Toyota Recalls Nearly 45,000 Vehicles for Potential Brake Failure

Laguna Hills, CA – December 31, 2018 – Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling certain 2018-2019 Toyota Tacoma vehicles due to a potential brake issue. Toyota estimates that at least 90 percent of the involved vehicles have potential to develop the failed seal condition over the lifetime of the vehicle, which could lead to the unreasonable risk to safety. The potential number of units affected is 44,121.

The Defect

According to the NHTSA Recall Safety Report, the vehicles contain a brake master cylinder that includes a rubber seal which seals the brake fluid within the housing as the master cylinder piston moves. Due to combinations of improper part machining operations at one supplier facility and casting variations of master cylinders at another of its facilities, there is a possibility that a master cylinder could have an edge that does not have the correct chamfer where the rubber seal is retained. If this were to occur, over time, this edge could damage the rubber seal, causing an internal fluid leak. If the vehicle continues to be operated in this condition, the brake pedal feel could change, and front brake performance could be suddenly reduced. Reduced front braking performance could increase the vehicle stopping distance and may increase the risk of a crash.

Timeline of Events

According to the chronology report issued by Toyota, in June 2018, Toyota received three field reports on 2018 Tacoma vehicles which described the brake pedal traveling to the floor and reduced braking ability. All three of these vehicles had less than 600 miles. The brake master cylinders were recovered and sent to the part supplier for investigation. In August, Toyota received additional field reports of this condition, which master cylinders were also recovered and sent to the supplier for investigation. In September, the part supplier began providing its preliminary analysis based on some of the recovered parts. This preliminary analysis indicated that an internal leak existed which was caused by a cut rubber seal, and it was observed in these cases that the channel within the bore of the master cylinder, which is designed to retain the rubber seal, had an edge that did not have the correct chamfer.

Between October 2018 – early December 2018, the part supplier reported that their testing had identified multiple improper processes completed at the U.S. machining facility. When some combination of these improper processes were applied to non-concentric castings from the supplier casting facility in Japan, there existed a possibility of producing master cylinders with edges at the channel of the bore with varying levels of incorrect chamfer. It was also determined that this would only occur on parts cast in the supplier’s Japan facility and machined at the supplier’s U.S. facility.

Additional testing on newly machined master cylinders with edges of different incorrect chamfers revealed that the seals in a number of these tests were damaged and may eventually result in an internal leak. Any parts which were cast in the supplier’s Japan facility and machined in the supplier’s U.S. facility during the production range preceding identification of a potential issue may have some level of incorrect chamfer which may damage the seal.

It was determined that a damaged seal could cause brake fluid to leak internally, causing the brake pedal feel to change, and front brake performance could be suddenly reduced. On December 7, 2018, based on the results of the above investigation, Toyota decided to conduct a voluntary safety recall campaign. As of December 3, 2018, Toyota was only aware of 5 Toyota Field Technical Reports (3 unconfirmed reports) and 37 warranty claims (28 unverified claims) received from U.S. sources which were considered in the recall decision. Toyota is unaware of any accidents or injuries.

The Solution

All known owners of the involved vehicles will be notified via first class mail to return their vehicles to a Toyota dealer. Toyota dealers will replace the brake master cylinder with a new one, free of charge. As the owner notification letters will be mailed out well within the active period of the Toyota New Vehicle Limited Warranty (“Warranty”), all involved vehicle owners for this recall would have been provided a repair at no cost under Toyota’s Warranty. The recall is expected to begin January 21, 2019. Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-888-270-9371. Toyota’s numbers for this recall are J16/J06. Owners may also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153). The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 18V-888.

Sean ReyesToyota Recalls Nearly 45,000 Vehicles for Potential Brake Failure