PhotoToyota will pay up to $3.4 billion to settle a class action lawsuit that alleged its pickup truck and SUV frames were prone to rust because they received inadequate rust protection at the factory.

The company has agreed to inspect the vehicles for 12 years from the day they were sold or leased to determine whether the frames need to be replaced. If rust is found, Toyota will replace the frame.

The settlement covers Tacoma trucks from the model years 2005 through 2010, Sequoias from 2005 through 2008, and Tundras from the 2007 and 2008 model years.

Toyota earlier recalled some of the vehicles covered by the lawsuit, but owners of other models have also reported rust problems. 

"Driving my 1998 Tacoma Toyota truck at 65 mph and heard a click. Drove home at a crawl and found the frame had cracked completely through. There was only 56,000 miles on the truck," said George of Millis, Mass., in a ConsumerAffairs review. "I scrapped the truck at a loss of $3,000. Most importantly I do not trust Toyota with the safety of my family!

The proposed settlement was filed last week before U.S. District Judge Fernando Olguin in Los Angeles.

"We want our customers to have a great ownership experience, so we are pleased to resolve this litigation in a way that benefits them and demonstrates that we stand behind the quality and reliability of our vehicles," Toyota said in a statement, according to Automotive News


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