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Toyota Highlander Seat Belt Recall

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On: Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 3:04PM | By: Karen Cook

Toyota Highlander Seat Belt Recall

On March 3rd, Toyota Motor Sales USA issued a “stop delivery” order to dealers for its 2014 Toyota Highlander Crossovers. This means dealers were asked not to sell any of these vehicles until further notice. The cause of the request is the seat belt in the center of the third row, which apparently was not installed properly at the factory and may not be secured to the vehicle floor. It can come loose during a crash and send the occupant of this seat flying through or out of the vehicle, depending on the severity of the accident.

Staring sometime this month, an official recall by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will begin. 7,067 SUVs built between November 20th, 2013 and January 18th of this year will be affected. There have been no accidents, injuries or fatalities connected to this defect, as of this writing, and no other Toyota or Lexus vehicles have this issue.

Owners of affected vehicles will be notified and dealers have been authorized to inspect Highlanders for the defective seat belt, and replace it if necessary. You don’t have to wait for the recall to have your car inspected. If you have one of the affected models, you may take it to the dealer any time to make sure the belt has been installed properly. You may also contact Toyota with any questions at 1-888-327-4236.

My question is how does something as common as a seat belt get installed improperly? Seat belts have been around for decades and, as far as I know, the basic mechanics of this piece of equipment haven’t changed significantly. Did Toyota try to change something in the design and fail, or were the installers careless? Either way, this seems like a problem that should never have existed.


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