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Tacoma frame rust warranty expired without notice

bbartolottobbartolotto Member Posts: 2
edited March 2017 in Toyota
Hi Everybody!

Wish this was a more positive post however I am looking for feedback on a dilema with my Tacoma.

Let me start by saying that I have owned a Toyota truck since 1978 and have been evangilistic about the brand and now my Wife, Mom, Brother and two Sisters all own Toyotas.

I travel quite a bit for work and my 2001 Tacoma only has 67K on the odometer as of today. It was at the dealer for the 50K service in 2009 and three times since to fix a nagging A/C problem.Last month I noticed some rust developing along the top of the windshield so I called my dealer here in Minnesota who directed me to the dealer network collision center Luther Collision who handles all of their body work. They told me the entire roof needed to be cut off and it would cost roughly 4K to fix.

This is not the bad part! After some research I discovered the Service Campaign regarding the frame rust an my truck was a candidate. Not having received any notices by mail I called the dealer only to find out they had the wrong address for me. I then called Toyota and was assigned a case number / worker and when I asked her the address they had on file for me she provided the same incorrect address that the dealer had.

Turns out my frame is rusted to the point of being too dangerous to drive and the Service Campaign ended in December 2012. The Toyota case worker then said that she verified that they had somehow mailed the notices to the correct address and that the case was closed and I had no valid claim and was left with the defective frame.

At this point I called both the dealer and Toyota case worker back and they admitted having the wrong address on file for me while I recorded the conversation with an iPhone recording appplication.

So where do I go from here? I love the truck however did need a bigger engine to tow with and it is at the time interval I usually trade my trucks but now I think it is worth next to nothing.

Should I contact a lawyer?

Toyota should be ashamed for treating such a long term loyal customer with such disgrace.

Any feedback from the group or mediators would be very much appreciated!

Bill Bartolotto

See Also
Edmunds Answers: Tacoma Frame Rust Questions


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    rustytacomarustytacoma Member Posts: 1
    Bill, i had a similar situation. Was told the frame was rusty and took it in to an official toyota dealer today and they said i shouldnt even drive the truck away. I've been sick and had to move to another state for treatment. I didnt get my mail all the time and when i did i was too sick to handle this matter. They basically said, "sorry our offer expired" even though i had called in a year earlier and gotten a case number and they never got back to me about what to do about servicing my rust issue even though the truck is now not in a cold weather state (where they offer the service). They were totally rude and it was quite upsetting. SHAME ON YOU TOYOTA for making clearly a faulty product the customer's fault.
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    szphllpsszphllps Member Posts: 1
    Bill it is December 2012-maybe you made a mistake on your date? My husband just had an excellent experience with the Toyota Buy Back in North Carolina (Nov. 2012). Keep pushing it & good luck!
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    bsenterbsenter Member Posts: 1
    Hello Toyota Fans,

    I just wanted to share my most recent experience with you all regarding my 2003 Toyota Tacoma truck. Please read...

    I own and bought new a 2003 Toyota Tacoma from Rockingham Toyota in Salem, NH.

    I was just informed by my mechanic on 12/5/2012 that my truck would not pass Mass state inspection due to a trouble code (check engine light) and most importantly that my frame was completely rusted through and that my Toyota truck was unsafe to drive. I personally verified this by crawling under my Toyota truck and poking my fingers through the frame. My Toyota Tacoma is ready to fold in half due to the extent of frame rust.

    After contacting Toyota in California (phone 800 331 4331) and discussing the safety issue with the assigned case manager Eric Back, I was told that there was nothing that could be done to rectify this unsafe condition. I also contacted Rockingham Toyota in Salem, NH. and they would take no responsibility for this unsafe condition. They mentioned that the safety recall "program" had expired. As a note: I received no notification regarding this serious safety recall.

    I am now the proud owner of a Toyota Tacoma that is unsafe to drive and is realistically worth less than nothing.

