Notes: A dependable pickup option that does have a slight history of frame corrosion. Even though mud looks cool on a truck, it's best if you run this through the car wash every now and again.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
71,574 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 Tundra body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Toyota Tundra Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Oct 102011

Tundra 4WD 6-cyl

  • 126,500 miles


Driving at highway speed, the spare tire/wheel assembly (mounted beneath the vehicle) fell without warning to the roadway below. The tire/wheel ended up in the middle of the driving lane, causing numerous vehicles following behind me to swerve to avoid it. I pulled over to confirm the wheel was from my vehicle, and this was verified. I then turned around to pick up the wheel and remove it from the highway. I found the bracket still in place in the center of the wheel, however it was severely corroded and had no structural strength left. There was no sign of the chain or cable that held the wheel and bracket to the underside of the truck. This vehicle had recently been to a Toyota dealer earlier in the year for an inspection of the frame (corrosion recall), as well as for replacement of gas tank straps (which were replaced due to corrosion issues). It had been determined that no action was needed with regards to frame corrosion. The gas tank straps were replaced. There was no comment from the Toyota dealer on any potential issues with the spare tire mounting system.

- Burnt Hills, NY, USA

problem #22

Jun 062011

Tundra 4WD 8-cyl

  • 50,464 miles
2003 Toyota Tundra with excessive frame rust including all rustable components with any connection to the frame. 2011 Maine state inspection failed due to rusted emergency brake. The emergency brake had been repaired two years prior for same reason (June 2009).

- Scarborough, ME, USA

problem #21

May 142011


  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns 2003 Toyota Tundra. The contact stated they took the vehicle to the dealer for NHTSA recall campaign id number: 09V444000 (structure: Frame and members: Underbody shields) repair to be performed. The dealer moved a hammer along the frame and ruled there was no damage to the frame. The contact stated the test was not adequate since the dealer only scraped a hammer along the edge of the frame. The contact spoke with the manufacturer was advised that was the proper procedure. The contact was concerned that the test was not sufficient as well as the vehicle being a safety risk. The failure mileage was unknown, but the current mileage was 160,000.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #20

Apr 092010


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns 2003 Toyota Tundra. The contact stated that the emergency brake rusted and snapped off of the frame. The brake was welded to middle of the cross frame right under the drivers seat. When the contact took the vehicle to the dealer, they were told that it could not be repaired, because they do not make the part to replace it. The manufacturer had an engineer look at the vehicle as well and they also said that there was nothing they could do. The contact stated that the piece that was connected to the cable holding the spare tire also rusted and broke off. The contact had to carry the spare tire in the back of the truck. The contact feels that this is the same is the recall campaign 09V444000 for the structure, which deals with the under body shields rusting. The manufacturer stated that his year, make and model was not included and cant be repaired. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current mileages were 120,000.

- South Hadley, MA, USA

problem #19

Jul 222010


  • 108,000 miles
I have a 2003 Tundra access cab 4WD truck. Took it to the Toyota dealership for the rust recall inspection and to investigate oil leaking from the rear differential housing. Dealership said that the frame was fine but the cross members and tank supports need coating. They also advised that the rear differential housing was rusted to the point that oil is leaking and would have to be replaced. They said that Toyota is not responsible for the replacement of the rear axle housing. The vehicle has 108K miles. I can not believe that with all the known rust issues that Toyota will not stand behind this problem.

- North Ferrisburgh, VT, USA

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problem #18

May 172010


  • 95,417 miles
On May 17, 2010 the spare tire fell off my 2003 Toyota Tundra while it was being driven down the street. Fortunately, the vehicle was being driven on a back road and no accident occurred as a result of the tire falling off. Part of the spare tire mount was still attached to the wheel after it fell off and you could see that the spare tire mount had extensive rust/rot. I was told that Toyota had a recall relating to excessive rust which could lead to the spare tire falling from the mount under the vehicle. On June 3, 2010 I took the Tundra to a local Toyota dealership service department and they inspected the vehicle. They told me that the vehicle passed their rust inspection so repairs would not be covered under the recall. When I reminded them that my spare tire fell off the vehicle they advised me that they could replace the rotted spare tire mount parts for $350. On June 11, 2010 I contacted the national Toyota customer service center and was told that based on my vehicle's VIN I was not listed in their system as the owner of the vehicle. They advised that if I was not listed in their system I would have not gotten any recall notice. After updating the information I explained what happened with my vehicle and was first told that based on the VIN, my vehicle was not part of the recall. The person then said that the vehicle was included in the recall. I was then told that I would receive a telephone call from the local Toyota dealer within 3 days to schedule another service appointment. My concerns are that I am now being sent back to the same service center that first inspected it and passed it even though their invoice states "found carrier has rotted away from cross-member bracket that holds the tire" and it is obvious that the spare tire had fallen from the vehicle due to extensive rot.

- Salem, NH, USA

problem #17

Apr 212010


  • 177,600 miles


Anti-lock braking system failed: Brakes locked under wet conditions. Vehicle slid off road. Vehicle has history of pulsating brake pedal, shuttering and clanging noises under braking.

- Mt Laguna, CA, USA

problem #16

Apr 082010

Tundra 4WD 8-cyl

  • 80,379 miles
My fathers 2003 Toyota Tundra getting checked out recently by a local mechanic when he was made aware that the frame is excessively rusty. With this information the truck was brought to a Toyota dealer for inspection. The dealer stated there is so much rust the vehicle the vehicle is unsafe to drive. Dealer also stated there is nothing Toyota will do about it until the rust actually creates a hole in the frame. My parents are in there seventies on fixed incomes, they don't have a choice but to operate this unsafe vehicle. If a dealer is able to state a vehicle is unsafe to drive Toyota should back the determination of the dealer and do everything possible to remedy the problem. My parents were told to bring the vehicle back after a hole rust through the frame and then Toyota will do something about it. A 2003 truck should not have rusted to the point of being unsafe in a 7 year period. Please help my parents.

