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Matt Schmitz, Cars.com
Toyota is voluntarily recalling about 150,000 Tacoma pickup trucks from the 2001 to 2004 model years to make sure the spare tire can't fall off.
Under the recall, it plans to inspect and possibly replace the spare-tire carrier assembly, the automaker announced.
The recalled vehicles were originally sold or are currently registered in 20 cold-climate states and the District of Columbia. In these vehicles, the spare tire is stored underneath the rear bed and suspended by a spare-tire carrier on a metal lift plate.
Toyota says during the manufacturing process, the spare-tire carrier lift plate may not have been sufficiently coated with phosphate. That, combined with prolonged exposure to road salt and other environmental factors, could cause corrosion of the lift plate, causing it to break and detach the spare tire from the vehicle.
In addition to the District of Columbia, the affected states include 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.
Toyota said it would notify owners of the recalled vehicles in December. Dealers will inspect and replace the spare-tire carrier assembly at no cost. Owners can call Toyota at 800-331-4331 for more information.