Toyota is a surprisingly familiar word to see when talking about car recalls - and the brand is at it again with five separate issues leading to a global recall of 6.4 million vehicles.
Across the UK, 35,124 cars have been affected by three of the problems, leading the Japanese automaker to announce safety recalls on those RAV4, Hilux, Yaris and Urban Cruiser models impacted by the faults.
The vast majority of the cars in question are at risk of developing a fault that may result in the driver’s airbag not deploying in the event of a crash.
This is due to the shape and position of a retainer for the airbag unit’s spiral cable, which can be damaged when the steering wheel is turned. A total of 24,785 UK versions of the RAV4 and Hilux built between June 2004 and December 2010 feature the potentially fault, and Toyota is recalling the vehicles so that an improved spiral cable can be fitted.
There is also an issue with the seat rail spring on 10,339 Yaris and Urban Cruiser models manufactured from January 2005 and August 2010.
Toyota has found the mechanism that locks the driver’s seat on the positioning adjustment rail may be weakened with frequent movement backwards and forwards. In three-door variants, the issue also extends to the front passenger seat.
If the spring breaks, the seat could move independently during a crash. Toyota will inspect all vehicles affected by this problem, and will replace the springs free of charge where required – the work will apparently take between 40 and 90 minutes depending on the model and extent of the damage.
A sub-set of these Yaris and Urban Cruiser models also suffer from a weakened steering column bracket. The weld connecting it to the instrument panel may break when the wheel is repeatedly turned with full force, causing the column to tilt out of position.
Toyota has emphasised that the driver will not lose steering control should this happen, although the bracket will still be inspected and reinforced or replaced depending on the state of the weld holding it.
The 1,293 vehicles impacted by this recall are second-gen Yaris with tilt/telescopic steering wheel adjustment and versions of the Urban Cruiser built between September 2005 and February 2009. The necessary updates for this recall, expected to take between two-and-a-half and four-and-a-half hours, will also be free of charge.
Despite these concerns and the nationwide recall, there have been no reports of any accidents, injuries or fatalities in relation to these faults.
Toyota has confirmed owners of affected vehicles will be contacted directly in the coming week, although you can check whether the recall applies to your vehicle via a registration look-up function in the ‘Owners’ section at www.toyota.co.uk. There is also a Toyota Recall Helpline for those owners seeking further information, available on 0800 1388 744.