Toyota Motor (NYSE: TM ) today announced a voluntary safety recall on some 150,000 Tacoma pickup trucks from the 2001-2004 model years.
According to the company, spare tires on these trucks are stored underneath the rear bed on spare tire carriers on metal lift plates. These lift plates, however, "may not have been sufficiently coated with phosphate" at the time of manufacture, making them vulnerable to rust when driven in "cold climate" states where salt may have been used as an ice preventative in winter.
The company warns that "over time and in limited cases, corrosion of the lift plate could cause it to break and result in detachment of the spare tire from the vehicle." The company is recalling the trucks in question to ascertain the extent of such corrosion and, if necessary, to repair the defective part at no cost to the owner.
Targeted at trucks bought or registered in the District of Columbia and 20 "cold climate" states -- Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia -- the recall will probably extend across the length and breadth of the U.S., given the long time between manufacture and recall, and the likelihood that cars originally sold in these 20 states have since migrated elsewhere through the resale market.
Wherever they live now, owners of the affected vehicles can expect to receive letters from the company notifying them of the recall beginning in December 2012.