Toyota is proceeding with a voluntary recall of Toyota Tacomas from the 2001 through 2004 model years in order to replace a possible defect in the spare tire carrier.
According to our friends at KickingTires.com, the metal lift plate that holds the spare tire underneath the truck bed can corrode or rust with exposure to harsh elements and/or road salt. As a result of the corrosion, the plate could break and release the spare tire. Toyota notes that it is possible the lift plates were not properly coated with the right protective phosphate spray.
The affected vehicles were purchased or are currently registered in cold-weather states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Toyota says it will notify owners in December. Dealers will inspect and replace the spare-tire carrier assembly at no cost. Owners can call Toyota at 800-331-4331 for more info.