Plano, Texas – March 7, 2018 – Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing has recalled almost 12,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective fuel lines, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The action affects 2018 Toyota Camry sedans produced between June 22, 2017, and Nov. 29, 2017. The automaker is unsure what percentage of the recalled vehicles contain the defective parts.
The models involved in the campaign contain V-6 engines, which feature two fuel delivery lines connected to two fuel hoses. The fuel delivery lines were not properly connected to the hoses during assembly, increasing the likelihood of fuel leakage and engine fires. This defect obviously poses a serious threat to occupants. However, Toyota has not received reports connecting the defective fuel lines to any accidents or injuries.
Timeline of Events
Toyota in November 2017 received a field report from the U.S. market outlining an instance in which sales staff cleaning a new 2018 Camry pre-delivery noticed a fuel odor coming from the engine compartment, according to chronology document the automaker submitted to the NHTSA. Engineers inspected the vehicle and found that fuel lines had detached from the fuel hoses, leaking gasoline into the engine compartment. The automaker launched an investigation immediately.
Quality assurance staff first reviewed the established fuel line assembly standards, which direct line workers to ensure the fuel lines and hoses are properly connected. After looking over these procedures and comparing them to the actions taken by assembly personnel at the plant from which the vehicle originated, Toyota decided that defect was not the result of flawed processes or execution.
Toyota then reached out to the vendor that supplied the parts and collaborated with the organization to review its internal production processes. This evaluation failed to yield a root cause. Soon after, the car manufacturer analyzed additional 2018 Camry sedans and found that a significant number exhibited the same defective fuel line assemblies.
However, Toyota did not discover an underlying reason for the detachment issue but put new assembly measures into place to more effective ensure engagement between fuel lines and hoses. The organization implemented additional sensor checks on its lines and updated its standard working procedures to place more emphasis on fuel line assembly functionality. It also launched two field studies to collect additional data on the phenomenon.
On Feb. 6, 2018, Toyota quality assurance and safety personnel reviewed the matter and decided to conduct a voluntary safety recall. The automaker notified dealers Feb. 14, 2018.
Toyota has directed dealers to inspect the fuel line assemblies in affected vehicles and correct them if necessary, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. These repairs will be done at no charge to the customer. Toyota intends to reach out to owners March 30, 2018, via first-class mail. Those in need of assistance prior to the start of the recall can contact Toyota customer service staff at (888) 270-9371. The internal recall identification code for the recall is J0G. Owners can also contact the NHTSA using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.