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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Have a 2004 Toyota Tacoma and when we brought it to the dealer for the frame recall, they told us it was expired. Now we have a truck with 50,000 miles on it and it isn't safe to drive.
Just got my 2005 Tacoma back after 5 months and 10 days. New Frame, I had them replace the shocks and ft struts which cost me $800. The truck rides like new now, I am very happy with it. It cost Toyota over $18,000 for the replacement, the would ahve saved $$ if they bought the truck from me and I would have purchased a new Tacoma. I was put in Corolla and no more smashing my head getting in!
Peter, thanks for posting a comment about your experience. After a few thousand miles let us know how it is wearing in. Thanks again,
Local Toyota dealer has had my 06 Tacoma since Feb 2015. They can't tell me when they will have frame in to replace. They have provided a Camry rental until fixed paid by Toyota. This doesn't help me not having a truck, as I have work to do that requires a pickup. Tried calling Toyota directly but they could provide no information. Very frustrating.
I;m sure that there are just as many nightmares about frame replacements as good. I received my recall letter and am going to the dealer in the morning for an inspection. Nowhere in the letter is it mentioned that the frame may be sprayed if not need of replacement. Frankly, I believe Toyota should buy these vehicles back. And I have the feeling that my dealer may offer the cost of the frame replacement as a trade in credit on a new truck. Something I would not be interested in.
FWIW, my dealer told me that Toyota approached the frame manufacturer on the option of buybacks and they refused. Obviously it pays for them to manufacture the replacement frames. My dealer will give the normal trade value, nothing more.
Good to keep in perspective that the Tacoma's "normal" trade in value is the single highest trade in value of any vehicle in the US market (highest value retention and lowest depreciation). Toyota and its dealers offering full trade in value on vehicles with frames that are no longer safe is one way to get the owner his or her full value back. Still not what many would prefer though.
I have a 2002 Tacoma and the frame is rusted out I took it to the dealer and had it checked for a recall but he says that it has been discontinued. Now I have a 13 yr old truck that has 100,000 miles and it's worthless. Thank Toyota!!!! I'll never buy your product again!!
Just brought my 04 Tacoma in for inspection after spotting some corrosion near the rear leaf spring mounts. I had brought it in for the recall in 2010 and the dealer sprayed it and gave me a 15yr warranty. Yesterday they told me it failed and I would be getting a replacement. They said it would take 8 months to get the frame ordered and I could drive it in the meantime. After reading "all" of these posts I called the dealer and asked directly and in as many ways as possible if I would incurr ANY out of pocket costs with this frame replacement. It was an absolute NO everything is covered they said. If it breaks while they are doing the service they will pay to replace. He made it sound very much like this artice. So either I'm getting lied to and about to get ripped off or there are some dealers out there that may need to be called out for fraud. I will post back as my "journey" continues.
Thanks Matt. Please do post updates.
I got in contact with Toyota and they gave a case # and then assigned a case worker .She told me that there was 6 notices sent to my father in-laws home (he originally purchased the truck for my wife) regarding the recall on my Tacoma's frame. He has long deceased. So all I got was a "sorry" from my case worker. I found out that Toyota sued the company that they got the steel from and won So they were compensated for their losses but a lot of customers like myself are left with their junk and a "sorry"!
I took my 2006 Toyota Tacoma for the Frame Inspection recall in October 2014 to the Dealership. It is now May 2015 and they still have my truck. The only answer I get is maybe he end of June and Toyota is telling us nothing. One of my friends took his in and got a detailed printout on what they were going to do and would call him when the frame came in, that was in December he is still waiting. I just paid over $600 for Insurance on my truck for 6 months which I have not seen since October of 2014. I have to take a day off from work every 30 days to drive 20 miles one way to resign the rental agreement for the Camry they are letting me use. I fortunately have a friend that has a truck and takes my trash to the dump. Not having a truck is a major inconvenience. Frustrated yes, I'm selling my 2012 Rav4 and when I get my Tacoma back I will be getting rid of it to.
5/14/2015 I own a 2005 Tacoma.....Having the same rust issue with my truck....My frame is cracked, rusted near the left side motor mount....I live in Reno, Nevada. On my way to the Dealership. I'll keep everyone updated. My engine has shifted, which you can visually see and my fan is hitting the shroud, my husband say's my engine is about ready to fall out.
