Recently Produced Trucks Part of Bumper-Related Toyota Recalls

Torrance Calif. — Feb. 14, 2017 — Some of the 2016 and 2017 Toyota Tundra vehicles produced in recent years could be subject to a new recall for exterior issues that could affect safety. Late in January, a safety recall report appeared online in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall database, describing an ongoing effort.

The Defect

According to the report, the issue involved bumper resin brackets on the rear steps of these vehicles. These brackets may not be able to withstand some damage, the source said, and could weaken the bumper, causing it to fall off if someone stepped on it. The problem seems to stem, at least in part, from the use of ineffective brackets, and affects 72,847 vehicles produced within a time span of more than a year, from July 29, 2015 to Dec. 22, 2016.

Timeline of Events

  • Early 2016: Although a Toyota field report claimed that a customer had broken off a piece of a vehicle bumper, the company was unsure of the source of the defect and determined that it was not due to “external influence,” according to an official chronology.
  • Mid 2016 to Early 2017: Further investigation by the company revealed the link between initial damage to bumper brackets and subsequent damage to the bumper itself. More reports about this issue also spurred Toyota’s efforts to discover the cause, eventually leading to 40 total related warranty claims (only seven of which are confirmed).
  • Early 2017: The recall safety campaign was confirmed Jan. 18 and the manufacturer reported it Jan. 24. The Recall Acknowledgement letter submitted to the NHTSA is dated for Feb. 6, 2017.

The Resolution

While the dealer notification date has already passed, the owner notification dates were listed to fall between Feb. 15 and March 25, 2017.  The remedy will reportedly involve replacing the bumper tread covers in affected vehicles, as well as steel brackets to replace those made of resin.

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Toyota Recalls Minivans For Sliding Door Malfunction

Nov. 22 – Torrance, California – Toyota recently announced a recall of Sienna minivans in response to electrical problems that may affect the operation of power sliding doors.

The Defect

According to documents compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the problem appears to have affected Sienna vehicles from the 2011-2016 model years – specifically, those manufactured between Jan. 4, 2010 and Aug. 12, 2016. The issue can arise when something impedes the normal operation of the power sliding doors, such as ice in the winter. When this happens, the motor stalls, generating current and operating the fuse for the door motor. There is a chance that this can cause the door to open unexpectedly while the vehicle is moving.

Timeline

January 2014  – April 2015 – Toyota first received reports of a malfunctioning door from a dealer. While an initial inspection found that the door cable was not attached to the latch mechanism, the parts still functioned normally when reattached and no abnormalities in the cable installment process were found. At the time, Toyota concluded that this was an isolated incident.

November 2015 – April 2016 – Toyota received more reports of similar issues. In some vehicles, the sliding doors refused to latch. Two reports indicated that doors opened while the vehicles were moving. Further investigation determined that these problems tended to emanate from cold climates.

May 2016 – November 2016 – Toyota determined that freezing could cause the sliding door motor to stall, leading to further malfunctions down the road. The company then announced its voluntary safety recall campaign.

Solution

Toyota will mail notices to affected vehicle owners by Jan. 21, 2017. This letter will include instructions for those owners who have already paid for repairs and wish to apply for reimbursement from the automaker.

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Toyota Settles Truck Frame Rust Suit [Video]

A class-action suit between Toyota and owners of several different truck models has reached its conclusion.

In a recent settlement, the automaker has agreed to pay owners of the Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia trucks $3.4 billion in compensation for inadequate rust protection, according to Autoweek. As many as 1.5 million trucks may have been affected.

Under the terms of the deal, Toyota will inspect the affected trucks for 12 years after they were sold, even replacing the frames if necessary. They will also reimburse drivers who paid for repairs on their own.

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Toyota recalls 337,000 crossover vehicles [Video]

In September, Toyota announced a recall of 337,000 S-U-Vs and Lexus sedans because of a defect with the tie rod. The problem is that the threads on the tie rod can start to rust if a nut isn’t tightened properly. That causes the rod to break and drastically alter the suspension of the car. It’s dangerous to the driver because the car can veer off suddenly in one direction.

The recall includes Toyota R-A-V-4s built from October 31, 2005, to September 7, 1010, as well as Lexus H-S-250-h vehicles built between July 6, 2009, and August 26, 2010.

If you have one of those vehicles, take it into your dealership for a rear suspension replacement at no cost to you.

