As many of our readers are aware, over the weekend a group of Toyota Tundra
owners at TundraSolutions.com (TS)
posted information and pictures showing cracks appearing in the tailgates of some new Tundra pickups.
Owner accounts in the TS discussion thread recall similar usage scenarios before the metal separation was noticed. Paint and metal cracking appeared after loading heavy objects into the backs of the trucks, using the tailgates to balance and assist in cargo ingress and placement. Some of the pictures show extreme deformation of the tailgate sheetmetal.
In a conversation
with PickupTruck.com, a Toyota spokesperson says Toyota is aware of
the tailgate cracking but the company has received very few complaints
so far. The cause is still under investigation. Owners experiencing
this issue should bring their truck to a Toyota dealer, where the tailgate
will be fixed or replaced under warranty if it's determined the damage
occurred under normal use. Any collateral damage to the truck's box
or other components immediately adjacent to the tailgate, directly
attributable to the cracking issue, will also be covered under warranty.
There are two lessons to be learned from this.
First, the power of truck owners to self-organize and quickly exchange rich information about a seemingly unique but actually widespread issue just made a giant advance forward. I can't recall any problem ever gaining momentum this quickly before that started with owners announcing the problem first and not a major news outlet or blog. I'm willing to bet that Toyota isn't the only OEM that noticed this either.
Second, Toyota is quickly acknowledging and acting on this issue, and other recent quality problems with the Tundra. That's exactly what they need to be doing. Hopefully this will be the last big glitch or it's going to be very challenging, in my opinion, to hit their critical 200,000 units in annual sales volume. At the end of the day it's reliability that sells trucks.