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Toyota will spend up to $3.4 billion for rusty trucks

The automaker agreed to the settlement for a federal class-action lawsuit after owners reported poor rust protection.

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Once rust starts eating certain parts of the car, it can greatly affect performance and safety. Some of Toyota's trucks have a serious rust problem, and the automaker is settling with owners to the tune of billions of dollars.

Toyota agreed to settle a federal class-action lawsuit regarding truck frame rust, Reuters reports. The automaker admitted no liability or wrongdoing in its settlement proposal, but it will pay for frame replacements for some 1.5 million trucks. The replacements could cost about $15,000 each, and inspections were valued at around $60. All in, Toyota could spend up to $3.4 billion.

Owners of the 2005-2010 Tacoma midsize pickup, 2007-2008 Tundra full-size pickup and 2005-2008 Sequoia SUVs claimed that these vehicles' frames could corrode enough to mess with the car's structural integrity. This could affect both performance (towing, hauling) and safety in the event of a collision. The owners allege that inadequate rust protection is to blame.

To determine whether or not frame replacement is necessary, Toyota will inspect the affected vehicles up to 12 years after the day of initial purchase or lease. It will also reimburse owners who already paid for frame replacements out of pocket.