Recall: Toyota recalls 300k vehicles for airbag problems image

Toyota says it will recall certain 2007 and 2008 RAV4 and 2008 Highlander SUVs sold in the U.S. because of a problem that could cause unwanted airbag deployments. More precisely, about 214,000 RAV4s and 94,000 Highlanders and Highlander HVs will be recalled.

The problem, Toyota said Thursday, involves two “roll-sensing” sensors in the vehicles designed “to detect vehicle roll angle.”
“If one of these sensors malfunctions, the airbag warning light (malfunction indicator light) will illuminate and the roll detection system will be suspended,” management said. “However, the airbag remains available in the event of a side collision. If both sensors fail nearly simultaneously after initial airbag system check, the seat belt pretensioner and the curtain shield airbag could be inadvertently activated.”

However, one RAV4 owner who complained to the agency said that despite the warning light, the dealer could not find any problem.

“Every time I brought it in the mechanic would run a test and say that it was just a glitch in the system,” the owner wrote. “We asked them if it was O.K. to drive and they said it was fine.” The air curtains later deployed.

Toyota said it continued to monitor the situation and in March, following the report of a consumer who received a minor injury in a deployment, the company began to reconsider its position, which ultimately led to this week’s recall.

Toyota will replace the airbag sensor assembly with a new one containing improved roll rate sensors, free of charge. Toyota intends to send an interim owner notification to owners early to mid-may, 2011 when sufficient parts and remedy becomes available. Owners may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331.