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IS TOYOTA MIS-CLASSIFYING SAFETY DEFECTS AS LIMITED SERVICE CAMPAIGNS?

toyota camry

Safety Recall F0C vs Limited Service Campaign F0B

Toyota announced Safety Recall F0C in mid-January covering certain 2014 and 2015 Prius V because passenger airbags may not deploy properly.

When Toyota acknowledged a similar condition related to airbag non-deployment affecting the passenger airbags of about 750,000 Camrys, Avalons, Yaris, and Prius C models, Toyota launched Limited Service Campaign F0B . Toyota assigned an expiration date of December 31, 2017 to Limited Service Campaign F0B. After the LSC “expires”, Toyota will no longer cover the cost of repairing the defect.

Once the Limited Service Campaign “expires” a vehicle is eligible to be sold as a Toyota Certified Used Vehicle (TCUV) - even if the defect is un-repaired.

When Nissan experienced a similar condition leading to non-deploying airbags in certain 2012 model year vehicles, they issued a Safety Recall .

Limited Service Campaign F0B

Safety Recall F0C

Toyotas Covered

Approx. 753,000

Toyotas Covered

Approx. 5,000

Potential Cost of Repair

Up to $560.00

Potential Cost of Repair

$44.00

Potential Expense of Campaign

Up to $421,680,000

(at 100% completion rate)

Potential Expense of Campaign

$220,000

(at 100% completion rate)

Toyota’s Description of the Defect

“The front passenger seat assembly is equipped with sensors for the occupant classification system which are used to control the operation of supplemental restraint systems (SRS), including the front passenger airbag. The sensors classify the weight of the occupant and activate or deactivate the front passenger airbag accordingly. Additionally, the sensors are used to detect certain vehicle collisions. Due to the current collision detection thresholds, the system may interpret certain occupant seating usages or road conditions as a rear collision and illuminate the Airbag Warning Light and “AIR BAG OFF” indicator, disabling the front passenger air bag.”

Toyota’s Description of the Defect

“The front passenger seat of the subject vehicle is equipped with an occupant classification system (OCS) which activates or deactivates the passenger seat air bag system depending on the weight of the occupant. Due to an improper calibration procedure performed during the manufacturing process at a particular facility, the OCS may not have been calibrated properly. If an OCS is not calibrated properly, the vehicle fails to meet certain requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 208: Occupant Crash Protection. This could prevent a deployment of an air bag, increasing the risk of an injury to a front seat passenger in the event of crash.”

Models Covered

Models Covered

Certain 2012-2013 Camry

Certain 2012-2013 Camry Hybrid

Certain 2012-2013 Prius C

Certain 2012-2013 Yaris

Certain 2013 Avalon

Certain 2013 Avalon Hybrid

Certain 2014-2015 Prius V

 

Have a family member or friend with a Prius? Click here.

 

Is Toyota Mis-classifying Safety Defects as Limited Service Campaigns?

According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s Safety Recall Compendium , “manufacturers of motor vehicles…are responsible under U.S. law for both notifying NHTSA and conducting a safety recall campaign when they discover a safety related defect or a noncompliance with federal safety standards in motor vehicles or equipment that they manufacture.”

Toyota often has to cover all or a portion of the cost associated with a Safety Recall or other types of Service Campaigns. Since Toyota has about 15% of the automotive market share in the United States, safety recalls may bring billion-dollar expenses.

If Toyota were to make a “safety defect determination” regarding a defect in its vehicles, federal law requires that it be reported to NHTSA within 5 days . When Toyota makes a Safety Defect Determination they are also required to file a Defect Information Report - containing information such as the chronology of events, parts suppliers, and proposed remedy - with the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration.

In the Statement of Facts laying out Toyota’s actions during the Unintended Acceleration scandal, an email explained one Toyota executive’s attitude toward the Unintended Acceleration recall:

When Toyota determines that a defect in one of its vehicles is not “safety-related” they may utilize a number classifications. Such classifications include Technical Service Bulletin, Limited Service Campaign, Special Service Campaign, and Warranty Enhancement (Customer Support Program). These classifications do not require that Toyota file a Defect Information Report with the NHTSA and the completion rates are not as stringently monitored as those of a Safety Recall.

NHTSA tracks completion rates of Safety Recalls and requires re-notifications be sent to owners with outstanding campaigns until the completion rates improve. Limited Service Campaigns do not have this federal requirement.

Un-repaired Limited Service Campaigns do not show up when a vehicle’s VIN number is entered into NHTSA’s safercar.gov website. Only un-repaired Safety Recalls do.

Below are Toyota’s definitions from their www.Toyota.com/recall website.

When completion rates decrease – so does the cost of the campaign. Consumer Affairs recently published an article about classifications of vehicle defects.

Petition for Exemption

According the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, if a manufacturer discovers a defect and does not want to make a “safety defect determination” triggering enhanced federal scrutiny, they are supposed to file a Petition for Exemption .

This allows NHTSA to review the defect and approve or deny the petition. Denial may trigger a Safety Recall.

Want to search the Federal Registry to see if Toyota filed a Petition for Exemption for Limited Service Campaign F0B? Click here.

Other Toyota Limited Service Campaigns

Here are a few other campaigns classified as Limited Service Campaigns by Toyota.

In Toyota’s E0U Limited Service Campaign , “the subject vehicles contain a brake reservoir which has two separate chambers connected by a filter. This filter may become clogged, resulting in illumination of the Brake ( ) warning lamp due to low fluid level in one of the reservoir chambers. Under certain conditions this could cause additional warning lamps shown below to illuminate and front brake assist could be temporarily lost.”

Toyota’s E0U Limited Service Campaign expired on June 30, 2017. Toyota will no longer cover the cost of the “remedy”.

In Toyota’s E0N Limited Service Campaign , “the Pre-Collision System (PCS) uses a radar sensor to determine the possibility of a frontal collision. FCC regulations require the radar sensor to be temporarily inactive while the vehicle is stopped. Due to a program error in the Driving Support ECU, if the radar sensor is inactive for 10 seconds or more, the PCS may not reactivate on certain 2011-2014 Model Year Sienna vehicles equipped with PCS.”

Toyota’s E0N Limited Service Campaign expired on June 30, 2017. Toyota will no longer cover the cost of the “remedy”.

In Toyota’s D0N Limited Service Campaign , “due to an assembly error during manufacturing, the Rear Driveshaft in certain 2011-2012 Model Year Highlander Hybrid vehicles can disengage from its inboard joint assembly. If this occurs, the driveshaft could vibrate and rattle inside the inboard joint, causing a loud noise from the rear of the vehicle while driving. Continuing to drive the vehicle can damage the housing of the Rear Differential Motor. If the housing is damaged, the entire differential motor would also require replacement.”

Toyota’s D0N Limited Service Campaign expired on October 31, 2016. Toyota will no longer cover the cost of the “remedy”.

In Toyota’s F0N Limited Service Campaign , “the subject vehicles may illuminate a Check Engine warning lamp due to software programming for continuous variable valve lift control. If this condition occurs, the vehicle may experience a reduction in power.”

Toyota’s F0N Limited Service Campaign expires on June 30, 2018. After that date passes, Toyota will no longer cover the cost of the “remedy”.

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