Pleasanton, CA – October 14, 2020 – Toyota (NYSE: TM) has recalled 3,121 Highlander crossovers whose seats may block the side airbags from deploying. The recall includes 2020 Toyota Highlanders and Highlander Hybrids models.
The 2020 Highlander’s seats contain airbags that cushion the driver side and passenger side of the vehicle in the case of a crash. In order to deploy, the airbags must burst through a seam in the front seats that is designed to tear and let the airbag out.
But, due to a manufacturing mix-up, pieces of the left and right seat-covers may have been reversed in these vehicles. This incorrect seat trim means that the seam may not be in the correct place, which could keep the airbags from deploying.
The components involved are Seat Assy, Fr LH and Seat Assy, Fr RH, which are part of the driver and passenger seat assembly, respectively.
These side-impact torso airbags (SABs) are designed to help protect the driver and passenger from impacts on either side of the vehicle. They would come handy if, for example, you are thrown against the door of the car during a crash or t-boned by a distracted driver.
Although they have never been required by law, the percent of car models built with side airbags has increased steadily since 1996. 2020 Highlanders, and many other vehicles, pair a torso bag with a “curtain” style airbag, which covers the window and protects the driver’s head. Together, they are estimated to reduce side-impact crash fatalities by 31.3%.
Vehicle owners will be notified about the recall on December 13. Toyota dealers will replace the seat covers if they are not installed correctly.
Is your vehicle part of this recall?
There are over 3,000 affected SUVs included in this Toyota recall. To see if your car is subject to this recall or other safety issues, use MotorSafety’s vehicle identification number (VIN) look up tool.