— Toyota 4Runner frame rust problems will be looked at by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after a 4Runner owner complained the steering and suspension system separated due to corrosion of the frame.
NHTSA says it will either grant or deny the petition to investigate once it checks complaints and field reports about rusted frames in more than 520,000 model year 2002-2006 Toyota 4Runners.
The petitioner alleges he was on a two-lane highway in his 2005 4Runner when he had trouble controlling the SUV after the suspension failed without warning.
According to the petition to investigate, 4Runner owners claim the frames experience excessive corrosion and the same type of frames were cited in a previous $3.4 billion class-action lawsuit.
Included in the lawsuit were about 1.5 million Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia trucks, but the petitioner says the 4Runner should have been included but the attorneys didn't think there were enough customer complaints.
NHTSA says it couldn't identify any crashes or injuries related to rusted frames or suspensions, but owners have complained about almost losing control of the SUVs due to rusted axles and frames.
"Frame rusted out and rear axle support detached from frame while driving, causing vehicle to sway uncontrollably almost rolling over. Found that manufacturer has recall on trucks with similar frame for rust issue, but not this vehicle because there are not enough complaints or deaths." - 1998 Toyota 4Runner owner / Burlington, Kentucky
Once safety regulators check the data, it's possible they could open an official investigation to determine if the 4Runners should be recalled.
CarComplaints.com will update our website with NHTSA's decision to either grant or deny the petition to investigate frame rust in Toyota 4Runners.