Toyota 4Runners failing state inspections and what happens next

By Treven Pyles

Posted on August 24th, 2021

The law concerning vehicle safety inspection is made by each U.S. state individually. If you drive a Toyota 4Runner from the fourth generation and your state requires periodic inspections, it will most likely come a time when your car will not pass it due to excessive rust corrosion on the frame.

Right now, there are 15 states in the country that require a periodic vehicle safety inspection, which may be annual or biennial, as well as 16 other states that require a regular car emissions inspection. However, the situation of each state is different, as there are numerous situations when a vehicle inspection is necessary. For instance, Alabama and Maryland ask car owners to have their vehicle inspected only before selling it or transferring the ownership. Another situation concerns Nebraska and Kentucky, which require a safety inspection only upon bringing a car from another jurisdiction.

While 7 states do not ask for any kind of vehicle inspection, you are probably a Toyota 4Runner owner whose frame is prone to excessive rust corrosion who lives in one of the states that do. Therefore, you may wonder what will happen during the mandatory safety inspection of your vehicle since the frame is prone to premature rust corrosion. You may not be sure how much rust is too much or whether you should continue driving your 4Runner. This article will provide you with the information you need about safety inspections involving 4Runners and when your car becomes dangerous to drive.

In which states is the vehicle safety inspection mandatory?

If you have owned a car for a long time, you should know by now whether your state requires periodic vehicle safety inspections. Nevertheless, for new owners of automobiles, we have gathered a complete list of the states that have mandatory car safety inspections, which are the following:

  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Hawaii
  • West Virginia

People who reside in one of the states above will have to take their Toyota 4Runner to inspection once a year or once every 2 years. If there is excessive rust corrosion on the frame of your vehicle, it will fail the mandatory safety inspection, as your car will be deemed a hazard to drive on the road. Because frame rust may compromise the entire safety of your vehicle, as it can also seep further and reach crucial components of your car, you will no longer be allowed to drive it, as it can pose a danger to you, your passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.

What happens during a state car safety inspection?

Owning a car in the United States may require you to re-register it annually or biennially through the Registry of Motor Vehicles in your state of residence. While this procedure may seem unnecessary and tedious, it is actually a very effective preventive measure, as, during the safety inspection, the key components and functions of your vehicle will be tested. Following the inspection, you may discover that your car has a problem that you had not even been aware of and that could have endangered your life.

If you have just become a car owner in a state where safety inspections are mandatory, you may be curious about what the certified mechanic will look for during the inspection. The following are some of the things they will examine:

  • windshield: they will look for cracks, loose seals, and chips, as these are considered to be safety hazards
  • tire condition: worn down or old tires will result in your car failing the inspection, as well as a poor condition of your spare
  • light functionality: in addition to the headlights, the mechanic will make sure that all the lights in your car work properly
  • steering and alignment: if any component of the steering system is found to be loose or failing, your vehicle will fail the inspection
  • fluid leaks: even if you are certain that your car has no leaks, you may be surprised when the mechanic finds hidden ones, which is why you should take your car for a thorough inspection before the mandatory state one

Finally, your car frame will be examined as a whole, both on the inside and on the outside, and if it shows worrisome signs of rust corrosion, your 4Runner will fail the safety inspection. In fact, the frame of your vehicle may be the first thing the mechanic will look at since it is the largest component, as well as the most important, as nearly all the other car parts are attached to it. It is also worthy of note that certain parts of your car may have become dysfunctional as a consequence of the rust corrosion on the frame.

Now, you may wonder how much rust is too much on the frame of your car. The only person who can tell you when you must stop driving your Toyota 4Runner due to excessive rust corrosion is a mechanic, but you should ideally know about this serious issue before taking your car to the mandatory safety inspection.

Failing the safety inspection due to severe rust corrosion on the frame of your Toyota 4Runner

It should not surprise you that if the frame of your 4Runner is extremely damaged by rust, your car will fail the test. What happens next is that a "failed inspection" sticker will be placed on your vehicle, and you will have 20 calendar days to make the necessary repairs to your car so that it will pass the following safety inspection. You will be given a report that lists the vehicle components that led to your car failing the inspection so that your mechanic will know what to fix. Finally, you are entitled to 2 free re-inspections during the 20 days. You will have to pay for a third re-inspection during the 20 days you have, as well as for a re-inspection if you failed to have your car re-inspected within 20 days.

When it comes to Toyota 4Runners manufactured between 2003 and 2009, if you fail a safety inspection due to premature rust corrosion on the frame, we advise you to file a claim with Toyota Motor Corporation to have the undercarriage of your car replaced free of charge before the next inspection. Our attorneys, who handle product liability cases, will offer you quality legal assistance. Nonetheless, this will inevitably make you exceed the 20-day period of time you have to repair your car, as preparing a Toyota 4Runner claim for submission and gathering all the necessary documents is a complex process. However, with pertinent evidence from our lawyers, you will not be charged if that period of time expired, as Toyota is responsible for having manufactured 4Runners with defective frames.

In conclusion, if you failed a safety inspection because your Toyota 4Runner had severe rust corrosion on the frame, we encourage you to give our legal team a call, as it would be unfair to pay $15,000 for a frame replacement when Toyota Motor Corporation is liable for this manufacturing defect. Furthermore, it is essential to cease driving your 4Runner if it has this serious problem, as doing so can easily result in a terrible car accident that may prove fatal.

File your Toyota 4Runner claim with the expert help of our attorneys

With over 20 years of experience in product liability, our law firm is ready to help you file a claim with Toyota Motor Corporation if the frame of your 4Runner has become damaged by premature rust corrosion. All you have to do to start the process is contact our legal team by filling out the claim evaluation form or by calling us. We will subsequently tell you what documents you have to send our attorneys via e-mail so that they can begin working on your claim.

If your situation involves only a defective 4Runner frame, the company will replace it for free as a result of the claim submission. However, if the issue of rust corrosion has caused you to suffer a car accident, you will also receive financial compensation to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. Even if your case is very complex, we are here to provide you with quality legal assistance and to eventually recover the maximum compensation you deserve for your suffering.