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Toyota Halts Prius Sales Over Faulty Parking Brakes

Toyota has ordered a halt to Prius sales after receiving reports that parking brakes may fail to engage. The issue could lead to vehicles rolling away without warning. The automaker is also recalling vehicles that may have been affected, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Defect

Toyota is recalling 91,585 vehicles from the 2016 and 2017 model years, produced between Aug. 5, 2015 and Oct. 3, 2016. Of these cars, about 19,500 have not yet been sold and are still in dealer inventory. The cause appears to be brake cables disengaging from the crank lever of the foot-operated parking brake pedal. If an affected vehicle is left in any other gear than “Park” while the ignition is on, it could roll away.

Timeline

In May 2016, Toyota began to receive reports from drivers about the issue. The end result was three separate Toyota field reports, as well as 64 warranty claims that are believed to be related to this issue.

On Oct. 12, 2016, Toyota filed a Defect Information report with the NHTSA, informing the agency about its voluntary recall.

Proposed Remedy

Toyota expects to begin notifying owners and dealers of the recall in November 2016, and the recall process itself will begin Dec. 11, 2016. Owners will be asked to return their vehicles to their nearest dealer. Toyota will install a clip at the parking brake cable that will prevent it from disengaging. This work will be done free of charge, as all affected vehicle owners are still within their warranty periods.

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New Suspension-Related Recall is Third for Several Toyota Vehicles

Jacksonville, Fla. — September 28, 2016 — The Los Angeles Times recently wrote about a recall that affects thousands of Toyota RAV4 SUVs and Lexus HS250 hybrid sedans. According to the source, the issue affects vehicles of these two makes from the model years 2006 to 2011.

Rusty suspension arms in these automobiles could eventually detach from affected vehicles and leave occupants in danger. Before this most recent action, the same vehicles had been reportedly recalled twice for loose suspension issues. The source said dealers will address the problem by replacing the defective suspension-arm assemblies.

Other Toyota recalls have affected the 2011 RAV4 as well. A June recall included RAV4 units with model years ranging between 2006 and 2011 for a seat-heater electrical wiring problem. According to the source, compressing seat cushions in these vehicles could damage the wiring and increase the risk of fire.

This action included 13 other Toyota vehicles and the total affected model years included vehicles dating as far back as 1987 and as recent as 2012. The component manufacturer involved in the case, Marketing World Wide, Inc, is no longer in business, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Safety Recall Report.

The remedy for this wiring problem involved using a “copper strand heating element” to disconnect the heaters. The original owner notification date was planned for the 15-day period between July 14 and 29.

As of this writing, the NHTSA recall database only lists the current suspension recall for the Lexus HS250 hybrid, although it originally dates it back to 2012. Updated instructions show that only a certified Chassis Expert, Master and Master Diagnostic Technicians can perform the necessary repairs.

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Toyota Issues Recall for Seat Heating Issues

Jacksonville, Fla. — August 17, 2016 — A June 8 statement posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website described a new Toyota recall affecting 14 different models. According to this letter, a total of 7,749 vehicles may potentially be at risk for a fire hazard due to possibly damaged electrical wiring in seat heaters.

If some of these cushions are compressed, the source said, a short circuit could occur. This would happen because of worn electrical wiring within the copper strand heating element. The model years for the affected vehicles range from 1988 to 2012 – some of the brands include the Toyota Avalon, Camry, Tacoma and Tundra. Together, all of the vehicles were produced between Dec. 5, 1987 and Jan. 27, 2012.

The Part 573 Safety Recall Report said that a short circuit could potentially injure an occupant and burn through the seat cover. The component manufacturer involved in this case, Marketing World Wide, Inc., was said to no longer be in business.

While the report set June 1 and 2 as the dealer notification date, owners aren’t scheduled for notice until later this month, between July 14 and 29. The recall will include “all potentially affected vehicles,” the report said, and dealers will disconnect the relevant seat heaters.

A press release from the manufacturer announced another pair of Toyota recalls in late June. The U.S. arm of the company recalled “approximately 482,000” units for possible cracks in the weld area of the air bag inflators.

This could cause the inflator to separate, putting occupants in possible danger. To remedy this, dealers will reportedly add retention brackets to the impacted vehicles’ curtain shield air bag inflators. This issue seems unrelated to the millions of vehicles involved in the widespread Takata air bag recalls.

