really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
130,700 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 4)

problem #61

Dec 132016


  • 98,650 miles


The frame on my 2003 Tacoma is rusting badly! the truck only has about 98K and im the second owner. I purchased the truck on 9/3/2011. The truck in getting to the point of being unsafe to drive. The mounting points for the leaf springs are almost completely rusted away. I have never received any type of notification from Toyota regarding the frame recall. Ive had it looked at by my local Toyota dealer and they are telling me I don't qualify for assistance because no corrosion treatment has applied. The problem with that is, I was never notified! if I had been, then they would replace the frame free of charge. Ive recieved at least three letters from Toyota for the spare tire holder rust issue, so they do know I own the truck and how to contact me. Ive lived at the same location for 14 years! from what ive read, the corrosion treatment they allegedly offered didn't help anyway. I don't understand why some people were notified and other were not. There are plenty of people just like me driving these unsafe trucks. I have to wonder how many of those people are clueless about the danger they are putting them selves into, not to mention their families. At any moment you could loose total control...after the truck collapes in half after you hit a bump while driving on the highway. Im sure if someone looked hard enough they could find examples of these unsafe Tacoma causing serious and possibly fatal accidents. They already know its a problem. How else could they have won a lawsuit against the vender that supplied them with these frames. They sued, and won because these frames are defective. That settlement should have been contingent upon the ongoing inspections and repairs for everyone affected.

- Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #60

Dec 052016


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tacoma. The contact stated that the subframe of the vehicle was fractured. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the subframe needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 110,000.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #59

Oct 102016


  • miles
Emergency brakes needed replacement was told how underside of truck is corroding rusting badly removed my spare tire it was also badly rusting. I am the only owner of vehicle, also own highlander and Camry. Both not even close to looking like under what I have with truck ?

- Wilbraham, MA, USA

problem #58

Oct 012010


  • miles


Frame recall for rust Toyota did undercoat the frame and it did not dry for several years now all the undercoat is falling off and the frame is rusting worse than when it originally was worked on I took it back and was told as long as there are no holes they will not fix the rustproofing.

- Byron, IL, USA

problem #57

Oct 312016


  • 170,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tacoma. The contact noticed corrosion around the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the frame needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was informed of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 170,000.

- Bloomingdale, IL, USA

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problem #56

Oct 282016


  • miles
I have a Toyota Tacoma 2003 took it in for a recall on the spare tire carrier lift plate. Told them I heard of recall or safety issue on the frame, they said it expired.left the truck to do recall I took it in for. They called said couldn't do the recall I brought it in for because the frame was so bad, and that they couldn't believe I was still driving the truck and that it really is a safety hazard. I asked why they couldn't do the frame since it was recalled or a safety issue, again they say it was expired. I asked if he had kids, he said yes. Ask him if formula was taken off the shelves because of recall, and a month later was put back on because the recall expired would you still buy it. He said sorry he doesn't make the rules. How does a recall expire and if it was a factory defect or just a bad product that Toyota used, why aren't they held accountable? went on line and read a forum and there is even a class action suite on this problem. And also even as of today Toyota is still producing Toyota Tacoma with bad frames. I have 7 grandchildren who I help to take places, now they are stranded and myself, because my truck is still at the dealerships, because they refuse to fix it. Please I'm asking to help me with this matter. Desperate in phila. Updated 01/11/2017

- Phila, PA, USA

problem #55

Jul 042016


  • 1,680,000 miles


4 cylinder engine never dit frame recall it's so dangerous use Toyota Tacoma 2003 I do have 3 kids and dealers not help

- Millbrook, NY, USA

problem #54

Sep 262016


  • 158,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tacoma. While driving approximately 20 to 25 mph and exiting a ramp, the rear of the vehicle swayed to the left, then back to the right, and turned 360 degrees. The back end of the vehicle bobbled, flipped over, crashed into trees, and landed on the driver side. The air bags failed to deploy. A police report was filed and injuries were sustained that required medical attention. The rear driver side tire was flat. The tire was replaced and the vehicle was driven home and parked. The VIN was invalid. The approximate failure mileage was 158,000.

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #53

Aug 032016


  • 40,000 miles
Toyota issued an extended warranty on the frames of this vehicle due to them admitting that they used substandard metal to build the frame, therefore, resulting in accelerated rust and corrosion. I was never notified that this was an issue, and happened to find out from a friend that Toyota extended the warranty because of this. I took this frame in for an evaluation on 8/3/16 and it failed the inspection. This vehicle only has 40,000 miles on it and is in great condition other than the frame, which was Toyota's fault and they need to be held accountable. The service department at Toyota of melbourne in melbourne, Florida, told me that they would install a new frame, but I would be responsible for paying for any parts that may be needed to do the installation which will be around $2,500. I think that this issue needs to be a recall because Toyota has known about this since 2008, bought back over 800,000 of these trucks, and never notified me that I need to get this frame inspected. I cannot afford to pay that much money for a repair, so I will be driving around with an unsafe vehicle, because Toyota refuses to make this a recall. This is their responsibility, and Toyota is putting the safety of drivers at risk by forcing them to pay more than the vehicle is worth for the repair. In today's economy, no one who is driving a 2003 vehicle can afford a $2,500 repair on an extended warranty issue! pleas work to force Toyota to make this a recall so that no deaths occur when these rotted frames fall off of these trucks while they are being driven!

