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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My fiancée has an 08 tacoma. They did not replace his frame but did under coat it. He would of preferred the new frame i think. Its nice to get the new fuel and brake lines since those tend to go here in ohio with the snow and salt.
I would say quite emphatically: get the frame replaced. If your live in the Midwest salt belt, it is only a matter of time before a Dana-made Tacoma frame rots out. If the frame still looks good on a Michigan truck, it is probably a fluke. Maybe the previous owner only used the truck in nice weather when road chemicals were not in use. My Tacoma started to show serious rot in less than one Cleveland, Ohio winter. Dana is capable of making parts that do not rot. I have a 1963 Studebaker with a Dana axle and differential that still looks fine after 54 years. I presume that Dana made the frames to Toyota's specification, and the spec. was insufficient for northern climate. I find it puzzling that corrective action was not taken sooner - Toyota has frame corrosion problems going back to the 1990s. At any rate, the free frame replacement is the next best thing to getting a free new truck. Jump on it while you can.
I have a 1998 Toyota Tacoma that I bought about five years ago, I'm not a car savvy guy, just needed a good little spare truck, which it has been. I didn't need anymore so I sold it, and the new owner bought it back to me because he had tires put on it, and the mechanic said it was unsafe to drive because of the rusted frame. Since then I have read about 50 articles on the Toyota frame rust issues. I had no idea. Is there anyway I can get Toyota to buy this back? I have read multiple people say they won't, but does anyone know of a way to get them to be responsible for this? Thanks
Makes sense. I guess I am lucky the previous owner did take good care of the truck, and it has been in Fla the past 5+ years so that's been some help. I didn't know Dana was the frame manufacturer, that's interesting. But I do know the replacement covers only years 2005-2008, which makes me wonder who made the 2009+ frames, and/or how are they any better than the earlier models?
It is under two months, and only a little exposure to road chemicals, but I feel optimistic. I do not know yet who is the new frame supplier. It does appear that the black paint is now much better than the original frame's coating. The new paint is a shiny hard black paint that appears to be fairly tough. The old frame was coated with something black that was soft and easily scraped off. After some exposure to winter conditions, the old frame coating pretty much disappeared, leaving what looked like bare rusty metal.
So I've been saving bank while brousing & dreaming of purchasing new/used or even a 1st gen taco for a couple years now. Until today! Wholly crust! I vaguely remember hearing about taco frame rot on the news some time ago but apparently, it slipped my mind. Yikes! Stumbled upon this topic earlier & been reading about it all evening. Read many stories and find the most compelling to be insuficient nickel within the metal compound itself. Which, (don't quote me on this) was the response from Dana (the frame manufacturer). Kind of explains why they're rusting from the inside out. Unbelievable. Very disturbing to find out about everyone's frame rot. Seems as though Toyota hasn't remedied the issue at all. Later Taco, no * way.
TJ, I hear you.. I myself was in a mild state of shock after reading most of this thread. But don't forget, usually only the bad news makes the press. There are millions of Tacoma's running around with no rust issues (those vehicle owners don't write about it), and of those that had the issue, the majority have since been fixed. I love my truck, and will buy another when it's time to retire this one. But, that won't be any time soon.
My dad has one of the first trucks in the recall, a '95. It's not pretty anymore but runs great and he limits the use to dump runs and Home Depot visits. He took in a couple of years ago and Toyoate said it was fine. Fast forward to today, and the frame has three separate places where it has failed. Regional Toyota looked at it and said that because it's now older than 15 years, so it's no longer covered under the replacement! I seriously question how good the frame was upon initial inspection. Thinking they didn't want to do the work and waved thier magic 'OK' wand over it, hoping he'd sell it, etc. if you are going to have a recall for a problem and then find a problem, walking away is beyond poor. In our family this story is going viral. No mas Toyota's of any kind.
My understanding is that they are not calling the 2005-8 Tacoma frame replacement a recall, but a service advisory. (Maybe they learned their lesson last time). I can understand there being a statute of limitations with regard to a repair, but it's so hard to say with a situation like rust. I may be in a similar situation to your dad was, where my truck looks OK now but in a couple years I could have big issues.
My 2005 Toyota Tacoma 4x2 Pre-Runner had a full frame replacement a little over a year ago. The outcome exceeded my expectations. I was very uncomfortable with the idea of having my truck completely removed from it's frame with a new frame reinstalled. I couldn't imagine how mechanics could get everything lined back up correctly. However, Toyota and the dealership (Baierl Toyota in Wexford PA) were great. Toyota paid for every penny of the work plus the full cost of a rental car while Baierl waited for a frame to be delivered (three months). My truck runs great - no vibration or uneven tire wear that I worried about while my truck was at the dealer.
That's good to hear, Mike. How many miles were on your truck, and did they tell you there might be possible repairs needed along the way?
Brought my 2007 tacoma into Stephen Toyota in Bristol, they found frame rusted under drivers side , took pics and sent to Toyota, and say they will call me for new frame. Hes says in takes two days, too restore truck back, and had six ahead o fme, and will give me a coralla for use, so far no call they said springtime, Im alittle leary of why would they give me a new frame and parts with now 138,000 miles of it, and let me drive their corralla, If its too good to be true something wrong, I videoed my engine and driveway, its runs great, Im still waiting for the call and the punchline.
