Toyota Settles Rust Case. Are You Affected?

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While admitting no liability or wrongdoing, Toyota has agreed to a settlement that will compensate the owners of about 1.5-million Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia vehicles to stop the clock on a class action lawsuit about rust and corrosion on their vehicles.  The case was decided in the Federal District Court in Los Angeles.

The affected vehicles cover 2005 – 2010 Tacoma pickups, 2005 – 2008 and Tundras from the 2007 and 2008 model years and 2005 – 2008 Sequioa full-size SUVs.  Don’t think of it as a windfall, but it will assure that the frame of the vehicle will be inspected regularly and replaced if necessary for the average life of this kind of vehicle – there are no mileage restrictions.

The settlement cap is $3.4 million not counting $9.75 in lawyers’ fees, $150,000 in costs and expenses and $2,500 each to the eight named class representatives.  Toyota must also advertise the settlement.

The vehicles covered by the agreement were suspected of receiving inadequate rust protection that could jeopardize the structural integrity of the frame.  This could happen if there was dramatic corrosion and could cause accidents, loss of the use of the vehicle and substantial repair expense.

What does this mean for you?

This has nothing to do with your vehicle warranty and whether it is in force of not.  If you have one of the affected vehicles, and most of the are certainly on the road, Toyota will inspect the vehicle for the 12 years from the day it was first sold or leased to determine whether replacement is required.  If it is, Toyota will authorize replacement of the frame.  Owners who have already incurred the cost of replacement because their frames needed to be replaced due to the rust problem will also be reimbursed for the cost of the repair.

If you purchased your vehicle used and it is one of those covered under the settlement, you are also covered.   It is possible that some of these trucks and SUVs are still under lease contracts and they are also covered.

I encourage you to share this information with anyone you know who may have a vehicle that falls within the settlement, and REMEMBER – claiming benefits under any legal settlement or recall is your responsibility.

Toyota said that it is standing “…behind the quality and reliability of our vehicles.”  That is entirely true, but that doesn’t eliminate your role as a responsible vehicle owner and driver.

Story by Linda Water Nelson

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