find anything. I have that "got me over the barrel" feeling because they have my vehicle in pieces and they used repair categories like "immediately needs to get done", "should get done".... etc. But I told them many times, "what I left you with was a excellent running vehicle, with no issues, and that's what I expect back". This to me is starting to feel like a scam. I also documented a couple things, like some video of me driving the truck on my way to drop it off... smartphones are great for things like this... We'll see what happens when I get it back... Ron
My 03 tacoma has very bad frame rot, took it in for spare tire bracket recall they could not work on it at the dealership. was told to wait for recall coming. I waited 4 months called the dealership and asked about if my truck had fell into the recall, it did not. Now i have a beautiful body, 110,000mi on the engine and will not pass inspection this month. I will never give toyota business again!
We also have an 03 Tacoma that we brought in 2 times to check to see if we "qualified" for the recall. Both times the dealership said "not quite". On the 3rd time we brought the truck in the dealership said the frame was definitely declining in condition but not quite there for a full replacement. Their solution was to take it in for an undercoating. The procedure they told us would occur was that they would scrape off any rust on the frame and spray an undercoating on the frame to help prevent any further rusting from occurring. Not even two years later the truck is un-drivable and Toyota has washed their hands of it as the recall is not over. Now we too have a perfectly good running truck that is unusable! Toyota has LOST a family of previously loyal customers. We are in upstate New York.
hey fellow Toyota Tacoma drivers I have a 05 Toyota Tacoma that I brought in for a recall on the all seems kind of funny I have a hundred seventy thousand miles they looked it over and they said that I need to replace my frame what are some of the things that I should expect?
My 2001 Tacoma frame is junk. I NEVER received anything from Toyota regarding ANY recalls and now I am stuck with a truck that my mechanic has deemed too dangerous to drive and I have nothing. Toyota told me that they are not going to do anything for me. I have owned this truck for 13 years and had 2 others before this but no more.
My story is exactly the same. They try to treat you like you are some sort of deficient moron who just doesn't get it. We need an organized approach maybe using social media to bring them to task. (I was a big Toyota "believer" until Toyota demonstrated a complete lack of honor.) I really would love to see them brought to accountability on this issue.
was told the sane thing for my 2002 tacoma and they gave me 15 years on the frame
I have the same problem I never heard of any recalls involving treating the frame. I have a rusted frame that I have to replace.Did you get any satisfaction?
I have a 2002 4 door 4x4 TRD off road with 199K miles on it. I took it to my mechanic to have brakes installed and he said take it to a toyota dealership due to unsafe frame rust by leaf springs in back. I took it the next day, service manager and others searched all kinds of stuff and eventually told me they cannot replace the frame issue but did install a new spare tire holder that was on recall. I am original owner, and never got the recall for the rust. I did get a recall for something about 10 years ago and took it another toyota dealer near me and they did what ever the recall was. That is still on record and found by the new dealer I took it too.. Very bad business. Stay away from Koons toyota and all Koons dealerships of any manufacturer in Maryland.
I didn't receive any notice either. Found out I had hole in the frame when replacing shocks. My 2000 Tacoma looks new outside but the frame is another story.Toyota customer service admitted they sent a notice to an address that is not me. They told me too bad I was on my own since they ended the recall early. Dealer even admitted they would fight customers one on one to deny fixing. Oh what a feeling! Sorry damn company!
Ahoy Tacoma drivers - - - - - - -------------> URGENT !!!!!!!!!!!! <-------------------- - - - my 2001 started creaking a bit, then a bit more... "Old truck noises" I thought, naively. Then it started to feel like the drive shaft was coming loose. At that point I decided to run it over to my local mechanic on a day off, but when I woke up that morning, I noticed a little gas leak coming from the tank. I drove the p'up (gingerly!) to my man Shawn at Carmel Auto: he put it up on a lift & said "Holy #@%$^&*!!" Turns out the frame had rusted through at the joint just in front of the left rear wheel & the broken frame had actually punctured the fuel tank!! The right side was also stressed but not as badly rusted. I thank my lucky stars that I had it checked out when I did - I was possibly one good pothole away from going up in a fireball at X mph!! Shawn drained my gas tank (saved 12gallons of gas!), removed the tank, welded the frameback together, added new gas tank, rustproofed the bottom... almost $3K, but the truck is riding quietly again. Neither my stepson original owner/driver) nor I had ever rec'd any recall notice re the frame [[ the last one I got for whatever reason (AC?), about 5-6 years ago, resulted in dealer telling me I needed a couple $K in repairs on things unrelated to the "free recall inspection" (no, not the frame!) - No thanks to that said I !! ]] Anyhooo, holding out minimal hope that when I go in for the rusty spare tire bolt nest recall inspection ( what spare tire? none on mytruck & no retention bolt either!! ), someone will give me at least a free comprehensive inspection to make sure nothing else is about to go south!!! Reimbursement?? Further free repairs?? I'll ask but I expect that's about as likely as Xmas in July! Next p'up? - sorry, not a Toyota: "Burn me once, shame on you! - Burn me twice, shame on me!!!!!!"