My 2006 Tacoma qualifies for a frame replacement but it's still drivable. I stopped by the dealership this week to see where I am on the list. They told me they have not received any new frames for months, but are expecting that in June and July they will be getting shipments in. They have several on their lot that need replacements first. So if that's the case, I will be looking at 6-8 months wait since I first took it in to be looked at. Actually, I think that's what they told me. I can wait that long for a brand new frame, at least I have not had to stop using my truck.
Hello Shirley, Are you in Reno Nevada ? I wish I could post a picture, it's pretty bad
I own a 2002 toyota tacoma, when I called about 2years ago about the frame rust recall they told me I was to late and the recall expired.....since then there has been alot of fabrications done to frame to keep drivable..why wouldn't they replace mine. There was over 30,000 replaced or bought does a recall expire..thought u stood by your products and your customers
They informed me today that mine doesn't fall under the rust recall. The frame mount for the motor is cracked and has caved in, and it is rusted. I been reading a lots of complaints about the issue. I feel this is a factory frame failure and they not owning up to this.
My 2005, needed a full frame replacement. After being told, 3 months, I called the dealer a few times, NEVER GOT A RESPONSE) opened a case with Toyota, after 4 months, got my first phone call up date at 4.5 months, ( they did give me a loaner, not 4 wheel drive during the winter). They told me it needed wheel both bearings, tires, brakes, rotors, wipers, tires, 4500.00, after 4.5 months, Like a sap I went for one wheel bearing, Picked it up, hard pull to the right, They redid alignment. Took truck, next day, more pulling, seemed to make noise., took to another dealer, for service as light came on. They didn't say anything about wipers tires, wheel bearing ect. Called original dealer back about pulling. days later they called back. Redid alignment, it was in the red?? How does it go back into the red? Front end makes a lot of noise. I replaced rotors due to rusting out sitting for 5 months, took back again for pulling, service says it just settling in, once its set that will not happen, now rt front wheel is loose. They claim my fault????. This is the end for me and Toyota, Its cost me Hundreds, if not thousand+, They wanted to have me spend thousands, for nothing, and its the dealer, and the manufacture lets them get away with it,( this is in less then 2 weeks time) So long Toyota. (This is my 6th one)
i have a 2002 tacomas with a rusted frame at the leaf springs the car was inspected in 2010 and told me the frame is good for 15 years now they seid the will not fix it because i didnt have toyota undercoat it the car was in fla.from 2011 till last mounth they wouldn t fix it down their told me u r out of luck
Dropped off my 2005 Tacoma for frame inspection after waiting 4 months for appointment. Received bad news on March 9th that the ballpeen hammer went through the frame. Truck now sits in dealer field with lots of company (approx, 20 other Tacomas). After 3 months no word on availability or projected shipment date of replacement frame and parts kit. Dealer has been great and I believe them in that they are between a rock and a hard place with "Toyota Corp" not providing the necessary support. I offered to purchase a new Tacoma the week mine was declared undriveable, if they would meet me 1/2 way on cost. (Not an unreasonable request, new truck $29K, trade-in value $12K, some incentive from Toyota for not having to fix my old truck or provide me with a rental car $3K). Dealer offered me $2.5K as trade-in because he could not resell the trade-in--LIKE THAT IS MY FAULT? Additionally,"Toyota-Corp" would contribute nothing, No need to say what my response was. So here I wait. Going in to renew my rental lease yet again, with 3 months wasted, and no projected end in sight. I have the feeling Toyota will drag this on forever and I will die an old man in a crappy Corolla rental and not be able to tow my boat or do the landscaping I need to get done.
Went in to renew my lease for the forth time. Luckily this qualified me for another lease vehicle. Got a RAV 4, first impression is "nice vehicle". Sits higher, has room, AWD, to bad no tow hitch! Dealer rep believes that I should see my frame and parts arrive in August, and the work to be done in Sep. (That would be a nice birthday present). Word is Toyota is repairing no matter the cost vs the value of the truck. I Hope next entry will be truck returned,,,,,,,,,,we will see?
