Toyota has announced two separate recalls, one for the Tacoma pickup and one for the Camry sedan and Venza crossover. Tacoma trucks from the 2005 to 2009 model years have an airbag issue and the 2009 to 2011 Camry and Venza have an issue with the gear shifter.
Lost in transmission
Toyota, according to Reuters, has announced two separate recalls covering three vehicles for two unrelated issues. One recall is for the Toyota Camry and Venza, the crossover SUV/wagon based on the Camry, from the 2009 to 2011 model years.
Camry and Venza models from the 2009 to 2011 model years are affected by an installation issue regarding the stop lamp switch. The problem, according to USA Today, is that in Camry and Venza units made in North America, silicone grease may have gotten into the switch during installation. This can increase electrical resistance in the electrical system. The problem can cause warning lights to go on, prevent brake lights from working and keep the vehicle from being able to engage the parking gear.
There are 70,500 Camry sedans and 116,000 Venzas affected by the recall.
Airbag on the side of caution
The Tacoma recall is the larger of the two, as 495,000 Tacoma pickup trucks from the 2005 to 2009 model years are affected.
The issue is with the spiral cable assembly in the steering wheel, an integral part of steering systems, which can cause friction between a retainer in the spiral cable assembly and the spiral cable itself. As a result of the friction, the electrical connection to the driver’s air bag, in the middle of the steering wheel, can be compromised.
This can cause the airbag to not deploy in the event of a crash, though Toyota says that the airbag warning light would turn on if the defect has damaged the air bag module in any way.
Toyota is going to start contacting owners fairly soon. According to the Chicago Tribune, Tacoma owners affected by the recall will be notified by mail sometime in April. However, Camry and Venza owners may have to wait a little bit longer. Toyota has to stock sufficient parts in order to switch the affected components. As soon as Toyota has gotten a sufficient supply, the company will contact Venza and Camry owners and alert them to the recall.
In both cases, owners will be directed to take their Camry, Venza or Tacoma to the nearest Toyota dealership and service station, where technicians will perform the necessary repairs. In the case of the Tacoma, the steering wheel’s spiral cable assembly will be replaced. For the Camry and Venza recall, the stop lamp switch will be replaced at no cost. Either repair will take 30 minutes or less.
Concerned owners can contact Toyota directly at 1-800-331-4331.