Toyota Alloy Wheels Bubbling – Toyota Quality Concerns

The Problem – Toyota vehicles equipped with alloy wheels are experiencing abnormal corrosion and bubbling of paint and/or clear coat finish. I noticed that the finish on my Sienna’s (2005 XLE AWD) alloy wheels had some bubbles several months ago. My wife drives this vehicle almost exclusively, so I don’t “inspect” it too often. But last week I noticed the wheels now look horrible. Looking at other Siennas with these same wheels, most (over 80%) have the exact same problem. The problem affects post-2004 Siennas and other Toyota models equipped with alloy wheels.

Toyota’s Position – At this time, not admitting any manufacturing defect, and not extending any corrosion warranty protection. Toyota has suggested that brake dust build-up and lack of prompt removal of road salt are to blame. Very interesting because my 1998 4Runner has alloy wheels, and they’re in great shape. Same geographic location, same level of care (probably above average), and 7 more years on the road.

My Suspicion – Toyota or its alloy wheel supplier switched to a “greener” manufacturing process, perhaps using a water-based finish process (as opposed to solvent based), or at the very least, a lower level of solvent. The switch-over, although well-intentioned and environmentally responsible, is often difficult to pull off. Recall the peeling paint problem (body panels) GM had in the 1990s. The problem we’re talking about here is similar, originating under the finish, as if there is a problem with the finish’s ability to adhere. The problem has nothing to do with curb rash, stone chips, etc., in which the integrity of the finish has been compromised externally.

Strength In Numbers – If you have the same problem with premature bubbling or corrosion of your Toyota alloy wheels, add your comments below. Be sure to provide the Model and Year of your vehicle. If you submit a photo of an affected wheel (150X150 px .PNG or .JPEG file preferred), I will add it to the “Toyota Quality Wall of Shame” below. Send wheel photos to: nuckleslaw(@ symbol)charter.net. With enough feedback from angry customers, we might be able to get Toyota to accept responsibility for this widespread problem.

Toyota Alloy Wheel Corrosion

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538 Responses to “Toyota Alloy Wheels Bubbling – Toyota Quality Concerns”

  1. Ivan Ruiz says:

    Toyota sienna 2005.

    Shame!!!

  2. Roger Cranford says:

    Purchased 2008 Toyota 4 Runner SR5 , all Wheel have heavy corrosion damage. Took to dealer prior to warranty expiring . Dealer refused to do anything said it was from road conditions. Funny this is my 4th Four Runner never had the problem with previous 4 Runners.

  3. Matt says:

    I bought a brand new 2014 Tundra in April of 2014. The wheels are starting to lose the finish. I called the dealership to see what they knew about the situation. The service tech told me they would replace the defective wheels

  4. kyle bailey says:

    2011 is350 the paint on the wheels is flaking off for no apparent reason . looks like crap and the car is less than 5 years old I’m highly disappointed

  5. Jack F says:

    We purchased our 2006 Sienna Unlimited AWD new from a local western Washington Toyota dealer and currently has 120,000 miles. First noticed corrosion on all of the alloy wheels about 2 years ago. Last night the low pressure light indicator came on revealing low tire pressure. After inspection the passanger front tire was low. Took it to my car care professional who said it was not a tire related problem but caused by corrosion of the wheel where the tire seals against the wheel. We will contact the Toyota dealer Monday morning…..

  6. Dave says:

    My 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s alloy wheels have this problem. Under the paint the alloy has good integrity. But it looks bad. I’m thinking of scraping and painting. Maybe have an autobody shop do the job. Does anyone have experience with such attempts?

  7. Suzanne says:

    I own a 2007 Toyota Corolla with the same issue … Love the car, hate the fact that Toyota won’t make this right. I won’t buy another Toyota because of this.

  8. Greg ladd says:

    2011 sienna van 39000 miles live in Florida center of xle premium wheels coroded in spyder web pattern centers only.

  9. Joe says:

    My 2007 4runner has the same problem. The dealer won’t do anything about it. I love my 4runner. Wish they would own the wheel issue and make good on it. They were good looking wheels when new. Now they’re bubbling. Ugly.

  10. Ryan Roe says:

    Same problem with my 2007 Tacoma that has 90k miles. Wheels have been deteriorating for the past 3 years. I emailed Toyota to see if they would resolve the issue – they told me the problem is from improper maintenance of the wheel. Very disappointed with Toyota.

