According to a recent article in Automotive News, Toyota Motor Corporation
must submit information to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) in response to complaints about rusted frames on 2000 and 2001
Toyota Tundra pickups.
NHTSA is investigating 20 reports that relate to spare-tire separation
and brake system failures resulting from severe frame corrosion on the
pickups. As of November 19, the federal agency had received 238 complaints
about the 2000 models and 48 about the 2001 models. The complaints range
from brake-line corrosion to corrosion of the entire frame. More than
70 complaints had been posted since NHTSA launched its investigation in October.
The issue may or may not result in a recall, but it highlights an interesting
factor when it comes to lemon law. For example, it may be that the general
warranties on many of these vehicles have expired—but other portions
of the vehicle could be covered longer.
“If you take a close look at your warranty manual, you will find
that different parts of the vehicle have different warranty periods,”
said Norman Taylor, leading California lemon law attorney. “Some
of them last far longer than the primary vehicle warranty. For example,
the engine, emission equipment and power train may all have different
warranty periods, and will be covered even after the regular warranty
has run out.”
Taylor knows the ins and outs of warranties well. He has been a lemon law
specialist since 1987, and he and his firm, Norman Taylor and Associates,
have handled over 8,000 cases for consumers with a 98 percent success rate.
Warranty length can also be affected by other factors. For example, when
a defect appears during the warranty but repair attempts fail to correct
the problem, the warranty period is extended until the defect has actually
been fixed. Some states require the consumer to notify the manufacturer
that the defect has not been fixed in order to qualify for this extension.
“The warranty period is essentially a ‘discovery’ period,”
Taylor explained. “The warranty continues to cover any defect discovered
during the warranty period, even if the repairs may extend beyond it.
If you think you may be driving a lemon, the best course of action is to
contact a qualified lemon law attorney right away.