In an October 20th press release, automaker Toyota's USA subsidiary, announced a voluntary recall of nearly 750,000 of its cars and SUVs. The USA announcement followed a similar one in the company's home country of Japan. With millions already spent on image-salvaging PR after last year's faulty brake fiascos, the current recall is the latest of Toyota's mechanical missteps.
The affected make and models include mid-2000s Avalon, non-hybrid Highlanders, and Lexus sedans. Some owners were experiencing lit-up brake warning lights due to small amounts of leaking brake fluid. Toyota claims that the leaking only occurs when non-Toyota genuine fluid is used on a vehicle during routine maintenance. Apparently Toyota brand fluid contains polymers that offer a superior level of lubrication and subsequent leak protection.
If the fluid leaks, and the owner continues to drive while the brake cylinder is left under-lubricated, his/her break pedals will start to feel "spongy or soft" and braking performance will be compromised. While it seems perfectly forseeable that not all Toyota owners will exclusively utilize Toyota dealerships for their routine tune-ups, Toyota intends to notify all affected owners by mail and replace the brake cylinder cups on their cars with a brake master cylinder cup that does not warp even with non-polymer fluid.
Some sources say that Toyota received leak reports as early as 2005. Given the massive internal quality control changes that ostensibly flooded Toyota in the wake of Congressional hearings, consumers are left to wonder how many of these design defects are actually unique to Toyota or whether they continue to lurk undetected in the less-scrutinized factories of other carmakers.
If you believe you have purchased a defective vehicle, it is important for you to quickly contact a Kentucky attorney to learn more about your legal options.