    Honestly,.. Until 12/5/2012, I loved this truck and had faith in Toyota's commitment towards its' customers,... Now I have serious doubt in their commitment or concerns towards customers' safety.

    This Toyota Tacoma is-- NO "WAS" my only means of transportation!

    What can I do???? Any thoughts???

    Brian Senter

    Ohhhh what a feeling!

    Toyota has left me hanging. My 2003 Toyota Tacoma with 105,000 miles is un-driveable, due to a rusted frame. And because the recall "program" expired last year, they will offer nothing to correct the problem, claiming that I received seven (yes 7) recall notices. Why would I not respond to or acknowledge seven recall notices??? Because I never received them!

    My last contact at Toyota was with the Executives office 310-974-7521 where I was informed by Deborah Houston that I was not going to be compensated, my frame would not be replaced and no favorable resolve (for me) was available. Well,..Of course she did offer a possible $1250.00 towards another new or used Toyota, because I am a loyal customer.

    Thank You Toyota,... Thank you Deborah.

    Stay tuned folks. I'll be posting some great pictures of the underside of my truck with my hand through what used to be a frame rail.

    Best of luck to any future or present Toyota owners.

    Brian Senter
    Toyota case #1212062051
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    susann3susann3 Member Posts: 3
    1/9/2013 My son's 2003 Toyota Tacoma has been in three times to have the frame checked for this recall. Undercoating was offered, but never was it said that the undercoating was required in order to keep the recall valid. Monday this truck was in for put up on a lift for repairs and the frame buckled in half right behind the cab. We have pictures. We've contacted Toyota in California and have gotten the same response you have. The last time this truck's frame was inspected and deemed ok by Berlin City (NH)Toyota was Aug. 2010. In Dec. 2012 it buckles in half. Toyota doesn't think they have a problem. Right now I am grateful that my son's truck broke in the last snow storm and had to be towed. This frame could have buckled while he was driving.
    I would really appreciate any information anyone has on how to deal with Toyota about this.
    Interesting that they offered you a "possible 1250.00 towards another Toyota--given the situation we are in (like you this was his only transportation and he needs to get to work) and the seriousness of what has happened to the truck--does Toyota seriously think that we would buy another of their vehicles???
    Good luck to you and please let me know if you find out any new directions to pursue this.
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    susann3susann3 Member Posts: 3
    Can you tell us more details about how the buy back worked for your husband? There seems to be a wide variety of things told to different people by different dealers and the headquarters in Ca. refuse to take any responsibility. We want to pursue this, but can't afford a lawyer and Toyota will have a fleet of lawyers that can bury any individual lawyer. Any details and insights you can give us would be appreciated. Thanks SNoel
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    rusteedoffrusteedoff Member Posts: 1
    Maybe trying to get a story on the news about the danger of the rusting frame would help. I haven't seen or heard anything about it in the media. Maybe if a small group picketed outside of a Toyota dealer some news agency would pick up the story. I had a chunk of metal handed to me by the guy who intalled my completely rusted out shocks. My bumper is swiss cheese and the spots all over the hood are getting worse every day. Someone told me the ball joint came apart when they turned the wheel and now I am afraid of my truck.
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    chemicalgutterchemicalgutter Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2013
    I purchased my truck a year ago. Just the other day, I noticed some rust on the frame and decided to research some, since this seemed worse than normal. After looking at some of these forums, I decided to give the local dealer a call. They said that my truck was part of the recall and that I should bring it in to have it inspected for rust. After inspecting for rust holes and finding them, they contacted the claim center where this claim was denied stating that the offer had expired. I never got anything in the mail notiftying me of this. So with little data besides that, I opened up a case at the Toyota Customer Care Center (case # 1301302599). After 3 business days of waiting (supposedly next business day service), I finally got in touch with the case manager, Nicole, who promptly told me that the 15 year warranty on my 2001 Tacoma, had expired, due to it never receiving the corrosion protection. She stated that the warranty expired in September 2011, since the rust protection was never applied. Since I bough the truck in January 2012, after the expiration, there was nothing I could have done different, besides not buy the truck. I have been a die hard Toyota fan and owner for the past 12 years I have been driving, but I am beginning to step back and start to wonder if there is something fishy going on here.

