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:
75,620 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Toyota Tundra Owner Comments

problem #8

Nov 052016


  • 180,000 miles


Extreme rust area all around rear differential, pitting in metal, and also the spare wheel tire extreme rust.

- Pikesville, MD, USA

problem #7

Oct 252016


  • miles
Purchased a 2003 Toyota Tundra July 2016. Frame was undercoated by Toyota and did not seem to be any issues at the time of purchase. After a few months of ownership, I have been conducting some of my own maintenance under the vehicle. While under, I noticed large areas had the crc treatment chipping and pealing off. I called my local Toyota dealer (priority Toyota chesapeake, va) the service manager said the corrosion protection has expired and there was nothing further they could do. While attempting to grease my propeller shaft, I was on my creaper trying to pull myself under the vehicle. I grabbed part of the frame, in front of the leaf spring perch. While grabbing this section of frame and pulling myself under the truck, the frame crumbled in to my hand. There were a lot of rust flakes, large and small, I collected as much of the rust and flakes as I could and stored them in a zip lock bag. The size of the deterioration was about 7" long and perforated about 9/16" near the bottom of the C channel. I am very concerned about the integrity of the frame on this vehicle particularly in regards to braking system, frame cross members and suspension components. I called Toyota customer service soon after to report what happened. I told them my VIN and other information. They said they would call back in 1 business day. I received a call from Toyota today 10/27/16 and a representative told me that Toyota is no longer supporting my vehicle for any campaigns. I asked the representative for further literature regarding the frame corrosion programs for Tundra, however, Toyota will not let me have this information. At this point Toyota will do nothing to help or provide assistance in repairing their poorly designed vehicle. Please do not buy Toyota because in the future there will be failures and Toyota will not stand behind their products. Plain and simple.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #6

Oct 022016


  • 79,962 miles
I am a retired Toyota master diagnostic technician. I had to replace my rear brake lines on my 2003 Tundra-with 79,962 miles. The rear brake lines have rusted through which had to be replaced- at my expense. My brakes failed as I was towing a trailer in heavy, city traffic. I was going 35mph when a vehicle pulled out in front of me and then proceeded to stop suddenly to make a left turn into a parking lot. I slammed on the brakes and the pedal went to the floor. I was lucky there was room to maneuver to the right so I was able to avoid hitting the vehicle in front of me. I'm sure there have been those less fortunate. Then, as I was replacing the lines, I saw a fluid leak under rear of vehicle. Upon inspection I found the rear differential housing has rusted so badly that the gear oil is leaking through the housing. Unfortunately the only remedy is the replacement of the complete rear axle/differential assembly. Also the power steering lines have also rusted through which also had to be replaced- at my expense. The frame has already been replaced-under recall. It is obvious that the material that was used is of very low quality causing very dangerous; loss of vehicle control due to differential lock-up, loss of vehicle braking due to rapid fluid loss, loss of vehicle steering control due to rapid fluid loss. I am amazed that Toyota motor co. Will not stand behind the product they sold-without being forced to. One quick look under a 2003 Tundra is all it takes to see that low/poor quality hardware and materials were used. Without repair and/or replacement of above stated components someone will get injured-possibly fatally. Please investigate these complaints as soon as possible. These components should last for the lifetime of the truck. A differential is not an item one expects to ever replace-"sorry but your warranty's expired". thank you. Sincerely,

- Rogers, OH, USA

problem #5

Dec 122003


  • 3,000 miles


Brake system - we purchased our 2003 Tundra new in 2003. It didn't take long to experience a pad and rotor problem, but my wife has mostly freeway driven the truck about 90 miles per day. She seldom speeds and has a perfect track record to show for it. When I would drive the Tundra, I almost always noticed a braking hop (in the pedal). Unfortunately, she has a tendency to defer maintenance. For the most part, we have put the Tundra in the shop for new rotors or new pads(oem) alternately approx. Every 1500 miles. John elway Toyota says they can check to see if there's anything they can do... nothing yet. Toyota knows they have a problem with the downgraded braking system on these vehicles. I don't know, but suspect, a completely new, upgraded brake system, including, but not limited to rotors, pads, drums, bearings and calipers be installed. Should I just pay the $2 gs?

