Toyota has initiated a recall of its Tacoma pick-up from the 2001 to 2004 model years, with up to 150,000 units affected. Tacomas sold in 20 snowbelt states and the District of Columbia could have an issue with the lift plate on their spare tire carrier, which is a piece of metal that helps raise the emergency spare wheel located at the back and underneath the truck. The plate might not have been properly coated with anticorrosion protection, and this could lead to the plate corroding on trucks driven in states that use salt on the roads during the winter. A lift plate failure could lead to the spare tire coming loose and causing an accident.

Toyota is working on a remedy to the situation and will notify owners when it is ready. The release below from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more information, including all of the cold-weather states in which affected trucks are registered, and indicates that the recall should begin next month.
Show full PR text
Report Date: November 27, 2012 at 12:11 PM
NHTSA Campaign ID number: 12V542000

Vehicle Model Year(s) Make / Model: 2001-2004 TOYOTA / TACOMA
Manufacturer: Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing
Report Receipt Date: NOV 23, 2012
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 12V542000

Component: TIRES:TEMPORARY/EMERGENCY SPARE TIRE
Potential Number of Units Affected: 150,000

Summary:
Toyota is recalling certain model year 2001 through 2004 Tacoma light trucks manufactured from August 28, 2000, through August 27, 2004, and originally sold, or currently registered, in the following cold climate states with high road salt usage: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. The spare tire in the subject vehicles is located underneath the rear of the vehicle and held by a spare tire carrier. A lift plate on the carrier is used to help raise, lower and retain the tire. During its manufacture, the lift plate may not have been sufficiently coated with anti-corrosion materials. If the plate is insufficiently coated and the vehicle is operated in cold climate regions where road salts are frequently used, road spray can reach the carrier assembly and corrode the lift plate.

Consequence:
Corrosion of the plate could cause it to break, which could result in detachment of the spare tire from the vehicle. Detachment of the spare tire could result in a road hazard which may increase the risk of a vehicle crash.

Remedy:
A remedy for this defect is currently being developed. Toyota will notify owners when a remedy plan has been finalized. The recall is expected to begin during December 2012. Owners may contact their Toyota dealer or the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.

Notes:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.