    From reading on here, I am doubtful on whether the previous owner ever received the letter in the mail. Why would anybody ignore a letter like that?? Is there anything I can do?

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    KCRamKCRam Member Posts: 3,516
    From all I've learned throughout this whole thing, it appears you're stuck with a truck that is dangerous to drive.

    Remember one thing - I know it's convenient/common for people to refer to this as a recall, but it's not. A recall can't expire, per federal law. This is a voluntary service program from within Toyota, thus they can set their own rules for it, including having an expiration date.

    kcram - Pickups/Wagons/Vans+Minivans Host
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    j120572j120572 Member Posts: 1
    I now do work for a dealer that deals with toyota, ford, and general motors. I've heard nothing but how consumer reports bash the domestics and praise toyota and a couple other foreign vehicles. Well I know this because of my job and what I see with my own eyes, these foreign vehicles do not compair in quality. So why does everyone praise them when the frames are pop can thin, even the full size tundra does not come close in comparision with the big 3 domestics. I see a lot of chevy and fords come in with 300k plus miles, and you never hear of this. But if its a toyota or another foreign made its on the front page of the paper. I also see the service departments of these and a lot more fairly new vehicles that are foreign then the big 3. Why has the news media never reported toyotas frames so bad they just buckle, and not far out of warrantee, but gm according to the news media just had the biggest recall ever. Well this re3call they claim that has killed people was nothing more than the key were it connects to your keyring. Says in my manual not to have a bunch of keys on that ring. People put there getto fabulous key chains and so much junk hanging on it that the weight turns the ignition off while driving. this is made national news, which is the owner or drivers fault, but not a word of frames so thin that they rust and unsafe to drive way before they should. Everyone, just keep reading consumer reports that's in toyotas pocket and believe whatever they report. Myself I'm going to go buy what I see first and and stick for ford or gm.
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    capricorn_62capricorn_62 Member Posts: 15

    Hello, I have a 2003 Tacoma and just found out today that the frame is rusted through. My truck was at a shop getting a brake control put on for our camper. The service man told us he could not do the work because the frame is shot. I called my Toyota dealer today and have an appointment in 3 days with them. I was told they would have to take pictures and submit them to Toyota. This is pretty upsetting since I did have the rust coating applied by my dealer before the expiration date. I was also told this would extent the rust proof coverage until 2017. We have a 7 day camping trip coming up and several more in the future. Now what's going to happen?? Toyota better make this right since everything was done by the dealer and before any expiration dates

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    chrnbchrnb Member Posts: 1

    Please don't hit me, but I could really use a little help.
    I'm a Yota fan, I was about to buy a 2004. I'm in NC, it is and has been.
    It's a 2004 crew Prerunner Trd. 6cyl 108800 miles.

    Please, can you point me to some info and steer me right on what I'm looking for if it's not apparent just checking it out from what you can see on a lift?
    I'm prepared to hear you say don't do it. I haven't been under it, but before I accept it I'm already scheduled to have my good friend/mechanic to look at it at his shop.

    Is this rust a definite in these years or are there different frame materials?

    I sincerely appreciate your input

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    billfromrochbillfromroch Member Posts: 1
    Count me in here. 2003 Tacoma extended cab, 4WD, etc.. I love(d) this truck! Only 80,000 miles on it. Took it to the dealer a while back for a recall I found on line and they told me about the frame problems. Then they say I could have mine replaced if I would have showed up before the campaign was over. This really sucks. The rest of the truck looks and drives great but now it needs a new inspection and I'm afraid it won't pass. I called into Toyota and a very nice woman told me I'm SOL. I bought the truck brand new because of Tacoma's high resale value. And i really liked it. Now I stare at it in my driveway and winter is coming.

