1981 Toyota Tercel Recall

My rear lower control arms are rusted. I just found out a recall was issued for these parts in 1986. Can I still get these items replaced (free) at my local Toyota dealer?

Couldn’t hurt to ask. Just be prepared for some excuses, like “That recall expired decades ago” or “We can’t get the part”. Honestly, this is a 29 year old car that survived 24 years after the recall was issued. You’ll be hard-pressed to use any leverage to get this done for free. A good-will gesture is all you can really hope for.

I will be really shocked if the dealer can even get those control arms. If he can, the arms are worth more than the car.

I gave up my '81 Starlet 10 years ago because the Toyota dealer stopped carrying parts for it. It had 275k miles on it and still looked great and ran like a Swiss watch.

Technically, safety-related recalls never expire.
However, don’t be surprised if the parts in question are no longer available.
Everything has a limit, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you have passed the limit of availability of these parts.

Do you really think it is reasonable to expect Toyota to keep these parts in stock after almost 30 years? You may luck out, but truthfully I doubt if you will.

Ask them, but ask them with a smile. They just might surprize us all and say “yes”. Be sure you have a copy of the recall data when you ask, so you prevent looking like you’ve lost your mind completely.

If they decline, take the news with a grin of acceptance. Nobody will fault you for asking, as long as your expectations aren’t unrealistic.

Sincere best.

Thanks for your responses. The local Toyota dealer can order the parts and yes they cost more than the car is worth ($424 both arms, parts only; another $500+ labor). She gave me an 800 number if I wanted to pursue it further.

Well, make the call!