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

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Kenneth Miller says:

    Have a 03 Sequoia SR5 and rims are corroded

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!!!???

  12. 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.

  13. 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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