Toyota Motor (TM) is recalling about 94,000 Sienna minivans from the 2011 model year in the U.S. to fix brackets for brake lamp switches. The brackets are susceptible to damage and could lead to eventual loss of braking effectiveness, the automaker said Monday.
In a statement, Toyota said the problem is caused by the proximity of the brake-light switch bracket to the foot-operated parking brake. When engaging the parking brake, the driver's foot could deform the bracket if the pedal is fully depressed. The resulting damage could cause the vehicles' brake lights to remain on.
If the deformation is significant, the vehicle's brakes could become partially engaged, resulting in brake drag and causing brake noise and vibration, and possibly the illumination of the brake warning light, the company said. Should the vehicle continue to be driven, braking effectiveness could be reduced.
Toyota said it isn't aware of any incidents or accidents related to the defect.
FAQs Available for Sienna Owners
Owners of affected vehicles, which were manufactured prior to early November, will receive an initial notification about the recall via first-class mail beginning in mid-January along with instructions for what to do if they experience the condition and how to minimize damage to their vehicles.
After replacement parts become available in late February, Toyota said owners should receive a second notice, to make an appointment with a Toyota dealer to have the bracket replaced at no charge. Dealers will replace the defective part, which includes the stop-light switch bracket, with a new one that has been redesigned to take into account the proximity of the switch to the parking brake pedal, the automaker said.
Toyota has published a list of frequently asked questions regarding the recall at its website.
This recall is the latest in a string of mishaps for the world's largest automaker. So far this year, Toyota has recalled more than 10 million cars worldwide, mostly to fix problems related to unintended acceleration. The numerous actions have put a dent in Toyota's reputation for quality and safety as well as its sales. After supplanting Ford Motor (F) several years ago to become the U.S.'s second-largest auto supplier, Toyota this year has consistently trailed its rival.
Toyota also faces numerous lawsuits stemming from the recall of some 8 million cars in the U.S. related to unintended acceleration. Late Friday, Federal District Judge James V. Selna made final a tentative ruling that will allow plaintiffs to pursue class actions against Toyota, alleging losses from personal injuries or death related to incidents of unintended acceleration.
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