There’s a settlement on the horizon for owners of Toyota trucks with rusted out frames that are so 'holey' they make the Pope blush.
The settlement includes the 2005-2012 Tacoma, 2007-2008 Tundra, and 2005-2008 Sequoia in the United States and its territories.
For thousands of owners, the news comes just in the nick of time. Many of these trucks are one stiff breeze away from turning into a pile of corroded dust.
A Serious Corrosion Problem
Toyota truck owners have been complaining that their frames are susceptible to unusual levels of rust.
The theory is the trucks were never properly treated with anti-corrosion chemicals at the factory, leaving their frames exposed to the dangers of road salt and spray, even early in the vehicle’s life.
“The frame is severely rusted at all joints. Since the truck is garaged 95% of the time, always clean (even engine compartment), and only has 12,000 total miles on this 2006 vehicle, it is extremely illogical. The warranty covers only “perforated” rust. It is not perforated but will be that way in a year or so.” – 2006 Tacoma owner in Virginia
The problem is especially true of trucks in the so-called “salt belt states.
“Sad to say I paid over $75,000 for this and now I’m scared to drive it. I used to take this vehicle on long drives with my family. Now in the back of my head I’m thinking what if I drive it and the chassis just breaks off?” – 2008 Sequoia owner in New York
Toyota Agrees to Massive Settlement
A lawsuit was eventually filed against Toyota making a few key points:
- Frame rust, unlike most body panel rust, poses a real threat to the structural integrity of the truck.
- Owners were tired of being told they simply “didn’t wash the truck enough” when in reality it appears the trucks were never properly treated in the first place.
- A previous recall of 690,000 Tacoma trucks for rust and corrosion showed Toyota was aware of the problem.
By November 2016, a massive $3.4 billion settlement was agreed on.
The settlement includes the cost of inspections ($60 per vehicle), the application of corrosion-resistant compounds (N/A), and in some cases a complete frame replacement ($15,000 per vehicle).
To get a new frame, dealers will use a “rust perforation standard” – any frame where rust has perforated 10mm or more will be swapped out.
The lawsuit is scheduled for a fairness hearing in April 2017.