It’s happening again. Toyota is expanding it’s recall program even further, this time covering 2000-03 Toyota Tundras for frame rot. The problem stems from complaints of premature frame rusting on trucks sold in Northern states, primarily around the rear crossmembers and spare tire mounts. Toyota, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, originally issued a recall last year, covering vehicles in 20 so-called ‘cold-weather,’ states. Now, it has expanded the program to include other sections of the frame and vehicles sold in other states, as part of a limited service campaign.
This new recall is a retroactive enhancement to the vehicle’s warranty to replace the entire frame for free if it meets certain corrosion conditions, but owners of Tundras with frame rust will only have a limited opportunity to take advantage of the offer, which expires after April 30, 2012.
According to Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons; “information is being sent to all [2000-03 Tundra] owners. We’re really targeting the trucks in the severe cold-weather states but it also includes owners in the other states.”
The states primarily affected by 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.
The original recall covered 110,000 Tundras. The limited service campaign has now expanded that to up to 440,000 trucks.
Toyota dealers will inspect Tundras covered by the campaign for signs of frame rust with specific guidelines laid out for replacement. If a perforation larger than 10 millimeters is found on outlined sections of the frame, including the outer chassis rails, parts of the K-member and other sections, the entire frame will be replaced with a new one.
Replacing the frame on a large pickup is a serious undertaking, that requires dismantling the truck and then installing everything onto the new frame. Given the scope of such a task, affected Tundra owners are likely to have to wait several weeks to even a few months before the repairs are completed.
To try and help minimize the inconvenience, Toyota has said that will cover rental car costs up to seven days. If frame replacement is delayed due to parts availability, then an additional 30 days worth of rental car fees may be claimed. In very special cases, it also mentioned that an additional 30 days could be claimed.
Toyota says it will contact affected Tundra owners by both phone and mail. Customers with additional questions or concerns are advised to contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 888-270-9371.
NHTSA originally began investigating Tundra frame rust complaints in October 2009 and approximately a month later announced a “voluntary” recall. Toyota received criticism for its initially slow handling of the issue, but with the latest limited service campaign, has been praised for its commitment to Tundra customers. It’s not every day that an automaker is willing to fund more than $10,000 in repair costs on a ten year old vehicle, that’s been documented with a serious problem.