Toyota Truck Rust Problems – What’s Going On?

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Despite Toyota’s long-standing reputation for quality production, one thing the carmaker can’t seem to shake is persistent rust and corrosion problems. Over the years, Toyota continues to have a pattern of rust and corrosion problems. Why? What’s the deal with Toyota trucks and rust?

Toyota's Persistent Truck Rust Problems

Why do Toyota pickups seem to be always dealing with some sort of rust issue? Why can’t this problem simply go away?

Frame Rust Issues

The Tacoma, T100, and Tundra have all had frame rust issues. The rust problems were severe enough that Toyota has:

  • Bought back numerous 1995-2000 Tacomas dust to rust problems, paying owners 150% of Kelly Blue Book “excellent” value
  • Replaced the frame on many 2000-2003 Tundras with frame perforation caused by rust at a substantial cost (upwards of $18k per vehicle)
  • Endured complaints from Toyota T-100 owners who have the same kind of rust problems found on the 1st Gen Tacoma and 1st Gen Tundra
Toyota's Persistent Truck Rust Problems - Frame

A beautiful truck with an ugly rusty frame doesn’t make anybody happy.

2nd Generation Tundra Rust Problems – Bumpers, Lug Nuts, Beds, and Bed Bolts

More of a minor annoyance than an major problem, some truck owners with 2007 models and later started seeing corrosion on the wheel lug nuts of their Tundra trucks. Some theorists posited the issue was due to the chrome mixture used in the finishing of the lug nuts, which allowed rust to set in under the right conditions. Long story short, severe cases saw owners having to pay for new lug nuts when they got their tires replaced.

Toyota's Persistent Truck Rust Problems - Bumper

This bumper rust problem is minor, but why did it happen in the first place?

The 2007 through 2010 Tundras again saw corrosion problems, this time with the rear bumper of the truck. Some owners reported small spots of rust, while others had their bumpers replaced because they were rusting underneath.

Finally, and most recently, Toyota has issued TSBs for rusting bed bolts and bed rust issues on 2007 and up Toyota Tundra pickups.

What’s the Problem?

While many of the most troubling rust issues have predominantly occurred on trucks in the “rust belt,” by Toyota’s own admission theses problems have been due to deficiencies in manufacturing.

The fact is, Toyota has a rust problem, even if they don’t actually have a rust problem. Consumers aren’t going to forget about this.

What’s more, Toyota’s response to rust complaints has been less than exemplary. When the 2nd generation Tundra’s frame rust issues first came to light, it took Toyota more than 6 months to acknowledge them, and more than a year to come up with a solution.

A guess – and it is only a guess – is that Toyota’s cost-conscious executives woefully underestimated the need for rust protection between the years of 1995 and 2010. Here’s to hoping that Toyota has finally figured out how to build a rust-proof truck.

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  1. mk says:

    110% agree. My selling dealer of my 2007 rust bucket tundra fully well knew there were issues and resolved them all having both front and rear bumpers replaced, tailgate section entirely repainted, and lower rocker panels behind and below DC rear doors repainted as well. Totally unacceptable for a then 2 year old truck with 24K miles on it. ONLY thing dealer would not do is replace for free under 3/36K warranty like they should have done on replacing all lug nuts rusting in all the corners edges pretty bad. Dealer told me in 6 months or less the new chromed lug nuts will be the same rusting badly so why bother. Hey, at least dealer admitted there was a huge problem in 2007 when these tundras came out. They even admitted that new 2007 and then 2009 tundras on their lots with under 100 miles had rusted chromed lug nuts just sitting around. I admit, the 2010 on up tundras are having less issues in my opinion/experience, so hopefully they addressed some of these issues with their suppliers of not only all chromed bumpers/lug nuts, but also the sheet metal of the tailgate and body panels along with their what I would say less than adequate way too thin paint processing. I still think the paint quality on these toyota tundras are one of the worst on the market and if you look at the paint the wrong way, it will either rust or scratch the paint right off to the white underneath. O.K. sorry, that is another issue all together.

  2. LJC says:

    I agree, this can be annoying. As a matter of fact I coated the inside of my rear bumper with POR-15.

    I had a GMC with a more serious rust problem, like rusting brake lines, which burst, and a gas tank strap that broke.

    I have noticed at least one imperfection in the paint.

    On the bright side, the reliability has been spotless and the drive train is from the planet Haul A**!

  3. Mickey says:

    Preventive maintenance would alleviate the issue of the rust. For lug nuts don’t ever use a impact on them or you will have rust on them. Impacts cause the socket to dig in which scars the lug nut and then rust appears. Use a 4 way and you won’t have an issue. Yes lugnuts shouldn’t do this but they do. Be proactive use preventive meassures before rust can appear. No rust @144,101 miles.

  4. mk says:

    Mickey, is your tundra a 2007 or 2008? And, do you live in the midwest where snow and salt are prevalent? I got my info. from the dealer and they had brand new 2007 tundras back then with under 100 miles brand new with rusted chromed lug nuts. Preventive maintenance might help but this is a mfg. issue, not maintenance issue.

