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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Buy a Ford, F150, the most popular truck for 50 years. I had a Ford before the Toyota: it was 10 years old, 200,000 km (about 160,000 miles), stayed outside in cold Alberta winter for all those 10 years. Never failed to start even in 30 below, when I sold it the paint was almost perfect, like new. I had to drive that F150 in harsh locations (oil and gas leases) and it never failed me. Best vehicle out of the 23 I've owned in life!! Why Toyota? They had that beautiful blue metal flake paint that no one else had and WAS a very nice looking and useful truck. (It hauled my race car around on trailer as good or better than the F150!). But the F150 was immune to corrosion, the Toyota was not. Buy AMERICAN! Yeah, my Toyota was made in Kentucky too, but the design is Japanese and they don't know how to make trucks.
I have a 2004 tacoma double cab trd. This spring I noticed a crack in the frame and brought it in. They told me I would get a new frame at no cost. I asked if there would be any additional cost and I was told there would a few things needed to be replaced in order to finish the job, but it would be covered under the recall. Four months later I got the truck back, filthy covered in dirt, leaves and dead bugs. They hadn't washed the car in 4 months, not once. I brought the car the the carwash and immediately after washing saw all sorts of rust bubbles and surface rot that had not been there before -because they hadn't washed the car in 4 months and apparently it was left in a dirt lot under a tree. I filled up the tank and gas began to leak profusely. Then the check engine light came on. I checked the code with my code reader and it said it was an o2 sensor. I got under the car to inspect the exhaust and saw immediately the tail pipe had a large hole in it where the hanger was supposed the be welded on and the end of it was placed inside the hole, so the pipe wouldn't fall to the ground. -That's why the computer was telling o2 sensor. So now I have truck with rust bubbles all over it, a major gas leak and tailpipe with a large hole in it causing the check engine light to go on, oh and by the way the truck is due for an inspection in a week. I called up the dealership and told them of the issues and that I was bringing my truck back. They said those repairs would not be covered and I would have to pay to have it repaired. I was appalled. I immediately called toyota corporate to find out what the deal was and was told it was the dealership's responsibility to decide how they wanted to handle it, but that they would open a case. Four days later the dealership called me back and said toyota corporate said they would pay for the gas tank only. I told them both I'm calling a lawyer. At this point I feel that both parties have mislead and flat out lied to me about what is legally required of them, but I don't know because I can't get any real corporation from anyone. I've asked to see documentation on the Toyota recall, what they will cover. I've also asked to see documentation from the dealership to see if they are required to keep the cars kept in waiting protected from paint damage and what they're responsibility as far as fixing damages that occur while replacing the frame. I've gotten nothing. I'm considering calling a lawyer and opening up legal suit against both toyota corporate and the dealership. I would be willing to help organize a class suit against toyota and the scaling dealerships.
I guess Toyota isn't worry about their name.I got my truck at Denton TX Toyota and got screwed too.l took my truck to another dealership I was told drive shaft isn't good,no break lights broken headlights.Gee I guess they are like the old Kia buy and burn them at the dealership
The dealer just called to tell me my frame replacement was complete on my 2005 Tacoma but the ac would not take a charge. It worked fine when I left it. He says it "may" need a new compressor. Should I be responsible for this?
I had taken my Tacoma in to my mechanic (not Toyota) to replace the alternator which had seized in place. When I got the vehicle back, the A/C didn't work and I was semi-convinced it was something he did. I took it back and he checked the pressure of the coolant gas in the system and found it empty. He refilled for about $50 labour and I was on my way. Your dealer said it "may" need a compressor, but he should check first for gas content. My mechanic said the seals on these things can leak gas if the units are used frequently.
I bought a 2006 Toyota Tacoma in March of 2016 At Laurel Toyota it was a trade in that was maintained at that dealer and just had the frame replaced due to the recall. By May of that year my steering wheel was shaking violently and my tires wore to the thread cap in a matter of 4 or 5 days. I went to the local Flynn Kelly Tire bought a set of 4 new tires and got an alignment thinking I could have knocked it out. While doing the tire change and alignment they found the front leaf spring retaining bolts were not even hand tight. I contacted Toyota corporate and notified them of the issue and asked if I could take it to another one of their dealers to have it looked over as that dealer was over 45 min away and they had already missed it once. I was told that I had to give that dealer another chance so I did and they gave me a rental, looked at the truck and said the only thing they could find was a sticking caliper so they replaced it free of charge. I was told they checked the alignment and it was fine but I already knew that because I just had it in the shop. They would not pay for the tires I had to buy. It is now November and again and the violent shaking steering wheel returned and another set of 2 tires. I am going to contact corporate again to see if they will do anything. Not too happy I LOVE the truck, HATE the service I hope they will do something it makes me rethink buying Toyota again.