    Pissed off Toyota customer,
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    aholadayaholaday Member Posts: 1
    Until a week ago, I respected Toyota, but they did me wrong, and I want to tell my story. If one person reads this and has a better outcome than me, fantastic. If a lot of people read this and Toyota gets slapped, then my mission will be accomplished.

    TL/DR: I know a lot of you have Toyotas, and I hope you are happy with them. Please get your vehicle’s frame checked regularly. Some models have a severe problem with frame rust, making them profoundly unsafe. Unlike other vehicle safety issues you may have heard about, there is *no recall* for this, and as I found out, there is no remedy for the owner either.

    On 12/1/2014 I took our 2002 Toyota Tacoma to our usual shop for what I thought would be regular mechanical repairs (I thought my alternator was failing).

    What happened was the mechanics said the truck’s frame — that huge piece of metal that everything is built upon — was so badly rusted they would not even put the truck on a lift. They said they literally have had Toyota trucks break in two in their shop, while on a lift, due to rusted frames. I’m not talking about surface rust here. I’m talking about a hole big enough to pass my hand through.

    It turns out Toyota knows about this problem too, but somehow no regulatory action has ever occurred. No recall was ever issued. On the internet I learned Toyota ran a “program” (from 2009 to 2012, I believe) where they were compensating owners with these frame problems. So I called Toyota corporate. The rep confirmed there was indeed a “program”, and mailed owners about it several times. Mind you, I was the second owner. I emphatically told her I never received notices of the program, and didn’t know about the rust until 12/1/2014. Nevertheless, Toyota closed my case by telling me the “program” closed and they will take no further action. None.

    So what I thought was a $5000 asset is actually a $200 scrap heap that isn’t even safe to drive. Toyota knew about this material defect, didn’t care that I didn’t get the memo (the rep herself suggested these might have been mailed to the previous owner — HELLO?), and basically I showed up too late to be remedied.

    Needless to say, I will not be shopping for a Toyota any time soon. And I promised the rep (who was very polite, and I did not blame her personally), that I would do my best to prove to Toyota that while they may have closed their financial liability on this rust problem, they can expect to feel the impacts of bad publicity for not taking care of the customers who slipped through the cracks.
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    snappy10snappy10 Member Posts: 2
    We certainly never received any notices at any time. No one in their right mind would ever ignore them. We have lived in the same spot for 23 years. Tell me how many times you sent me a notice! I dare Toyota! It looks as if it would have made zero difference if one had complied with that "program" anyway.
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    stan6669stan6669 Member Posts: 1
    I'm sorry if I come across like a jerk to anyone but anyone they has any problem with this recall ending and I'm not getting notifications through the mail its not Toyotas job to figure out where you live they have millions and millions and millions of customers worldwide. your job to make sure your mail is forwarded to the right location if you have moved and anywhere that you deal with and do business with has your accurate mailing address. Toyota goes further than any manufacturer I've ever seen go for their customers to make them happy from warranty to recall to Goodwill warranty when you're out of your normal warranty mileage to normal everyday services.
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    philomanphiloman Member Posts: 1
    I just found out that my 2002 Tacoma has frame rust behind the front wheels and is unsafe to drive. It only has 106,000 miles. The local Toyota dealer is researching what can be done. I have heard some things about a 15 year time frame for recall. If Toyota doesn't do anything about it is there a class action suit going on? Is there any good news out there ? I bought it used and have had no info from Toyota about this issue. I think the car was originally from the east coast but I live on the west coast.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    There is a CLASS ACTION SUIT
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    yotankyyotanky Member Posts: 1
    My husband's frame on his 2001 Tacoma just broke recently.  We were unaware of any recalls related to the frame, or any other issues.  We are also loyal Toyota customers, along with many friends and relatives, and  recently purchased our 4th vehicle, (my 2nd Highlander). We have always stood by the saying "you can't go wrong, owning a Toyota."
    My husband LOVES his truckand wants to replace the frame, however I am just now stumbling upon this information and am not sure what to think or where to begin with reading so many complaints about the frame and Toyotas failure to satisfy their customers as well as the safety of its passengers. 

