According to Toyota, it submitted some recalled inflators to Takata for testing, and it found a high probability of rupturing in high humidity areas. The automaker said it had no reports yet of injuries or fatalities related to the problem.
This is Toyota's third inflator recall this year. In June, it called in for repair the same vehicles from the 2003-2005 model years in high-humidity areas, and it conducted a separate campaign nationwide for the parts in additional models. In April 2013, it also announced a fix campaign for 1.73-million vehicles worldwide for the same issue.
To fix the problem, Toyota will send a letter to owners this week, and dealers will replace the inflator. If the part isn't ready, dealers will deactivate the passenger side airbag and will advise owners that no one should sit there until repaired. Scroll down to read Toyota's full release.
TORRANCE, Calif., October 20, 2014 – Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., today announced plans to conduct a supplemental safety recall of approximately 247,000 Toyota Corolla, Matrix, Sequoia, Tundra and Lexus SC vehicles produced from 2001 to 2004 and equipped with front passenger airbag inflators supplied by Takata Corporation. This action intensifies Toyota's efforts to reach customers and remedy previously recalled vehicles, and a small number of newly included vehicles, in certain geographic areas that appear to warrant immediate action, based on testing by the supplier.
The new initiative targets vehicles in consistently high absolute humidity areas, including southern Florida, along the Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, U.S Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa.
In April 2013 and June 2014, Toyota announced recalls for affected vehicles. Separately, in cooperation with NHTSA and Takata to investigate incidents of ruptured inflators, Toyota recovered inflators from recalled vehicles from areas in South Florida for evaluation by Takata.
Takata provided data to Toyota indicating that a number of the returned inflators performed improperly during component testing. The cause of the potential for ruptured inflators and the influence of high absolute humidity are under investigation. To date, Toyota has received no reports of injuries or fatalities related to this condition.
Beginning this week, all known owners of the affected Toyota and Lexus vehicles will be notified by first class mail to return their vehicles to a Toyota or Lexus dealer. The dealer will replace the front passenger airbag inflator with a newly manufactured one. If a replacement part is not available at the time of vehicle service, the dealer will follow procedures to temporarily disable the front passenger airbag assembly. In addition, the dealer will install a glove box hang tag informing occupants that the front passenger seat should not be occupied until the inflator assembly is replaced and the airbag is fully functional.
Detailed information is available at www.toyota.com/recall and by calling Lexus Customer Service at 1- 800-255-3987 or Toyota Customer Service at 1-800-331-4331.