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The Five Biggest Toyota Recalls in Company History


Ever since Toyota first came on the scene for the United States auto market, they had a reputation for creating high-quality cars that didn't cost a lot of money, yet lasted for years and years. Even back in the early 1980s, when they were nowhere nearly as popular as they are today, they were known for cars such as the venerable Camry. It has been stated that a 1980’s era Toyota Camry can practically go on endlessly, staying on the road for one hundred thousand, two hundred thousand, even three hundred thousand miles. That might not be so surprising in today's world, but back in the 1980s when cars scarcely made it past 50,000 miles, that was definitely saying something. In fact, it spoke volumes.

People Took Notice

The fact that these cars lasted practically forever and cost next to nothing when compared to the tens of thousands of dollars being charged by American automakers, caused more and more individuals to choose to drive Toyotas instead. That is precisely how the company built its brand in the United States. For years and years, it was all about providing the ultimate level of quality without overcharging its customers. As the years went on, the carmaker became known for including more amenities in their cars. The very same cars that started as the most bare-bones examples on the road eventually became cars that could rival anything else that was in existence. Somehow, Toyota managed to keep the price tag from changing in direct proportion to the number of amenities that were offered. Some people started to wonder how they were managing to do this. Unfortunately, it didn't take very long for it to become rather apparent. It seems that there is a better-than-average possibility that they were cutting corners on quality in order to provide more amenities for less money. This is evidenced by the number of recalls that the company has experienced in fairly recent years. In fact, they have been at the center of attention for some of the most serious recalls in automotive history. Below are just five of them.

5. Airbag Recall (2021)

This particular recall is ongoing and affects vehicles made between 2002 and 2017. There were literally tens of thousands of vehicles involved in this particular recall, involving the popular Takata airbags. The problem is that in some cases, small metal fragments can be dislodge when the airbag goes off, running the risk of allowing those metal fragments to impale individuals inside the car. There have been numerous issues associated not only with Toyota, but with several car makers. To date, it is unclear how many of the affected vehicles have actually been repaired.

4. Fuel Pump Recall (2020)

Many vehicles manufactured by Toyota and Lexus are also currently under a recall for a fuel pump problem that can cause the automobile to stall out unexpectedly, thus making it more likely that a crash could potentially happen. To date, there are more than 1.5 million vehicles that have been affected, all of them manufactured between 2017 and 2019. Toyota estimates that by the time the recall is complete, more than 3 million vehicles will need to have their fuel pumps replaced.

3. Power Window Recall (2015)

Back in 2015 the automaker announced recalls for the majority of their vehicles made between 2005 and 2010 for a potentially defective power window switch. It was believed that the switch could potentially short out and cause a vehicle fire, thus necessitating its replacement. By the time the recall was said and done, more than 6.5 million vehicles were affected.

2. Accelerator Recall (2009)

This is easily one of the most well-documented recalls in recent history, largely because of the terrifying nature of it. In 2009 Toyota began recalling vehicles across the board because of a potential accelerator issue. The problem was that in some cases, accelerators were becoming stuck, with the car fully accelerating. While drivers would try to get the pedal unstuck, the car would be going at full speed down the road without responding to any driver input whatsoever. According to Toyota, it was a problem with the pedal sticking, but many people proposed that it might be a problem with the computer system telling the car to accelerate and refusing to respond to outside input. Toyota went as far as telling drivers that if they were in a vehicle that accelerated unexpectedly, they should immediately pull the emergency brake and switch the ignition key to the off position as soon as they could throw the vehicle in the park. Eventually, they begin to recall more than 2.3 million vehicles dating all the way back to model years produced in the early 2000s. However, they never publicly acknowledged that it could potentially be a problem with the computer. That is something that they continue to deny to this day.

1. Floor Mat Recall (2009)

This was actually the first recall associated with unintended acceleration. Initially, Toyota had said that the acceleration was due to floor mats coming dislodged from their original position and sliding into the accelerator pedal, thereby pushing it all the way to the floor and holding it in that position. Many people thought that it was simply too far-fetched to be plausible, but Toyota issued a recall on their floor mats for more than 2.6 million vehicles manufactured between 2007 and 2010. Many of those same vehicles were also subject to the accelerator pedal recall after the recall on the floor mats had been successfully carried out. Eventually, a class action lawsuit was brought against the company, but there wasn't much that actually came of it after the fact.

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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