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Japan’s three largest automakers are announcing related recalls totaling 3. 4 million cars over faulty airbags supplied by Takata Corp.
The Toyota Tacoma was recalled earlier this month for a fault in the steering wheel spiral cable design, which the company claimed affected 2005 to 2009 models. Today, Toyota has expanded the recall to include all 2005 to 2012 model year Tacomas.
The issue is that the steering wheel spiral cable rubs against the retainer inside the assembly, which over time can result in compromised connectivity to the driver’s-side airbag module. If this happens the drivers side airbag won’t work.
According to Toyota, there is a noise that accompanies the issue and can be deteced by drivers.
If you drive a 2005-2012 Toyota Tacoma, call your local Toyota dealership and they will replace the necessary parts for you.
Over the last few years, the words “Toyota” and “recall” have gone hand in hand. While the companies previous woes are behind them, Toyota has since been extra cautious and issues recalls for everything it finds to have a potential defect.
Just today, Toyota has announced a recall notice for three of its vehicles, the 2009 Camry, the 2009 – 2011 Venza, and the 2005 – 2009 Tacoma pick-up truck.
The Camry and Venza share the same defect. According to Toyota; “during the installation of the contact-type stop lamp switch on one of the North American assembly lines, silicon grease may have reached the inside of the switch and caused an increase in electrical resistance. If this occurs, warning lamps on the instrument panel may be illuminated, the vehicle may not start, or the shift lever may not shift from the ‘Park’ position. In some cases, the vehicle stop lamps may become inoperative.”
A total of 70,500 Camry’s and 116,000 Venza models are affected and Toyota will be informing their customers via first class mail. The repair should take roughly 30-minutes to complete at a Toyota dealership.
If you own a 2005 – early 2009 Tacoma pick-up truck, you will also receive a recall notice via first class mail very soon. The Tacoma’s recall is to replace the steering wheel spiral cable assembly.
According to Toyota; “due to the combination of steering wheel spiral cable design and characteristics unique to the Tacoma chassis, friction between the spiral cable and the retainer in the steering wheel spiral cable assembly may occur in some vehicles. Friction over time may result in loss of connectivity to the driver’s air bag module. If connectivity is lost, the air bag warning lamp on the instrument panel will remain illuminated after starting the vehicle and the driver’s air bag may be deactivated, preventing deployment in the event of a crash. ”
A total of 495,000 Tacoma’s are potentially affected. This brings the grand total to 681,500 vehicles to receive a recall service, which is surely going to be costly. However, Toyota has learned from the past and will act on correcting these issues as soon as possible.
If you believe your vehicle might be affected, you can contact Toyota’s Customer Experience Center by dialing 1-800-331-4331.
After almost a year since regulators closed Toyota’s unintended acceleration investigation, independent auto-safety firm Safety Research and Strategies announced Tuesday that a lawsuit has been filed in federal court requesting for the government to release internal records of said investigation.
According to Safety Research and Strategies, there is reason to believe that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration withheld documents and videos that suggest unintended acceleration incidents were caused by electronics systems rather than floor mats or driver error.
Concerned that evidence of electrical defects in Toyota vehicles have been ignored or concealed, the lawsuit demands all transcripts, recordings, photographs, and videotapes generated from two federal investigators that went to visit the home of senior government official, Joseph H. McClelland, who has experienced unintended acceleration in his 2003 Toyota Prius hybrid.
According to a sworn statement from Mr. McClelland, investigators came to visit his home on May 17th, and documented evidence of sudden acceleration during an accompanied test drive. Mr. McClelland claimed the car over-accelerated in three distinct occasions as electronic displays began to blink wildly. The investigators videotaped the events and inspected floormats to determine the cause. After the drive, the two investigators even connected a computer to the car to read software codes.
Mr. McClelland said, “[The investigators] generally seemed excited. They said they hadn’t seen a vehicle display this type of behavior before, capturing the information in real time, and they said this could be an important vehicle for the sudden accelerations and it might help put some pieces together.”
Ultimately, NHTSA did not follow up with the investigation since the agency believes it’s possible the vehicle’s age and high mileage (280,000 miles) could have been the cause of any number of issues.
Upon learning about McClelland’s incident and inquiry, Safety Research and Strategies co-founder Sean Kane requested for the documents pertaining the McClelland investigation. However, photos and videos were denied and Sean Kane only received six pages of the 22 page case file.
