WASHINGTON – Toyota Motor Corp. will recall 110,000 Tundra trucks from the 2000-2003 model years to address excessive rust on the vehicle's frame. The government urged owners to remove the spare tire from the frame, concerned it could fall onto the road and create a hazard for other vehicles.
The recall announced Tuesday involves 2000-2003 model year Tundras registered in 20 "cold weather" states and the District of Columbia. The states are: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into excessive rust on Tundra frames in October after receiving 20 complaints of "severe frame corrosion." NHTSA said then it had received 15 reports alleging the spare tire, stowed under the truck bed, separated from the frame. Five other reports alleged broken brake lines because of the rust.
Toyota said Tuesday it was recalling the trucks in the cold weather states because road salts and chemical deicers are typically used to treat roads during the winter and could cause additional corrosion in the trucks.
Beginning in December, Toyota said it will notify owners and ask them to take their trucks to a Toyota dealer for an inspection of the frame's rear cross-member. Toyota said if the inspection finds that it can no longer safely support the spare tire, the cross-member assembly will be replaced.
If replacement parts aren't available, the dealer will find a temporary solution, such as removing the spare tire and securing it to the truck bed.
Toyota said if no significant rust is found, owners will have a corrosion-resistant compound applied to the frame. Toyota said the inspections and repairs will be done at no charge to owners.
NHTSA said owners of 2000-2003 Tundras registered outside the cold weather states will also be notified and have their vehicles inspected and repaired if the owners desire.
Toyota said owners could "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." The automaker also urged owners to secure the spare tire in the truck bed or other areas of the vehicle.
For more information, owners may call the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 800-331-4331.