Toyota recalls 1M newer cars for faulty airbag sensors

Toyota has recalled many of its most popular models for a short circuit in the airbag sensor that can prevent the airbag from deploying in the event of a crash, the NHTSA disclosed Monday. The issue is unrelated to the Takata airbag recall that has roiled the industry in the last few years, amounting to the biggest automotive recall in history. 

The airbag sensor issue afflicting Toyota and Lexus vehicles is still a sizable one, accounting for 999,901 vehicles from the 2020-2022 model year.

The issue specifically applies to vehicles with Occupant Classification System sensors that detect if someone is in the front passenger seat. The circuit board could have been deformed during production from the supplier, and moisture can enter the capacitor in the circuit. If the sensor has been compromised, the SRS warning light will illuminate in the cluster, as well as a “Passenger Airbag OFF” light, even if there’s a passenger in the seat. Another message may display, and ultimately, since the sensor won’t detect a passenger, the front passenger airbag won’t deploy in a crash. 

Toyota estimates that only 0.2% of the near-million cars recalled have this problem. The recall population includes the following vehicles:

2020-2021 Toyota Avalon and Avalon Hybrid

2020-2022 Toyota Camry and Camry Hybrid

2020-2021 Toyota Corolla

2020-2021 Toyota Highlander and Highlander Hybrid

2020-2021 Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid

2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid

2021 Lexus ES 250

2020-2021 Lexus ES 350

2020-2022 Lexus ES 300h

2020-2021 Lexus RX 350 and 450h

Owners will be notified by mail as early as Feb. 4, 2024 to bring their vehicle into a Toyota/Lexus dealership for inspection of the sensors and a replacement, if necessary. It won’t cost owners anything except time. Drivers who have paid to have it replaced are eligible for reimbursement. For more info, contact Toyota customer service at 1-800-331-4331 or visit Toyota’s recall hub

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