Toyota will recall 778,000 cars and SUVs across the US and Canada, the company has admitted, having identified a problem with the suspension that could cause it to unexpectedly collapse. The recall, Toyota said, predominantly affects the RAV4, with 760,000 models impacted, though around 18,000 Lexus HS 250h sedans are also affected. However, the company also says that it is still working on a fix, and will have to notify owners when it's ready.
At fault, Toyota says, is the rear suspension arm, and the way it is fixed together. Some of the nuts may not have been tightened "following the proper procedure" for torque specification, among other things, following a rear-wheel alignment, they may exhibit undue movement around the threads.
If that happens, rust could form and the threaded section itself wear out, eventually leaving the arm to separate. "If the rear tie rod has become loose the driver may notice an abnormal noise from the rear of the vehicle" Toyota told owners in a statement. "If a driver hears an abnormal noise from the rear of the vehicle the driver should contact any authorized Toyota dealer for diagnosis."
However, those dealers may not know what to do to fix the problem yet. The company is "currently developing a remedy" it says and "will send a notification letter by first class mail advising owners to make an appointment with an authorized Toyota or Lexus dealer to have the remedy performed at no charge" when it has figured out a repair. Model years 2006 to early 2011 for the RAV4 and 2010 for the HS 250h are affected, and those who have independently paid for repairs will be reimbursed.
This latest recall is not the only Toyota embarrassment of late. The company was forced to call back 144,000 2010 Lexus SUVs after they were found to potential suffer from stuck-accelerator problems that could lead the driver to be unable to control the speed of the vehicle.