Toyota has issued a recall for approximately 31,000 Avalon and Lexus ES sedans to fix a braking problem.
The cars’ collision-avoidance system is said to be a bit too reactive when encountering certain objects that do not pose an imminent threat, such as steel bridge joints or plates on the roadway. In some situations, the obstacle misidentification can trigger the automatic emergency braking system.
“Unexpected braking could increase the risk of a crash,” the company said in a statement.
The problem affects the 2013-2015 Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Lexus ES350 and ES300h.
“The pre-collision system abruptly and for no apparent reason activated on a freeway in Charleston, SC. No car or other obstruction was in front of the vehicle,” an Avalon owner wrote in a complaint to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “The seat belts forced us into our seats and immobilized us, and the vehicle did a panic braking maneuver — it could not have braked more forcefully. If someone had been behind us we would have been killed.”
Service technicians will be instructed to temporarily disable the collision-avoidance system as an interim remedy. Rather than fixing the glitch with a software update, vehicles will eventually receive entirely new hardware components to avoid future problems.