Recall Alert: 2001-2004 Toyota Tacoma

2002_toyota_tacoma II

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, 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.



As I wrote here:

Toyota has had a slew of rust problems over the last decade (EIGHT recalls or rust TSBs in the last decade). This is a major Toyota quality hiccup that shouldn't be overlooked...Toyota should be held accountable for what is obviously a chronic problem.

It's your time to shine! :)

My 2003 Ford F150 burst into flames this morning around 1:30AM. It had been parked since 5:30 the night before. I can't believe it. The truck is gone. It also scorched the car next to it.

Maybe you should have thrown that cig or whatever out the window. Whats this got to do with this story anyways?

Hemiv8 - still pretending to be someone else with the ongoing "flaming Ford" saga.

My dodge burst into flames this morning. I can't believe it. The truck is gone. It also scorched the grass around it.

Wow !

Just wow !!! Is there any more serious problems Toyota can have this just proves their reliability scores from consumers,JD are bogus !

Rusting parts from various Toyota's

Recall last week millions of Waterpumps ect..

Recall for Steering (again)
Blowing up 5.7 camshafts
Blowing up V-6 engines in Lexus/Toyota
Bad transmissions
Random excelleration
Rust on frame
Breaking side glass (shatters on Corolla)

Just too many serious problems to mention,heck if this was GM,Ford or Chrysler it would be blasted all over the news,tv/blogs daily ! But since we are politically correct we must praise import companies,especially Asian ones.

The war on the west/political correctness must stop,because the world is under smoke and mirrors..Saying a Toyota is good/reliable is totally bogus,nobody can claim that when we have so much proof otherwise,serious recalls weekly ! Toyota is the worlds worst Car company,proof is out there,you are delusional if you think Toyota's are reliable...You are in total denial..LOOK AT THE SERIOUS RECALLS KIDS !

By the way Toyota is starting to give up building cars as Subaru builds a new car for them and the new Toyota coming out is built in Mexico by Mazda,proof Toyota doesnt build good cars they are farming them out now ! If Toyota knew how to build the best car,wouldnt they continue to build them themselves,this proves the company is hurting and need reliable cars..from Subaru,Mazda lol,lol!!!

n guess where these toyota r built... in america... we damn americans can't build quality.

@ Hemi Rules,GM,Ford,Toyota use it and claim its their's

"The war on the west/political correctness must stop,because the world is under smoke and mirrors.."

You sound like one of those Republican's running for congress who wanted to ban abortions for rape victims.

Great job of making Ram owners sound like bottom feeding trailerpark white trash.

@uh huh: Wouldn't the Japanese be in control of building those trucks in the states, they just hire American (and Mexicans as well, since some Tacomas are built there?)

Seriously these Ram guys are really starting to get annoying and I own a Ram. You guys show up when Bob disappears which makes me suspicious.

Back to topic. Toyota really needs to get on these rust issues because a vehicle cannot be reliable if the thing rusts to pieces.

Some key words ignorant people on this site do not comprehend:

"possible defect"

"could lead"

"the plate could break"

"MAY not have been SUFFICIENTLY coated"

Could and possible is not a defect. Sufficiently compare to what?

Nothing here has been proven in a court of law, so take it easy haters!

Toyota is fixing "potential" issues before they ever become REAL...

If you own a Ford vehicle, made within the past 15 years or so, please read:

About 30 minutes ago I noticed smoke coming out of a Ford truck in the parking lot where I work. At first I thought it was somebody smoking a cigarette, but the smoke was constant and getting thicker.

That's when I noticed the flames under the driver's side wheel well. I yelled for another employee to call 911. Then I grabbed the fire extinguisher and ran out to the truck.

I sprayed the fire from the wheel well area. Then I noticed that the windows were down on the truck. I reached in, popped the hood latch, and sprayed the engine compartment. I put the fire out.

It looks to have been caused by the cruise control brake cutoff switch. Ford recalled those switches a couple of years ago. The owner of the vehicle came out and asked me what happened. I told him about the fire and about the recall of those switches.

He said, "I seem to remember hearing something about that, but I didn't think it applied to my truck." Big mistake.

