Toyota Michigan Drivers: Need We Say More than Recall?

Toyota Michigan owners have had their share of recalls already for the first half of this year, and déjà vu strikes again, or more appropriately, déjà valve spring.

Online PR News – 15-July-2010 – – Toyota Michigan drivers have experienced one recall after the next, and may be growing weary of hearing their vehicles’ brand name rolling off the tongue of news reporters, often right before the word “recall” is mentioned. Nevertheless, whether the perception is real or inflated, recalls will still come and the same is true for every automaker.
Valve Spring Goes Kaput
The latest recall to affect Toyota Michigan owners is due to a faulty valve spring on the engine. Affected models include the 2007-2008 Lexus GS350; 2007-2008 Lexus GS450H; 2008 Lexus GS460; 2006-2008 Lexus IS350; 2007-2008 Lexus LS460; 2007-2008 Lexus LS460L; and the 2008 Lexus LS600HL, putting the total number of potentially affected vehicles at 138,874.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported “micro-foreign” objects in the valve spring material may cause the strength of the valve spring to weaken and possibly break. The ensuing damage could be as serious as engine failure while the vehicle is in motion increasing the risk of a crash.
Toyota will be repairing the defect free of charge. Lexus owners may call Lexus at 1-800-255-3987 or call the NHTSA hotline at 1-888-327-4236.
Unintended acceleration: Drivers at fault?
Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is still continuing its investigation into the causes of the sudden acceleration that led to Toyota paying a $16.4 million civil penalty, The Wall Street Journal has reported in dozens of cases no brakes were deployed.
In a Monday article, Mike Ramsey and Kate Linebaugh reported by way of anonymous sources “The early results suggest that some drivers who said their Toyotas and Lexuses surged out of control were mistakenly flooring the accelerator when they intended to jam on the brakes.”
The findings of the sudden acceleration investigation have yet to be officially released by the NHTSA, but the agency has verified one out of the 75 fatal crashes being investigated was because of a problem with the Toyota; in that crash a gas pedal became trapped beneath a floor mat.
The numbers
93 – Total amount of fatalities in fatal crashes being investigated by the NHTSA
300 – More than 300 vehicle recall campaigns so far for 2010
3,000 – More than 3,000 complaints have been filed with the NHTSA for unintended acceleration.
8 million – More than 8 million vehicles worldwide have been recalled by Toyota to correct sticky gas pedals and floor mat slippage.
10.2 million – Automakers have recalled 10.2 million vehicles in the first half of this year, approximately twice the amount recalled during the same six month span during 2009, according to the Detroit News.
20 million – The Detroit News estimates more than 20 million vehicles to be recalled for 2010.
30.8 million – Amount of recalled vehicles in 2004.
NHTSA taking a stronger stance
The number of recalls is outpacing 2009 and other years because the NHTSA is leaning on automakers for any type of problem or issue, no matter how minor it is, and insisting recalls. The Detroit News reports, “Automakers for the most part aren't fighting the efforts, recalling vehicles for issues as minor as engine knocking noises when the wrong grade of gasoline is used.”
Add to this a heightened awareness of drivers paying closer attention to their vehicles for any potential problem, and a sharing of parts across many models and even nameplates, and it’s no wonder recalls are occurring at a higher rate this year.
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[Source(s): National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, The Wall Street Journal, The Detroit News]