Laguna Hills, CA – Oct. 24, 2019 – Vehicles produced by numerous automakers have been affected by faulty air bags in recent years, and one of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers is the very latest to experience the fallout.
As a result, Toyota Motor Engineering is opting to recall more than 928,200 models of various types due to concerns that the air bags installed in these vehicles’ dashboards and steering wheels could explode upon deployment in a crash. Sharp metal fragments may be inside the air bag, thus causing injury or death to the driver or passenger should the bag tear and the debris fly out.
Recipients of mailers (due to be distributed Nov. 15) are strongly recommended to have their vehicles checked out by a Toyota dealership. The air bag assembly will be examined for any potential clues of compromise to see if a replacement is necessary. In such cases, owners won’t be charged for the repair.
Toyota has announced the recall of 928,203 models because the air bag inflators may be faulty, according to official filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A total of 17 different model types are included in this recall action, several of which are under Toyota’s luxury brand. Here’s a partial list:
- 2007-2012 Lexus ES350
- 2010-2017 Lexus GX460
- 2006-2012 Lexus IS 250
- 2010-2015 Lexus IS 250c
- 2006-2012 Lexus IS 350
- 2010-2016 Toyota 4Runner
- 2003-2013 Toyota Corolla
- 2009-2010 Toyota Corolla Matrix
- 2004-2005 Toyota RAV4
- 2002-2007 Toyota Sequoia
Officials note that the propellant used to inflate the air bags once triggered may degrade in high-humidity environments, which could lead to an explosion of the air bag itself. Sharp objects within the unit could cause serious injury or death should they strike the passenger or driver.
Timeline of Events
As previously noted, Toyota is one of several automakers impacted by air bag recalls, as millions of automobiles have returned to dealerships so their original bags can be swapped out for fully operating ones. In fact, all of the listed vehicles were a part of a separate air bag recall for the same problem. This is the second and final phase of the original recall. The errant air bags in question were developed by Takata, which filed for bankruptcy in 2017. According to Reuters, at least 24 people have been killed worldwide as a result of rupturing air bags. Of these deaths, 16 took place in the U.S.
Just because there are recall notices out on numerous makes and models doesn’t mean that they’re all attended to, despite owners’ receipt of notifications. In 2018, however, repair rates improved rather sharply among several models. These included the 2006 Ford Ranger (82% in October 2018 from 6% in January 2018), and multiple 2001-2003 Honda models, with an overall 96% repair rate by the end of 2018, according to NHTSA data.
Several of the automobiles subject to this latest air bag recall were also involved in a previous one that was announced in February. That one affected 1.2 million vehicles, among them 2010-2016 4Runner, 2011-2013 Corolla and 2011-2013 Corolla Matrix vehicles.
Starting Nov. 15, Toyota will begin distributing notifications via first-class mail informing owners of this most recent air bag recall. Before this, however, each car will be inspected to determine the nature of the problem and the appropriate corrective action. For example, the driver and/or passenger air bags may be defective. Whatever the case may be, the inflator, air bag assembly or both will be swapped out. This repair is for free, and depending on the day, the fix should take approximately one hour to complete.
For more information on air bag recalls and those automakers impacted by them, please visit MotorSafety.org.