Toyota Launches a Few Recall Campaigns


toyota launches a few recall campaigns

Toyota is in the middle of a sizable recall relating to the 10-speed automatic transmission from Aisin used on several of its larger models. The campaign encompasses roughly 280,000 vehicles split between the 2022-2024 Toyota Tundra (including the hybrid variant), 2023-2024 Sequoia, and 2022-2024 Lexus LX 600. Concerns revolve around the possibility of the gearbox not disengaging properly when placed into neutral.

While it doesn’t sound like the defect sends a lot of motive power to the wheels, it’s supposed to be enough to allow impacted vehicles to “inadvertently creep forward” on level ground without the brakes applied. This creates a clear safety hazard and effectively makes having a neutral gear pointless, so it has to be dealt with.

At present, Toyota is unaware of any injuries or even crashes pertaining to the defect. Dealers are supposed to update the transmission software to fix the issue. But we’re always a little skeptical of the procedure. While software updates can and sometimes do solve hardware issues, especially as cars become increasingly digital, they’ve also been used as a way for manufacturers to buy time when more comprehensive repairs need to be done.

We cannot say with any authority that Toyota’s solution won’t be sufficient. But one is left wondering exactly how some bad code is keeping physical components inside the transmission from decoupling as intended. It seems plausible that the automaker is simply leading with the software recall to avoid mounting pressure from government safety regulators while the checks to see if more needs to be done — especially after its massive airbag recall (which also involved Aisin) that encompassed well over a million vehicles and the similarly large replacement battery recall on the RAV4.

We’ll likely learn more about the transmission issue once the NHTSA starts to release more detailed information, including the relevant timeline for how the decision to issue a recall was reached. These are still early days and Toyota is being fairly proactive by making its announcement before the agency released any official documents pertaining to the transmission recall. However, the automaker has said it intends on reaching out to every impacted customer by April. In the interim, concerned drivers can reach out to their local Toyota/Lexus dealership or the applicable help lines to learn if their vehicle is impacted.

But this wasn’t the only recall to impact the automaker of late. Toyota also has to deal with 4,000 units of the Camry sedan that may have violated federal crash standards. Though the issue doesn’t sound all that pressing if you’re old enough to remember when early examples of removable or fold-down coming apart during a crash due to structural weaknesses. Toyota’s issue seems to be the possibility of some shoddy welds on the rear head restraints.

The worst case, according to the related safety documents, would be reduced whiplash protection. However, the defect could still result in severe injury under the correct circumstances. Better to get it checked out unless you never ever plan on putting someone in the back seats.

Meanwhile, approximately 19,000 examples of the 2023-2024 Lexus LS, LC, and ES are said to be suffering from more software concerns. The same is true for the 2023 Toyota Mirai. But the issue isn’t a defect. Instead, Toyota is worried that the rear-view display isn’t fully compliant with safety regulations. They’re still functional, just perhaps not within the parameters that would appease the United States government. As with the other recalls, dealers will begin addressing the problem in April.

As things currently stand, Toyota has spent the last several months coping with the kind of recalls that are undermining its credibility as the purveyor of exceptionally reliable automobiles. That said, automotive recalls have exploded in general since 2010 with plenty of debate whether the trend stems from overly aggressive regulators or an automotive industry that’s trying to field novel powertrains whilst forgetting about quality control. Regardless, Toyota still compares favorably against most other manufacturers in terms of per capita recalls through 2023. We’ll have to wait and see if that manages to remain the case for 2024.

[Image: Toyota]

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