  11. Dave says:

    My 2003 Toyota Solara SLE rims started bubbling right out of warrantee. The dealer is saying nothing they can do and Toyota will not address anything. The car looks great with the exception of the wheels

  12. Keith R says:

    2012 Toyota Sienna SE, 1 SE wheel has paint flaking off non-stop, keep touching it up with touch up paint for the body but it keeps falling off and new areas on the wheel keep losing paint! Terrible! 2 year old vehicle with paint flaking off wheels? Has never happened to me before in any other of the 27 vehicles I have owned in my lifetime!

  13. larry says:

    HAVE A 2008 TACOMA. ONLY HAS 37,500 MILES. ALL FOUR RIMS ARE BUBBELING AND PEELING. THERE ARE NO CHIPS IN THE PAINT. IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE PREP, ALUMINIUM HAS TO BE PREPARED WITH A CERTAIN PRIMER OR IT WILL PEEL,(ALUM. OXIDATION ??). I HAVE SEEN MANY OTHER RIMS THE SAME WAY. I WAS TOLD ON THE SIDE BY A PERSON FROM TOYOTA THEY ARE ALL DOING IT. HAVE OWNED 10 TOYOTAS OVER THE YEARS BETWEEN MY WIFE AND I. MY $30,000 TRUCK HAS BEEN RECALLED FOR THE GAS PEDAL, NOW THE FRAME HAS TO BE SPRAYED BECAUSE OF CORROSION, THE LATEST IS BROKEN LEAF SPRINGS DUE TO CORROSION, WHICH MAY CAUSE MAJOR DAMAGE,(GAS TANK OR TIRES). MY 2000 TACOMA HAD A ROTTED FRAME ALSO. THEY ARE BACK TO THE TIN CANS OF THE EARLY SEVENTIES.

  14. Ryan says:

    Same thing on my 2009 Rav4. Neither the dealership nor corporate was willing to help, even after showing them this website.

  15. Brian says:

    I have a 2008 Tacoma that has the same exact problem with the paint bubbling on the all 4 of my rims. I called Toyota corp office and they said , Sir its your problem not ours ! My first toyota and it will be my last !

  16. John L says:

    2008 Toyota Sienna, purchased new. Alloy wheels (all four) have strange corrosion on them. One had it the day I bought the car and I was assured it would be covered under warranty. Dealer later claimed I had used a wheel cleaner and that caused the problem.
    In Oregon, we have NO road salt, the car was washed regularly, so the wheel dust issue just does not make sense. Looking closer at the wheels, the markings remind me of metal when a lubricant is used to drill holes. It definitely looks like runs of some oil based lubricant sealed onto the wheel. I realize Toyota must be outsourcing this, but their reputation “rides” on their wheels too. It makes my car look old nd crappy, it WILL affect resale value.

  17. Kirk T says:

    I have a 2009 Toyota Corolla. The paint and clear coat on ALL of my rims are completely bubbled and chunks of paint (about the size of a half dollar coin) have been falling off. As everyone is saying, it looks absolutely horrible. The oxidized aluminum under the paint is almost black and is a terrible contrast to the light bubbling paint. I just got off of the phone with Toyota “Customer Care” (11-10-14) and they still don’t intend to do anything about this issue.

  18. Dave K says:

    Three of my four alloy rims on my 2006 Sienna are having the same issue. The paint is bubbling and peeling. Looks awful and from all the comments this appears to be a common problem for Toyota.

  19. D.Rohrig says:

    2012 Camry – wheel covers started peeling within the first year. Ugly. Makes the whole car look crappy. No road salt here & vehicle is garaged & has been kept clean.

  20. Adam Mang says:

    My father has a 2006 4runner the truck only has 50,00 miles on it and spends most of its time in the garage. We liive in Buffalo where the winters are brutal. All of the wheels are peeling a couple of them have no paint left at all. We went to our local toyota dealer and they basically told us it not covered under warrenty. They also said that this was a problem with all toyota’s 06 to 09. I think they should replace them or have a recall on them. Thanks toyota for your great customer service lol.

  21. Jeremy says:

    My 2007 Tacoma has the exact same problem. The finish has bubbled and lifted. Clearly a manufacturing defects.

