3.4 million Toyotas recalled to fix curtain airbag, fuel tank flaws

Toyota Wednesday recalled a total of 3.4 million vehicles to fix issues with side-curtain airbags and fuel tanks. The recall affected Prius models, Corollas and Lexus vehicles.

Toyota Wednesday announced a pair of recalls totaling 3.4 million vehicles. In sum, the automaker called back 2.87 million Prius hybrids and Corollas to fix potentially leaky fuel tanks and 1.43 million Prius hybrids and Lexus CT compacts to repair a problem with curtain airbags. The airbag problem is not related to the ongoing exploding inflator problem that is affecting millions of vehicles around the world.

In the larger recall, Toyota said it is calling back the 2.87 million vehicles to repair problems with fuel emissions control canisters. According to the automaker, Bloomberg reported, the canisters may crack and, in turn, could leak when the gas tanks are full. Toyota issued the second recall to repair Autoliv-supplied curtain airbags. The airbag units can crack and partially inflate. The partially inflated side curtain bags have been in parked cars.

Of the 3.4 million vehicles, about 932,000 are covered by both recalls.

Toyota has received no reports of injuries, fatalities or crashes related to either the curtain airbag issue or the fuel system fault. Autoliv told Bloomberg that it has information on some parked Prius cars, exposed to temperature swings, where the curtain airbags have partially inflated. A spokesman for the manufacturer, Thomas Joensson, said in a phone interview, that they have no idea of the cause. However, he did note that it will cost between $10 and $40 million, to cover the problem.

An analyst for Wells Fargo, David Lim, who has discussed the problem with industry professionals says it is believed the airbag issue “is due to a bracket … that may weaken (possibly due to vibration, heat and humidity) over time, causing stored gas to leak and inadvertently deploy the airbag (the side curtain airbag in question is not a pyrotechnic design).” The fix, officials believe, is an additional retention bracket preside.

The Toyotas included in the airbag recall were built from October 2008 to April 2012, while the cars with fuel canister problems were made from April 2006 to August 2015.

Sources: Bloomberg, Automotive News

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