I'm in the same boat Steve, waiting on call from dealer that new frame is in. Lots of success (and horror) stories on this site. I for one will not feel at ease until I have it done, and then I will gladly post about it. My understanding is that Toyota is treating the frame replacement as a service bulletin item, not an official recall, on Tacomas manufactured from 2005-2008, irrespective of mileage. (I guess the frames have thicker/stronger/better paint coating on the 2009+ models). I am also pretty leary of having my dealer tack on extra work, as to my knowledge my truck is up to date with repairs and as solid as a rock at 135k. Smelling a possible skunk, I contacted my Toyota zone representative (SE here in Fla) and he gave me the name of the service manager at my dealer. He said I should make an appointment to have the manager show me exactly where the rust problem is on my truck in advance of any work done, also any other perceived problem areas that may require attention along the way. He said in order for any Tacoma to qualify for the frame replacement, there would need to be at least a 10mm rusted section that could be perforated. He said my dealer (Autonation in Orlando) has a pretty clean record as far as complaints, but that I could call him back if any problems arise. I do plan on letting the dealer know I will be posting my results. Hope that helps. In advance of the work, I plan to contact my dealerships
We have an 2003 Tacoma SR5 - had the frame replaced as well as the spare tire holder and a NEW spare tire - the dealer wanted to do a bunch more work but we declined, took it back at no charge from the dealer and had the necessary work done locally to save some cash (which we did) - new brakes, exaust and now a cadillic converter - NOW though - we have an EVAP LEAK - that wont clear - the mechanic tells us it's due to the frame replacement at Toyota and the dealer should repair that at no charge - any similar issues with this? We have to go to Toyota tonight and try to present our case - just looking for some back up from anyone ?? BTW we also have an 2011 Tacoma - love it - no issues yet at all - but - we're cautious at this point - specially after read9ng about all you guys out there - omg Thanks - Alison -
Hi Alison, I'm glad you got things sorted with your '03. I don't think you will have any problems with your 2011 Tacoma, as the frame replacement only affected years 2005-2008 (by 2009 they got it right). Andy
There are enough people having this issue, why don't you all get together and hire Flager law firm and file a class action law suit against Toyota CORPORTATION.
Class actions are only for situations where the manufacturer refuses to budge. Not the case here. Toyota is voluntarily replacing parts on affected vehicles as a gesture of goodwill, hardly grounds for a lawsuit.
Just got my 2007 taco back from stephen toyota bristol, ct with new frame, First of all do not fill your gas tank , my was full when I dropped it off. Front bumper had scratch on both side where they put it face down duh. They got me 208.00 for transmission mount, Sue(the deceiver) said my transmission was all over the place, really? She called a couple times to say my truck was going along fine, to call her back, forget that if the truck is going along fine, dont answer the phone, they try to have you over the barrel.They recommend after I got the truck back that my back brake adjuster cant be adjusted and it would be 335.00 really? I pulled off the back brakes and one side was all the way in and the other brake adjuster was all the way out, brake fluid was all the way to top of reservor. I adjusted the brakes and are fine. I figure seeing I have 141,000 miles its time for new drums. I ordered new drums, new spring kits, new adjusters and new brakes total 180.00, . I love my taco and I thank god They did give me new chassis, and new lower balls joints brake lines etc, and did give me a 2016 camrey se to drive, and it took them one week to do it all. But to be honest I believe some dealers are scamming toyota, I didnt really see any bad rust on chassis, but, Im only a backyard mechanic who just trust in god and the manual and do it myself, The mechanics at Stephen Toyota are okay with me, and Headquarters toyota is okay with me, people in service department they need to get right with God, just my rwo cents.
Is anyone aware of a lawsuit against Toyota, regarding the 2007 Tacoma frame rust issue, that I can join? I am very unhappy and disgusted with the response Toyota has provided! Serious lack of customer service.
My '05 Tacoma had the frame replaced last week. I was told it was covered under recall and there would be no cost to me. While it was torn apart i got a call that said there were a couple issues and they recommend fixing them. Parking brake cables were corroded, cabin air filter was very dirty, couple other minor things. I said "yes" to the parking brake fix, paid $395.34 and got the truck back with new frame and parking brake seemed to be working fine. The next day the AC made horrible noises and is not working. 5 days after i got it back the e-brake locked up and i was unable to move the truck at all. I left a msg with Toyota Sunday night and got a call first thing Monday AM and they had it towed to Toyota dealership. I just spoke to my service advisor who said the brakes were locked but are working fine now. They want to let it sit and see if it locks up again. He said the AC problem is a compressor clutch and doesn't seem related to the frame replacement. I said that on the bill it said "A/C recharged and compressor gaskets" and from my view, it was working fine, they touched it and now it's broke. He's going to speak with his manager.