In regards to the lawsuit, Sean Kane explained, “This is all about transparency. This is an agency that selectively releases data that fits its narrative that electronics are not at fault in sudden acceleration.”
NHTSA responded that the agency had already carefully reviewed more than 40,000 complaints each year. There are no plans to reopen the unintended acceleration investigation.
[Source: The New York Times]
For the third year in a row, Toyota‘s recall campaigns affected the most vehicles compared to any other automaker in 2011. With 13 campaigns launched in 2011, Toyota recalled over 3.5 million vehicles while GM issued the greatest number of recalls with 21.
General Motors’ affected vehicle total was only 455,901 despite the overwhelming number of recalls issued. Over half of those vehicles recalled were the newly-launched Chevrolet Cruze compact, a total of 231,319 over three different recalls.
Ford was in second place with 3.2 million vehicles affected over 10 recall campaigns. Honda had 11 recalls affecting 2 million vehicles putting them in third place. Comparatively speaking, Nissan was stellar with just 273,700 vehicles affected through seven recalls.
Toyota was fined $32.5 million for failing to issue recalls in a timely fashion by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has caused the Japanese automaker to issue recalls more readily.
[Source: Ward's Auto]
Toyota has officially announced a recall of certain 2006 and 2007 model year Highlander hybrid and Lexus RX 400h vehicles. The recall will affect 45,500 Highlander hybrids and 36,700 RX 400h’s. The issue stems from the Intelligent Power Module (IPM) located inside the hybrid system inverter that contains a control board with transistors.
Certain transistors on the control boards in the affected vehicles were inadequately soldered and could be damaged from heat caused by a large current flow during heavy driving.
If this were to occur, warning lights would come on and in most cases the vehicle would enter a fail-safe driving mode, resulting in reduced power and a shorter driving distance. In more serious cases, the power supply circuit fuse could blow when the transistor is damaged. The blown fuse would cause the hybrid system to stop and the vehicle would cost to a stop.
Owners with affected vehicles will be notified by first class main in mid-July 2011. An inspection will be made at a Toyota dealer, and if the vehicle is affected, the IPM will be replaced at no cost.
Toyota is conducting a voluntary recall for RAV4 and Highlander models in America, to replace the side curtain airbag sensor assembly.
On certain RAV4s built between 2007 and 2008 and Highlanders from 2008, there are two side curtain sensors that detect the side angle of a vehicle during a rollover. These sensors could fail and illuminate the airbag warning light, which would prevent the rollover detection system from activating. If both of these sensors fail, however, the side airbags could be fooled into thinking a rollover has actually happened, and deploy.
Only North American vehicles have this feature, and no other Toyota or Lexus cars around the world are affected. None of the 214,000 RAV4s or 94,000 Highlanders affected have actually deployed their airbags, but given Toyota’s recent history with recalls it’s fair to say that they are not taking any chances.
Yet another recall has been announced by Toyota, this time regarding the Tire Pressure Monitoring System found on some of the automaker’s trucks and SUVs.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 22,000 examples of 2008-2011 FJ Cruisers, Land Cruisers, Tacomas, Sequoias and Tundras, failed to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard #138 (TPMS). Apparently the affected vehicles had tire pressure monitoring systems that weren’t calibrated correctly and did not illuminate a low pressure signal at the required minimum tire pressure.
As with many of these recalls, NHTSA believes the problem could lead to drivers piloting their vehicles with under inflated tires, potential causing blowouts and resulting in accidents.
Toyota has instructed its dealers to re-initialize the TPMS system on the affected vehicles free of charge, though at the time of our post had yet to confirm a start date for the recall. Concerned owners of the affected vehicles can contact Toyota at 1-800 331 4331 or the NHTSA safety Hotline at 1-800 337 4236 for updates. Alternatively if you prefer doing things online, more info can be found by clicking on the link below.
Toyota has just announced a recall of 1.7 million vehicles globally, with roughly 245,000 Lexus models in the U.S. Affected vehicles include the 2006 through 2007 Lexus GS300/350, the 2006 through early 2009 Lexus IS250, and 2006 to 2008 Lexus IS350 vehicles.
The issue with the vehicles involves a fuel pressure sensor that may not have been tightened properly during assembly. As a result, it could loosen over time and cause a fuel leak.
