Toyota Tells Dealers to Stop Selling Tundra with Heated Seats – Fix Imminent

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Toyota has told its dealers to stop selling several models with heated seats including the Tundra. Apparently, the pad material inside the seat next to the heater elements is causing the issue since it has been found to not be up to standards.

Toyota Tells Dealers to Stop Selling Tundra with Heated Seats

The fabric on the 2014 Toyota Tundra apparently doesn’t meet flammability standards when used with seat heaters. A stop sell order has been placed and a fix (fabric swap) is being developed.

The fire risk is apparently linked to the type of fabric used in the seats. This fabric doesn’t meet flammability standards and the flaw was discovered in South Korea (they have the same standards we do). The stop sell order affects Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Camry, Camry Hybrid, Corolla, Sienna, Tacoma and Tundra models equipped with heated seats. Toyota says this applies to about 36,000 vehicles on dealer lots or 13 percent of its inventory. There is an undetermined number of vehicles en route to showrooms that may be affected.

“All those vehicles will be captured, all of them will be fitted with the new seat-heater assembly so they will then be able to be sold,” Toyota spokesman John Hanson said in an interview. “We’re actually building the new units right now. Basically it’s the seat heater with a different cloth pad that does meet (regulations) for burn rate.”

While the number of vehicles is relatively small, the timing is pretty much as bad as it gets with much of the country covered in snow. Not being able to sell a truck with a heated seat will definitely affect February sales volume.

“It affects the most important cars from their lineup, and we’re in the grips of a lot of cold weather right now, so the timing is about as bad as it could be,” said Karl Brauer, a Kelley Blue Book analyst told the Detroit Free Press. “You know people who are out buying a Camry right now are more likely than ever to want one with heated seats.”

Toyota has asked the NHTSA to declare the issue “inconsequential as it relates to vehicle safety.” That statement wording means a recall is unnecessary. Toyota also says that there have not been any injuries or fires reported.

The number of vehicles already sold with the issue is apparently not available at the present time. According to the Detroit Free Press, the issue only affects 2014 Toyota Tundra models and 2013 and 2014 models of the other cars.

This “issue” has us scratching our heads. The fact is that you would be flat out shocked at the amount of engineers and people who work on vehicle seating. How do you then choose a material that doesn’t meet “flammable standards.” Our only guess is that there was a “miscommunication” between a supplier and the automaker. Yet, for Toyota to stand behind is Quality, Reliability, Dependability statement and have an oversight like this is laughable.

C’mon Toyota, you can do better than this.

Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. DJ says:

    I didn’t think you could get heated seats with fabric, thought it was only available on models w/leather.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Probably needs to only be available with leather seats. I didn’t realize you could get it with cloth as well, yet here is this news story.


  2. Ken says:

    Surprised Mark Williams hasn’t posted this yet. He must be busy and will have some young fool from post it and start bashing pickup trucks.

  3. Randy says:

    The USA supplier (the pad portion) failed to honor the contract specifications. Why is that?

    Was that an honest mistake or something else?

    Was there a “bait and switch” by the supplier with Toyota?

    An American Built Hybrid Camry was being disassembled in Korea to find the Defect. That includes taking apart the seat as well. Why is that?

    How and why did the Korean testing organization “know” to take apart the seat? Is that American built Camry built for sale in their country?

    The F150 EPS system has had several different changes in suppliers and build specifications over the last three years. Thousands of owners have bad EPS systems. Some with the nearly constant rattle popping in the steering – like mine. Some with intermittent and dangerous electrical surges that will completely self-correct to “center” and take the wheel out of your hand while turning a 90 degree corner at slow speed – like mine. My wife refused to drive the truck, she was not strong enough to hold the steering wheel; it was like extreme and violent torque-steer on a 4×2. And yet Ford could not fix the dangerous condition and to date there is no recall? Why is that?

  4. toyrulz says:

    Pure speculation here, but my money is on the change to offering the heat option with fabric.

    I to was surprised to see heated fabric as an OEM option, though I have heard of this in aftermarket.

    Maybe the supplier sent normal padding instead of the special padding that allows heat option and it was installed unknowingly by Toyota.

    Remember, Toyota typically stands behind its suppliers and it is unlikely we’ll hear a fast one was pulled on Toyota by a crafty supplier.

    Korean tear down of Camry may have been to figure out how Toyota heats fabric seats to reverse engineer it for new Hyundai or Kia, where they discovered the pad was flammable and reported it to tarnish Toyota to offset their lack of gain from buying a Camry to steal from it. LOL.

  5. LJC says:

    Our 2006 Outback has fabric and heated seats factory option.

  6. Ken says:

    It has made putc and hemi lol has been left to defend it by himself.

  7. […] Toyota Tells Dealers to Stop Selling Tundra with Heated Seats – Fix Coming | Tundra Headquarters Blo… Steve […]

  8. Mickey says:

    When I had leather seats I then had heated seats with it. Better safe than sorry. I just don’t see fabric doing the job right. Heated seats aren’t just to keep you warm. They are also therapeutic. It works out the kinks in your back before you get home. Better than a heating pad.

  9. Brad says:

    Bought a new 1794. Waiting for delivery for 5 days now (2/5/2014)…

    I wonder if my wife’s 2012 Avalon LTD will need new seat heater as well? So far, nothing bad has happened.

    And I agree with Mickey. The heated seats are therapeutic for my 65 year old back!

  10. mk says:

    Yota dropped the ball on this plain and simple. Personally, I think Yota’s quality has decreased throughout the years while other mfgs. have increased on par with Yota and Honda. This is just a prime example of poor quality control.

    Another example is my power driver’s seat and frame on all 3 tundra’s since 2007 of mine replaced under 12K miles pieces of junk. They can’t build a pwr. seat and frame to last 3/36K at all.

  11. Curley Wolf says:

    I, also, have a1794 that’s been sitting at the dealer two weeks today awaiting the part. But the dealer has treated me pretty well by installing my new BakFlip cover ans BedRug at no charge and by making my first months payment. I’m still antsy!

  12. Mike T says:

    Some 36,000 cars at dealerships are affected by the temporary sales ban. That’s about 13% of Toyota cars at U.S. dealers.
    In a statement, Toyota (TM) said the material didn’t “retard flame” at the necessary rate required by U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

  13. Will says:

    Toyota doesn’t know yet how long the repairs will take. Hanson said a replacement material is being manufactured and already is being installed at factories. Dealers will use the material to fix cars now on their lots. “We don’t think it will take long to get the parts and make the changes,” Hanson said. “I don’t have any numbers on the timing.”

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