Friday, February 13, 2009

Truck talk

Last week my husband took his truck in to be inspected. In this part of the country we have state inspections yearly, mostly to protect us from ourselves, I guess. Salt and sand on the roads in the winter lead to rust and ruination on a car, no matter how often you wash it.

My husband drives a Toyota Tacoma. Had it since '02. Last year it passed inspection, this year they refused it, because, suddenly, the entire frame was rusted through, in some spots you could put your fist into the holes. Apparently the damage starts on the inside, where the vent holes get plugged with sand/salt and whatever, and it just eats its way through what appears to be fairly inferior steel (as is most steel these days) in a matter of a few years.

Turns out Toyota has known about this potential problem since the late 1990s, and only now is sending out warning notices to people about this particular group of vehicles. We're still waiting for ours. They are also offering a free frame replacement and garages are gearing up for the trucks they anticipate will be coming in.

Im finding that the more I think about this, the more irresponsible I find it to be. And it's been a very quiet announcement, no fanfare, no government recalls on a truly dangerous problem. There have been recalls for trucks that exhibited the possibility of a particular part perhaps failing in the future--but nothing for something as widespread and scary as this is. Perhaps Toyota is looking to keep its "Tough ManTruck" image tarnish free, and a public announcement sorta crimps that one.

It's one thing to acknowledge responsibility for something that looks to be a serious problem down the road (no pun intended), it's another to admit culpability after the fact and offer to replace what needs replacing. In some cases, i suspect, too little and way too late.

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