Just had the frame replaced on my 2007 Tacoma TRD and it was a positive experience. It has 124K miles and was driven in the relatively mild weather of Maryland. I drove for many years in New York and am familiar with how important it is to care for the undercarriage of a vehicle. My Tacoma has been well cared for and was always washed after exposure to dirt or salt. I'm surprised the frame didn't hold up better given the level of attention it has always received. That being said, my Toyota dealer did a great job. He changed the frame in only a day and a half. Nearly everything underneath is new. Leaf springs, brake tubes, suspension sub-assemblies are all new. The leaf springs are much heavier than the originals. The coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and gear oils were replaced. The steering and ride are comparable to a new Tacoma. I had them do some elective work (muffler, pipes from the catalytic converter to the tailpipe and new serpentine belt) or the cost would have been zero dollars. I'd been concerned about the reassembly process, but absolutely everything on the Tacoma works properly. Other than purely routine maintenance (tune-ups, oil changes, transmission oil changes, differential oils, flushing brake lines, power steering flushes, etc.) I've only had to buy a battery (in 2010) and the muffler since I bought it new. It has been a reliable, low-cost daily driver. Toyota has been very responsive to this frame problem. They could have told me to take a hike due to the Tacoma being 8 years old and with quite a bit of mileage. In 2006 I had a new vehicle from a large American manufacturer. At 8,000 miles my beautiful, ten-month-old car turned into a nightmare and safety hazard on the road. The dealer reprogrammed the car computer a few times, put in a new ignition switch, then pretty much told me to live with a car that sometimes wouldn't start, sometimes wouldn't turn off and sometimes died in traffic. I figured he didn't want my business. I'll definitely buy another Toyota truck when this one begins failing.
Did Toyota write this Article? This is ridiculous. I have the same issue everyone else does a decent running truck that's on a rusted out frame that Toyota will do nothing about. I love everything about Toyota except this issue and it may be enough of slap in the face to me to never buy another Toyota.
Just drove the 75 miles to the Toyota dealership where they had just done a frame replacement on my 2005 Tacoma. While they had it, they replaced both front end wheel hubs and bearings,as they said they were bad.(I knew one was going bad). They also did a 4 wheel alignment. On the way home the truck ran just fine until I reached 65mph on the interstate. The steering wheel began to vibrate so much it was shaking my hands and arms. It was still driveable, but traffic was heavy and I didn't feel like turning around so I came on home. I called the service dept and asked if they had test driven it at interstate speed and she said she didn't think so. You would think that after doing a major job like replacing a frame that they would give the truck a thorough test drive before turning it over to a customer. They told me when picked it up that I'd feel like I'm driving a new vehicle. No, I don't think so.
That is terrible. We know you are probably not in the mood to think about it now, but John Miller, if you could let us know what happens after this it would be very interesting to me and I am sure other readers. Toyota had your vehicle and they sent it home with a problem. I am dying to know how they handle this from here on. I know what Lexus would do (they would send you a vehicle and retrieve yours), but I wonder about Toyota. I hope you will follow up. Good luck.
Was the article about him not liking the Ford Fiesta or the steaming pile Toyota.
Took my tacoma in for spare tire recall. Work was denied due to frame rot. I never recieved any notice about frame rot. Until this spare tire recall. Any help?
I have a 1995 Toyota 4x4 with only 119K miles. Well, the frame is now rotting. The truck is now junk - I have no recourse. It's outside of the extended warranty. If you own a truck that is within the range of the recall/extended warranty and shows no sign of rust, get rid if it prior to the coverage expiration. There's just too much risk keeping it.
I wish I had read about this recall on the frame before I dropped off my truck in January 2015. Same as you all...its been there so long it needs a state inspection and they called me with several repairs before they will inspect it. HOW CONVIENT!!!! I called them back today and told them to put the truck back together and I will pick it up tomorrow so slap a rejection sticker on it and I will be picking it up after I get off from work. WILL NEVER BUY AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!
I live in wisconsin, i have a 2006 toyota tacoma trd. i took it in to east toyota in madison , they found a small hole in the frame. after waiting 4 months for the frame, the got it in the shop replaced it, gave me a free loaner car. i asked them to do some additional work, which, for most of it, they charged me for the parts only. i have to say it was a good experience. very good customer service and i did not have to pay for any additional parts for the frame portion of the operation.