The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that Toyota has recalled vehicles for rust issues that could cause car and truck accidents. The latest motor vehicle recall involved Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks, with around 150,000 of them recalled for model years 2001 through 2004.
The culprit: highway road salt. The area affected: the spare tire carrier under the truck bed. The potential danger resides with the plate on the spare tire carrier, which raises, lowers and safely stores the tire under the truck bed. Heavy rust can corrode the plate and result in the dropping of the tire onto the roadway. That in turn can cause serious car accidents to vehicles traveling behind the trucks.
Road salt is used in colder climates, including Ohio, to melt snow and ice on roadways. Road salt works well, but it also is highly corrosive to metal. Road spray in wet conditions throws roadway water and salt on to everything on the underside of cars and trucks. Therefore, the undercarriage of all vehicles sold in cold weather states must be heavily coated with anti-corrosion protective material.
Toyota is recalling these pickup trucks because their spare tire lift plates may not have been sufficiently or properly coated during manufacturing procedures. Although these trucks were originally sold in 20 states and the District of Columbia, since some are over 10 years old, these pickups could be in any state now, with ownership changes and moves.
The manufacturer has yet to perfect its remedy for this issue, but will advise current owners as soon as the permanent solution is identified. Current owners, regardless of their location, should contact Toyota to learn if they have one of these trucks. After calling and recording ownership, these people will hear from Toyota when a final solution to the problem is ready.
Source: examiner, “Honda, Mercedes, Toyota and Volkswagen issue safety recalls,” James Nelson, Dec. 4, 2012