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
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