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Toyota Australia recalls almost 300,000 cars

Sliding seat: Almost 120,000 Yaris models have been recalled in Australia alone over a possible seat fault. No instances of failure have been recorded here, however.

Another recall for market leader Toyota, with 300k HiLux and Yaris models affected

Toyota logo9 Apr 2014

By MIKE COSTELLO

TOYOTA Australia today announced a preventative mass recall affecting almost 300,000 of its top-selling HiLux utes and Yaris light-cars as part of a global campaign totalling more than 6.5 million vehicles.

The recall, among the largest ever undertaken in Australia by a car-maker, applies to about 179,000 Thai-made HiLux utes built between April 2004 and December 2009, and around 118,600 previous-generation Japanese-made Yaris’ built between June 2005 and May 2010.

No instances of either fault — one of which affects the driver’s airbag, and the other the front seats — have been recorded occurring in Australia, meaning the recall is preventative. Shipments of replacement parts will be arriving in May and July respectively, allowing repairs to commence.

The HiLux recall is due to a wiring issue with the driver’s airbag. Toyota says a spiral cable fitted between the steering wheel and column could be prone to damage from repeatedly turning the wheel. Should this happen, the warning light will illuminate and the airbag could fail to deploy.

“There have been no reports of any accidents or injuries as the result of this condition," Toyota Australia said today. “This recall is a preventative measure only and it is not expected that all vehicles will experience this condition.” The Japanese company said drivers could continue to drive their vehicle, but if the SRS warning light illuminates, it advises owners to contact their dealer for an inspection.

Repair work for all vehicles will involve the replacement of the spiral cable assembly. In most cases, this will take approximately one hour to carry out. Toyota will fix the issue at no cost.

Affected customers will be notified of the recall by mail at their last known address and asked to make an appointment at an authorised Toyota dealer to have the spiral cable assembly replaced.

It is expected that the mail out to affected customers will commence late in July once parts become available.

Meantime, the Yaris light-car recall applies to both three and five-door hatchbacks, as well as the five-door sedan.

Toyota says the spring locking the driver’s seat in position could break from over-use, meaning the seat may not stay fixed in its track. Alternately, the seat could become fixed in its position and not offer fore/aft movement if the spring breaks along the track.

In the three-door Yaris this condition may also affect the passenger's seat which is frequently moved to gain access to the rear seats.

“If the vehicle is driven with a broken seat track spring, the seat could move in the event of an accident and may increase the risk of injury,” the company said today.

“In Australia there have been no reports of any accidents or injuries as a result of this condition. This recall is a preventative measure only and it is not expected that all vehicles will experience this condition.” Drivers can continue to drive their vehicle, however if they experience any difficulties locking the front seats into place, they should contact their dealer to have their vehicle inspected, Toyota said.

The repair work for all vehicles will involve the driver's seat being removed and the seat tracks replaced. The three-door’s passenger seat may also need to be replaced.

In most cases, this will take approximately 90 minutes to three hours to carry out depending on the vehicle involved, and all repairs will be conducted free of charge to vehicle owners.

Affected customers will be notified of the recall by mail at their last known address and asked to make an appointment at an authorised Toyota dealer to have the affected seat tracks replaced.

It is expected that the mail out to affected customers will commence early in May once parts become available.

For further information about either recall, customers can call the Toyota recall campaign helpline on 1800 643 242.

In February Toyota recalled 1.9 million of its Prius hybrids (including 2500 in Australia) due to software faults that could cause them to lose power or halt. Earlier this month the company also recalled 13,800 70 Series LandCruisers in Australia.

The company last month was fined $US1.2 billion by the US Attorney General’s office after an investigation into claims that the Japanese car-maker misled the public over its communication of the “sticking” accelerator defect that prompted a massive recall in 2009-2010.

That campaign affected close to 10 million vehicles worldwide.

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