Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
99,950 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Toyota Tacoma body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Toyota Tacoma Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Sep 012009

Tacoma 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles


2003 Toyota Tacoma. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle frame rust recall notice issues. The consumer stated the mechanic discovered the frame on the front driver's side near the spring hanger was rusted. In September 2009, the vehicle was inspected and no rust was found. In January 2009, the spare tire carrier was replaced.

- Winterport, ME, USA

problem #21

Mar 092015

Tacoma 4WD 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
2003 Toyota Tacoma, started to get my truck ready to go to work when I found a hole rusted through the frame right where leaf spring bolts to frame. Front of the leaf spring drivers side. Frame appears to also be cracked in area of rust. I contacted Toyota and was told there was a recall for my frame and that the recall was now over and there was nothing they could do for me. I explained that I knew that there was a recall on many of the Tacoma frames and I had watched my mail for a recall notice but never received one for my truck. There response was that it was sent and nothing could be done. After talking to Toyota I looked on the internet and could find nothing about a recall for my year, I also searched my VIN on this site and no frame recall was issued for my VIN involving the frame. I am now stuck with a truck I can't drive and have no way to get to work without getting a ride. I have also had problems with clutch wear, sticking parking brake, and electrical problems with the windshield wipers. I also found other stories about people not being contacted for there frames with the same response from Toyota, sorry you missed it your out of luck.

- Pine Bush, NY, USA

problem #20

Jan 312015

Tacoma 4WD 4-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
I live in nc and I noticed the frame of my 2003 Toyota Tacoma is rusted so bad you can push your fingers through it in some spots! I contacted the local Toyota dealership, they ran the VIN number on it and told me it no recall is out on the frame. But I have seen on several websites where some 2003 Toyota Tacoma owners have received either a new frame or been offered by dealerships to purchase the truck back. My question is, this is differently a safety hazard, and for Toyota to go by the VIN numbers or state in which you live in. And not that it is in "fact" still a Toyota Tacoma 2003 truck with frame rot, I feel is a "discriminating" or a "discrimination" act on there part.

- Sherrills Ford, NC, USA

problem #19

Aug 272014


  • 94,000 miles


Hello I bought a used 2003 Toyota Tacoma in MA a little over one year ago. Toyota has voluntarily recalled the vehicle due to frame failure. My truck was tested and the frame failed. Toyota says they will honor the recall and replace my frame for free. But, they have no frames. I am told that there is a delay for an undetermined amount of time, and have been warned that it may be many months or longer. How long does Toyota have to honor this recall legally before I have some other consumer option, such as vehicle replacement" I feel deceived, since this truck has barely been driven, cost $16,000, and is now useless and sitting in the repair shop indefinitely, with no estimated repair date. Toyota headquarters and the dealer say they "have no further information". how long should I wait indefinitely? do I have any consumer protection in this case" thank you.

- Harwich, MA, USA

problem #18

Mar 252014


  • 101,000 miles
We purchased a used Tacoma in March 2014. We inspected it very carefully for rust. None was noted. About 2 weeks later my son was changing the oil and noticed that rust was appearing around the holes near the sway bar. Now the holes are getting dangerously large. We probably won't be able to safely drive the truck in a few months. The frame rusts from the inside out so you can't see the problem until it's too late. We have talked to Toyota and they are not willing to help because they have no record of it being sprayed even though I have evidence it was at a Toyota dealer several times that they don't have. Toyota received a settlement from [xxx] for supplying the defective frames but they aren't willing to fix their defective frames. Some one who doesn't spend much time underneath their truck is going to have a frame break while they're speeding down the highway and get hurt. We are going to be out a lot of money because of this defective frame. Please hold Toyota accountable before someone gets hurt. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Mooresville, NC, USA

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problem #17

Mar 312014

Tacoma 6-cyl

  • 118,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tacoma. The contact stated that while the vehicle was being taken to a dealer for an oil change, the mechanic noticed that there was a rust hole that had rusted through the frame near the right rear passenger's side. The diagnosis was that the frame needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 118,500. Updated 10/22/14

- Marion, OH, USA

problem #16

May 012014

Tacoma 4-cyl

  • miles


Rusted frame. Will not pass inspection and very dangerous to drive.

