Imagine buying a new truck and then having serious issues develop way too soon. This is what happened to some owners of 1995 through 2016 Toyota Tacomas. Many of these Tacoma owenrs dealt with paint issues and serious frame rust concerns.
Model years with the most body and paint complaints
Based on the submitted problems, the worst model years for those types of issues are model years 2005, 2006, and 2016. While 2016 is the model year with the most overall complaints, CarComplaints.com designated the 2007 model year as the worst one due to higher repair costs and problems at lower mileage.
Toyota Tacoma paint problems
Tacoma paint problems are well-documented on owners’ forums online and include both the paint itself and the clear coat. The top paint issues faced by Tacoma owners submitting to CarComplaints.com have been that the clear coat peels and cracks when waxed and that there is excessive paint chipping.
The 2007 had the most clear coat issues, and on average, the problems appeared around 4,000 miles. The average cost to fix the clear coat was $3,800.
The worst for excessive paint chipping was the 2005 Tacoma, with issues appearing on average around 77,000 miles. The average cost was $1,100 for owners to repair this problem. On average across all the paint problems submitted, paint issues cost owners $2,100 to repair and happened at 52,000 miles.
Toyota has recently rolled out a customer support program for Toyota owners of various models, not just Tacomas, with Blizzard Pearl and Super White paint. Sunlight has been causing these paints to separate and flake off from the medal vehicle bodies.
Rust problems on the Tacoma
While the paint concerns were cosmetic, the rust found on frames was a very serious potential safety concern since it could cause structural failure. Toyota went through several rounds of addressing rust problems.
The first in 2008 was for 1995-2000 Tacomas. Toyota repaired the ones it could and extended the warranty to 15 years with unlimited mileage. It also offered to buy back Tacomas with badly rusted frames for 1.5 times the Kelley Blue Book suggested retail price of Tacomas in excellent condition.
In 2012 and 2014, Toyota issued two recalls related to rust. In 2012, Toyota recalled 2001-2004 Tacomas with rusty spare-tire carriers beneath the truck. There was concern the carrier could rust through, causing the tire to come loose.
In 2014, there was a recall of 2005-2011 Tacomas that had rear axle leaf springs with corrosion. If these broke, there could be damage to the fuel tank or brake line.
The biggest redress for owners with rusted frames came in 2016 with a class-action lawsuit. The approximately $3.4 billion settlement affected 1.5 million 2005-2010 Toyota Tacomas, 2005-2008 Sequoias, and 2007-2008 Tundras.
At the time, it was thought that about 15% of the frames would need to be replaced. Frames from those years did not receive sufficient rustproofing and are prone to severe corrosion. Blame for the problem fell to the supplier, Dana Holding Corp. of Maumee, Ohio.
While Toyota didn’t admit wrongdoing in the settlement, it did agree to the fixes. After inspection, vehicles with rust holes larger than four-tenths of an inch, which could compromise the frame’s strength, would get new frames. Ones with smaller holes would get a cleaning and a corrosion-resistant compound. Vehicles remain eligible for the settlement for 12 years after purchase.
Replacing the frame is a big, complex, labor-intensive job. Just the Tacoma alone has 11 different frame versions. Paying for your own frame replacement could cost $15,000. Owners submitting to CarComplaints.com had the most frame rust issues with the 2006 model year, with problems on average around 75,000 miles. Their average fix ended up costing them $1,600.
How are the newer models?
Luckily for owners of newer model Toyota Tacomas, the problems appear to have been resolved. Model years 2017, 2018, and 2019 each have only one to three body and paint complaints currently. But it would be a good idea to constantly monitor this because these trucks are still relatively new so problems may not have surfaced yet.