Tundra Design Flaw: NEVER Drive Your Tundra Tailgate Down!
Glenn sent us this note, and we think every Tundra owner should know about this. Thanks Glenn for taking the time to share.
Here’s Glenn’s story:
I put my tailgate down on my 07 Tundra Crewmax, and forgot about it being down, as I was involved in something that diverted my attention away from the open tailgate. I drove away not realizing it was still down. As I went down the street and over a bump in the road, I heard some banging, so I pulled over only to find my tailgate hanging from the support strap wires, and slapping against the back of the truck! Thankfully, I found a place to pull over immediately, and that I had all the windows, including the window facing the bed down, so I could hear it. Both tail light lenses are now damaged, but luckily, the tailgate itself and the bumper do not seem to be damaged much, except for minor paint damage on the inside of the tailgate. At least not that I can tell at this point.
Page 35 of the operators manual says, “Notice: Avoid driving with the tailgate open”. That is all it says. I had never seen this Notice before, but even if I had, I would not have expected that the entire tailgate could come off the hinges and bang against the back of the truck. I would have taken that Notice to mean that a rock could chip the paint of the tailgate if it were driven in the down position, or some damage could come to the tailgate if towing and turning with the gate down.
Doesn’t this sound like a serious design flaw? Well, not according to Toyota Customer service over the phone. First, there is this “Notice” (No actual warning of possible danger or damage), which tells you to avoid the operation, but does not tell you not to do it at all, or what could happen if you do. Second, there is no safety device that keeps the gate attached to the hinge point. Even a simple twist lock, a safetying pin, or a single securing screw would be beneficial, but none exists. If the safety straps were not connected, or failed and the tailgate were to fall off, it could bounce up into a car behind you and kill someone. If left to bang long enough, it is a real possibility that a failure of the straps could occur resulting in a slab of metal as a projectile at highway speeds.
We don’t want to hear anyone saying “you shouldn’t drive with the tailgate down” either. This is something people do all the time (like when they’ve got an ATV or dirt bike in the bed) — besides, who hasn’t forgotten to close their tailgate at least once? How mad would you be if both your tail lenses were broken because you forgot to put the tailgate up?