Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have announced that Toyota will recall approximately 110,000 Tundra pickup trucks from the 2000 to 2003 model years in 20 cold-weather states and the District of Columbia to fix a frame rust and corrosion problem that could cause the spare tire to fall away from the truck. Originally, NHTSA's investigation covered only 2000-01 Tundras but during Toyota's investigation of the problem, the number of trucks discovered with the problem grew to include 2002 and 2003 models.
Toyota has just announced the recall, but NHTSA recommends that owners remove the spare tires before taking the trucks to the dealers to be remedied.
In addition, the corrosion may also cause damage to the rear brake lines and lead to brake system failures.
The states in the recall include Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. These states typically use chemical de-icers, such as road salts, to treat roadways in winter weather.
According to Toyota's press release, the company will do the following for Tundra owners subject to the recall:
Beginning in Dec. 2009 through early 2010, owners of the involved vehicles will receive a Safety Recall notification via first class mail asking them to take their vehicles to a Toyota dealer for an initial inspection of the rear cross member. During this inspection, the rear cross-member including the surrounding components such as the brake line at the proportioning valve (which is mounted on the cross-member assembly) will also be inspected. Based upon the inspection, Toyota will do one of the following at no charge:
* If there is no significant corrosion of the rear cross-member assembly or the rear brake line at the proportioning valve, owners will be notified of that fact and requested to subsequently bring their vehicle back to the dealership so that a corrosion-resistant compound can be applied to the rear cross-member. Toyota will notify the owner when the corrosion-resistant compound is available.
* If significant corrosion is detected such that the rear cross-member can no longer safely support the spare tire and replacement components are available, the cross- member assembly will be replaced. In the event replacement components are not available, a temporary solution, such as the removal of the spare tire and securing it to the truck bed, will be performed until parts are available.
In those relatively rare cases where the rear cross-member is significantly corroded and can no longer safely support the spare tire, but the rear cross-member cannot be replaced due to excessive frame corrosion at the mounting location (e.g., if the side rails are too damaged), Toyota will develop an appropriate remedy for those vehicles on a case-by-case basis.
This inspection will take approximately 20 minutes, depending on dealer scheduling.
Until your vehicle is inspected, you may minimize the risk of the spare tire separating from the rear cross-member by removing it. If you choose to do so, please be sure not to be under the rear cross-member or spare tire carrier during the lowering process. In addition, if placing the spare tire in the truck bed or other area of the vehicle, it should be secured when driving.
Customers with questions are asked to call the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1 (800) 331-4331.
Mike Levine, editor PickupTrucks.com