Toyota's frame rusting problem more widespread than admitted?
GM Inside News
In 2008, Toyota instituted a “consumer support program” to address frame rust on 1995-2000 Tacomas. The press release stresses that only a small number of the over 800,000 Tacomas were affected ; and that this program was neither a recall nor a special service program. They also, through a blog post, attempted to paint the issue lightly by saying that “rust… never sleeps” and that “rust is a fact of life.”
To Toyota’s credit, they did extend the warranties on those vehicles to 15 years, and offered to repair or buy back the vehicles, no matter how many times removed it is from the original owner.
Toyota was never forthright about the scope of the issue for the implicated model years. Further, despite claims of rust issues on later year Tacomas, has not officially recognized a problem.
Frame rust has also been an issue with Tundras built earlier this decade. Toyota issued a quiet special service program to address those issues, too, on top of a recall.
Why is this a topic of discussion here? Well, while having my wife’s Chrysler product serviced at a joint Toyota/Chrysler service center, I observed something I have never seen at any dealership. While I was leaving, I rounded a corner in the parking lot and right there in plain view was a pile of frames. Rusted, cut up frames. I immediately recalled [heh] Toyota’s rusting frame issue and parked the car for a closer look. It was very possible that these were frames from non-Toyota products. However, when I approached I saw stickers on the frames that read “NUMMI.” Other frames had VINs written on them. Toyota VINs. So, I took a set of photos and then went on my way.
If the problem was so minimal, why is it that—two and a half years after the announcement—there are so many frames/frame segments in just this one location? Is this replicated at other Toyota dealers? Perhaps most interesting, if one decodes the VIN in the last photograph, the frame is from a 2002 Tacoma—which, of course, is two years newer than the newest Tacomas Toyota admitted had a problem.
Finally, I didn’t note the VINs on all of the frames, so it’s possible that other Toyota models, such as the Tundra, are represented in this pile. Some of the frames seemed larger than the others. I’ll leave that up to the Toyota-aware to determine.