Toyota Motor Corp. has recalled nearly 781,000 SUVs for problems with the vehicles’ suspensions that could cause drivers to lose control of the cars. The recalls involved the 2006-2010 Toyota Rav4 SUVs and the 2010 Lexus HS250h. Problems with the vehicles’ rear tie rods were stated as the reasons for the recalls. If the nuts for adjusting rear wheel alignment were tightened improperly, the rod may start to move around, rust and eventually fail, according to the company.
This is the second time the company has issued a massive recall for the rear tie rods in these vehicles. In a letter sent to dealers on August 27, Toyota said the initial repairs on those recalls may not have been done properly, exacerbating the problem. Toyota wrote in its letter to dealers:
Toyota received reports from dealers indicating that some vehicles experienced symptoms of the recalled condition after being inspected or repaired. Upon investigation, it was discovered that some inspections were not adequate and portions of the repair procedure may not have been performed correctly.
This was the third recall in one week for the Japanese automaker. A total of more than a million vehicles with safety problems were recalled. Toyota recalled 369,000 cars in two recalls. The company recalled nearly 200,000 model year 2006 to 2010 Highlander hybrids and model year 2006 to 2008 Lexus RX 400h SUVs, saying that transistors within the hybrid system’s inverter assembly can become heat damaged due to variations in characteristics of the transistors’ parallel circuits. Toyota said in a statement:
Should this occur, various warning lights on the instrument panel will illuminate, and in most cases, the vehicle will enter “limp home mode.” In limited instances, the hybrid system will shut down … resulting in the vehicle stopping while the vehicle is being driven.
The other recall involved some 169,000 model year 2006 to 2011 Lexus IS 350, IS 350C and GS 350 cars. In these vehicles, bolts used to secure the variable valve timing control device can become loose, causing the vehicle to stop while being driven. The company said an early warning for this condition can be an abnormal noise just after start-up.
You may recall that Toyota announced in January that it would recall more than a million Corolla and Lexus IS vehicles. This came as a result of two separate safety hazards involving defects related to the airbag and windshield wiper systems. According to Toyota, model year 2003 and 2004 Corolla sedans and Corolla Matrix hatchbacks have a problem with the airbag control circuits that has the potential to cause inadvertent deployment.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced in February the investigation of more than a million Toyota, Ford and Honda vehicles for safety issues including potential steering defects in Toyota’s Prius hybrid and stalling issues in various Ford models. In a trio of investigations, NHTSA said it would probe approximately 725,000 Ford Escape, Fusion, Mariner and Milan model vehicles for reported incidents of electronic throttle failure resulting in sudden reduction of engine power, as well as an estimated 561,000 Prius vehicles for purported defects in the steering column construction. Toyota agreed in July to pay $1.1 billion to settle with a class of roughly 23 million customers over recalls for defects in its vehicles that caused sudden unintended acceleration.
Sources: Law360.com and The Los Angeles Times
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