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    sbhousley88sbhousley88 Member Posts: 1
    Be sure to file a complaint with the NHTSA.  More complaints = more likely a recall issued rather than the joke of a warranty.   

    888-327-4236, Monday-Friday, 8:00AM to 8:00PM EST(Spanish-speaking representatives available)
    TTY: 888-424-9153
    (Please have your ODI number referenced above available.) 
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    golfingavo1golfingavo1 Member Posts: 1
    Hello, I have the same scenario with one as well. I purchased a NEW, 2004 Toyota Tacoma 4wd Regular cab, from the dealership with 18 miles on the odometer.  Approximately 3-5 years after, I got the first letter from Toyota saying that my truck could have a bad batch of steel that would also cause rust to the frame in the future.  I called headquarters and was informed that this incident would also extend my frame an additional 15 year "warranty" or whatever they are calling it, from the date of the recall...(NOT 15 years from the purchase date, fyi). So, I took it for inspection and was told it passed their "criteria" and would be sprayed with a preventive sealant and I should monitor the rust progression during this time frame to "see if it gets better". (Hahahah, yes..rust gets better or magically goes away according to a service tech).  Believe me, I did monitor it almost like someone with OCD and to the point of having it put on a lift regularly for an independent mechanic to inspect.  Within a year all the sealant or what I describe as black, roofing tar had come off, except for the areas on the body of my truck, which had been over sprayed by them due to the bad protective plastic/tape job. At that time I called the service mgr at the dealership in Nicholasville, KY and explained and asked for explaining to be done and I got the name of the sealant to research and basically vet what I was being told. I was told that the spray isnt meant to stay on the frame and only works its way in to the "perforations" to strengthen and "fill" them. I asked why I was told I had no perforations once and now being told I had small perforations.  The mgr kinda wiggled around an answer and moved into the rehearsed lipservice (that all dealerships got a memo on I'm sure) telling me that surface rust was very common in this state and salty roads are the cause of the majority of my problem right now.  I asked for a copy of the inspection criteria and protocol used for this recall or service extension.  I was not given that courtesy, as was my right to know what logic and process was determining my safety and others on the road as well.  I realized quickly after my 2nd attempt with the dealer that the voluntary repair service of 15 years was essentially a legal way of saying that since there was not technically a legal recall awarded, that Toyota could put me in a never ending loop of; my calling,  them avoiding/explaining, having re-inspections, be told it passed the test, get angry, put it on the backburner, get mad that I got screwed and then repeating the whole process. That or they would just hope I and all the other  customers would sell the vehicle or the time frame would expire and they would save their bottom-line and get off the hook by not doing the right thing.  At the end of my 2nd attempt I requested, in writing, a statement saying my Tacoma was in-fact roadworthy, tip top shape safety wise, met the criteria for the rust perforation percentage versus "surface/condition related rust and that if I was to be driving down the highway, hit a pothole and my cab was to separate from the frame and cause a 20 car pile up and horrific happenings...then they would be held liable for that scenario b/c my efforts for getting a solution that was acceptable BEFORE anymore rust spread and BEFORE the inevitable outcome of the certainties of 1, the rust WILL get only worse in the 15 year time frame and 2, the rust WILL spread throughout my whole underbody.  As you can imagine....they were unwilling to put anything in writing with signatures.  So....I gave up for an amount of time, not driving or insuring the vehicle as well as not paying taxes on a heap of junk. .Luckily I had a work provided vehicle so I was pissed off with Toyota and their lack of solutions but happy I had transportation in the interim.   Up until August of 2014 the truck sat at my house in a vacant spot in the drive.  