Toyota and Lexus have announced that they will be reaching out to owners of specific vehicle models due to a critical problem related to the electrical connection inside the steering column. This issue has the potential to disable the driver’s side airbag, leading to non-compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for Occupant Crash Protection.
The problem first came to Toyota’s attention in May 2023 when they were contacted by the spiral cable assembly supplier. The supplier informed Toyota about an ongoing investigation into the manufacturing process, which revealed contamination in the washing station for specific spiral cable components. As a consequence, a poor welding condition could occur between the Flexible Flat Cable (FFC) and the bus bar, which affects connectivity to various controls on the steering wheel. Extensive testing conducted by the supplier between late-May and late-June indicated that the FFC might detach from the bus bar at the weak weld connection area.
As per the defect report, the steering column assembly in the affected vehicles contains electrical connections to the driver’s airbag module housed within a spiral cable assembly, including the FFC. In cases where the FFC is inadequately welded to the spiral cable’s bus bar, there is a risk of the FFC separating, resulting in one or more open circuits linked through the FFC. This separation specifically impacts the circuit responsible for connecting the driver’s airbag module. If connectivity is lost, the SRS warning light will activate, and the driver’s airbag may be deactivated, failing to deploy in a crash scenario that necessitates its activation. Consequently, this raises the likelihood of driver injury in the event of a crash.
The vehicles affected include:
|2023-2024 Lexus NX Hybrid
|2023-2024 Lexus NX250
|2023-2024 Lexus NX350
|2023 Lexus RX Hybrid
|2023 Lexus RX350
|2023 Lexus RX500H
|2023 Toyota Corolla
|2023 Toyota Corolla Cross
|2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
|2023 Toyota Highlander
|2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
|2023 Toyota Tacoma
Dealers will inspect and replace the spiral cable assembly as necessary. Toyota’s number for this recall is 23TA08, Lexus’ number for this recall is 23LA02 and the NHTSA campaign number is 23V-480.
In December 2020, Toyota began an investigation into certain 2021 Toyota C-HR crossover SUVs after receiving field reports from the Japanese market alleging that when using the Traffic Movement Notification feature (a Japanese market feature not available in the U.S.), the vehicle radar sensor did not detect a vehicle driving in front of it. An inoperative radar sensor also meant that other features, such as Pre-Collision System (PCS), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), and Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) could be affected. In these cases, dealer technicians observed that the beam axis for the radar sensor was out of specification and adjusted it during the inspection. After completing the adjustment and initializing the radar sensor, the vehicles were able to detect the preceding vehicle.
According to the defect report, certain 2021 Toyota C-HR vehicles are equipped with a millimeter-wave sensor (radar sensor) and a camera to detect objects in front of it. These sensors also support certain driver assistance features, including the Pre-Collision System (PCS).
Under certain circumstances, the initialization of the radar sensor may not have been completed correctly, resulting in the PCS not being able to detect an object in front of it. As a result, the vehicle will not provide warnings or braking assist, and would not display a message or indicator to the driver that PCS is not functional. An inoperative PCS, without a PCS malfunction indicator to the driver, may increase the risk of a crash in certain driving situations.
As of January 2022, Toyota has not received any U.S. field reports or warranty claims related to this condition. Based on their investigation results, however, Toyota decided to conduct a voluntary safety recall campaign. Owners of the subject vehicles will be asked to take their vehicles to their Toyota dealer to have the radar sensor inspected and properly initialize if necessary. Toyota’s number for this recall is 22TA02 and the NHTSA campaign number is 22V-107.
Toyota will be contacting the owners of certain 2021-2022 Sequoia and 2021 Tundra trucks because of a problem affecting the power steering gear assembly. Owner notification letters are expected to be sent out on January 22, 2022.
In late September 2021, Toyota observed an increase in field reports and warranty claims affecting the power steering in certain 2021-2022 Sequoia and 2021 Tundra trucks. A high percentage of these vehicles experienced power steering fluid leaks, all from the area of the power steering gear assembly. Manufacturing records showed that these reports mainly involved vehicles produced during the months of August and September 2021. Toyota began recovering additional parts involved in these reports and sent them to the supplier for inspection.
These inspections found that the circlip holding the oil seal and end stopper in position at the end of the power steering rack housing was disengaged from the groove machined in the rack housing and that the oil seal and the end stopper were moved from the correct position. Further investigation of the returned parts revealed that the groove where the circlip is installed was improperly machined leading to an incorrect groove shape.
Based on these findings, the supplier investigated their production process and identified that one of the four pieces of equipment used to machine the groove in the rack housing was not creating a groove of the correct shape. The tool was inspected, it was found that certain teeth on the cutting tool, which creates the groove in the rack housing, were damaged. Based on these results Toyota has decided to conduct a safety recall campaign.
Owners of the affected vehicles will be notified to return to their Toyota dealer to have the power steering gear assembly inspected and replaced if necessary. Toyota’s numbers for this recall are 21TB10 and 21TA10, and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-920.
