Running a large fleet and being the registered owners of our cars, we get manufacturers recall notifications all the time and they aren’t just restricted to one car maker, but pretty much effect everyone who builds our cars for us. Cars are complicated things and sometimes parts fail and I guess the real miracle is that we don’t get more recalls than we actually do. Car manufacturers spend vast sums of money in quality testing every component that goes into making their cars but as we all know, it’s impossible to be certain a component or combination of components wont fail…….things go wrong!
Well this week, Toyota have again announced another recall, this time it relates to fuel system issues on old generation Avensis and Lexus IS Models and involves a little less than 19,000 cars in total.
At the end of this article we have re-printed the advice from Toyota, along with details of how to contact them and see if your car is one of those affected.
Bad publicity has surrounded Toyota since late 2009 when up to 4 million vehicles were called back for repair to faulty accelerator pedals and that was followed in February 2010 when 400,000 of its Prius Hybrids were recalled with braking issues. Trouble didn’t stop there as in May 2010, sister brand Lexus recalled 11,500 LS600h and LS460 models with a problem affecting their steering. July 2010 saw Lexus again calling cars back and this time as it was discovered certain models including the GS450h, LS600h and LS600hl could suddenly stall whilst being driven.
So all in all, on the face of it not a good picture.
The big numbers often involved in recalls these days are as a result of the way components are often shared across a manufacturers entire range of vehicles. As a result, when compared to days gone by, where an item might just be used in one model involving a small recall, now the recall can easily run into tens of thousands of cars.
Recalls often result from you and me (that’s Joe public) getting a problem with our car and taking it to the local dealer to be fixed. If it’s an unusual failure or something the dealer hasn’t come across before, or there isn’t a documented fix for it, its normal for the dealer to report it back to the car manufacturer and from there, the car maker has to decide if it’s a one off, or the start of a series of such failures, in which case, the manufacture works out a fix, tells the dealer network what to do and contacts the owners of any cars affected and there we have “the Recall”.
The only point of doubt around this is how long the problem is allowed to remain before the manufacturer decides it’s worthy of a recall. In other words, how many cars have to exhibit the fault or problem before owners of those cars get to know about it.
Being cynical, recalls can cost a small fortune, and there must be some kind of balancing act between recalling 2 million cars for a problem, when perhaps it’s only been found in a handful of cars and may never affect any more. It means the manufacturer has to call 2 million owners to get their cars to the dealership and perhaps replace 2 million parts, many of which don’t have any problem, and clearly, it inconveniences the cars owners and can get the car manufacturer really bad publicity, when all they are trying to do is the right thing.
With all that in mind, its great to see manufacturers like Toyota not trying to cover these things up, even if it does mean that the ‘unknowledgeable’ press who love anyone or anything that goes wrong is going to have a field day at their expense.
Toyota is the biggest car manufacturer in the world, because for years, they’ve made truly reliable and some might say ‘bullet proof’ cars, which have operated across the globe in all kinds of conditions. Toyota wouldn’t compromise its integrity or design and they manufacturer their cars to the highest standards and I for one wouldn’t hesitate to buy and drive a Toyota product.
Toyota will be contacting owners affected by the latest scare through the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA). Repairs to the fuel system will be carried out free.
In the UK, about 15,500 Toyota models are affected: 2.0- and 2.4-litre petrol-engined Avensis built between July 2000 and September 2008, and 3,100 petrol Lexus IS 250 cars built between August 2007 and February 2009. Approximately 3,100 UK registered Lexus IS 250 petrol engine vehicles, produced between August 2007 and February 2009, are also affected.
Full official advice at www.toyota.co.uk/recall