2010 Toyota Camry – Click above for high-res image gallery

With its upcoming Capitol Hill hearings only about a week away, Toyota appears to be attempting to tie up any loose ends with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The government agency has just announced a new recall for the 2010 Camry, and the embattled automaker is apparently taking a second look at unintended acceleration cases with its Tacoma pickup while deflecting more unintended acceleration death allegations as well.

Today, NHTSA has announced that it is recalling 7,314 four-cylinder Camry sedans because the power steering pressure hose might be "insufficient." According to the government agency's official verbiage (available after the jump), "the cap between the crimp on the pressure hose and the brake tube for the left rear brake may be insufficient," a condition that could lead to the brake tube interfering with the crimp, resulting in perforation. If said tube cracks, a brake fluid leak can occur – and we all know what can happen from there. Affected units will have their brake tubes adjusted and/or replaced as necessary.

In other Toyota/NHTSA developments, Automotive News reports that the Japanese automaker is re-investigating complaints of unintended acceleration in its Tacoma pickup. The renewed probe reportedly arrives on the heels of "a congressional query about the unusual number of unintended acceleration reports since 2005." The previous investigation covered some 514 reported incidents in which 2004-2008 Tacomas allegedly experienced unintended acceleration episodes that resulted in 71 accidents and 17 injuries.

Automotive News
notes that Toyota's previous 2008 investigation concluded with the finding that a majority of cases "are related to minor drivability issues and are not indicative of a safety-related defect." NHTSA apparently conducted its own seven-month probe into 2006-2007 Tacomas in 2008, but never took any action, noting that "the information suggesting a possible defect related to motor vehicle safety is quite limited." Just last week, Toyota recalled 8,000 Tacomas to fix an unrelated driveshaft malady.

Finally, in related Toyota safety news, the Associated Press reports that new complaints lodged with the federal government bring the automaker's alleged sudden acceleration toll up to 34 since 2000. That's an increase of 13 in three weeks, with the alleged deaths stemming from nine accidents occurring between 2005 and 2010. The AP notes that between 2000 and 2009, the government had received complaints alleging 21 deaths tied to unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. The AP suggests that the spike in new complaint filings likely stems from "the heightened awareness of the massive recall among the public and underscore a flurry of lawsuits on behalf of drivers alleging deaths and injuries in Toyota crashes." Thanks for the tip, David!


Related GalleryDetroit 2009: 2010 Toyota Camry

[Sources: NHTSA, Associated Press (via El Paso Times), Automotive News - subs. req.]


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PRESS RELEASE

Report Date : February 15, 2010 at 11:58 AM
NHTSA Campaign ID number : 10V040000

Vehicle Make / Model: Model Year(s):
TOYOTA / CAMRY 2010
Manufacturer: TOYOTA MOTOR NORTH AMERICA, INC. Mfr's Report Date: FEB 09, 2010

NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 10V040000
N/A
NHTSA Action Number: N/A
Component: SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC
Potential Number of Units Affected: 7314

Summary:
TOYOTA IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2010 CAMRYS. THE LENGTH OF THE POWER STEERING PRESSURE HOSE ON VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH THE 4-CYLINDER (2AR-FE) ENGINE MAY BE INSUFFICIENT, SUCH THAT THE GAP BETWEEN THE CRIMP ON THE PRESSURE HOSE AND THE BRAKE TUBE FOR THE LEFT REAR BRAKE MAY BE INSUFFICIENT. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES THE BRAKE TUBE MAY INTERFERE WITH THE CRIMP AND MAY WEAR AND THEN PERFORATE.

Consequence:
A BRAKE TUBE PERFORATION MAY RESULT IN BRAKE FLUID LEAKAGE. A LEAK IN BRAKE FLUID MAY IMPACT BRAKING PERFORMANCE INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH.
Remedy:

TOYOTA WILL NOTIFY OWNERS AND, IF NECESSARY, DEALERS WILL REPLACE OR ADJUST THE BRAKE TUBE FREE OF CHARGE. THE RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN DURING MARCH 2010. OWNERS MAY CONTACT TOYOTA AT 1-800-331-4331.

Notes:
OWNERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV .