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Woman misses Toyota truck recall, stuck with $7,000 repair bill | Don't waste your money

Jenne Middleton's 2004 Toyota Tacoma has been a trusted friend until a few days ago when she heard an awful sound.

Toyota has a reputation for being one of the most reliable car brands in the world. 

Buyers are almost guaranteed trouble-free driving for years, except when it comes to the frames of some of popular pickup trucks.

Jenne Middleton's 2004 Toyota Tacoma has been a trusted friend until a few days ago when she heard an awful sound.

"I heard almost like a boom!" She said. 

Middlton said the vehicle started swerving, so she brought it to a local repair shop and got some bad news.

"They said the frame was cracked, that it was rusted and it was unsafe to drive," Middleton said.

Mechanic Mike Fehler said it needed a new frame or the whole back end could fall off.

"Basically, where the leaf spring mounts to the frame, this is load bearing and is essential. It holds the bed onto the truck," he said.

Fehler told the owner there might be an extended warranty for this exact issue.

Safety recalls save lives and save money, and in this case, thousands of dollars in repairs. However, a lot of automakers set a window on them, and after say 15 years, they will not pay for a repair anymore.

In regards to Middleton's truck, Toyota had issued a limited recall that expired in 2019. She had just missed the warranty cutoff date.

In 2016, the car manufacturer agreed to repair or buy back millions of Tacomas, Tundras and Sequioa SUVS with rusting frames from 2004 to 2008 — or even 2010 in some cases.

However, the program expires 15 years after the date of manufacturing.

Jeanne said she never saw a notice.

"I had the car in 2019, but did not receive any kind of notification," she said.

So it doesn't happen to you, here's some advice: make sure your car's manufacturer has your current address for recalls or repair bulletins. Also, check recalls.gov to see if you have any unfixed recalls.

"I would love to keep my truck," Middleton said. "I am sure it can go another 100 thousand miles."

It's just now she needs a $7,000 frame repair to do that.

A Toyota corporate spokesperson told us the company would contact Middleton about her options but would not promise her a free repair.