Lilburn, Georgia – Sept. 15, 2018 – Toyota is recalling 192,000 of its 2016 to 2018 Prius hybrids that were sold in the U.S. due to a fire risk. According to a company press release, wiring in the front of the vehicle may wear over time, potentially resulting in a short circuit, which could cause a fire.
Affected vehicles include certain 2016 to 2018 Toyota Prius cars manufactured between June 2015 and May 2018. These vehicles are part of a larger 1 million vehicle worldwide recall, with the majority of the remaining vehicles sold in Japan, as well as some located in Canada, the U.K., Europe and Australia.
These vehicles have an engine wire harness consisting of a bundle of wires wrapped in a protective sleeve. The wire harness is connected to the hybrid vehicle Power Control Unit, which controls electricity within the hybrid drivetrain. A portion of the wire harness can potentially contact the cover at this connection and wear over time. The resulting friction can cause an electrical short circuit, which can generate heat, leading to a vehicle fire.
Timeline of Events
As noted by Consumer Reports in early September, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that Toyota discovered the defect after a dealer in Japan reported “abnormal odor, smoke, and flames” from a customer’s vehicle. To date, Toyota says that a single warranty claim in the U.S. may be related to the issue, but this has not been confirmed.
The recall covers all Toyota Prius and Prius Plug-in models built between June 2015 and May 2018, and also affects Toyota C-HR plug-in hybrid models sold in Europe, Japan, and Australia, but not in the U.S. Former Toyota recalls for Prius models over the past few years have included brake issues and software failures.
According to Toyota, all repairs will be provided at no cost to customers. All known owners will receive a notification by first class mail starting in late October.
For all involved vehicles, Toyota dealers have been instructed to check the engine wire harness assembly to see if a wire core is exposed. If there is visible exposure, the engine wire harness assembly will be replaced with a new one that includes a stronger protective sleeve. If a wire core is not currently exposed, specialized protective tape will be installed on the engine wire harness assembly to prevent wear at the point of contact.
Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-800-331-4331. Customers can also access current information on open safety recalls by Toyota by entering their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at: www.toyota.com/recall. or nhtsa.gov/recalls.
Owners may also connect with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration through the agency’s toll-free Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236. The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 18V579, or get more current information on current or potential recalls by entering their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at nhtsa.gov/recalls.
The recall is expected to begin in early October 2018. Toyota had no additional comment beyond their press release.