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Toyota Recalls Several Vehicles for Load Carrying Labels

Jacksonville, Fla. — July 20, 2016 — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently published documents about a label-related Toyota recall. The official Recall Safety Report from this source said that 2,520 vehicles could potentially bear an incorrect load-carrying-capacity modification label.

This needs to be accurate to within 1 percent of an auto’s weight, under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 110 S10. The Report stated that the vehicles involved in this recall do not meet this standard.

All of the recalled models have either 2015 or 2016 model years and were produced between May 6, 2014 and May 13, 2016. The issue may be present in Toyota Camry, Highlander and Tundra light vehicles from these years, as well as Scion FR-S and tC units.

A closer look at the issue

The report defined the origin of the incorrect labels. According to that source, Southeast Toyota submitted incorrect weight figures for certain accessories. The manufacturer first noticed discrepancies after an audit on May 9, 2016.

All units involved in this recall are thought to have the defect. Whether or not a manufacturer needs to add these labels depends on whether additions were made to the vehicles before sales. Incorrect load-bearing information may lead owners to misjudge how much their vehicle can carry, leaving them at risk of a crash or injury if they add too much weight.

The recall remedy

This report was submitted on June 7, several days after the planned dealer notification dates of June 2 and 3. Owners will not be notified until July 14 and 15, and Southeast Toyota is currently working to determine the correct owner addresses.

The manufacturer has taken other steps to enforce proper practices during this action. In statements distributed to dealers, the company reminded locations to avoid selling any vehicles that may not comply with regulations.

Part of this includes using Inspection Reminder Hang Tags, which could help distinguish which vehicles are in need of an impending inspection. Dealer associates with the proper certification are expected to follow the technical instructions for installing the correct weight labels.

One person at least has to verify the quality of the repair, the statement said. Customers should receive the right Accessory Weight addendum label, but replacement labels can be made if the Vehicle Identification Number can be confirmed.

Other Toyota recalls for the same models

As of June 20, the 2016 Toyota Camry has only been part of one other recall: an April 2016 effort concerning occupant classification systems. Incorrect calibration led to possible noncompliance with the FMVSS on multiple counts.

Due to this error, some air bags would not deploy in certain situations, leaving passengers in increased danger. The remedy requires dealers to recalibrate the system themselves. As with the most recent recall, Toyota discovered this issue during an audit, and found that the problem occurred in some 2016 Toyota Avalon vehicles as well.

While the 2016 Toyota Highlander is not involved in any other recalls so far, the 2015 Toyota Tundra underwent a similar recall for bearing the wrong tire inflation information more than a year ago. The Recall Acknowledgement letter on this action said that 144 of these vehicles were in danger of failing FMVS 110.

The 2015 Tundra tire label recall

The tire placards in this case may display incorrect pressure information, causing drivers to potentially leave the tires underinflated. As the owner notification statement said, the pressure information became inaccurate after Nitto Terra Grappler G2 tires were added to the vehicle.

The notice, dated June 30, 2015, also prioritized residents in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, saying that they should visit their dealers immediately, as opposed to those living in other states. Repair was said to take “30 minutes or less,” as the dealers installed the correct placard instead.

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Suspension Concerns Prompt Toyota Yaris Recalls

Torrance, Calif. — July 5, 2016 — In approximately 3,106 Toyota Yaris brand vehicles, difficulties with the front shock absorbers could lead to a greater risk of crash. The Part 573 Safety Recall Report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that the units were produced between January 13 and February 27 in 2015. This is reportedly the only Toyota or Lexus model in the United States using the affected system.

The report noted that high loads and sudden movements in the affected vehicles could impact the front shock absorbers, perhaps destabilizing the Yaris to a dangerous degree. Owner notification is scheduled for July 24, and recipients should expect a first class mail message directing them to their dealership.

Though the report didn’t list any specific indicators, it mentioned an “abnormal noise” as a potential sign of the problem. The risk increases for vehicles where the strut rod has separated. To remedy this situation, Toyota dealers will replace the defective strut mounting bearing with a more secure unit.

The first field report related to this issue was submitted in October 2015. According to a Defect Information Report from the manufacturer, this first field notice led to further investigations. Four months later, in February 2016, a review connected the fault to a resin cap for strut mounting bearings. The voluntary safety recall campaign began May 19, after Toyota confirmed that resin cap rings could eventually affect the strut bearing.

Some of the data used to guide this recall come from specific Toyota tests. The manufacturer used a speed bump to determine the severity of the defect. The supplier of the problematic part was identified as SKF France, based in Montigny le Bretonneux.

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