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Toyota Recalls 7.43 Million Vehicles Because Faulty Power Window Switches Can Cause Fires

In one of its largest auto recalls ever, Toyota has recalled 7.43 million motor vehicles globally over concerns that defective power window switches could cause the vehicle to emit fire and/or smoke. Over 12 models of trucks, cars, and sports utility vehicles are affected, including 2.5 million autos in the US including the Tundra pickup, Camry, and RAV4 (2007, 2008, and 2009 models), Yaris (2007 and 2008 models), Highlander SUV (2008 model) Scion xA and xD and Sequoia SUV (2008 and 2009 models), and the Matrix and Corolla cars (2009 model).
The safety issue involves the power window switch on the driver’s side. According to Toyota, grease wasn’t applied evenly enough to the device during production, which could lead to friction and, in some cases, smoke and fire. Although the automaker initially reported that there have been no resulting motor vehicle accidents or related injuries thus far, safety regulators in the US have submitted documents reporting at least nine injuries and 161 car fires. (While most of the fires have been minor, one Camry was destroyed.) Also, reports BloombergBusinessweek, these documents note that Toyota knew that there might be a problem with its power window switch as far back as in 2008 when it received a report of an “unusual smell” and possible thermal damage. The car manufacturer sent the suspect part to the supplier and no “root case” was discovered. Reports of smoke or a weird smell coming from the driver’s side doors began coming in again in 2010.
This week, Toyota said that the number of related complaints it has received now exceed 200, with most of the incidents occurring abroad. According to a company spokesperson, the majority of the reports are over the switches feeling sticky when it is being activated.
To remedy this recall issue, Toyota dealers will put special grease on the power window switches and when necessary replace the switches and even the circuit boards. The automaker has been careful to emphasize that this particular grease, and not just any type, has to be used.
The number of vehicles included in this latest Toyota recall is even larger than the approximately 7 million autos that were recalled in 2009 and 2010 over floor mats that can trap the accelerator pedals and sticky gas pedals that could cause sudden unintended acceleration accidents. In the last several years, the popular car manufacturer has recalled over 14 million motor vehicles.
Auto defects can lead to serious repercussions. A parts defect that could potentially cause a fire places not just vehicle occupants at risk of serious burn injuries, but should a vehicle explosion result, others in the vicinity may also get hurt.
It is important that you work with an experienced auto products liability law firm that knows how to determine what caused your vehicle to malfunction and has a record of being able to successfully pursue damages from large manufacturers.
Toyota Announces Voluntary Recall of Certain Vehicles For The Driver’s Side Power Window Master Switch, Toyota, October 10, 2012
Toyota Learned of Switch Defect Four Years Before Recall, BloombergBusinessweek, October 11, 2012
Toyota recall affects 7.4M cars. Power window could be fire hazard, The Christian Science Monitor, October 10, 2012

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