Last week I went under my truck to look for a for a rattle, I grabbed onto something and my fingers went right through it. I noticed it was all rotted out. Looked up on line 2005 Tacoma rust and saw they have a rust recall but I never got this. called my dealer and they said its on the recall. Dropped it off this am and 2 hours later got a call saying my frame is rotted and needs a new one. they set me up with a rental from Enterprise (corolla). Only bad thing is it takes up to 3 months now to get a frame in, there are numerous ones waiting ahead of mine. If my heat shield didn't rot out the bolt holding it together I may never have known.
Just sent my 2005 Tacoma in on 11/10/2014 was told my frame was bad. Service advisor looked at me with a straight face and said I would have it back in 3 weeks. Talked to the tech and he said he ordered a frame for one of the 25 he had out back 4 months ago and still has no answer to when he can get one. Called multiple Toyota parts dealers and they said there are zero available coming out until January. Tell me why I shouldn't fear the recall?? They are going to put me in a rental for 2 months and replace a frame for $14k on a truck that is worth $15K......
I just dropped my 06 tacoma off on 11-11-14 for the spiral cable in the steering column and the frame rust inspection. The service tech told me not too worry about the frame rust inspection as they had never had one that needed to be replaced. That doesn't make me feel to good. I live in NJ and they use a lot of salt and brine on the roads in the winter.
My fiance has a 2005 Tacoma. We have not been able to drive the car for over a year given the frame has rusted through. Toyota has been called several times to fix the problem where we were told "wait until Toyota opens up the program for your model year". Well, we are still waiting. Given this experience this is the last Toyota we will ever own.
Call the dealer with the vin and see if yours like mine was on the ? ' recall for the rust.
I had my 05 Tacoma Sport fixed last year. Frame, brake lines, springs, control arms and a long list of parts were replaced under Toyota recall program. Truck was inspected and i was told i could use it till the frame arrives (three months). Then it was picked up from my house and returned a week later. Rides like new. I refused a rental as i had no need for it. Customer service from the local Dealer was very good and thus i am still a loyal Toyota owner.
This article is almost like an advertisement for Toyota. I don't believe its a "defect" as though a flaw slipped through the process. I believe Toyota continues to make Tacoma's with the same welded steel frame. The weld changes the steel and creates a corrosion issue. It appears to be a numbers game, how many will eventually need to be replaced versus the number sold. Toyota could make a one piece frame, but that costs too much, quality costs too much.
It has come to my attention that Toyota has used a frame supplier here in the U.S. for several years. It seems the supplier uses a lubricant on the frames during the bending process. On many of these frames the lubricant was not properly removed before the anticorrosion coating was applied. This in turn led to improper adhesion on certain trucks.
I brought my '06 tacoma in for a frame rust inspection in late october. The service lady came out to me in the waiting room and gave me a high five. She told me I was getting a new frame because they found perforation. The frame is supposedly on order, and Im still driving my truck around. I'm skeptical, though, that the dealership seemed a little too excited to do this repair. I'm not looking to pay much for "other components" that may need replacing.
I bought my 05 ( 200 k miles ) into the dealership for the rusted frame recall . The dealer said a hole had rusted trhu the frame and Toyota would replace the frame . I was given a list of parts which might be damaged during the process of replacing the frame and which I was required to pay in the amount of $ 3100.00. I told the dealer to give me my truck back and I'll call Toyota myself. Any suggestions ?
I was advised by the service rep to think about replacing my shocks as they will only charge me for the parts and not labor as they have to take them off anyways, he will call me when the time comes to make a decision, that was all he stated I should prob far...
Yea, but, did they want to charge you 1200.00 for the shocks? They wanted me to invest in 4000.00 of "fixes". And this was "saving" me labor money... I declined all additional fixes. I didn't need anything when I brought the car in, and I requested they replace the frame and give it back in the same, and they did. The way I look at it, is, if you needed new shocks when you brought it in the for the frame, then replace them... but if the shocks were problematic... why are they now?
After going thru the Toyota experience which is absolutely unacceptable concerning my rusted frame on my 05 Tacoma . I've decided to bring the truck to a welder and have him reinforce the rusted hole in my frame,
ha don't hold your breath iv'e called toyota to beef about my truck and they give you the run around about your truck they never fixed the problems with my 2009 tacoma my truck handels poorly now i'm afraid i mite have to get the frame replaced on mine because of rust and they didn't even replace the recalled springs as stated waste of money..
Mine was done at the our local dealer very professionally. Nothing extra was forced. I was given some recommendations but nothing was forced. Truck now runs like new. 05 4+4 4.0 extra cab 6 on the stick sport. Dealer service was excellent.