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Toyota Recalls RAV4s And Highlanders For Bad 'Bag Sensors

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On: Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 9:24AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Toyota Recalls RAV4s And Highlanders For Bad 'Bag Sensors

And the hits just keep on coming for Toyota, this time to the tune of approximately 308,000 North American RAV4 and Highlander vehicles from the 2007 and 2008 model years which have potentially faulty Curtain Shield Airbag Sensor Assemblies.

According to the company, this "voluntary Safety Recall" involves "certain 2007 through 2008 model year RAV4 and certain 2008 Highlander and Highlander HV vehicles sold in the United States." Approximately 214,000 RAV4s and 94,000 Highlanders and Highlander HVs are covered by this recall.

It's Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. that's taking the hit this go-round as only models sold in the North American market are affected as the "roll sensing curtain shield airbag system" in question does not appear in vehicles sold in any other market.

Lucky us then, yeah?

Now, let's all sit back and listen to the dulcet tones of TMS USA Inc. as it explains this mess in its own words:

"In the roll-sensing curtain shield airbag system of the subject vehicles, there are two sensors in the airbag sensor assembly which are designed to detect vehicle roll angle. If one of these sensors malfunctions, the airbag warning light (malfunction indicator light) will illuminate and the roll detection system will be suspended; however, the airbag remains available in the event of a side collision. If both sensors fail nearly simultaneously after initial airbag system check, the seat belt pretensioner and the curtain shield airbag could be inadvertently activated."

Yes, that last bit really says what you think it does: your seatbelt pretensioner (the explosive device that instantly takes all of the slack out of your seatbelt) and the "curtain shield" airbag (the explosive device designed to fill the space between the side of your head and the side of the vehicle) could go off whenever the electronic gremlins inside the system decide that they want to scare the holy hell out of you, regardless of the fact that none of the normal reasons for this to occur are actually occurring.

If you own one of the vehicles in question, Toyota will be sending you an “interim notification letter advising you of this recall by first class mail in May 2011.”For those of you who’d rather find out if your RAV4 or Highlander is going to go “boom” on you before that—and who wouldn’t—you can take your VIN to www.toyota.com/recall or call the “Toyota Customer Experience Center” at (800) 331-4331.

[And if you own ANY Toyota product—including Lexus and Scion—you should check its VIN, also, as there are DOZENS of recall notices for all kinds of reasons listed on that site too.]

If you DO find that your RAV4 or Highlander has been possessed by an airbag-activating demon, the folks at TMS USA Inc. want you to know that things aren’t ALL bad as they’ll replace the roll sensing sensor assembly with a new one “at no cost to the customer.”

I know that statement is borderline-insulting, failing to take into account things like the cost of your time spent going to the dealer, waiting on the repair and returning to your life, not to mention the cost of your piece of mind now that you know a major safety system on your vehicle might go off at random.

But insults aside, it’s impressive that Toyota isn’t curled up in a weepy ball somewhere after the year it’s had, so you almost have to admire the intestinal fortitude they show by taking recall after recall in stride. I guess once you get over the first dozen or so they all start to blur together…

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