(Re)Calling All Cars: Toyota and Honda announce massive recalls over fire hazards

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2007 Toyota Camry/Image courtesy Toyota

Recalls are nothing new and seen to be a normal part of doing business in the automotive industry: A problem is discovered, an investigation ensues, the automaker issues a recall, the problem is corrected, the customer is happy.

This week has been an especially rough one for two automakers in particular as massive numbers of vehicles are being recalled – primarily by Honda and Toyota – over unrelated issues that may lead to fire hazards.

In a sweeping global “all points bulletin,” Toyota has announced a recall affecting some 7.4 million vehicles – 2.5 million of them right here in the U.S. – over an issue with driver’s door power window switches that may not have been properly lubricated when manufactured. This leads to a sticky or notchy feel and if commercially available lubricants are used to free the action of the offending switch a meltdown or fire could possibly occur.

In its press release, Toyota announced its recall will involve an inspection, switch disassembly, and application of special fluorine grease to the unit at no cost to the vehicle owner and that owners of these following vehicles will receive notification by mail starting in late October:

• 2007 to 2008 Yaris (approx. 110,300)

• 2007 to 2009 RAV4 (approx. 336,400)

• 2007 to 2009 Tundra (approx. 337,100)

• 2007 to 2009 Camry (approx. 938,100)

• 2007 to 2009 Camry Hybrid (approx. 116,800)

• 2008 to 2009 Scion xD (approx. 34,400)

• 2008 to 2009 Scion xB (approx. 77,500)

• 2008 to 2009 Sequoia (approx. 38,500)

• 2008 Highlander (approx. 135,400)

• 2008 Highlander Hybrid (approx. 23,200)

• 2009 Corolla (approx. 270,900)

• 2009 Matrix (approx. 53,800)

While massive, this recall is not the automaker’s largest as a 2009-2010 recall involved more than 11 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to replace floor mats and sticky accelerator pedals.

2002 Honda CR-V/Image courtesy Honda

In the past week Honda has announced several recalls including some related to fire hazards as well. The latter involves 269,000 CR-Vs and 573,000 Accords (that join models earlier recalled for the same issue).

The recall of the CR-V models involves 2002-2006 models and concerns a problem relating to the master power window switch module in driver’s doors getting wet and possibly shorting out, overheating, and starting a fire. Earlier Honda had recalled some 80,000 2006 model CR-Vs for a fire hazard with the same switch and in January, 2010 141,000 2007-2008 model year Fits were put on notice for a similar issue.

The Accords most recently recalled are from the 2003-2007 model years that were equipped with V-6 engines and brings the total number of Honda/Acura vehicles recalled for a power-steering-hose-leading-to-a-fire issue to 1.1 million. Other models previously involved in this recall include 2007-2008 Acura TLs, 2004-2008 Acura TSXs, 2004-2008 Acura TLs, and 2005-2008 Acura RLs.

Not related to a fire issue but rather a possibility of rolling away after being placed in park, NHTSA has announced an investigation into 577,000 Pilot SUVs and Odyssey minivans from the 2003-2004 model years.

2002 Honda Civic/Image courtesy Honda

If that were not enough for the beleaguered automaker, last week also saw the addition of some 820,000 vehicles to a recall begun in March over faulty headlight wiring. The latest models added to the list are 2002-2003 Honda Civics and 2004-2005 Pilots on top of the already affected 554,000 2002-2004 CR-Vs and 2003 Pilots.

And did we mention the investigation into some 1.6 million Ford Escapes over loss of power issues, the Chevy Malibus, Saturn Auras, and Pontiac G6s that may roll away or the counterfeit airbags finding their way into repair shops around the country?

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