Toyota’s recall affects over 3 million vehicles
Toyota issued a safety recall on millions of its vehicles built in the past decade due to a faulty control unit that may keep airbags from deploying properly. Affected vehicles include the 2011-19 Corolla, 2011-13 Matrix, and 2012-18 Avalon and Avalon Hybrid. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the issue could have contributed to as many as 8 fatalities in the United States.
The fault is in with ECU computer that reacts to signals in a crash. Toyota gave more detail in a statement, saying “the ECU may not have adequate protection against certain electrical noise that can occur in certain crashes, such as severe underride crashes. This can lead to incomplete or non deployment of of the airbags and/or seat belt pretensioners.”
Underride crashes occur when one vehicle slides underneath another, such as when a car hits a semi trailer.
Toyota will notify owners by mid-March
Toyota dealers will install a noise filter to remedy its airbag problem at no cost to owners. This recent recall is part of a larger NHTSA investigation concerning airbags TRW Automotive Holdings Corp supplied major automakers. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles issued a recall in 2016 for the same problem with TRW’s product.
As part of the company’s statement, Toyota identified electronic interference as the likely cause for non-deployment. The issue arose in two recent accidents involving Corollas, one of which resulted in a fatality. Toyota also issued a recall for Takata airbags in certain late-90s models including the RAV4, Celica, and fourth-generation Supra.
Concerned owners can contact Toyota’s experience center at (800) 331-4331 or Lexus’ Guest Experience Center at (800) 255-3987.
The Takata airbag saga continues
Honda also issued a recall Wednesday on Takata airbags in approximately 2.4 million Honda and Acura vehicles built from 1996-2003. The issue is with the airbag’s inflator, though the automaker states it’s unrelated to prior recalls on Takata airbags with inflator defects.
These airbags were not produced with sufficient seals to keep the propellant from degrading over time. This degradation can cause the airbags to deploy at the wrong speed, including the possibility of the airbag deploying too quickly. In the rare case that it deploys with too much force, metal fragments of the inflator can be propelled towards occupants.
Honda plans to offer free repairs in approximately one year, as parts become available. The company also has a website dedicated to the Takata recalls with more information. To check if your vehicle is affected, visit the NHTSA website for more information.