Lexus will notify owners by mail, at which point they will be asked to bring their model into the dealer for an inspection. If no leak is detected, the fuel pressure sensor will be properly tightened. If a leak is detected the gasket between the two parts will be replaced and the sensor properly installed.
Owners with questions are encouraged to contact Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25 LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987 or at www.lexus.com/recall.
An additional recall for 1.2 million models for faulty fuel pipes includes the RAV4, Noah and Voxy models in Japan and the Avensis in Europe.
Toyota has announced it will recall 650,000 Prius models to replace the water pump. Technically, this is not actually a recall as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) isn’t involved and it is not deemed to be a safety issue.
Toyota will, however, contact owners of affected cars (dating from the 2004 to 2007 model years) starting in December to replace the coolant pump free of charge.
According to Toyota, the design of the pump could cause air bubbles to built up inside, resulting in a loss of cooling and diminished power from the engine.
The majority of recalled cars (378,000 of them) are in the U.S.
[Source: Automotive News]
Just when Toyota‘s bad news seemed to have ceased, the Japanese automaker is announcing yet another recall – this time affecting 373,000 Avalon models in the United States. The vehicles included in the recall date from 2000-2004 and the issue involves the steering column, which could lock-up under cornering.
According to Toyota, a defect in the casting of the lock bar means that after repeated operation the lock pin could come loose and possibly line up with the corresponding lock hole. This could lead to a vehicle that either exhibits a locked steering wheel when parked, or possibly even during operation.
Toyota will replace a bracket on the steering column as a fix for the problem, with owners being notified by mail in late august.
Those with questions are asked to contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331 or visit www.toyota.com/recall.
Official release after the jump:
Already overrun with legal issues relating to its unintended acceleration issues, Toyota‘s problems are about to get worse as the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has just increased the number of deaths that may be related to the faulty pedal and floor mat recalls. A new NHTSA document now places the total number of deaths related to the problem at 89 – up significantly from the previous total of 57.
NHTSA says it has recorded more than 6,200 complains of unintended acceleration in Toyota models.
In response to those issues Toyota recalled over 8 million vehicles and has been fined $16.4 million by the U.S. government for failing to report the issue and make the recall in a timely manner.
Toyota claims it has found the solution to the faulty accelerator issue and insists the problem is mechanical, not electronic. It also says the vast majority of the 6,200 complaints lack sufficient information to determine what the cause of the unintended acceleration was.
To date, Toyota has fixed almost half of the vehicles recalled under the two unintended acceleration recalls relating to both floor mat entrapment and faulty accelerator pedals.
[Source: Washington Post]
Toyota recalled a number of trucks in Japan for a defective steering column but chose to wait nearly a year before recalling them in North America, despite a series of complains in the United States regarding the issue. The revelation comes on the heels of a $16.4 million fine imposed by the U.S. government as punishment for Toyota delaying the recalls of millions of vehicles over accelerator pedals that stick open unintentionally.
The latest recall involves a defective steering column, and failure could lead to the driver being unable to steer the vehicle and turn its wheels. Toyota initially claimed that the recall was issued in Japan because driving conditions put more strain on the affected parts and denied that there was an issue in North America. However the Associated Press investigated the matter and found numerous complains to Toyota’s customer service, legal and warranty department. The National Highway Traffics Safety Association has linked the defect to 16 crashes, three deaths and seven injuries.
[Source: Automotive News]
It’s happening again. Toyota is expanding it’s recall program even further, this time covering 2000-03 Toyota Tundras for frame rot. The problem stems from complaints of premature frame rusting on trucks sold in Northern states, primarily around the rear crossmembers and spare tire mounts. Toyota, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, originally issued a recall last year, covering vehicles in 20 so-called ‘cold-weather,’ states. Now, it has expanded the program to include other sections of the frame and vehicles sold in other states, as part of a limited service campaign.
This new recall is a retroactive enhancement to the vehicle’s warranty to replace the entire frame for free if it meets certain corrosion conditions, but owners of Tundras with frame rust will only have a limited opportunity to take advantage of the offer, which expires after April 30, 2012.
According to Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons; ”information is being sent to all [2000-03 Tundra] owners. We’re really targeting the trucks in the severe cold-weather states but it also includes owners in the other states.”
The states primarily affected by the recall include Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
The original recall covered 110,000 Tundras. The limited service campaign has now expanded that to up to 440,000 trucks.