  22. Yoshitake Okagami says:

    My 05 Tacoma Prerunner rims had started bubbling in 2 to 3 years, I now don’t remember exactly when. It’s peeled off and rusting now.
    I used to handwash her every weekend of course including rims. My wife thought I was crazy.

    Vancouver, Canada.

  23. Stephen Miranda says:

    I have a 2005 Toyota Highlander with alloy rims with bubbling and corrosion under the clear coat. This appears to be poor metal treatment or clear coat defect.

  24. Josh B says:

    I have a 2009 Toyota Sequoia with the same issue (all 4). I live in southern Wisconsin where they use salt in the winter. I am wondering if anyone has tried to refinish these rims. I would prefer to keep the stock rims.

  25. Tim says:

    2005 Toyota Tacoma wheels bubbled in 2009 and fell off in spots only have 42,456 miles on truck bought new.

  26. Bob D. says:

    We have a 2009 Toyota RAV4 which has been well cared for. All 4 alloy painted rims show varying degree of bubbling and corrosion. It has been progressing for the past 2-3 years. Having spent several years in the automotive parts chemical cleaning and paint preparation business, I can tell you this is caused by poor metal cleaning and/or poor preparation of the metal surface post cleaning. It has nothing to do with compromising the finish from any external phenomena. Beautiful vehicle, ugly wheels! Time for new tires AND rims!

  27. ART says:

    just purchased a pristine 2008 4- runner…36,000 miles
    wheels are bubbling in the painted areas only.
    shocking to me…being a toyota parts/service mgr for many years in the past. [1968-1995]
    certainly much less than the quaility in toyota products iv’e seen in the past.

  28. Natalie says:

    I have a 2003 toyota 4runner- all four wheels have this corrosion. Also has the cracked dash that toyota is not claiming as a defect, but obviously is.

  29. Fred says:

    Yes sir! I have a 2010 Toyota tacoma with alloy wheels with the same problem. I’m retired and don’t drive that many miles anymore. My Tacoma has just over 18,000 miles and is has always been garage kept. It still looks like a brand new vehicle and has hardly ever been driven in the snow. I first noticed the bubbling paint on one of the wheels about a year after I owned the truck and thought it was just a paint defect, now the bubbling is on all four wheels and looks awful. I previously owned a 1999 Tacoma which also looked new but the frame rusted through and Toyota gave me a generous price to buy it back so I purchased the 2010 Tacoma right there on the spot. What a company I thought that would stand behind their product. Now I understand just about all these alloy wheels experience the same problem. I haven’t contacted Toyota yet but with the reputation they have taking care of their
    Customers I would suspect they would handle this problem the same way they handled the frame corrosion problem.
    Sadly I’m retired from General Motors but would rather own a Toyota because they do build a better product and hopefully will handle this problem appropriately.

  30. freddy says:

    Went through the BBB and all Toyota stayed was that the rims are out of warranty. Looks like I’ll be putting in a claim with my local small claims court. I’m tired of lame excuses

  31. Jim Powers says:

    have a 2010 Rav 4 Limited with alloy rims, of which one is showing the bubbling from the inside. Unit was manufactured in Japan.

  32. Erin Rayman says:

    My 1999 Toyota Camry with 197,000 has the most disgusting corroded alloy wheels ever. They’re so expensive to fix too

  33. Kenneth Miller says:

    Have a 03 Sequoia SR5 and rims are corroded

  34. Jonathan Miles says:

    I have a 2002 Toyota Celica GT-S and it has the same paint bubbling problem. It’s been a West-coast car pretty much its entire life as well so salt on the roads can’t logically be blamed. I’ll send a picture to add to the wall.

  35. Jeff Maupin says:

    I bought a 2010 Camry SE a few months back and the wheels are awful near the center. One wheel seems to not be as bad but rides awful, figure it is corroding from the inside out as i have heard they do.

  36. Deb says:

    Just purchased a 2006 Solara with 60,000 miles. The rims are horrific!!! Was trying to figure how to clean them up, when I came across this website! We have a 2006 Highlander with over 315,000 miles on it and look brand new!! What the heck!!!???

  37. Dave R says:

    We have a 05 Sienna with the same problem. This was our first Toyota and due to this and other design and quality problems, we won’t buy another Toyota product.

  38. Eric says:

    2011 Camry

    I’m looking at used Camry SE’s right now that have the alloy rims, and they all have bubbling and peeling wheels. This is absurd for a 3 year old car

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