Those switches can cause a fire even when the vehicle is parked and turned off. It would have been catastrophic if he had been parked in a garage or under a carport.

So, to make a long story even longer, if you know anybody who owns a Ford vehicle, tell them to call their dealership and ask if the recall applies to them. I don't recall the exact years, or models, that were affected by the recall.

Read more:

Top 10 largest car recalls in American history
Oct 12, 2012 3:00 PM

This week's recall of 7.43 million Toyotas for a faulty power window switch that could catch fire has been billed as one of the largest in history. But how big is it really?

It didn't even make the top 10, ranking only 16th on a list of the 21 largest recalls in the United States, according to data tracked by the Center for Automotive Safety. This Toyota recall impacts 2.5 million vehicles, making it about about half the size of the larger of Toyota's two recalls for unintended acceleration in 2009.

Looking at their entire recall list, several facts stand out:

Recalls didn't start until 1969, with the founding of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Ford Motor Company has the three largest recalls, by far, on the list, due to electrical components - ignition switches in 1981 and cruise-control switches in 1999 - that were installed across the company's entire lineup.
The solution to the largest recall in history, for Ford transmissions that failed to engage Park, amounted to no more than dealers installing a warning sticker. Well, I feel so much safer with that sticker on board.
The industry has made an awful lot of progress since General Motors downsized its "A-body" lineup in 1978 that included the Chevrolet Monte Carlo and El Camino. The '78 A-Body amassed perhaps the three most alarming recalls, for collapsing front suspensions, jamming steering mechanisms, and wheels and axles falling off. (My father drove three and could have vouched for several of these maladies.)
The latest Toyota recall is nearly 20 percent larger than Toyota's 2009 recall for sticking accelerators; the company's parallel floor mat recall didn't make the list.
Other than the Toyota recalls, foreign companies are not well represented on the list. That's not to say they are without blemishes on their record, just that the scale didn't reach Top 10 proportions. For example, Japanese automakers had some problems with seat-belt buckles in the 1980s. And Volkswagen had one recall that mirrored Ford's problems with installing a single faulty component (windshield wipers) across its entire lineup for many years.
Largest U.S. vehicle recalls
Rank # of vehicles Model year Model Problem
1 21 million 1970-1980 Ford cars & trucks Transmissions that fail to engage Park
2 15 million 1992-2003 Ford cars & trucks Cruise control deactivation switch fires
3 7.9 million 1988-1993 Ford Taurus, Explorer, Probe & Mercury Sable Ignition switch fires
4 6.9 million 1965-1970 Chevrolet cars & trucks Unintended acceleration due to broken motor mounts
5 5.8 million 1978-1981 General Motors A-body cars Lower control arm bolt failures can lead to suspension collapse
6 5.4 million 2004-2010 Toyota, Lexus Unintended acceleration risk due to floor mat interference
7 4.1 million 1970-1971 All Fords, Lincolns, and Mercurys Shoulder belt pins
8 3.7 million 1971-1972 All full-size Buicks, Chevrolets, Oldsmobiles, and Pontiacs Rock can jam in steering coupling
9 3.7 million 1986-1991 Honda Civic, Accord, Prelude; Acura Integra, Legend, NSX Seat belt buckle jams
10 3.7 million 1949-1969 All Volkswagens Windshield wipers

This is my favorite Ford F150 fire video:

Hemi V8 = plagiarism

@Chandler of Newnan, GA

you said today.... lol you absolute liar, is that your truth?
I know your a liar because that video as poorly made as it is was made Jan 6, 2011.

I agree with bj...

Nothing to see here!

Here is a surreal picture of a Toyota Hilux dual cab on the south coast of NSW. This model from 97 until early 2000s looks similar to your Taco's side on.

It's not photoshopped.

my favorite dodge fires - many trucks in it

@HEMI V8 - I know you usually logic, but yeah, as shocking as it is, the biggest OEMs have the biggest recalls. Durrrr... This doesn't necessarily mean these OEM have more dangerous cars or less reliable.

In fact, Chrysler has the biggest recall footprint relative to how small of an OEM group they are.

