Consumer Reports is calling on Toyota to issue an official recall of 178,000 Camry Hybrid sedans from model years 2007 to 2011, claiming that a pair of issues affecting the brakes are so dire they demand a more official action than what the company has undertaken so far.
The first issue, as CR tells it, relates to a clog in the brake-fluid reservoir filter, which if left untreated could lead to a number of dashboard warning lights. The "front brake assist could be temporarily lost," too, according to Toyota's own notice to dealers and owners of affected models. The company has issued a "service campaign" that will fit a new brake-fluid reservoir free of charge to any affected model brought to a dealer by June 30, 2017.
The other issue plaguing the fuel-sipping Camrys is being treated via a warranty extension, and focuses on the ABS brake actuator, a particularly expensive (both in terms of parts, at $1,000, and labor, around $3,000) item that is necessary for the anti-lock braking to function. There's also a related issue with the brake pedal's "stroke sensor," which like the actuator can lead to a very difficult-to-depress brake pedal. The warranty extension increases the coverage of the actuator to 10 years or 150,000 miles (whichever comes first).
While both the service campaign and the warranty extension were prompted by a number of complaints and an investigation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only the 2007 and 2008 models were investigated. Toyota broadened the scope of the issues, including 2009 to 2011 models, when it announced the service campaign and warranty extension. Despite the company's actions, CR claims that as of this writing, the 2007 and 2008 Camry Hybrids have still managed to rack up 269 complaints, with 14 reported crashes and five injuries.
CR ends its bit, arguing that the nature of these issues and the effects they can have on the way a vehicle behaves warrant an even greater action, saying:
Thoughts? If NHTSA didn't demand a recall, do you still think the issues are dire enough to demand one? Could (or should) Toyota satisfy CR's demands by stepping up the information campaign regarding the warranty extension and service campaign? Have your say in Comments.
"We think Toyota's proper action would be a recall. Greatly diminished brake function is a serious safety concern. A recall is more comprehensive and widely published than a mere service campaign, and owners don't have to wait for a problem to happen before qualifying for the repair. Besides that, unlike extended warranties, recalls don't expire and are performed proactively."