In a sad twist of events, Toyota is recalling two models for a third time in 5 years due to the same problem. The two models, a Toyota and Lexus were subject two previous recalls. The first recall was done in 2012 and the second in 2013. The recall involves Lexus HS250h and Toyota RAV4s.
What is the problem?
In 2013, Toyota had recalled the above models to correct an issue which affected the suspension system. The nuts used to adjust the rear wheel alignment were found to be improperly tightened when the vehicles were taken for servicing. This allowed rust to build up on the suspension arm threads of the vehicles involved. Once this occurs, the threads wear over time which can cause the arm to separate leading to loss of control of the vehicle. Toyota remedied this during the first and the second recalls.
However, more reports and warranty claims by owners has forced the automaker to review the problem. In its latest review, Toyota established that the problem could recur if the bolts are not tightened correctly during servicing. The automaker further observed that technicians could fail to discover and remedy the problem during servicing.
Which vehicles are affected?
Toyota has revealed that around 337,000 models of the 2010 Lexus HS250h and 2006-2011 Toyota RAV4 are affected. The automaker did not disclose the actual numbers of each model. Toyota however revealed that these models were
Toyota however revealed that these models were subject of another recall in September 2013 for the same issue. However, the first recall about the issue actually began in July 2012.
As of September 2012 when the NHTSA finalized its investigation on the issue, nine crashes that resulted in 3 injuries had been reported. In addition, there were 131 complaints from owners and 339 warranty claims according to NHTSA.
What is the remedy to the problem?
In the initial recalls, Toyota indicated that the problem could lead to failure of the rear tie rod causing drivers to lose control of the vehicles. This increased risks of crashing. Toyota would go ahead to remedy the problem by inspecting the suspension arm and replacing ones that were found faulty.
Toyota also applied caution labels to notify service technicians not to improperly tighten the bolts. In the second recall in 2013, Toyota re-inspected vehicles delivered to dealerships under the recall to find whether dealers applied the first remedy properly.
In the current recall, Toyota will replace the two rear suspension arm assemblies free of charge. In addition, the automaker will apply an epoxy to avoid future arm adjustment when the vehicles are taken for servicing.
What should I do if I have an affected car?
As of this writing, Toyota had not announced the process owners with affected vehicles should follow. However, the company said it will notify all affected owners via mail on how to proceed. For more clarification, affected owners can get in touch with Toyota for more information on the recall.