Even if your vehicle is recalled, the chances of encountering the problem first hand is between pretty dismal and zero. If just one vehicle has a defective part or problem that can't be isolated to an exact batch, date or linked to specific VINs, the entire line gets recalled.

When you're building cars efficiently, as many parts numbers as possible are shared throughout the entire brand/group for as many years it's feasible.

I'd rather own a rusted Toyota then a brand new Ram ANY DAY!!! the funny thing is those 2001-2004 Tacoma's are in higher demand now then any Ram goat of the same model year. Dodge is such crap.

Ford Motor Company has the three largest recalls, by far, on the list, due to electrical components - ignition switches in 1981 and cruise-control switches in 1999 - that were installed across the company's entire lineup.

Wow another rust story from Toyorust.
@Robert No matter bullshit Toyota build you will taste it

I agree with bj and Jay, nothing to see here!

01-04 Tacoma's are in high demand as reliable used 4x4's and are great pickups!

My 2 cents:

One of the first thing I do is remove the spare tire from underneath and place it up higher for better ground clearance and to assist with better departure angle...

For now I have a swing door rear bumper that my spare mounts too...

So when its cold, dark, rainy or snowy have fun boys getting underneath your pickups to drop the spare down and change a flat!

Note to the haters that question Toyota's reliability:

This in no way has any bearing to reliability, it's just Toyota being gun shy and making sure they take care of their customers by fixing things they may think could give a negative feeling about their ride!

Question is, how much crap does the big 3 just ignore on their vehicles and just wait for the customer to come into the stealership for repairs and complaints?

This could be a ploy to get customers into the stealerships for Toyota other than the usual oil change for customer relations and sales...

The big 3 always get high traffic because of defective parts and repairs, no need to voluntarily recall their vehicles, they get them fixed on their own while Toyota has to issue a recall because the issue is usually so small and insignificant the customer will never come in or notice the issue!

So really who cares about that rear tire carrier on these Tacoma's... those Tacoma owners are probably going to say whatever to this one as I would say if I saw one for my 2010 Tacoma!

This is good for NISSAN!!!!!!!

@ uh-huh it's not where they're but what specifications they're built to.

The rust issue looks like an epidemic to me. That being said, it still seems to me that all of the high volume Ford and Toyota recalls stem from high volume sales.

My '99 Ram Laramie SLT dropped it's spare in the road due to a rusted cable. It never saw road salt in TX.

@ everyone

From the SAME time frame you have Ford's with the Bed sides rusting holes through it and the SAME thing with Rams as well as the undercarriage. The Super Duty's underside of the body SUPPORT BRACES rot out completely and GM rocker panel's and cab corners still rust holes through them but since NONE OF THESE COMPANIES STAND BEHIND THEIR VEHICLES YOU DONT SEE A VOLUNTARY RECALL BECAUSE THEY DONT GIVE A S**T ABOUT YOUR TEN YEAR OLD TRUCK!

Fortunately for Toyota owners the company that built them actually gives a damn and will make it right. thanks but i'd rather have a company that is so conservative that they will fix what could potentially be a problem i.e. this recall or cleaning and regreasing a window switch with dielectric grease for something that really isnt a problem, just to make sure it doesnt happen to you. Rather than a company like Ford, GM, and Dodge who will simply deny deny and stand by!

Well said hemi lol

Funny is Toyota is back at being world's largest auto company so far this year!

More folks around the world continue to buy Toyota's than any other!

I am wondering what government motors will come up with next to hit Toyota with? Obama loves them unions... and will illegally use the power of the federal government in violation of the Constitution to bail out scumbag auto companies like GM!

It's just another recall. Relax. It's a machine designed and built by human beings. Nothing is perfect.

But as always, we get the immature and insecure folks that will use any opportunity to bash another brand. Seriously, some of you guys get so offended and hurt over what you drive and what others choose to drive.

