Plano, Texas – Dec. 7, 2017 – Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing recently issued a recall for nearly 28,600 new vehicles due to concerns about the efficacy of their electric parking brakes and skid control computers, according to a letter submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Specifically, the recall affects 2018 Toyota C-HR sport utility vehicles, which were first introduced this year and produced between Feb. 2, 2017 and Oct. 17, 2017. Currently, Toyota is unable to estimate what percentage of these vehicles were affected by the potential issues, noting in its filing, ” Whether the condition will occur prior to first sale and constitute a noncompliance will differ depending on the environment and conditions that the vehicle is exposed to.”
Not all of the vehicles in the recall were actually sold in the U.S., however, as the issues were first spotted in Japan.
The recall notice states that Toyota discovered a possibility the computer that controls the C-HR’s skid control function may “incorrectly identify a small increase in circuit resistance” due to a film applied to the electric parking brake motor’s open circuit. Most often, this is likely to occur when a parking brake hasn’t been used in a while.
When this issue arises, the vehicle’s dashboard will light up, advising the driver that there has been an “EPB Malfunction” and that they should visit a dealer, as well as the inability to disengage the parking brake, or to apply it in the first place.
The latter issue, in turn, creates a potential rollaway risk if vehicles are stopped on a significant enough slope and not put into park properly.
Timeline of Events
The recall came in the wake of a few C-HRs in Japan reportedly having their EPBs stick after being applied, prompting an investigation into the issue from Toyota. As a result of that effort, which concluded in late October, the automaker determined the potential cause of the issue to be the oxide film on the EPB motor. However, C-HRs were not intended to go on sale in the U.S. before Nov. 9, so many of the issues might have cropped up before the vehicles got into consumers’ hands.
Nonetheless, Toyota is issuing letters to all known owners of C-HRs to return their vehicles to the dealerships where the SUVs were purchased, for a quick, no-cost update to the programming on the skid control computer, rather than fixing anything to do with the EPB itself. All such repairs will fall well within the window of the company’s New Vehicle Limited Warranty. These notifications were expected to reach most owners by late November, but some could arrive as late as mid-January.
For more information about the recall, owners will be able to call either Toyota’s hotline at 1-800-331-4331, or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236. They can also visit www.safercar.gov for more information.