Toyota dealers will inspect Tundras covered by the campaign for signs of frame rust with specific guidelines laid out for replacement. If a perforation larger than 10 millimeters is found on outlined sections of the frame, including the outer chassis rails, parts of the K-member and other sections, the entire frame will be replaced with a new one.
Replacing the frame on a large pickup is a serious undertaking, that requires dismantling the truck and then installing everything onto the new frame. Given the scope of such a task, affected Tundra owners are likely to have to wait several weeks to even a few months before the repairs are completed.
To try and help minimize the inconvenience, Toyota has said that will cover rental car costs up to seven days. If frame replacement is delayed due to parts availability, then an additional 30 days worth of rental car fees may be claimed. In very special cases, it also mentioned that an additional 30 days could be claimed.
Toyota says it will contact affected Tundra owners by both phone and mail. Customers with additional questions or concerns are advised to contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 888-270-9371.
NHTSA originally began investigating Tundra frame rust complaints in October 2009 and approximately a month later announced a “voluntary” recall. Toyota received criticism for its initially slow handling of the issue, but with the latest limited service campaign, has been praised for its commitment to Tundra customers. It’s not every day that an automaker is willing to fund more than $10,000 in repair costs on a ten year old vehicle, that’s been documented with a serious problem.
Toyota‘s recall issues just keep coming, with news from the Japanese automaker that it will recall 50,000 Sequoia SUVs from 2003. The problem with the trucks stems from the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system, but it is quite unlike the VSC problem recently identified in the Lexus GX460 – which was recalled for a stability control system that did not engage enough.
According to Toyota, the Sequoia’s VSC system could activate at low speeds (roughly 9 mph) causing a loss of acceleration for a few seconds. As a result the vehicle may not accelerate as quickly as the driver expects. Toyota says it changed the VSC system part-way though the 2003 year production, published a Technical Service Bulletin on the issue and that roughly half of the affected vehicles have already been fixed under standard warranty claims.
Toyota says no injuries or accidents have been reported due to this issue.
All 2003 model year Sequoia owners (including those who already had the vehicle serviced) will receive a letter from Toyota starting in late May to schedule a recall fix appointment. Those who already had the issue fixed at their own expense will be reimbursed by Toyota.
Toyota Sequoia owners seeking more information are asked to visit www.toyota.com/recall or call the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
Official release after the jump:
Between sticking accelerator pedals and rollover-prone SUVs, this year has not been kind to Toyota. However the Japanese automaker is poised to return a handsome $532 million profit, despite expectations to the contrary.
Toyota had initially forecasted a loss of $213, but a weak yen and a series of cost-cutting measures meant that Toyota is likely to beat expectations. On the other hand, Toyotas sales were down 5 percent, or about 7.2 million vehicles. All in all, Toyota’s earnings are admirable in a year where the Japanese auto giant was forced to recall some 10 million vehicles, forced to testify before Congress and endure a series of devastating quality control problems. Toyota will report its earnings on May 11th.
[Source: Automotive News via Autoblog]
As reported earlier today, Toyota has now officially announced it will comply with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s civil fine of $16.4 million for not issuing a recall within an acceptable timeframe. The recall in question focused on 2.3 million vehicles for sticking accelerator pedals.
In a statement the Japanese automaker accepted the fine, but not the terms behind it, stating that it does not believe it violated the Safety Act. “We believe we made a good faith effort to investigate this condition and develop an appropriate counter-measure. We have acknowledged that we could have done a better job of sharing relevant information within our global operations and outside the company, but we did not try to hide a defect to avoid dealing with a safety problem.”
Toyota says it agreed to the fine to avoid further litigation but also to move beyond the issue and focus on improving quality. “This will allow us to focus on delivering safe, reliable, high quality vehicles for our customers and responding to consumer feedback with honesty and integrity. These have been core Toyota values for 70 years, and we pledge to make an even greater effort to adhere to this philosophy now and in the future. We also welcome a new, more transparent chapter in our relationship with NHTSA, consistent with our commitments to Congress and the American people.”
While the $16.4 million fine isn’t much for an automaker, the negative public perception generated by it can be much more significant. Toyota now seems to be quick to issue recalls and vehicles needing to be recalled don’t appear to be lacking with an announcement late last week of a recall for the Sienna minivan and just today for the Lexus GX460.
