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

  1. Ryan says:

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

  2. 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 !

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Jeremy says:

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Tim says:

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

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Kenneth Miller says:

    Have a 03 Sequoia SR5 and rims are corroded

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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!!!???

  24. 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.

  25. 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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