Toyota Motor Co. announced another giant safety recall Wednesday, this time involving 7.43 million vehicles worldwide over the risk of driver’s-side window switches that could catch fire. The recall includes about 2.5 million model-year 2007-2009 vehicles sold in the U.S. under the Toyota and Scion brand.
According to Toyota, pressing the driver’s-side power window master switch (PWMS) may create a “notchy” or sticky feel. If commercially available lubricants are used to treat the switch, the switch assembly could melt, potentially leading to vehicular smoke and/or fire.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received more than 200 reports of the problematic switches, some of which started fires, and about 40 other switch problems were reported in Japan, where about 460,000 of the recalled vehicles were sold. No known crashes or injuries are associated with the defective switches.
Toyota’s latest recall is its largest since it began recalling Toyota and Lexus vehicles for problems related to sudden unintended acceleration in 2009. That year, Toyota launched a series of recalls involving cars, trucks, and SUVs that lurched forward unexpectedly or sped out of control for no apparent reason. Toyota expanded the recall in a series of additional recalls in 2010, ultimately recalling 14 million vehicles worldwide for problems the carmaker claims are caused by driver’s-side floor mat interference and sticky throttle assemblies.
Toyota’s window-switch recall is also the largest single recall made by a car company since Ford Motor Company recalled 7.9 vehicles in 1996 to repair to faulty ignition switches that could cause a fire in the steering column.
Toyota said that owners of the vehicles affected by its latest recall would be notified by first-class mail starting in late October 2012. The repair, which will take approximately one hour, will involve inspection, switch disassembly, and application of a special fluorine grease, and will be performed at no cost to the vehicle owner.
The U.S. cars involved in Toyota’s latest recall are:
- 2007 – 2009 Camry sedans, approx. 938,100 vehicles;
- 2007 – 2009 Camry Hybrids, approx. 116,800 vehicles;
- 2007 – 2009 RAV4 crossovers, approx. 336,400 vehicles;
- 2007 – 2009 Tundra pickups, approx. 337,100 vehicles;
- 2007 – 2008 Yaris subcompacts, approx. 110,300 vehicles;
- 2008 Highlander SUVs, approx. 135,400 vehicles;
- 2008 Highlander Hybrids, approx. 23,200 vehicles;
- 2008 – 2009 Scion xD models, approx. 34,400 vehicles;
- 2008 – 2009 Scion xA models, approx. 77,500 vehicles;
- 2008- 2009 Sequoia SUVs, approx. 38,500 vehicles;
- 2009 Corolla compacts, approx. 270,900 vehicles;
- 2009 Matrix crossovers; approx. 53,800 vehicles.