That being said @robert...I'd rather drive a rusted Ram over a new Tundra or Taco any day.

yep oxi: and McDonalds hamburgers are the best also. I cant believe they did not see this when replacing the frames! 3 of them in my small community! and here I am with my 03 Dakota, after either following or leading them on the beach every day for 9-10 yrs. and no rust on my truck, anywhere! and they have to get the frames replaced 3-4yrs ago due to rust, and one of them is now a flatbed! I will admit their taco's will run longer than my Dodge, but I can rebuild my engine for 1/4 the cost! or just swap it out for a 360, 440 or Hemi! but the Hemi would be a lot of work, but the 360 would just about bolt up, I would have to get a diff manual trans though.


Really a Dakota?

That thing is out of production because nobody wants them!

Tacoma is still selling strong!

Oh boy, all manufacturers have defect and problems. Fact of life, when any of you nay sayers can build the perfect vehicle for mass production, feel free to let us know. I am not a big fan of Toyota trucks, but where i live rust isn't an issue with vehicles, the Toyota trucks and cars last a long time here, and very common to see them with over 300,000 kms and very few failures. More than can be said for the GM,Ford and Fiat(Ram) trucks around here. I drive GM trucks because they serve me well, but i would't brag that they are any better than the rest quaility wise. Sure do like the new Ford truck engines in the half tons though, love the 5.0 litre, very stout. Untill i have problems with my Duramax trucks, i will continue to buy GM.. If i were given a Toyota i probably would have great luck with it as well, they just don't have the payload or towing capabilities i need.

Toyota = GMT800's as far as rust is concerned. Rot Bodies, Rot Frames. Toyota and Govt. Motors really got Cheap.

Yeah, just another recall from Toyota. Nothing new. Just like Ford owners it's like opening junk mail after awhile lol. I own an 03 Hemi ram 4x4 with zero recalls. Best vehicle I have ever owned.

P.S. OXI the reason people buy anemic Toyota tacoma's is for gas mileage. Nothing more. You can do more with a Dakota as far as truck work is concerned. Not so good on gas. Good on power and torque. Towing and hauling.

The picture above is right, but the picture on the main page with the link to the article is a pre 2001 Tacoma.

My friend had a '99 crew cab Dakota with a 5.2 (318). That sucker hauled a$$. It was a beast!

He needed a DD with better fuel mileage so he let it go when the lease was up. But he loved that truck otherwise.

What killed the Dakota (just like the Durango) was that latest body style that Dodge came out with. 04 and up maybe? It was THEN that nobody wanted them anymore.

@snowman - kudos. Great post.


And how many configurations did the Dakota have when compared to the Tacoma?

I would bet the Tacoma had more options and styles thus you can do more with a Tacoma than a Dakota!

That is reflected in the sales...

Me as an off-roader, I like to build upon a solid base and sorry the Dakota does not come close to what a stock Tacoma can do off-road...

Back in the day my 86 Toyota only needed a 3 inch bodi-lift to get 33's underneath, that is about $100 back then while a Dakota would need about $3,000 to mount 33's and a major overhaul of the chassis...

Today, it would be about the same, I would spend considerably less to get larger tires on a Tacoma vs. a Dakota or the competition for that matter...

Tires give you the ground clearance!


So true!

Despite recent recalls of Toyota's over the last few years (still far less than the big 3 overall), more folks still trust and are buying Toyota's in big numbers!

Toyota should finish the year as global leader in sales once again. That says quite a bit about Toyota's success despite voluntary recalls to show they are willing to take care of their customers on their terms and not throw defects or other small stuff onto the laps of their customers!

Toyota admits issues and that says a lot about their trustworthy company while the big 3 hide their defects and force the customer to fix those problems on their own!

2015, I plan to go back to Toyota for my next purchase, they take care of customers though I am not typical society that is I rarely go to the stealership...

The future lies in China and other developing nations.

GM with the German auto manufacturers have made significant inroads there.

Toyota and other Japanese firms are finding it hard at the moment because of tensions between the two countries.

Ford is finding it harder as well in China, as they have the wrong vehicle lineup. Ford's biggest problem is their global approach with very limited platforms.

Ford's are actually several thousand dollars more expensive then comparable GMs there.