- Athol, MA, USA

problem #15

Jun 012004


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tundra li. The driver noticed a couple years ago that the frame was beginning to rust. The driver also stated that he spray painted the frame. He contacted the dealer and they said it was not a recall yet. The failure mileage was 30,000. The current mileage was 95,000. The driver also stated that backing plate that holds the rear brake assembly in place was rusted as well.

- Mansfield, MA, USA

problem #14

Jan 012010


  • 137,000 miles
I own a 2003 Toyota Tundra that has severe frame rust. Big pieces of metal are flaking off, sooner or later some component attachment point will fail. The rest of the underneath, and truck as a whole, is rust free. I religiously wash the underside of the truck. There is a defect with these frames.

- Johnstown, NY, USA

problem #13

Nov 132009


  • 66,000 miles


Rusting frame and spare tire falling off.

- Alexandria, NH, USA

problem #12

Nov 242009


  • 107,000 miles
My 2003 Toyota Tundra is rusting away on the frame. The frame of my truck looks like it could bend, crack or brake at any time. This truck has been washed top and bottom at least once a month since it was new and all of a sudden I notice the entire under carriage is brittle and looks unsafe. I have loved everything about this truck but am now worried that it may become unsafe to drive.

- Dalton, MA, USA

problem #11

Nov 232009


  • 70,000 miles
I have a 2003 Toyota Tundra which is experiencing a great amount of rust underneath the vehicle. I see that there was a recall issued yesterday regarding that problem. I lived in Florida for 6 months and in Vermont the other 6 months. We left the latter part of October and return to vt the last part of April or early May. I do drive the truck up to vt around the holidays so it has experienced a vt winter for 2 to 3 weeks a year. Several years ago the truck started to show signs of rust on the back bumper and the underside. 2 years ago I had to replaced all the bolts on the exhaust system replaced due to rust. Due to a flat tire this past summer I had to use the spare. The tire rim was extremely rusty as well as the holder. I sprayed both with oil in hopes of stopping the rust. The front skid plate bolts were so rusty that. Yesterday, the dealer had to replace 4 bolts saying the 5th hole was so rusty that it could not accept the bolt. The recall is for northern trucks are for states that use road salt during the winter but, given the rust on my truck, I can't believe that 2 to 3 weeks per year in vt caused that much rust. I believe it is a problem with the metal used for the underside of the truck, therefore I believe my fl truck should be included in the recent recall. Even the dealer commented on the amount of rust on the underside. This truck has been used only for pleasure and not commercial use. To summarize I would request that my truck that was purchased in fl be included in the recall and be subject to the inspection the same as the northern trucks. Although we live a few miles from the gulf in Florida my wife's 2004 highlander shows no underside rust so the Florida weather can't be the problem and it in vt the same time as the truck except for the 2 to 3 weeks around the holidays. Thank you.

- New Port Richey, FL, USA

problem #10

Nov 102009


  • 80,000 miles
Entire rear end housing rusted away requiring a whole new rear end housing. Frame is rusting out on whole truck.

- Hadley, NY, USA

problem #9

Aug 162008


  • 63,000 miles
I have a 2003 Toyota Tundra that I bought new and have had serviced at the same Toyota dealership since the purchase. In June 2008, I had the 60,000 service done and had front brakes replaced. In August 2008, while pulling out of my driveway, the driver's side lower control arm rusted through and the wheel was no longer connected to steering. After having the truck towed, I had to have both lower control arms replaced. Toyota usa paid for half. Since then, I have tried repeatedly to have Toyota and the dealership step up and accept the responsibility for the rust issue. The dealership says it's not their problem and Toyota usa states they have no program in place to address this issue. Neither of these excuses are acceptable. My truck is spotless except for frame rust. Toyota needs to do something before a serious accident happens and someone is hurt or killed.

- Ormond Beach, FL, USA

problem #8

Apr 082008


  • 21,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tundra. While having the brakes replaced he was informed that the entire frame was corroded. No repairs were made. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The failure and current mileages were 21000.

- Venice, FL, USA

problem #7

May 152009


  • 80,145 miles
Rusted vehicle frame. Driver side leaf spring broke due to rust corrosion. Replace leaf spring. Applied rust inhibiter to exposed frame. Vehicle underbody rust free.

- Perry, ME, USA

problem #6

Sep 102004


  • miles
My 2003 Toyota Tundra under carriage is completely rusting away and it scares the hell out of me to drive my 4 year old daughter in the truck because I'm afraid something going to fall off.

- Cape May Court House, NJ, USA

problem #5

Jul 202009


  • 56,200 miles
We own a 2003 Toyota Tundra with 56,000 miles on it. Upon recent state inspection our mechanic said that the frame of this truck is so badly rusted that it probably wouldn't pass inspection next year. We called Toyota headquarters and were told that they are recording this information but there is a 36,000 mile, 3 year warranty on Toyota and that they could do nothing more for us.

- Friendship, ME, USA

problem #4

May 182007


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Tundra. The contact noticed that the main frame of the vehicle was perforated due to severe rust corrosion. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for inspection and they replaced the rusted fuel tank filler neck. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer on a separate occasion. The technician detected a rusted brake backing plate, and the front and rear brakes were replaced. In addition, four new tires were mounted on the vehicle. The technician was unable to perform a tire alignment due to the significant frame damage. The VIN was unable to be entered into the system. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 62,000.

- South Wellfleet, MA, USA

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