Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing will recall almost 200,000 hybrid vehicles equipped with potentially defective wiring harnesses.
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The Plano, Texas-based manufacturer notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Sept. 5, 2018 they will recall 192,347 2016-2018 Toyota Prius vehicles built between June 22, 2015 and May 15, 2018.
The affected vehicles contain engine wire harnesses connected to the Power Control Unit (PCU) with connection covers that can contact the wiring. Road vibration can let the cover damage wire insulation over time, exposing the wire core. This can cause a short circuit between the damaged wires, generating heat and increasing fire risk.
Toyota received a call from a Japanese dealer in February 2018 regarding a customer complaint of abnormal odor, smoke and flames coming from the vehicle’s PCU. Toyota representatives inspected the vehicle and found thermal damage on the engine wire harness and nearby components. They also found broken wiring within the harness.
Toyota’s engineers believed the wire harness cover was damaging the wire insulation. They checked wire harnesses at their vehicle assembly plant and noticed abnormal gaps between the wire harness and the cover.
The manufacturer conducted vibration testing but was unable to reproduce wire core exposure. Engineers added a protective sleeve to the harness anyway as an added precaution.
From June to August 2018 Toyota examined vehicles in the Japanese market. Engineers found another vehicle with excessive wire wear and core exposure, prompting additional testing. They found when dust collected on the wiring harness wear occurred faster, reproducing the problem. The company decided on a safety recall on Aug. 30, 2018.
Toyota stated as of Aug. 29, 2018 there is only one alleged warranty claim connected to this defect from the United States.
Toyota will notify owners and dealers will inspect the engine wire harness assembly and replace it if damage is found. A protective sleeve or protective tape will be included to prevent any future damage. These repairs will be performed free of charge. The recall will begin Sept. 28, 2018. Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-888-270-9371. Toyota’s number for this recall is J0T. Toyota owners can also visit the NHTSA’s website and enter their VIN to see if their vehicle is included in any recalls.
Your vehicle’s manufacturer is legally required to fix any recalled problems for free. If the dealership refuses to fix the part or tries to charge you for the repair, contact the manufacturer immediately. The Highway Safety Act of 1970, which created the NHTSA, requires car manufacturers to pay for the recall and replacement of a defective part.
If the manufacturer fails to repair, replace, repurchase, or provide your recalled vehicle’s loss value, they are violating the warranty and a lawyer may be able to help you. Lemon law attorneys help their clients by dealing directly with the manufacturer on the clients’ behalf, working to promptly resolve the issue and get their clients back on the road. Thanks to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, attorneys can seek their fees directly from the manufacturer, meaning a client can obtain legal counsel without having to pay attorneys’ fees directly out of pocket.
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