  5. Mickey says:

    2007 bought in 07/07. The lugnuts are what they are. Use an impact then rust starts. I changed mine out and use a 4 way all the time. I even forced Tire Kingdom to do the same on mine. Tech didn’t care for that but I’m paying for it he will do what is asked or feel the pressure from the boss. As for rust on the truck. I do travel north and I did in several winters in WV. Almost every vehicle I had I undercoat the vehicle just as protection since the 70′s. I didn’t do this truck right away. It does have some protection on the welds etc. but not the entire body. So I decided to clean it and dry it then undercoated it. Yes we shouldn’t have rust but by doing the undercaot relieves me from a bad headache I would have if I had rust. I did this on my 72 Grand Ville, 77 Century, 92 Sonoma, 97 Thunderbird, 98 Silverado, 03 Crown Victoria, 03 F-150, 06 Silverado, 07 Tundra. I didn’t do my 78 Camaro or 07 Prius. Took 78 Camaro to Boston for the winter in 85 and rust killed it in 87. SO I do take the extra mile to cover the vehicle. I do have to do the 07 Prius if she wants to keep that one.

  6. jesse says:

    I have a 2008 Tundra with the bed rust problem. I bought the truck in june with 54000 miles on it. I noticed the blisters abut 2 months ago. When I talked to the service manager at the dealership he was surprised to see it had rusted through. 3 days after I showed it to him he called me to let me know a new body was on its way, at no cost to me.
    The truck came from Massachusetts. Salt and calcium are used to deice the road. I know this part of the issue. The dealer informed my that Toyota has a bulletin about it.
    The problem area is the rear cross member. The rust forms between the cross member and the underside of the floor. The rust may not be noticed untill the paint comes off.
    I hope this information is helpful.

    • Jocelyn says:

      Jesse, I am having the same issue with a 2007 Tundra I purchased last week. The bed is rusted all the way through the metal, down to the beams (found after we sandblasted the paint away to put a spray in bed liner installed). The dealer will not take it back..and I have $4,000+ in costs to replace the bed (plus broken water pump, needs new rotors) for a total of $6,100+ in repairs needed for the vehicle.. I haven’t had it a week!!

      The dealer is not willing to work with me on this, any advice on how to get reimbursed?? I purchased it from a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep dealership (big place, not some rinky dink used car shop).

    • john says:

      i have a 2008 tundra and the bed floor is rusting in three large spots with bubbles

    • Brent says:

      I bought my 2007 Tundra new in January 2008, had it “rustproofed” by the dealer. It has had a tonneau cover since new and I have meticulously maintained the truck. A few months ago I noticed the bed paint blistering. It was rust bubbling out from between the bed floor and the brackets holding the bed to the frame. The rustproofing was intact, but the seam sealer along the edge of the bed frame bracket was cracked allowing water to sit between the bed floor and the bracket. The dealer (Mississauga Toyota) is trying to help, but Toyota’s warranty only covers 5 years, the “rustproof” warranty is “lifetime” but they will not cover this problem, and my 7 year/160K Km extended warranty only covers the power train. I thought I was buying better protection for the extra $3000 I paid for all the warranties. So far, I have not received any satisfaction from Toyota. What I have learned: 1. Stay away from rustproofing from the dealer and go to a reputable independent rust proofing business, 2. Toyotas are inherently rust-prone.

  7. Anonymous says:

    this is good information i think i will get a lawyer

  8. Dutch says:

    I have a 2010 Tundra and just had the bed replaced due to the rust issue. It was still covered under the corrosion warranty. Less than 30,000 miles on the truck.

  9. frankie says:

    I have anew 2013 Tundra and have several bolts and nuts along with my front bumper starting to rust, on the front bumper when the hood is open you can look down and see the rust. I bough the truck new in May 2013. I have not had the truck on a lift to look else where

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Frankie,

      Most nuts and bolts aren’t rust coated or so I am told. It is normal for them to rust as crazy as that sounds. I have also been told it isn’t a Toyota thing, it is a cost saving thing from many manufactures.

      Not sure about the bumper.

      -Tim

  10. Robert says:

    The front bumper on my 07 Tundra SR-5 extended cab rusted clear through at about 20K miles and was replaced under warranty. There was almost no rust on the inside of the rear bumper. Build date was May of 07. I never have been able to figure out why the front bumper rusted badly and the rear bumper did not? I live in Florida. There is more rust on strut mounts and sub frame parts than I think should be.

    • Robert Lightner says:

      I had the same exact problem on my 07 SR-5. At 19K Mi. the front bumper rusted through on the bottom side in various places but not on the rear bumper except the trailer hitch. There was no argument about replacement under warranty.

  11. Robert.Ginn says:

    I have a 2005 Toyota Tundra and had the bottom frame of the truck coated, now the rear differential is rusting out and needs to be replaced. I guess Toyota thinks this is normal for the northeast but my mechanic says Toyota is the only company having a problem.The reason I bought my second Tundra from Toyota was that they stood for quality but I think from now on I will shop elsewhere.

    • Jacques Côté says:

      In 2011, I had too to replace the rear differential on my 2004 Toyota Tundra. I was really disappointed to have to do this kind of repair. This is very unsual.

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