My 2006 Tacoma was recalled to do chassis inspection for replacement or repair and corrosion coating 1 and a half years ago. Work was shoddy and not what was expected from a Toyota dealer. At the same time they did a few more recall repairs and had to remove a lot of the interior plastic and the steering wheel. Nothing has been the same since broken clips and the steering wheel is off center. The so called corrosion resistant coating is non existence and the cross members keeping the chassis together are rusted bad. Spoke to Toyota and they say their obligation toward this truck is ended. This is our last Toyota we have replaced our car and its not a Toyota and I am now getting rid of the truck and rest assure my new one will not be a Toyota.
Thanks all for sharing, those stories don't sound good. I am still awaiting call from dealer that frame is in, but having serious reservations now. I would say my situation is similar to Steve's, I am a DIY-er and my truck was formerly a snow belt vehicle, but down in Fla now with minor surface rust on frame but nothing serious (to my eyes). I just received a notice from factory regarding leaf spring replacement. I would think leaf springs would be replaced with the new frame anyway, but now thinking of just doing the leaf springs and not worrying about the frame. Truck drives perfect now, want to keep it that way. I hate being in the clutches of any car mechanic, especially the stealership.
Yes, I was told the leaf springs would be replaced with the frame. But the leaf springs on my 2005 Tacoma were broken so the dealership didn't wait for the frame parts to come in. They replaced the leaf springs first and that went fine. It took 2.5 months to get the new leaf springs but in the meantime i was driving a 2016 Tacoma loaner at no charge to me so that was cool. Then when they got the frame I took it back in. It only took a couple days to do the frame replacement but I got my truck back and the AC was no longer working. It was working fine when the truck went in (a hot summer here in PA - i know it was working) They said it was nothing they did so they would not fix it free of charge but would give me an estimate on how much they would charge me to fix it. Also while it was torn apart for the frame replacement, they said my 2 e-brake cables were corroded, should they replace them while the truck was torn apart. My ebrake had not been working well so I said Yes and paid $395 for that work. Got the truck back and the first time i towed my boat, the ebrake locked up on the boat ramp. I got it unstuck then it locked up again later that day, got it unstuck and the 3rd time it locked up i could not get it unstuck. Called Toyota, they sent a tow truck and towed it to their shop. 2 days later, they said the problem just disappeared and they didn't have to change/fix anything with the ebrake. They didn't charge me for the towing bill or the time to check out the e-brake problem. I was upset - couldn't argue with the mechanical details they shared with me b/c i'm not a mechanic. I just told them that "I gave you a truck in good working order and you returned a truck with problems". I argued but it seemed futile so just got a ride to go pick up the truck. No charge that time, just an inconvenience. New leaf springs, new frame, e-brake is working now, no AC. Truck rides REAL nice at low speeds with the new frame. Feels kinda like a new one. However, it shimmies a little bit at higher speeds. I wonder if i need an alignment now. Good Luck!
My local toyota dealership replaced my tacoma's frame, leaf springs, brake lines and I had to pay $406.00 for various pieces of hardware that were needed. I thought that was a pretty good deal. The truck is 9 years old and the warranty is long gone so I was happy that Toyota is standing behind it's products. My next vehicle purchase will be a Toyota! I also enjoyed cruising around in the little corolla that they gave me for 6 days at no charge.
About a two weeks ago, Aug 15, 2016, the technician inspecting my 2006 Tacoma found severe rust on the frame with one area eaten through. Took it to the Toyota dealer, and was told to call Toyota Customer Service for a case number. Did so and after about two days the dealership called back and said that the recall had ended in March. Called Toyota Customer service and was told they would not do anything. Also said that the recall was not safety related. In other words, they said to eat the loss. I ask everyone to notify the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and report this serious safety problem. The only way Toyota can be forced to correct this gross failure of their quality control program (if they have such a program).
I have a 2007 Tacoma, 60,000 miles (100,000 Km). Totally rusted out frame with perforations. Last year dealer did the undercoating cover up: didn't help. They wouldn't let me drive truck home: too dangerous and gave me a loaner. Still have to get Toyota corporate approval for frame replacement but it looks good for doing that. Apparently my dealer is so good at frame replacement they can do it in 1-1/2 days, if all the parts are available.
I have a 2011 Tacoma that has rust spots forming on each of the door frames. the front windows have more rust spots then the two back door frames near the window. Has anyone else been having this problem. I took it to Toyota and the district manager stated that because the truck is out of warranty they will not look into any repairs.
I have a 03 Tacoma in like new condition, except for the rotten frame. My grandson is a mechanic, and will replace my frame, but is not able to locate one to buy. Any suggestions???
I am disheartened by Toyota I own a 2001 Toyota Tacoma inspected the frame in 2010 and we are in 2016 and the frame has rotted away I am the owner of five Toyota vehicles . The dealer would like to help but , Toyota says they will not do anything to help me . Toyota has lost my heart and loyalty . After this deal of not standing behind there product . May be they do not care ! Now I am looking for a new vehicle company to make my heart full again with standing behind there product .
Toyota Canada has approved my complete frame replacement. They say it will take more than a month before they have all the parts. Meanwhile, I have a 2017 Chevy Equinox rental for free over the duration!