Toyota has announced that it will recall 150,000 Tacoma pickups built between 2001 and 2004 due to a rust issue that could cause the spare tire to fall from its position beneath the vehicle, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Toyota has been risking several vehicle recall lawsuits of late after it was forced to recall several of its vehicles for sticky accelerators and other problems. This new recall is the latest in a series of problems for the automaker, and an NHTSA investigation has been opened into the company’s handling of its recall notices and procedures.

What Is A Manufacturer Recall?

Manufacturers are required by law to ensure that their products are safe for those who use them. When a manufacturer fails to meet this standard of quality and safety, lawsuits can be filed against the company for product liability.

In order to stem a flood of lawsuits when a product is known to be defective or dangerous, manufacturers will often issue a recall notice in cooperation with the governing body that manages the type of product in question.

For vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a division of the federal Department of Transportation, is the primary governing body that oversees automobile and truck safety.

A recall occurs when a company admits that a product is defective and offers remedies to those who have purchased the product. In the case of a vehicle recall, this often means free repairs or replacement of defective parts.

In some cases, however, the manufacturer is forced to buy back the vehicle due to insoluble problems related to the structure or operation of the automobile or truck. Toyota faced this problem a few years ago when it was found that the carriage of some Tacoma pickups and other models had rusted so badly that the trucks were unable to be repaired.

Anyone who owns a Toyota Tacoma manufactured between the years of 2001 and 2004 is eligible to take advantage of the recall. The company is offering to rebuild the rusted wheel housing so that a spare will fit on the truck and remain in place.

What Does This Recall Mean for Consumers?

The recall in question concerns rusting in a wheel well that holds the spare tire beneath the truck. The rust-proof coating applied to these vehicles was apparently insufficient to prevent a serious rust problem that resulted in the spare tire being in danger of detaching from the vehicle. If this happened during vehicle operation, it is quite likely that injury or even death could result from an accident caused by the flying or bouncing tire.

Whether a company issues a recall or not, if a victim is injured by a defective vehicle, that victim may be entitled to compensation from the company. Recalls are designed to prevent future accidents, but they do not release the company from liability associated with the defective design or function of a vehicle. Victims should contact a personal injury attorney for more information.