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Toyota Repeating, Expanding Earlier Airbag Problem

Maker “renotifying” owners about Airbag problem.

by on Jun.11, 2014

The 2003 Toyota Corolla is one of about 20 models covered by Toyota's expanded airbag recall.

A year after recalling about 2.1 million vehicles due to a faulty airbag system, Toyota says it will “renotify” some owners that they need bring their vehicles back to dealers for repair work. Meanwhile, the maker plans to add another 650,000 vehicles to the list of those impacted by the airbag problem.

Toyota is one of a number of manufacturers affected by a defective airbag inflator system produced by Japanese supplier Takata. The list also includes Honda and Nissan. There have been a number of problems involving airbags in recent years, including systems that could cause shrapnel to inadvertently fire into the passenger compartment when the safety devices inflate.

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The latest Toyota recall covers nearly two dozen models, including some Corolla sedans and Tundra pickups made in 2003 and 2004, as well as some Lexus SC 430 coupes produced between 2002 and 2004. The 650,000 vehicles being added to the list for the first time were all sold in Japan and were produced between 2000 and 2003.

In all, Toyota will now have recalled 2.8 million vehicles worldwide due to the airbag problem.

The cause is a faulty inflator – the device that is activated when vehicle sensors detect a collision, causing the front airbags to burst from their hiding place to provide a cushion that can reduce injuries. The Takata inflators, however, used improperly made propellants that may not inflate properly and could, in some situations, lead to a fire. Toyota said it has received one report of a burned seat cover caused by a faulty airbag deployment.

(No more major safety problems, promises GM CEO Barra. Click Here for more.)

The maker says the initial recall was based on an incomplete list of serial numbers provided by Japan-based Takata.  But 380,000 of the vehicles covered by the initial recall were inspected but did not receive replacement inflators. Toyota now plans to complete the repairs on those vehicles.

The airbag recall was one of the reasons Toyota had more vehicles recalled in the U.S. than any other manufacturer in 2013. It led the recall list for five of the last six years. Currently, it is second among all makers operating in the States, behind General Motors. Hammered for its decade-late response to a deadly ignition switch problem, GM has been racing to address a variety of other safety issues and since just the beginning of 2014 has announced 32 recalls covering about 15 million vehicles sold in the U.S.

(Study cites patterno f “incompetence and neglect” at GM. Click Here for more.)

Airbag issues have become one of the more significant sources of safety-related recalls in recent years, a variety of problems ranging from faulty inflators to defective sensors, as well as improper installation issues affecting a Who’s-Who of manufacturers since just the beginning of the decade.

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6 Responses to “Toyota Repeating, Expanding Earlier Airbag Problem”

  1. Earl Lewis says:

    But everybody flocks to buy one. Its a shame,i will never own one.

  2. Jorge M. says:

    I expect that soon vendor suppliers are going to start bearing the brunt of litigation liability from delivering defective parts – as they should. The low bidder isn’t always the best source of components…and the ultimate price paid can be dramatically different than the quoted price.

  3. CharleneBlake says:

    Toyota’s electronic throttle control system software was found to have glitches that could cause such an event. Worse, such an electronic glitch could render the fail-safe (way to stop the SUA) INEFFECTIVE. Result? The Toyota could be a runaway stoppable only by impact. Even then, the engine will continue revving forward until something stops forward (or backward as the case may be) momentum.

    What has Toyota admitted to regarding ELECTRONIC sudden unintended acceleration? Absolutely nothing, of course! It has washed its corporate hands clean of all things SUA-related since that huge $1.2 BILLION DOJ settlement. In the meantime, the NHTSA and Toyota have received countless complaints about Toyota and Lexus vehicles “taking off,” “having a mind of its own,” “going airborne,” etc. Storefront crashes and crashes-into-buildings/homes continue with a disproportionate number attributed to Toyota and Lexus vehicles.

    There’s a HUGE push to show driver “pedal misapplication” and much reference to this being a problem with “elderly” drivers. Drivers own complaints (showing remarkable similarity if one compares notes among these types of accidents) are discounted. Worse, drivers are discredited…some say even targeted…by those who wish to keep the truth from surfacing.

    Let’s see…have we seen an automaker hide key safety-related information before? Have we seen any cases where the NHTSA has even covered for an automaker in such unconscionable actions? OK…you get the idea. THINK…why would an automaker wish to keep ELECTRONIC sudden unintended acceleration a secret? After all, isn’t SUA history and just about pesky floor mats, sticky accelerator pedals, or better-yet driver error? NO! That’s just what the automaker would like you to believe…and there’s a HUGE economic reason for that, isn’t there?

    Unfortunately, what you do not know about ELECTRONICALLY-induced SUA can be an issue as many of the current SUA victims are learning the hard way. An electronic sudden unintended acceleration event can result (and has!) in jail time for the driver. Why? Speculation of “pedal misapplication” is all that is left when the historically-unreliable EDR (black box) shows no braking even when the driver has two feet on the brake and incurs foot damage (see Tanya Spotts Lexus case). The Toyota electronic throttle control system software glitch has been found not to leave a fault code. The vehicle brakes which did NOT function at the time of the ETCS-i software glitch show no signs of a failure mode. The DRIVER is assumed GUILTY and the vehicle is found fault-free. It continues to happen DAILY.

    Absence of proof is NOT proof of absence. This electronic SUA problem is one that every driver should be concerned about. Drivers should be asking some tough questions of the automaker, Toyota specifically.

    Let’s not forget that these engines are complex and computer-driven. Electronics will have glitches. The important factor is how these glitches are handled within and what safety standards have been applied. An electronic software glitch which renders a fail-safe ineffective is totally unacceptable. Don’t make assumptions that strict safety standards have been applied when they have not!

    • David Maxson says:

      The “faulty” gas pedal not SUA problem, is due to idiots doubling the floor mats in the car and getting it smashed up behind the gas pedal, therefor the pedal sticks to the mat and the car accelerates uncontrollably. The Toyotas now have the new safety system with VSC(vehicle stability control),TRAC(traction control),ABS(anti lock brake system),EBD(electronic brake-force distribution),BA(brake assist),AND SST(smart stop technology)!Toyota will continue to stay at the top as they are ahead of the game. Get your story’s straight people. The recalls are due to Toyota finding out new and better safety features and/or electronics and will recall vehicles to stay ahead of the competition.

      • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

        Dave, sorry, I can only partly agree. “Idiots” didn’t double up mats. They were sold that way and Toyota and its dealers did not take steps to ensure the loose mats would not jam the pedals — which had less clearance than in many competing models. Worse, Toyota knew the problem was occurring and took inordinate time in addressing the problem. The law does not say, “you don’t have to respond if idiots (or others) have a problem.” Toyota also acknowledged it had a sticky throttle assembly that it delayed responding to. On the other hand, there is no evidence it had the electrical gremlins many claimed and, in fact, a number of crashes were caused by driver error or, if you prefer, pedal misapplication. As for the safety technologies you refer to, Toyota is one of many to stay atop of that game. Toyota — as now GM — has shifted strategy and now errs in favor of recalls where it once would have either ignored a problem or taken more limited actions, such as issuing Technical Service Bulletins and secret warranties.

        Paul A. Eisenstein
        Publisher, TheDetroitBureau.com

  4. MajikMyst says:

    @CharleneBlake

    I would very much like you to post some sources for your post. Franly, everything you said was incorrect.. A quick read through the public court documents as well as Toyotas own website will simply prove you false..

    Absence is proof is lack of verifiable facts..

    Please stick to topics you actually know and not topics you know nothing about..

    Thanks..