Official release after the jump:
Toyota has just announced that it will recall the Lexus GX460 luxury SUV in order to update the vehicle’s stability control software. The recall applies to just 9,400 2010 model year SUVs – which only recently went on sale. This recall comes as just a few weeks ago Consumer Reports issued a “Do No Buy” label for the GX460 after its testing showed that the vehicle stability control (VSC) program allowed the car to slide completely sideways during emergency maneuvers – which could cause a rollover in real world circumstances.
“Toyota’s objective is to provide a high level of safety and quality, while meeting or surpassing governmental regulations. Our engineers have conducted tests to confirm the VSC performance issue raised by Consumer Reports, and we are confident this VSC software update addresses the concern,” said Steve St. Angelo, Toyota chief quality officer for North America.
Toyota says all Lexus dealers will have the new software by the end of April, at which point owners are encouraged to make an appointment to have the new software installed. Owners will also be contacted by Toyota in late May.
“From the moment we heard about this issue, Lexus and our dealers acted quickly to resolve the situation. Our dealers will now personally reach out to customers to set up appointments to make this modification. Lexus has always been about providing exemplary customer satisfaction and this will be another opportunity to demonstrate that,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager.
In addition, GX460 owners who aren’t comfortable driving their vehicle until that point will be given a loaner vehicle by their dealership until the recall work can be completed.
Official release after the jump:
It’s the fifth major recall for Toyota in the past few months and Toyota’s stellar reputation for quality is taking a beating. Toyota Motor Corp has just announced a recall of 600,000 Toyota Sienna minivans dating from 1998-2010. The issue with the vans is with the spare tire cable which may rust so severely that the spare tire, located at the rear of the van on the underside, could come loose. Toyota says this is a, “road hazard for following vehicles that increases the likelihood of a crash.”
The recall is for Sienna vans in Northern States or states which use salt on the roads in winter months – which causes increased corrosion. The states listed by Toyota include: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia. Owners of Sienna minivans in other states are welcome to bring their vehicle in for an inspection of the spare tire cable, Toyota says.
Toyota says it is working on a “fix” for the problem and will notify customers as soon as a remedy is available. Toyota will also send out notices to all Sienna owners to in the mean time to book an appointment to have the spare tire cable inspected.
Official release after the jump:
Last week the Department of Transportation announced a $16.4 million fine for Toyota after it declared the automaker acted too slowly in informing the government about a problem with sticking accelerator pedals which later led to a recall. That might not be the end of it, however, as according to a report by Automotive News the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) could levy yet another similar fine.
Of note is the fact that current legislation has saved Toyota from a far more costly payout. The DOT could have fined Toyota for each infraction on the 2.3 million cars, but the current law limits the amount to just one. Were it not for the current legislation, the total could have been as high as $13.8 billion.
The DOT is continuing to investigate Toyota and as it combs though mounts of subpoenaed documents new items of note continue to surface, allowing the DOT to put together a timeline of events. Most recently, investigators uncovered a document that Toyota has asked for accelerator pedal changes to be made in Europe last October, but not in the U.S. In addition, an email uncovered recently by former Toyota VP of environmental and public affairs Irv Miller, urged company execs to “come clean” on the accelerator pedal issue, stating that, “the time to hid on this one is over.”
No official word of the fine has been made by the NHTSA and Toyota has yet to announce if it will appeal the initial fine.
[Source: Automotive News va Autoblog]
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood seems to have found a “smoking gun,” in the Toyota recall controversy, alleging his department now has proof the automaker shirked its legal responsibilities. “We now have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligations,” he said yesterday. “Worse yet, they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families.”
As a result, the Transportation department is looking to fine Toyota $16.38 million – the highest penalty possible and the largest ever handed out.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the right to fine automakers that don’t inform the government body of a problem within five business days. According to the NHTSA, Toyota took four months to confirm the sticky accelerator pedal issue, long after it acknowledged such a problem existed by sending repair instructions to distributors in Europe and Canada. (Toyota Canada has since refuted this claim, saying no such repair info was sent to distributors in that country).
Toyota has two weeks to challenge any such fine by the NHTSA and has not yet said if it will, instead releasing a statement referring to its efforts to improve safety and communication at the company. Meanwhile the transportation department has said it is continuing to review internal Toyota documents and that more fines could be levied if additional violations are discovered.