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Toyota recalling 35,124 UK-registered cars

Toyota is recalling certain RAV4, Hilux, Yaris and Urban Cruiser models in the UK due potential defects.

The recalls – concerning the spring cable assembly on RAV4 and Hillux models, plus the seat rail spring and steering column bracket on some Yaris and Urban Cruisers - affect 35,124 UK-registered cars. 

In a statement Toyota said it had identified a possible issue affecting the spiral cable assembly in airbags fitted to some RAV4 and Hilux models manufactured between June 2004 and December 2010.

Due to the shape and location of a retainer for the Flexible Flat Cable in the airbag unit, there may be a risk - when the steering wheel is turned - of damage to certain circuits that provide connectivity to the airbag. Toyota said that if connectivity is lost, the airbag warning light will illuminate on the instrument panel and the driver’s airbag may deactivate.

Similarly, Toyota said the spring in the mechanism that locks the driver and (in three-door cars) front passenger seats in position on the seat adjustment rail may be under-strength and could break, should the seats be moved backward and forward frequently. Were the spring to break, the seat may not lock into its adjusted position and could move in the event of a crash. All the vehicles affected by this issue are being recalled for inspection of the springs, and replacement if applicable.

Additionally, Toyota said it is aware that the weld which connects the steering column bracket to the instrument panel on some Yaris and Urban Cruiser models might break when the steering wheel is repeatedly turned with full force.

The company said in a statement: ‘The driver may hear an abnormal noise from the bracket area and if the vehicle continues to be driven, it is possible that the bracket will fail, causing the steering column to tilt out of position. However, the driver will not lose steering control.’

The vehicles subject to this recall, a subset of the 10,339 being recalled for the seat spring issue, are second generation Yaris with tilt/telescopic steering wheel adjustment and Urban Cruiser models built between September 2005 to February 2009. In total this covers 1,293 UK-registered models. All the vehicles affected by this issue are being recalled so that the bracket can be inspected. If no damage is found, an extra bracket will be fitted to avoid any problems occurring in future. If there is evidence of damage, a replacement instrument panel reinforcement will be fitted.

A helpline - 0800 1388744 - has been set up by Toyota, and work carried out as a result of the recalls will be done free of charge. 

Readers' comments (1)

  • It is interesting to note in all of the above cases it is an innocuous, relatively benign component (fastener, spring, bracket) that is the root of the fault and recall.

    In this age of CAD / FEA etc simplified models are often used on the major/active components which may miss the detail and an underlying risks of failiure.

    While there is no indication here that that was the case, I would suggest that in all the pre-production tests and mock-ups these items were considered inconsequential and hence the failure was not prevented in design, but only once user experience identified such failures.

    A 'lesson learnt' for all engineers possibly? 'The Devil is in the detail!'

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