really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,082 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2003 Toyota Tacoma Owner Comments

problem #6

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 #5

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

problem #4

Mar 131997


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tacoma. The contact stated that the axle, power steering lines and oil pan was severely rusted. The corrosion was so severe that it caused a fracture on the power steering line. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer to be repaired. The dealer replaced the frame and advised the contact that the failure was caused by environmental factors. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacture was not contacted. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000. The current mileage was 118,000.

- Windsor, MA, USA

problem #3

Jan 122011


  • 88,841 miles


I bought a 2003 Toyota Tacoma from a Toyota dealer in December 2011 with 81,841 miles on it. Upon driving the vehicle from Tennessee to Oregon a leak in the oil pan appeared. I looked under the vehicle and to my surprise the whole undercarriage of the vehicle was extremely rusting. The leak was from the oil pan that was corrected badly. I was able to make it from there to my home in Oregon having to add about one quart of oil. The distance was about 700 miles. I took it to my local Toyota dealer and he informed me that I had major rust problems under the vehicle. The gas tank shield is gone due to rust. The front end suspension was so rusty they couldn, T get some of the bolts out. They had to remove some of the front end suspension to replace the oil pan. Both front backing plates for the rotors where rusted away. No alignment could be done because of the rust. I had the front end replace with good used parts and when they attempted to align the vehicle the front tie rod broke due to rust. The whole frame assembly is very rusty. I find out now that there was a voluntary recall of frame which I did not know about. This vehicle was bought from a Toyota dealer in Tennessee in December of 2011. They never said a word to me about the rust problem. They did a oil change and they also replaced the emergency brake cable so they had to be aware of the rust problem. The vehicle a find out came from New York originally. They say they will help out with repair costs so far but what about the frame rust. This dealership withheld vital information from me. Toyota of America says the frame recall was voluntary and has expired. I feel this is a safety problem that needs taken care of.

- Klamath Falls, OR, USA

problem #2

Apr 222010


  • 57,000 miles
I was making a left turn and I lost control of my 2003 Toyota Tacoma which at that time cause my steering wheel to lock and I ended up crashing into a wall and totaling my truck. My concern is that the steering wheel locked.

- Chino Hills, CA, USA

problem #1

Oct 012004


  • miles
Very loose steering wheel. Problem is the slip shaft in the steering column. Over time the lover shaft wears and the steering becomes loose and sloppy. Problem first shows up as looseness in the wheel and eventually turns into a clunk when driving over minor rough roads. From talking to mechanics and other Tacoma owners this is a very common problem that Toyota will not address. Problems include difficulty maintaining control over rough pavement. Wandering at all speeds. Major direction changes when breaking on all roads. Smooth or rough. Over all the truck is very difficult to drive. I've had the truck actually change lanes when I hit an unexpected rough patch of road at appox 30 mph. There was nothing I could due because of the slop in the steering wheel. Please note that this truck is very well maintained and I have gone through the entire front suspension and steering trying to fix this problem with no luck. I'm now faced with spending even more money to replace a steering column.

- Des Plaines, IL, USA

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