Toyota Recalls 2007-09 Tundra Trucks Over Power Window Glitch
As you have undoubtedly heard, Toyota plans on recalling 2.47 million vehicles in the U.S. (7.43 million globally) to fix a power window issue that some news agencies are erroneously reporting as a “fire risk.”
UPDATE: A new statement has been added to some news reports stating “documents filed by U.S. safety regulators show customers have reported 161 fires and nine injuries.” We have found that this “fire” is really classified as an “electrical fire” such as when the switch gets hot and smokes. Further analysis of the report shows that there were 161 incidents of smoke out of 2.4 million vehicles which is 0.0067% of the total recalled. Not really a big fire risk.
This is unfortunate – and borderline irresponsible – because while the recall effects all switches, the risk of fire is limited to switches that:
- Are “sticking” (this isn’t every switch…not even close)
- Have been “fixed” with a conventional lubricant like WD40
- Because the switch was never, ever designed for conventional lubrication, there is a chance that switches which have been lubed with something like WD40 could catch on fire
This explanation of Toyota’s massive recall is detailed, nuanced, and entirely too difficult to explain in 2 seconds. SO, most media outlets are reporting a global vehicle recall number (7.4 million) along with the phrase “fire risk” and leaving it at that.
This is BS, no?
About The Recall
The U.S. recall affects approximately 337,100 Toyota Tundra pickups model years 2007 through 2009.
The recall should be a simple quick fix at the dealer to “inspect and apply special fluorine grease to the driver’s side Power Window Master Switch (PWMS).” Apparently, the driver side window may feel “notchy” or sticky. A special lubrication needs to be applied to fix this problem. Over the shelf, or “commercially available lubricants,” that may be applied to the master switch could cause the switch assembly to melt or smoke and could lead to a fire under some circumstances according to Toyota.
Toyota believes the “notchy” or sticky feel could be caused by an “uneven application of the grease during the switch assembly process at the supplier.” An uneven application could cause the grease to become “carbonized and may eventually result in the deterioration of its lubricating properties.” They have declined to identify the supplier in question.
The fix should be relatively fast and estimates are that it will only take an hour depending (of course) on the dealer’s schedule.
One would assume a recall of this size would be accompanied with some news story about how the problem has injured someone or caused an accident. Toyota says this is not the case and they have no reports indicating anything like that has happened. EVER.
Yet this hasn’t stopped media organizations from talking about fire risks, nor has it stopped them from comparing this relatively innocuous recall with far more serious incidents like the Ford/Firestone tire recall, GMs heater washer fluid recall (which actually did cause a few fires), Ford’s cruise control recall (which caused dozens and perhaps hundreds of fires), or even Toyota’s sticking accelerator recall, which may or may not have caused a small number of accidents.
Pickuptrucks.com says, “it’s one of the biggest recalls in history, and it’s the automaker’s largest since recalling millions of vehicles for unintended-acceleration issues in 2009 and 2010.”
Toyota was first aware of this issue back in September 2008 according to Monika Saito, Toyota spokeswoman as quoted in Automotive News.
Toyota did not provide a cost estimate of the recall. They did say that owners should receive a first-class mail letter starting in late October 2012 with the recall information.
Detailed information is available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
Filed Under: Tundra Recalls