- Woodleaf, NC, USA

problem #15

Dec 182013

Tacoma 4WD 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 214,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tacoma. The contact stated that the frame, spare tire carrier and oil pan shield were completely corroded. The contact mentioned that he was waiting for the parts to become available for the recall repair under NHTSA campaign number: 12V542000 (tires). The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 214,000 and the current mileage was 218,000. Updated 6/10/14

- Red Oak, TX, USA

problem #14

Sep 022013

Tacoma 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
Toyota has blatantly stated they put faulty frames on their 2003 Tacoma and as a result of this, the frames would rust because of coating not being put on properly. Toyota even won a lawsuit from the company who made the frames. Now, Toyota does not want to make good on the rusted frames on these Tacoma. Our frame may not pass inspection due to the rust and if in the event, this frame causes harm to my family, a lawsuit will be filed by me against Toyota. After many contacts via email and phone, Toyota states that we did not contact them in the time frame they gave regarding the frame problem. Well, you only contact a company about something when the problem is brought to your attention and in our case, was too late. There should not have been a time frame put on this and there should have been a recall done on all these frames. When a person dies from these rusted frames breaking in half while driving, then maybe someone will do something.

- Kings Mountain, NC, USA

problem #13

Jul 052012

Tacoma 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
Frame rusted/ cracked would not pass state inspection. Truck was taken to Toyota during the first recall and I was told it passed. Did not go back for subsequent recalls to have the frame sprayed. Called Toyota when the truck failed inspection and was told that because I didn't have the frame sprayed there was nothing they would do for me. The exhaust system outlasted the frame. This is not acceptable.

- Topsham, VT, USA

problem #12

Aug 102013

Tacoma 6-cyl

  • 163,000 miles


I have a Toyota 2003 Tacoma the frame is gone rotted so unsafe was told I should not have it on the road!! I cant afford the welding and the guy said he does not want the responsibility it could last 6 months or more he would have to keep checking it! I took it to several Toyota dealers they said they could not equally swap any vehicle but yet told me it is unsafe to drive I called California my case was declined I had a mechanic say not to drive this anytime the frame will split in half so close to it I can't work because I need a truck for my job my boss is giving me time but is fed up so who knows will I have a job next week" I lost side job that was paying for my taxes due to no truck.Toyota have has so many issues on this they had the buy back people were still getting money the years they told us were not mine the buy back stopped in 2011 we know someone got 17,0000 back ! on her old 99 hers was nothing like mine!!!!! there was a rust undercoating we never got the letter !!!!!!!!!!!! as a christian after telling them that I now got a letter that says the spare tire lift plate yup rusted but I can't drive it to them cant use the spare tire rusted out rim I am ready to have a nervous breakdown I have tried everything I was turned down from my case in California headquarters called again today I will hear back in a day no one can believe this I am ready to call the news my wife was supposed to today but had me fill this out why who knows I think at this point it needs to go public Monday night on facebook Toyota usa my wife put up a story and pics as people wrote they kept removing the post !!!!!! they did not want those pics out there saw a complaint on a 2006 about the same issue what happened to Toyota" I refuse to drive a deathtrap my grandson went with me in that truck on saturdays.[xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Chester, NJ, USA

problem #11

Sep 092010

Tacoma 6-cyl

  • miles
I own a 2003 Toyota Tacoma. The entire frame, front bumper, and undercarriage is completely rusted from the front bumper to the rear. In September of 2010, the vehicle was taken to the dealer and the dealer confirmed that there was surface rust on the vehicle. As a repair, the dealer applied an anti-rust coating onto the frame to prevent further damage (cosmetic cover up). I was told by my mechanic when I went to get a recent oil change on 07/25/13 the repair did not prevent the frame from becoming completely rusted and he stated that it was not safe because even the seams were shoeing signs of possible failure. Brought vehicle back to dealership and after inspection was told that frame is safe by Toyota standards the vehicle was not repaired. The original mileage when brought in for initial recall was 24794, but and the current mileage is 29,820

- Revere, MA, USA

problem #10

Jul 052013

Tacoma 4WD 4-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
A Toyota Tacoma pickup was taken to my mechanic for routine maintenance and frame rust was noted. I called Toyota and took the car to a local Toyota dealership. They replied they could do nothing as the cost of repairing the frame was not worth the value of the car. They instructed me to call Toyota directly and have been told I am on my own. There are 96,000 miles on the car and this was the first time rust was noted. We never received any notifications that there were problems as I am not the original owner. I am stuck with a valueless car with no help from the parent company.

- Bedford , MA, USA

problem #9

Jun 292013

Tacoma 4-cyl

  • 189,560 miles
During a recent safety inspection severe frame corrosion was found. The garage said that Toyota had a frame recall. When I spoke with Toyota America they said it had expired because I had not answered the recall notices. Wich inever recieved. I explained that I was the original owner at the same adress as the time of the purchase. They reviewed it again and the next day said they sent the required notification 5 times. But could not tell to what address they were sent.the final answer was I was no longer covered.