- Rancho Cucamonga, CA, USA

problem #4

Jan 252012

Tundra 8-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
Toyota applied a corrosion resistant compound to the rear cross-member assemblies and to the adjacent areas of the frame. This coating has completely peeled off, rendering the exposed corroded metal back to it's original recalled state. This recall occurred in January of 2012, the problem was supposedly fixed by Toyota. All of the coating is gone, and, no longer protecting the exposed and corroded metal.

- Marengo, IL, USA

problem #3

Sep 162013


  • 79,000 miles
I bought a brand new 2003 Toyota Tundra and never had any problems with the vehicle until my first cross country retirement trip in September 2013. My planned trip was from Tennessee to California. When I reached kingman, Arizona (about 1200 miles into the trip), I was traveling uphill on interstate 40 when suddenly the truck accelerated itself to a high RPM and speed. I applied the brakes but they did not respond or slow the truck down. I tried to maintain steering control, but in a split-second, I was thrown off the highway and into the hillside, trees, and bushes. The truck completely rolled over, flipped uphill, and come to a stop facing traffic. The landed driver side down, and was completely totaled. The truck only had 79,000 miles on it. A month later I learned that there was a previous recall done for this type of problem, but did not include the 2003 model. I now wonder how many others were injured due to this problem. I took many pictures of the damages.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #2

Mar 102013

Tundra 8-cyl

  • 58,002 miles
Truck was being driven 250mi from destination a to B. while enroute, leaving the highway for a rest stop, the brake pedal went to the floor. Brake failure, unable to properly stop. Had truck towed to a local dealer who identified failure in (2) front steel brake lines. Total $ 428; and of course the situation could have been a lot worse. Vehicle has been maintained, all recommended service intervals, etc. Service tech stated looked to be due to rust - corrosion. I have never had this occur on a vehicle this little mi. And years. I am going to write Toyota as well.

- Arlington Heights , IL, USA

problem #1

Nov 022012

Tundra 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
Took 2003 Toyota Tundra in for frame rust corrosion program 09V-444000. Was told frame and other components had extensive rust and multiple 10mm holes by lead service technician at local Toyota dealership. Service manager explained that my 2003 Toyota Tundra frame was extensively rusted and unsafe to be on the road and they wanted to take my truck immediately and provide a rental car due to safety concerns. Asked for a plan of action of the scope of work to be performed (corrosion compound verses frame replacement) before giving possession of vehicle. Photos of 2003 Toyota Tundra frame, rear cross members, spare tire carrier, rear brake lines & fuel tank mounting system were taken and sent to lead service tech three states away in Texas. Was informed extensive frame rust exists on all components (frame, rear cross members, spare tire carrier, rear brake lines & fuel tank mounting system) but it is not covered because vehicle is no longer registered in Wisconsin. Purchased this 2003 Toyota certified vehicle in Wisconsin in April of 2010 and no information was given to me at regarding the NHTSA investigation or any rust inspections that were performed. Toyota corporation refuses to repair, replace or add corrosion resistant compound to any severely affected rusted components. Significant rust issues exist on this vehicle and still Toyota corporation refuses to provide any documentation of their inspections. Toyota corporation will not put in writing that the frame, rear cross members, spare tire carrier, rear brake lines & fuel tank mounting system is safe or road worthy. Deadline for all rust repairs is December 31, 2012. Toyota corporation is stalling consumers to keep from doing any repairs and leaving unsafe rusted 2003 Toyota Tundra's on the highways. Please initiate a new NHTSA investigation regarding this matter for the safety of consumers.

- Madison, MS, USA

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