Japanese automobile giant, Toyota, announced a voluntary recall last week of approximately 87,000 Prius models from 2010, as well as Lexus HS 250h units. The recall is due to a flaw in the brake system, which could allow nitrogen gas to leak.
The models affected by this recall include Prius cars manufactured between March and October 2009 and Lexus HS 250h cars manufactured between June and October 2009. Of the recalls in the United States, 81,570 are Prius cars and 5,030 are Lexus HS 250h cars.
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defect report, Toyota discovered this defect three years ago and for some reason did not issue a recall until late May.
Initially, the defect was blamed on extremely rough roads. Upon further testing of the brake pump assembly it was revealed that even under controlled laboratory conditions, different amounts of stress on the assembly were recorded, pointing to a manufacturing defect in the assembly itself.
“The involved vehicles are equipped with a brake pressure accumulator that may develop a fatigue crack on an internal part due to vibration,” Toyota USA said in a statement on its website.
If the brake pressure accumulator cracks, nitrogen gas could be released into brake fluid, causing drivers to experience increased stopping distances. More than 90 complaints have reportedly been issued to Toyota about drivers needing to step more heavily on the brake pedal to stop their cars.
Unfortunately for Toyota, this recall is nothing new. In April, Toyota issued a recall of approximately 1.7 million cars worldwide due to an airbag defect. The automobile maker had also recalled more than 7 million cars last October due to problems with power window switches, which were a potential fire risk to drivers.
As we reported back in December, Toyota blamed the sudden unintended acceleration problem on driver error and floor mats and recalled millions of vehicles so they could install proper floor mats. However, the problem continued even after the new floor mats were installed. Toyota agreed to pay more than $1 billion in the U.S. to settle lawsuits where vehicle owners said the value of their cars and SUVs plummeted after Toyota’s recall for sudden acceleration issues.
Toyota has recalled more vehicles than any other automaker operating in the U.S. last year for the third time in just four years.
As part of the recall procedure, consumers can have their cars’ brake booster pump assemblies inspected and replaced, if necessary, free of charge. This procedure should take about three hours.
For more information, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).