As the year draws to a close, it is a customary time for reflection and anticipation of what the future holds. For Toyota, the final months of 2023 are presenting a significant challenge, as the company grapples with addressing past issues associated with its vehicles.
Over the past two months, the renowned Japanese automaker Toyota has issued a series of recalls that have raised concerns about the safety of its vehicles. These recalls have prompted the company to address potential issues that could affect the well-being of its customers.
In September, Toyota announced a recall involving 21,780 Tundra and Tundra Hybrid pickups. The reason for this recall was a misleading modification label, which could have led people to overload their vehicles beyond their capacity.
October brought news of a much larger recall, impacting a substantial 751,000 vehicles. This time, the focus was on Highlander SUVs, which were at risk of losing body parts from the front bumper while in motion.
As if determined not to let a single month pass without addressing a recall, Toyota commenced November with an announcement that will impact no fewer than 1,854,000 RAV4 SUV owners. This recall pertains to a potentially severe issue: the risk of fire.
Specifically, Toyota identified a problem with some of the replacement 12-volt batteries, which have slightly smaller dimensions than the standard batteries typically used in these SUVs. When a standard battery is replaced with one of these smaller counterparts, there is a risk that the hold-down clamps won’t secure the battery correctly.
If this occurs, the battery may shift slightly, especially during turns. While this may not seem problematic in itself, it can lead to a more significant issue: the battery’s positive terminal coming into contact with the hold-down clamp. This contact can result in a short circuit, a situation that often leads to fires.
The affected models were manufactured between 2013 and 2018, all falling within the fourth generation of the RAV4 SUV. Fortunately, the fifth-generation models, introduced in 2018, are exempt from this issue.
Owners of the affected vehicles will start receiving notifications by the end of the year. The recall process itself is scheduled to begin in 2024, as Toyota is still working on identifying the most appropriate solution to rectify the problem.
It is highly likely that the fix will involve Toyota dealers replacing the battery hold-down clamp, battery tray, and positive terminal cover. As is customary in such cases, all necessary upgrades will be performed at no extra cost to the vehicle owners, prioritizing their safety and peace of mind.