Flawed Air Bags, Windshield Wipers Trigger Massive Toyota Recall


Drivers of more than one million cars manufactured by the Toyota Motor Co. could be operating vehicles with either flawed air bags or defective windshield wiper systems.

The company said in a statement Jan. 30 that roughly 752,000 Corolla and Corolla Matrix owners and about 270,000 Lexus IS owners may require special service, depending on the year the car was made.

Faulty wiring could lead to “abnormal current flow and increased heat” inside the air bags systems of Corollas made in either 2003 or 2004.

“Owners of vehicles covered by these safety recalls will receive an owner notification letter via first class mail in the near future,” said the company in a statement. “Any authorized Toyota or Lexus dealer will perform this recall at no charge to the vehicle owner.”

In the same statement, the company said that windshield wipers on the 2006 Lexus IS vehicle could have defects related to a “wiper arm nut” that can become loose, creating problems for the vehicle operator in inclement weather.
“If movement of the wipers is restricted by an external load, such as a buildup of heavy snow on the windshield, one or both of the wipers could become inoperative.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said earlier this month that for the year 2012 there were more than 600 recalls on more than 17.8 million vehicles or vehicle products and accessories.

These safety recalls addressed everything from electronic issues to equipment used in vehicles, such as child seats.

NHTSA said that consumer complaints trigger most of the recalls.

"The role of the consumer in influencing auto recalls cannot be under-estimated," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland in a statement. "Consumers are the lifeblood of the recall process and recalls are often the direct result of a government investigation into consumer complaints."

Last year, 41,912 complaints related to possible defects were processed by the NHTSA. That number was down from the 49,417 complaints received in 2011, and the 65,765 reports taken in 2010. 

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