Toyota Motor Sales announced late yesterday that it would conduct safety recalls involving 170,000 front-passenger airbag inflators installed in multiple vehicle lines. The recalls for the vehicles involved include certain Toyota Corolla, Corolla Matrix, Sequoia, and Tundra, and Lexus SC 430 models manufactured from 2001 – 2003. Toyota did not say how it became aware of the safety problem or how many people have been injured or killed because of it.The safety defect is in vehicles that are equipped with front-passenger airbag inflators that could have been assembled with improperly manufactured propellant wafers.
In a terse statement, Toyota said that improperly manufactured propellant wafers could cause the inflator to rupture and the front passenger airbag to deploy abnormally in the event of a crash. “More precise vehicle information is being developed, but about 510,000 vehicles may have to be inspected to locate the suspect inflators,” Toyota said.
Owners of the potentially unsafe Toyota and Lexus vehicles will receive an owner notification letter by first class mail. The recall will involve inspection of the front passenger air bag, and, if it is equipped with an affected inflator, the inflator will be replaced with a newly manufactured one at no charge to the owner as is required by NHTSA regulations.