- Manchester, NH, USA

problem #8

Jun 262013

Tacoma 4-cyl

  • 144,000 miles
When I took the vehicle to the dealer to address a recall related to the spare tire support, they told me the vehicle frame was not safe and they would not work on the vehicle. There are numerous perforations in the frame due to excessive rust. I addressed with Toyota corporate and the factory representative validated the problem and acknowledged that it has been a problem on these vehicles but that Toyota and "the government" did not deem it necessary to put a recall on the problem. Meanwhile, they will not address the issue and indicated it is the customer.S responsibility for repair. The truck (normal blue book value approx $7-8K) is now unsafe to drive due to a faulty frame.

- Clifton, VA, USA

problem #7

Jun 082011

Tacoma 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tacoma. The contact stated that the entire frame rusted. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnosis and the vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer issued a voluntary recall related to the structure; however, the recall expired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 96,000. Updated 6/17/13

- Manchester By The Sea, MA, USA

problem #6

Jan 162013

Tacoma 6-cyl

  • 124,000 miles
My truck was part of the frame recall and I had the frame replaced in 2010, since then I have had to pay to replace other rusted parts that were not "part of the recall". first the spare tire mount rusted off and the tire fell out from under the truck while driving. Next the entire exhaust needed to be replaced as it too had rusted out. Last year to pass inspection I needed to pay $1600 for a catalytic converter. This year I cannot pass inspection as the check engine light is on and despite 2 attempts to find the problem (and $200 later) the light remains on. The suspicion is the gas tank is rusted "at the top" and will cost me $1800 to replace. I just received a "preliminary" recall for the spare tire mount, I imagine I will receive a recall notice in a few years for the gas tank as well. Ridiculous that only some parts were recalled...and ridiculous that I have to pay to replace the others... not to mention the inconvenience.

- Brester, MA, USA

problem #5

Nov 272012

Tacoma 4WD 4-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
My 2003 Toyota Tacoma with 105K miles was found during an inspection to have a rusted frame Toyota has admitted to the defect and refuses to correct I own and bought new a 2003 Toyota Tacoma from rockingham Toyota in salem, nh. I was just informed by my mechanic on 12/5/2012 that my truck would not pass mass state inspection due to a trouble code (check engine light) and most importantly that my frame was completely rusted through and that my Toyota truck was unsafe to drive. I personally verified this by crawling under my Toyota truck and poking my fingers through the frame. My Toyota Tacoma is ready to fold in half due to the extent of frame rust. After contacting Toyota in California (phone 800 331 4331) and discussing the safety issue with the assigned case manager [xxx], I was told that there was nothing that could be done to rectify this unsafe condition. I also contacted rockingham Toyota in salem, nh. And they would take no responsibility for this unsafe condition. They mentioned that the safety recall "program" had expired. Toyota corporate claims that I received seven recall notices regarding rusted frame issues. I never received any recall or notice from Toyota regarding the frame issue. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Haverhill, MA, USA

problem #4

Dec 272012

Tacoma 4WD 6-cyl

  • 143,000 miles
Toyota has recalled my truck due to a rusted out frame. The Toyota dealership has elected to replace my frame with a new frame. This large procedure has left me insecure about the outcome. This truck is now 10 years old and as soon as the start wrenching on all the system components to disassemble and re assemble my truck I am afraid that they shorten the life of existing components due to added wear and tear. The dealer will need to remove and reinstall brake lines and gas lines that have been set in place and have extensive corrosion this will lead to premature failure and unsafe operation. Most mechanic know that a rusted and set bolt that has not been moved for 10 years has a 50% chance of removal. In order to remove such a "stuck" bolt they will need to apply heat and impact and may weaken the existing parts, steel, and bolts to lower levels out of tolerance that the vehicle as designed originally. Additionally, this service is completed in a location with out the controls, quality assurance and testing that is in place in a factory where new vehicles are built. There is uncertainty that this vehicle will be assembled, tested, and inspected according the manufacturer's guidelines for a factory produced vehicle. This leads to uncertainty that the vehicle will not operate within the intended manufactures guidelines for safety, roll over protection, and crash performance. I propose that a total frame recall and replacement (or any large integral part that will impacted the vehicle operation) on any vehicle shall not be allowed given the uncertainty described. The consumer stated there appeared to be an oil leak coming from the front differential boot that was not apparent prior to the frame replacement procedure.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #3

Dec 042012

Tacoma 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tacoma. The contact stated that the frame was completely rusted. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the contact was informed that the vehicle was serviced in 2010 for the same failure where the dealer applied a solution to the frame to prevent it from rusting. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 140,000. Updated 07/02/13 updated 12/24/13

- Lake Como, NJ, USA

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