Toyota Recalls 790000 Tacoma Pickups
Toyota is recalling 790,000 Tacoma pickup trucks from the 2005-11 model years worldwide, including about 690,000 in the United States, because a rear suspension part could break and possibly puncture the gas tank or damage a brake line, the automaker said Monday.
On vehicles with the defect, corrosion could weaken a leaf spring, allowing it to break. 'The broken leaf could move out of position and contact surrounding components, including the fuel tank,' the automaker said in a news release.
The action covers 4-wheel drive and Pre-Runner versions of the Tacoma. Amanda Rice, a Toyota spokeswoman, wrote in an email that the company was unaware of any accidents or injuries related to the defect. But some owners told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that they had had close calls.
'A broken leaf spring cut my brake line, and my brakes stopped working with my 8-year-old child in the truck,' one Tacoma owner wrote to the safety agency in June. 'I had already replaced a leaf spring on the other side. This could have caused a very serious accident. Luckily, the brakes still had some fluid in them.'
The agency has received at least two dozen complaints from owners, some going back to 2011.
'This is a common problem that is not being addressed by Toyota,' one owner complained in a May 2013 letter to the safety agency.
Toyota received its first report of a problem in 2009, Ms. Rice said. But, she noted, 'a single initial report cannot identify a trend and rarely prompts a recall. When we see what might be a trend, we monitor and investigate the issue, and when we believe there is a safety-related defect, we begin a recall.'
In the United States, Toyota's action covers vehicles in all 50 states. That is unusual because automakers facing corrosion-related problems often resort to a regional recall, which is usually concentrated in areas where road salt is heavily used in winter. The safety administration typically allows such regional actions, despite criticism from consumer advocates who say the practice saves automakers money while leaving some consumers at risk.
The agency's allowance of regional recalls was one of several issues raised by legislators on Capitol Hill this month as they examined the actions of the safety agency. The inquiry was prompted by the regulator's failure to detect the deadly ignition-switch defect in at least 2.6 million General Motors cars.
Toyota described the Tacoma recall this week as voluntary, but once a manufacturer is aware of a safety problem it must within five business days inform the agency of its plan for a recall or face a civil fine.
These other recall developments have also been reported:
■ In two actions, Harley-Davidson is recalling slightly more than 107,000 motorcycles from the 2014-15 model years because of problems that could either prevent the clutch from disengaging or allow a fuel leak, the company told N.H.T.S.A.
The largest recall covers about 105,700 motorcycles that have the clutch problem, according to a report posted on the safety agency's website. A torn seal on the clutch system could prevent the motorcycle from being taken out of gear and 'could allow the motorcycle to creep forward from a stop which could lead to a loss of control,' the report said.
The report also said Harley-Davidson was aware of 19 crashes related to the problem, three of which resulted in minor injuries. The crashes were classified as 'low-speed tip over.'
The models covered by the recall are the Electra Glide Ultra Classic, the Ultra Limited, the Police Electra Glide, the Street Glide Special, the Street Glide, the Tri Glide Ultra, the CVO Limited, the CVO Road King, the CVO Breakout, the CVO Softail Deluxe, the Electra Glide Ultra Classic Twin, the Ultra Limited Shrine and the Street Glide Shrine.
Another 1,384 Harley-Davidson models are being recalled because the fuel tank may not allow the gas cap to seal properly, according to a second report posted on the N.H.T.S.A. website. The report said the company was not aware of any accidents, injuries or fires related to the defect. The models covered by the recall are the 2015 XG500 and XG750.
■ Yamaha is recalling about 5,300 FZ-09 motorcycles from the 2014-15 model years because a wiring problem could cause the headlight to go out, according to a report the company provided the safety agency.
■ Volkswagen is recalling about 1,800 Audi Q7 crossovers with diesel engines from the 2013 model year, according to a report the automaker filed with N.H.T.S.A. The automaker said oil might leak into the brake booster, resulting in a loss of power assist to the brakes. The automaker said it was not aware of any accidents related to the defect.