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Toyota Recalls 1.53 Million Cars Worldwide

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author photo by Autotrader October 2010

A possible brake fluid leak has led to Toyota recalling 740,000 of its cars sold in the United States, part of a larger recall of 1,530,000 vehicles worldwide. In the U.S., the effected models are the Toyota Avalon (model years 2005 and 2006), non-hybrid versions of the Toyota Highlander (2004 to 2006), the Lexus RX 330, and 2006 models of the Lexus GS 300, IS 250 and IS 350.

Toyota has stated that the brake fluid it uses in the factory contains polymers that lubricate certain components. If another kind of brake fluid is used subsequently, one that does not have these polymers or only in small amounts, part of the internal rubber seal (the brake master cylinder cup) may dry out and warp as the piston moves. In which case fluid could seep from the master cylinder.

“If the vehicle continues to be operated without refilling the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir, the driver will begin to notice a spongy or soft brake pedal feel and braking performance may gradually decline,” says Toyota. However, the brake warning light in the dash would have illuminated way before that happens and the car will still come to stop even with a spongy brake pedal feel.

Owners of the affected vehicles will be notified by first-class mail from early November and dealers will replace the brake master cylinder cup – at no charge – with one of a newer design. More information can be found on www.toyota.com/recall or www.lexus.com/recall and Toyota customer service at 800 331-4331 or Lexus customer service at 800 255-3987.

Although Toyota says this issue does not amount to a safety risk under United States law and no accidents have been reported because of this defect, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been informed. The administration’s vehicle safety hotline is 888 327-4236 and its website is www.safercar.gov. David Strickland, of the NHTSA, said that by issuing this recall voluntarily, Toyota had taken “affirmative action.”

For various reasons, Toyota (the largest car maker in the world) has received more scrutiny for its recalls than most of its contemporaries and this latest one does involve a lot of cars. But when a company sells at least 10 million units a year in the United States alone, then recalls – which are a fact of life for all vehicle manufacturers – will also entail big numbers. Toyota says this recall is “to alleviate potential customer concerns and avoid confusion.”

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Toyota Recalls 1.53 Million Cars Worldwide - Autotrader