Toyota recently announced that it will be recalling over 300,000 vehicles due to defective sensors which could spontaneously trigger airbag deployment in some RAV4 and Highlander models.
Apparently two “roll sensing” sensors, which are designed to detect the vehicle’s roll angle, are implicated in the recall. If one of those sensors fails, the airbag warning light goes on and the vehicles’ rollover systems could be disabled. Toyota said, though, that in such a case the airbag would still activate in a side-impact accident. But if both sensors fail “nearly simultaneously” after the initial airbag system check, the vehicles’ airbags could deploy inadvertently.
Fixing the problem requires replacement of the roll sensor assembly with a new one.
Sources said 214,000 RAV4s from 2007 and 2008 will be affected, and 94,000 Highlanders from 2008. No other Lexus or Toyota models are involved in the recall. All of those vehicles were sold in North American. Apparently vehicles in other markets do not have the roll-sensing airbag system.
Toyota said free rollover system replacements will be conducted at its dealerships, and that customers will start receiving mailed notices in May.
The recall announcement is the latest in a string of Toyota recalls dealing with a variety of defects, including defective floor mats, sticky gas pedals, and problems with braking software. Altogether, the recalls have affecter over 14 million vehicles worldwide.
Source: Detroit Free Press, “Toyota to recall 300,000 vehicles,” 22 April 2011.