- Indialantic, FL, USA

problem #52

Jun 012016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tacoma. The contact stated that the frame prematurely rusted with extensive corrosion to the point that the spare tire carrier fractured. The dealer was notified of the failure. It was diagnosed that the entire frame of the vehicle needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and provided no solution. The VIN and failure mileage were not available.

- Colrain, MA, USA

problem #51

Jun 142016


  • 157,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tacoma. While the vehicle was being serviced for an unrelated repair, the technician informed the contact that the subframe was corroded. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the subframe needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 157,000. The VIN was not provided.

- Palmyra, PA, USA

problem #50

May 172016


  • miles
Went to have my truck inspected and was told the frame has rust pretty much along the whole drivers side and it can't be inspected

- Alton, NH, USA

problem #49

Apr 212016


  • 176,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tacoma. The contact stated that while independently performing repairs on the vehicle, corrosion was noticed on the sub frame of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who initially stated that the sub frame had been sprayed with an anti-corrosion agent under a voluntary recall but then stated that the voluntary recall was never performed. In addition, the dealer stated that due to the corrosion, NHTSA campaign number: 12V542000 (tires) could not be performed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 176,000.

- Augusta, ME, USA

problem #48

Apr 212016


  • 185,000 miles
I discovered that both sides of the frame are broken just ahead of the rear axle. The car repair shop where I took it said that I was lucky that the break didn't result in an accident. The vehicle has received exceptional care and maintenance and the body looks new. The vehicle is used for commuting to work and other "light duty". this appears to be a very poor quality frame and I have learned that Toyota had a recall on it. Regrettably they show little concern for the thousands of vehicles still on the road vulnerable to frame breakage. Moreover, most people driving those vehicles have no idea that their vehicles could break apart at highway speed with potentially catastrophic results. Just because a recall ends (often prior to when many who can only afford to buy used vehicles acquire them) doesn't mean that the safety issue has been fully resolved. This remains a serious safety issue that Toyota is simply ignoring (they tell me it is no longer their responsibility!!!). I was fortunate to have noticed the breakage while performing routine maintenance on my vehicle. Others may not be so fortunate.

- Lansing, NY, USA

problem #47

Mar 312016


  • 134,000 miles
I'm trying to sell my Tacoma. The frame is rusted. I took it to a Toyota dealer when the frame recall was sent to me. They sprayed the frame with a corrosion resistant treatment. Obviously, this hasn't solved the problem and I want a new frame. I have 134,000 miles on this truck. It's in great shape except for the frame. My mechanic said it's a safety factor because the spare tire brace is rusted; there are holes in the frame now. According to a letter from Toyota usa president, they are allowing replacement frames up to 15 years.

- Derry, NH, USA

problem #46

Apr 142016


  • miles
This morning I took my low mileage (58,926) 2003 Toyota Tacoma to my mechanic for a couple of simple repairs. When road testing, he discovered extensive rust on the drivers side frame. During the spare tire carrier recall two years ago the Toyota dealer slapped undercoating on it and said nothing. This dangerously extensive frame rust seems to be a widespread problem. Why hasn't there been a recall" what does it take"

- Ithaca, NY, USA

problem #45

Mar 212016


  • 100,000 miles
Extensive frame rust through

- Allentown, PA, USA

problem #44

Mar 292016


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tacoma. While driving 35 mph, the rear shocks mounting bracket fractured and separated from the subframe. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic to be inspected. The contact was informed that there was excessive rust and corrosion to the subframe of the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Westport, MA, USA

problem #43

Jan 232016


  • 120,000 miles
The left door handle has broken from where you grip it when opening the door. The vehicle was stationery when this occurred. The back door does not close completely because the locking mechanism is not working properly. This is also on the left side. This vehicle is a four door pick up truck.

- Brownsville, TX, USA

problem #42

Jan 142013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tacoma. The repair shop indicated that the rack and pinion was prematurely rusted to the point that it could fracture and needed to be replaced. The independent mechanic indicated that the frame and undercarriage had extensive rust and corrosion, which also needed to be repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failures and provided no remedy. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V542000 (tires). The contact waited longer than two years for the part. The spare tire carrier was also prematurely rusted and could fracture. The part was unavailable to replace the spare tire carrier. The dealer and the manufacturer were unable to confirm when the recall repair would be completed. The failure mileage was not available. Parts distribution disconnect.

- Kerhonkson, NY, USA

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