Toyota has issued an immediate "Do Not Drive" advisory for approximately 50,000 U.S. vehicles due to an ongoing airbag recall. The recall involves faulty Takata airbags that the Japanese automaker warns can deploy and result in serious injury or potential death.
In a statement released on Thursday, January 25, Toyota announced that owners of certain car models should immediately cease driving until the airbag is replaced or repaired for free by Toyota to ensure that all drivers and passengers remain unharmed.
The affected model years include the following:
Certain 2003–2004 Corolla vehicles
2003–2004 Corolla Matrix vehicles
2004–2005 RAV4 vehicles
Owners of the affected models will receive a notification or message from Toyota through various communication methods.
The automotive company's statement said: "Due to the age of the vehicles, if the airbag deploys, a part inside is more likely to explode and shoot sharp metal fragments, which could cause SERIOUS INJURY or DEATH to the driver or passengers."
You can check whether your vehicle is involved by visiting Toyota's recall webpage, where you can enter your license plate number or vehicle identification number (VIN), or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which accepts only your VIN. You can then receive a free replacement or repair from a Toyota dealer. Toyota's statement strongly recommends that owners contact the dealer first, as the dealer may offer mobile car repair service, towing to the dealership or vehicle pickup and return.
This new voluntary recall from Toyota comes just one month after approximately 1 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles were recalled due to faulty Occupant Classification System (OCS) sensors. The issue could prevent the airbag system from "properly classifying the occupant’s weight, and the airbag may not deploy as designed in certain crashes, increasing the risk of injury."
That same day, December 20, 2023, Toyota issued a safety noncompliance recall involving approximately 12,600 Corolla Cross vehicles (2022–2023 model year) in the United States. "Until the vehicle is inspected and the remedy is performed, if necessary, Toyota recommends that no one sit in the front passenger seat of an involved vehicle," Toyota wrote in a notice on its website.
Owners of the affected vehicles from the December recalls can expect to receive a notification from Toyota by the middle of February 2024 and can receive a free, improved re-inspection from Toyota dealers with a free replacement for the faulty instrument panel if necessary.
If you have any questions or concerns about the free repairs or which model years are affected by the recall, contact Toyota's customer support at 1-800-331-4331 or read the full statement from Toyota.
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