Consumer Fraud

Toyota recalling more Tacomas for drive shaft defect

Toyota Motor Corp. announced another recall Friday of 8,000 Tacoma pickup trucks to inspect the front drive shaft, which may contain cracks in the joint portion. The recall is limited to certain model year 2010 four-wheel-drive Tacomas.

Toyota said that the defective parts were the result of an “improper manufacturing process control.” The company chose to recall vehicles containing the possibly defective component after the manufacturer, Dana Holding Corp., reported the parts to U.S. safety regulators saying they could have cracks.

34,000 of the drive shaft components were used in Toyota, Nissan, and Ford vehicles.

Dana said that it is investigating the cause of the defect and that any repairs would be specific to each vehicle in which the part is found. Toyota said that inspections would take about 10 minutes and that the front drive shaft may need to be replaced in some of the recalled trucks.

Toyota will notify owners of the affected vehicles in mid-March of this year.

According to a report by Toyota, the cracks in the component could cause the drive shaft to separate and strike the road surface, potentially causing drivers to lose control of the vehicle. Toyota told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it was not aware of any accidents or other incidents caused by the defective part.

Nissan and Ford, however, saw no reason to recall their vehicles with the same possibly defective component. Ford spokesman Said Deep told Reuters that Ford’s “rigorous testing and review concluded there are no safety or performance issues.”

Nissan spokesman Colin Price sounded unconcerned about the problem, saying the vehicles would “not experience a loss of control or present a safety risk even in the unlikely event the part should fail.”

About half of the 34,000 parts were installed in Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner sport utility vehicles. The others were installed in certain 2010 four-wheel-drive Nissan and Infiniti brand trucks and SUVs and the Toyota Tacomas.

Some of the Toyota Tacomas included in this latest recall have also been recalled for the sudden acceleration problems that Toyota blames on driver-side floor mat interference.

Americans bought 11,000 Tacomas last year, down from about 145,000 in 2008.