Toyota Addresses Skid Issue with Recall of 50,000 Sequoias

Toyota is recalling approximately 50,000 2003 Sequoias to repair traction controls that can suddenly activate and slow down the sport utility vehicles. The auto defect involves problems with the sensors that are used by the SUV’s electronic controls, which is a key issue under dispute in the automaker’s sudden unintended acceleration cases. It was just a few months ago that Toyota told regulators that the problem is not a safety issue.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been looking at the skid issue for some time now. In 2009, the NHTSA says it had 68 complaints from Sequoia owners who said that their cars would suddenly slow down. There have been no reports of related injuries or deaths so far.
Toyota says the skid issue is caused by a flaw in the vehicle’s skid-control system programming. The defect can make incorrect assessments of the position of the steering wheel when the Sequoia is moving at low speeds, which can activate the skid control for a few seconds as the vehicle starts to speed up. Rear wheel corrosion may also cause the SUV’s traction control start up unexpectedly, which can make the Sequoia slow down.
The automaker says about 50% of the vehicles were already repaired under the SUV warranty. It’s recall repair solution will reprogram the skid-control computer of the remaining affected vehicles.
While the number of motor vehicles involved in this this latest Toyota recall is significantly smaller than its more recent recalls in the past several months, the automaker, once known for its safe and reliable vehicles, has now recalled more than 9 million autos since late last year. Since then, the automaker has been named the defendant in numerous automotive products liability and wrongful death lawsuits over car crash injuries and fatalities that were caused by sticky gas pedals, ill-fitting floor mats, accelerator problems, and other auto defects.
Yesterday, Toyota announced that it is once again selling the Lexus GX 460 because it has fixed the flaw in its stability control system that could cause an SUV rollover. The automaker said that its Lexus dealerships can begin implementing the software upgrade to repair the safety issue. Toyota had recalled approximately 9,400 Lexus GX 460 (2010 models) and temporarily suspended their sale after Consumer Reports discovered the problem and issued a “Don’t Buy” warning to car shoppers.
The problems that have plagued Toyotas vehicles are ones that have caused serious injuries and deaths to many. In some incidents, it may only be now that car crash victims and their families are realizing that it was actually an auto defect that caused the catastrophic traffic crash.
Toyota to recall 50,000 Sequoias for skid issue,, April 29, 2010
Toyota Offers a Fix for S.U.V.’s Control Problems, New York Times, April 29, 2010
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