I think Toyota will have to work quite hard to out compete GM, not impossible but Toyota is unlikely to stay where they are at the moment.

oxi: here is the truth, on a 2003 Dakota, it came stock with 31.5" tires, and with a few turns on the torsion bars I was able to fit 33" tires, and as far as body styles in 2003 the Dak had reg ext and crew cabs, they had a 4cyl up till 2002, at one time you could get a 4,6 or 8clyd! and in 2003 either a 6, 4.7V-8 or 5.9 V-8, yes they are not good on gas, my 5.3Chevy gets much better. Go ahead and drive your taco I don't care, but when you get all toyota is the greatist this and that, it gets old, yes you like your truck we get that but it is NOT the best ever! grow up! you are better than that! the 2003 Dakota is much the same as the 2005-, but there are a lot of diff. also, and they have to do with being able to drive off road, the later models were more comfy on the road, and safer, but they gave up a lot of ground clearence for the sake of arodynamics, for better mpg, but what they needed was better engines for that, but they had to use what they could, and it was a flop, I will admit that was the worst thing they ever did, but there were a lot of firsts also with the Dakota, they made a covertable, Shelby had a model at one time, there was an 8' bed till 2001 or so. The 2003 reg cabs weight is 4300lbs! how much does a taco reg cab weigh? no where near that, why? because there is nothing there, and that is why rust is such a big factor!

Toyota drivers really buy into the hype that Toyota makes the most reliable, longest lasting vehicles.

It is what it and hype! Keep reading Consumer Reports (they love Toyota).

My brother in law is on his 2nd Rav4. The first had 80,000 miles and he got tired of diagnosing over the internet what could be wrong with it. So he traded it for a new Rav and this one needed a A-A-A call as he was stranded on the side of the interstate.

Whatever...we can all share stories like "my nephew's girlfriend's boss's neighbor that drives (whatever) brand" that is a POS and blah blah blah.

It's obvious that people like oxi feel better about themselves and think they are better than everybody else over what they drive.


But don't worry (oxi), there are indeed Ford, GM, and Dodge guys that have the same insecurity. So you're not alone.

As for me...I drive an 08 Ram QC 4x4 and I've been completely happy with it. Not a single issue, fun to drive, looks great, gets the job done with no sweat. And I've asked it to do a lot! I'll look forward to a '13 or '14 Ram in the next year or two. Once again, I think it's a sharp truck that appeals to ME.

Does that mean it's the best truck? I don't know...but it sure works well for me. Does that mean everybody else should own one? HECK no!

If or when they day comes that I no longer like or have good service out of a product...I'm not afraid to look elsewhere.

Meh, my fault. Geez, I guess I should stop reading the comments on these articles because these "my d*ck is bigger than your d*ck" simple-minded mentalities just aren't for me.


Dakota's off-roading was a very rare site...

Not that Dakota's were bad but many chose not to do serious off-roading with them...

I too cranked the torsion bars and was runing 35 inch tires with the bodi-lift and room for 36 inch tires!

By the way I see rust on all makes up here, it comes down to how the owner takes care of it in the end!


And how old are we today?

@ Big Al from Oz,

The future is Southeast Asia in general!

The West has peaked and is on the downward trend with their massive debts, the sun is setting in places like the U.S. and Western Europe!

With the U.S., I do not see any headway into fixing the debt problem, nobody wants to stand up and fix it, they all duck and cover to save their political rears and stupid 2-party system insteade of being American and just fix the damn thing!

I give the U.S. maybe a few more years before she collapses on her own debt weight and boy what could happen as a result of that is anybody's guess...

Fiscal cliff does not fix the debt problem, severe austerity is coming folks!

doesn't toyota replace the entire frame on the 2000 tundra due to excessive frame rust and the spare falling out of it also.

I fell for the toyota is better hype. Junk is what it was. Never again will I ever own a toyota anything.

@Oxi - just because someone is not a Toyota fan or a small truck fan does not mean their comments or opinions are invalid.
YES - there are people who have had horrific problems with Toyota.
SAME can be said for other brands.
As AJ has pointed out, he likes what he has because he feels it works well for him. I can say the same for my Sienna and my F150.
NOTHING against the Tacoma.
YOU kill it for your brand and the Tacoma with your commentary.
We have heard you rants enough times.
You could save yourself a ton of typing by entering - "Oxi rant - ditto.

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