Toyota will be asking owners of certain 2018-2021 Tundra trucks, to return to their dealership for a problem affecting the electrical circuits controlling the headlights in their vehicle.
The problem began in early April 2020 when Toyota received a field report alleging the headlamp connector on a subject vehicle overheated and caught fire. Since then, there have been 18 Toyota Field Technical Reports (12 alleging an inoperative headlamp and/or damage to the headlamp connector (e.g., connectors melting), but no apparent flame, and 6 alleging a flame at the headlamp assembly). There has also been 47 warranty claims (44 alleging an inoperative headlamp and/or damage to the headlamp connector (e.g., connectors melting), but no apparent flame, and 3 alleging a flame at the headlamp assembly).
According to the defect report, the subject vehicles are equipped with halogen headlamp electrical circuits that were designed incorrectly to allow the circuits for both the high and low beam bulb filaments to be energized simultaneously when the high beams are switched on. If the high beams are subjected to repeated extended use (e.g., continuously switched “on” in a commercial setting when the vehicle is idling or driving at low speed for extended periods of time and not allowing air flow to cool the headlamp connector), excess heat could lead to degradation of the bulb insulation and eventually the bulb connector. This can cause an open headlamp circuit, leading to an inoperative headlamp that can be noticed by the driver and repaired. However, if an open circuit does not occur, there is a possibility that the connector could continue to overheat, resulting in an increased risk of a fire.
Owners receiving notices will be asked to return to their dealers to have the engine wire harness assembly and headlight assembly inspected and replaced as necessary. Toyota’s numbers for this recall are 21TB06 and 21TA06 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-688.
Toyota will be asking the owners of certain 2019-2020 Toyota Yaris vehicles to return to their dealerships for a problem that could lead to fuel pump failure and an engine stall.
Last year Mazda, which is responsible for the vehicle’s design and manufacturing, started an investigation into Mazda and Toyota vehicles experiencing fuel pump failures. Based on the recovered parts and other investigations, Mazda reported that the fuel pumps in the subject vehicles were affected by exposure to high environmental temperatures.
According to the defect report, these vehicles are manufactured with low pressure fuel pumps with low density impellers. These impellers were exposed to production solvent drying for longer periods of time which make them more susceptible to fuel absorption, impeller deformation and impeller cracking. In some cases, the impeller could deform to a point that creates enough interference with the fuel pump body to cause the fuel pump to stop operating. An inoperative fuel pump will result in an illuminated check engine light, master warning indicators, rough engine running and an engine no start and/or vehicle stall while driving.
Toyota will be contacting owners of affected vehicles with instructions to return to their dealerships to have the low pressure fuel pump assembly replaced. Toyota’s numbers for this recall are 21TB05 and 21TA05. The NHTSA campaign number is 21V-617.
Toyota will be contacting the owners of certain 2019-2020 Rav4 and Rav4 Hybrid vehicles because of a problem that could exists with the front lower suspension.
According to the defect report, the lower suspension arms connecting the front wheels to the vehicle front cross member may be defective due to improper production conditions at the steel supplier. If a vehicle with an affected suspension arm is repeatedly driven with rapid acceleration and deceleration, it is possible that cracks could propagate throughout the arm, causing it to eventually separate from the front wheel assembly. The problem could result in loss of vehicle control and an increased risk of a crash.
Owners receiving notices will be asked to return to their dealers to have both front lower suspension arms replaced. Toyota’s interim numbers for this recall are 20TB08 / 20TA08 and the NHTSA campaign number is 20V-286.
Toyota will be contacting the owners of certain 2020 Corolla vehicles because of an electrical problem that could cause the backup lights to fail.
The vehicles affected are equipped with a rear hatch that contains a wire harness for rear end electrical components. During the inspection process, damaged testing equipment may have caused the contact gaps of the wire harness connector to increase. Lower contact pressure inside the connector increases the chances of an oxide layer developing on the surface of certain terminals. Over time the electrical resistance could increase, resulting in loss of backup lamps. If the lamps do not illuminate when the vehicle is backing, there is an increased risk of a crash.
Those receiving notices can return to their dealerships to have the rear hatch wire harness replaced. Toyota’s numbers for this recall are 20TB07 and 20TA07 and the NHTSA campaign number is 20V-205.
Toyota will be contacting the owners of certain 2020 Highlander vehicles equipped with 3.5 L, V6 (2GR-FKS) gasoline engines that contain the Stop & Start Engine System that monitors your brake pedal operation to stop your engine when the vehicle is stopped.
The vehicles involved contain an engine control unit (ECU) programming error that may not correctly supply fuel to the engine when this feature is activated. The problem could result in an unexpected stall followed by an audible chime and multiple warnings indicating the engine has stalled.
Dealers will correct the problem by reprogramming the ECU. Toyota’s number for this recall is 20TA06 and the NHTSA campaign number is 20V162.
Click here to view the complete 2020 Toyota Highlander recall notice.