Im sorry about all these problems your having, Im a truck driver hauling all the new frames in for Toyota ( one of many) We are all working our butts off trying to get them out to the dealers.Weve been told turn around time is less then a week? and did you know this is been going on for 7 years and so far no real end in sight
November 12th, 2016 - Toyota has settled a lawsuit brought by Taomca owners over this issue. See the link in the story. Bottom of page 1.
This lawsuit is a joke! Last year I took my truck in for some work. They didn't tell me or ask me if they should check recalls on my truck. When I got my letter about the recall I took my truck to get inspected. They said the frame was bad and it would be warrantied. But then they called me and said in my prevous visit they inspected it and it was OK so case closed and it was no lonher covered under recall. When i took the truck in i was still in the qualifed dates to have the recall to work. It wasn't but 6 months between visits and I hadn't even received a notice yet! I have three Tacoma's now and I will never buy another one and will spread the word as much as I can!
Sorry you missed out ' I just bought an 02 Tacoma and with in months of the purchase of the truck ' found out the truck frame is so bad I cant drive it . I am still making payments on this damn thing ' Toyota want even talk to me . getting a lawyer cant help because it was sold as is . The Government should Band the Japanese from saleing these death traps to the U.S. It cost over 5,000 dollars just to purchase a new Toyota frame additional parts and labor not included . Yes Sir , Spread the word ' That is what I am doing . My truck will soon be on its way to the scrap yard and I still own the bank for another 3 years payments . NOT HAPPY AT ALL . Beware of auto dealerships . they should have their business License revoked for saleing these death traps .
I was planning on buying a sequoia. Thank god I read this. Screw your crap vehicles.
Just recently bought a used 2009 Tacoma 4x4 in TN. Truck was originally from PA. Shoulda looked it over better but engine burns clean and is a nice ride. Got replacing the mud flaps and ended up snapping 3 outta the 4 screws off. Anyway got to looking around and noticed the frame rusting in a number of spots. Just found the recall included my year truck but now have no time to do anything about it. Will probably end up paying out of pocket to replace the frame but better to be safe than sorry. A Alot of the comments posted have very bad customer service experiences at some dealers. My advise-first time they start to give you the run around IMMEDIATELY take it over their head. Everybody has a boss. Hopefully the dealers near me have their act together
i just bought a 2001 used i just found out the fram is almost rusted in2 then heard about the frame rust pob on takoma trucks the guy i bought the truck from new about recall dint say anything to me about what he new what was up i asked him about it today said he ew about it but didnt think it was rusted that bad he sold me a unsafe truck and new it i havent driven it 500 miles
Toyoto is the absolute worst. I had a tacoma with an early generation of antilock brakes. I drove the truck over a pot-holed parking lot in july to go to a convenience store. The truck would not stop and I wound up smashing into the window of the store. Luckily no one was hurt. Toyota would take no responsibility and would not pay any damages for me running into the building. The anti-lock brakes did not work correctly and I couldn't stop, toyota said tough luck. No more toyota's for me!
just got off the phone with Toyota...No help. I took my truck into the dealership for the "campaign" in 2010. At the time there were no visible issues and they reundercoated the frame. Now I go in for inspection and it failed, they said I shouldn't even drive it home! Frame "looks' perfect unless you pop off the undercoating...the frame has rusted through on both sides and is unsafe to drive. The Toyota rep said it was "my" responsibility to periodically take it to the dealer to have the frame's been at the dealership multiple times...but Toyota says i should have Asked for the frame to be inspected...who does that...who would ever think there was a problem??? There is no rust in any body panels on the truck and it has the original exhaust on it. 2001 with 195k miles on the exhaust system last's longer than the frame??? Toyota covered up the problem with the new undercoating. Had I not taken it in "at Toyota's urging" and had the undercoating done, I would have seen that I had rust issues years ago and could have addressed it. Since they covered up the problem, you couldn't tell there was a problem. I asked if there was someone else I could talk to and the Rep said No...she had full authority over this issue and Toyota will not be addressing my problem....even though she freely admitted they knew they have issues. All she kept saying was that with the age of the truck it was out of warranty. Thank you Toyota...was a good truck before this but I'll lNEVER own another Toyota again ever. The rep was rude and put the blame back on me for not periodically checking my frame...which with the undercoating on...,.looks perfect.
