Toyota is now adding 600,000 Sienna minivans to its roster of recent vehicle recalls. According to Freep.com, the carmaker will be inspecting rust in the cable that holds the spare tire.
There is no correction for the problem, which appears to be limited to 20 so-called â€œcold-weather statesâ€ known for using road salt in colder months, said Freep. For those vehicle owners in noncold-weather states, vans are eligible for inspection, added Freep.
The recall involves Toyotaâ€™s two-wheel drive Siennas, model years 1998 through 2010 and impacts Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia in addition to Michigan, Freep reported.
According to Toyota, in the worst-case scenario, the cable could snap, which could result in the spare tire to fall off of the vehicle and onto the road behind the van, explained Freep. Toyota has not said if any injuries or crash reports concerning this problem have been received.
Toyota plans on initially advising owners to bring in the involved vans for inspections while a fix is being developed, said Freep. Once a fix has been developed, customers will be notified again, wrote Freep. Toyota is “working diligently to develop a remedy as soon as possible,” said Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s chief quality officer for North America, quoted Freep.
Toyota has been plagued with scandals and recalls in recent months. Earlier this year, the carmaker issued a recall for 2.3 million vehicles over accelerator pedals that were sticking and linked to sudden acceleration problems. This followed a broadening of a prior recall over floor mats and sudden acceleration issues. Freep noted that Toyota also recently recalled its 2010 Prius for brake software issues.
Most recently, Toyota agreed to pay a $16.375 million fine for failing to inform U.S. safety regulators about defective gas pedals on its vehicles in a timely manner, according to an Associated Press report. The penalty is the largest ever to be assessed against an automaker by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Since last fall, Toyota has recalled more than eight million vehicles worldwide for problems involving sudden acceleration.
Toyota has blamed the speed control issues on defective floor mats and faulty gas pedals. In the U.S., five deaths have occurred in auto accidents involving the unintended acceleration of a Toyota or Lexus vehicle. Last August, a California Highway Patrol trooper and three members of his family were killed in such a crash in San Diego County, just south of Orange. Dozens of other fatalities over the past decade alleged to be the result of Toyota unintended acceleration crashes are currently being investigated by the NHTSA.
Earlier this month, the NHTSA announced it would seek the maximum penalty allowed by law–$16.375 millionâ€”from Toyota for the in which way it handled defective gas pedals. Even if Toyota does accept the penalty, its problems with the NHTSA will likely continue. The agency is also said to be considering other fines related to a September recall for defective floor mats.