Thats when I loaded it in a 24 foot trailer and upon moving to Virginia Beach, I took it and my thoughts in mind of not throwing in the towel and eventually I would try again.  I did....July of 2015 I took it to the dealerships in Va.  They also told me it was safe and met criteria.  They provided no alternative, no paperwork or process of protocol and just as if it were a corporate memo that was memorized and spewed to customers on command, told me verbatum whatvI previously heard twice.  My Tacoma sits in their backlot with a "?" painted on the windshield to this day.  The only contact I got was an email saying I would be charged a fee by the day for parking it there.  After all that crap I went through it doesn't matter a bit and the proof is in the pudding.  They want to profit off my vehicle being in their possession because I finally just took a stand.  Yea, its a small F--- you but I am not going to let them relinquish responsibility over the well being of my truck yet.  Its just parked in my possession so why not just parked in their lot with a question mark?  I didnt mention I had opened a case with Toyota upon the 2nd incident of being brushed away in KY, with "michael" and I will keep it simple and show no last names.  All the of contact info and my encounters are documented and hopefully the truck falls apart before the 15 year time limit.  I see where I am now part of a class action suit so I'm going to not get too excited until settlements are awarded and I'm positive about being included in that suit.  I will post an outcome asap.  A little tidbit for you guys............and a little irony too. My sister had the same thing happen to her Tacoma, which was a earlier model and in the recall before mine.  Hers most definitely didnt pass the hammer test and huge chunks were falling off the frame.  She had the most pleasant rewarding experience compared to what I am having and seeing about other people too.  She was given 1.5 times the KBB value and promptly sent a check.  She in turn took that check, went to the dealership and upgraded to a newer model extended cab TRD edition.  It was the fastest damn resolution Ive ever seen.  I'm not that fortunate or lucky.  Im gonna literally wait and show patience throughout the whole 15 years if I have to because the principal of the matter is what matters to me now.  I do also hope it does cost them maybe 3.4 billion if I saw it correctly. How's that for karma, its warranted. 
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    kimberlyskokkimberlyskok Member Posts: 1
    I purchased the 2002 Tacoma 10/9/2013, I noticed some of the recall repairs had not been made by the previous owner, I took it to the dealer, 10/29/2013 for the necessary repairs. I was informed by the Toyota service guy, using a hammer, that my frame was crumbling and I would be needing a new frame as well. I called Toyota Customer Service numerous times and all I ever got was, I'm sorry, and how they were well aware of the corrosion problem with the frame on the 2002. The rust problem on my Tacoma is so severe, the truck is starting to buckle, no space between the cab and the bed at the top. It is in such bad shape no one will put it on a lift! It will be the complete and single cause for the demise of my truck, and quite possibly myself. I had just bought the truck. I will be driving the Tacoma when the frame breaks apart and I will probably die.

    9/11/17 I wrote James Letz, CEO of Toyota, and manager of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing, 6781 Headquarters Dr., Plano, TX 75024, I stated, "I followed the corrosion prevention in the Owner's Manual. The quality of the frame on the 2002 Toyota Tacoma is inferior due to inadequate rust protection at the factory."

    9/28/17 I received a response by phone, (972) 324-7000, from Grand Prairie, TX. He told me there was a recall letter sent out to the owners of 2002 Tacomas, informing the owners to check for rusting and corrosion on the frame, and they could bring the truck in for a rust prevention spray; however, it expired 2011. They obviously know how severe the problem is. I told him I was scared, and he answered, "I understand I would be too." He led me to think nothing was going to be done, but it was up to the Engineering and Manufacturing department, oddly enough, that is Mr. Letz! Where is the "Genuine Toyota Quality?"

    I have filed a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration @SaferCar.gov and @CarComplaints.com
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