A year and a half after the frame replacement that cost me just 400 dollars my 07 tacoma is running flawlessly with 177,000 miles on it. Amazing to me that they can do all that work in just 2 days and get it back together perfectly. I will continue to buy Toyota products.
Hi Guys! Interesting comments and very different experiences with the recall. My 2005 Tacoma (116,000 miles) just failed the New Hampshire yearly inspection due to some rusted through holes on the front frame under the exhaust. I called a large dealer with a good reputation in Concord NH (Grappone Toyota.). So far so good! They got me in in two days (on a Thursday) to check the frame and said it would "qualify for repair under the recall." They gave me a 2018 Tacoma 4X4 loaner and said it was free for 1-2 months while the "frame kit" was ordered and installed. The following Monday, July 30, 2018 a service representative called and said "Toyota approved the frame replacement." He kept asking if I had any "Questions" as it was 7:30am and I'm a sleep late retired guy I really had none. I've read the horror stories of hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars charged or asked for by dealers on what should Toyota's responsibility. I also couldn't help noticing a couple of postings on this site from NH Tacoma Owners who had no issue with the Dealers they worked with. Perhaps NH has very strong Consumer Protection or just good Dealers? A pleasant surprise, hopefully, for a no income and no sales tax State! I'll post the rest of my experience as it happens. According to the service writer it is a one to two month process depending on parts arriving. They like to "do" two trucks and frames at the same time for efficiency. I'll try to reply to interested people! Thanks
Hi, I took my 2006 Sequoia to the dealer recently and they indicated there is a hole in the frame and it needs replacement. At an estimated $15,000 per frame replacement, is there an offer from Toyota to "pay-out" owners for the frame replacement rather then completing the work? I ask because the car is old and I'm certain once they start the work there will be MANY other issues found (brakes, shocks, seals, etc., etc. etc.) that will be out of pocket expense to me. I would much rather put the $15,000 towards a new(er) vehicle.
I have a Tacoma 2005 getting the frame replaced. It has 115,000 miles on it. I just got a call letting me know that I will have some out of the pocket costs. 1,900 bucks. I have to have the rear shocks replaced due to rusted bushings and bolts, upper control arms and bushings and the stabilizer and bushings. Is this normal costs to the owner? What does the frame kit consist of ? anyone know?
Hi there, can you tell me about your experiences with your frame re-build? Are some rusty parts put back onto a new frame? I will be having this done very soon, and need to know more specifics. Thank you.
I received no notice on my 2000 Tacoma. They seem to take joy on saying no when talking one on one. Seems like they're trying to get you to pay something. Fight them. Doesn't seem right to me.
I am sick to my stomach ' found out my 02 Tacoma frame rails are rusted out and has holes threw the frame rails . Un safe to drive and I bought the truck 2 years ago and still owe the bank a lot of money for the purchase of the truck . Toyota dealers want even talk to me about getting the problem fixed . its just setting in the drive way . cant be used . now what do ya do ?
Owned a new 2014 Taco. at 297K miles front end frame rusted out with damage. Toyota would not cover my vehicle or allow me to participate in lawsuit.
Owned my '03 since '08 and had my truck checked/treated back in '12. Said it was OK at the time. Getting ready for inspection next year and seeing holes in the frame where there isn't supposed to be holes so I called the dealership back where I had it inspected/treated before. Said the frame warranty expired back in '18 so now I have a low mileage truck that looks new on the outside (took care of it, washed and waxed it, kept the salt off of it, etc) and the underbelly is rotted. Wish they had replaced it before instead of inspecting and treating it in'12 so now I lose out. They were happy to replace the spare tire carrier though...not sure why they even bothered.
I have a 2000 Tacoma just found out the part that holds my leaf spring rusted right off undriveable!!! Lots of RUST! Hopefully somebody can cut this piece out and replace for now..
I had the frame replaced on my 2009 Tacoma about teo years ago. There were a few extra charges which i thought were reasonable. Since then ive had to have the rear rnd rebuilt. The right rear tire has zero tread where the others look great. Toyota says its an inflation problem. To me it sounds like it rattles some. Im thinking something isnt aligned properly. Shoild i contact toyota directly, get a third party opinion, contact the dealer i bought it from and has done all the work on it? Any and all recommendations would be greatly appreciated.