Toyota Recalls Vehicles for Electronic Defect

NBC News is reporting that Toyota is recalling 3.4 million vehicles worldwide for an electronic defect that results in the failure of air bags to deploy.  2.9 million of the recalled vehicles have been identified as sold in the United States.  The recall applies to 2011 – 2019 Corolla, 2011 – 2013 Matrix, 2012 – 2018 Avalon, and 2013 – 2018 Avalon Hybrid.  The problem with the electronic circuit is that it is not adequately protected against electrical noise.  Electrical noise can occur during a crash and can result in incomplete or non-deployment of the air bags.  NBC is also reporting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) expanded a probe last April which included approximately 12 million vehicles for this air bag problem.  That probe also included the vehicles that Toyota is recalling.  In addition, the probe involved vehicles manufactured between 2010 and 2019 and sold by Fiat, Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, as well as Toyota.  Owners of any of these vehicles should check with their local dealers to see if their vehicle has been recalled for this particular problem.  Toyota owners can also visit Toyota’s website at www.toyota.com, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Safety Recalls”, then enter their vehicle identification number to determine if their has been recalled.

Toyota Recalls Vehicles for Faulty Fuel Pumps

Several news outlets including ABC News and CBS News are reporting that Toyota is recalling nearly 700,000 vehicles for a faulty fuel pump.  The fuel pumps can stop pumping fuel without warning and cause the vehicle’s engine to stop.  A sudden loss of engine power can result in loss of control and increases the risk of a crash.  The following vehicles are affected:  2018 and 2019 Lexus LS 500, LC 500, RC 350, RC 300, GS 350, IS 300, ES 350, LX 570, GX 460, and RX 350 models.  In addition, 2018 and 2019 Toyota 4Runner, Camry, Highlander, Land Cruiser, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, and Tundra vehicles are recalled.  Furthermore, 2019 Avalon and Corolla are also included in this recall.  Other than the Lexus models, only certain models of the other vehicles are affected.  For additional information, owners should go to Toyota’s website, www.toyota.com,  and enter their vehicle identification numbers in the recall page to see if their vehicles are part of the recall.  Support is also available by calling 1-800-331-4331.

Space Heater Fire Cause

Recently, we were asked to investigate a fire involving a newly purchased space heater. Space heaters tend to be small heating appliances meant to heat “small” spaces inside a home or other building. In this particular case, the heater was intended for use with propane gas and rated with a capacity of 30,000 BTU/hr. The homeowner had purchased the heater from a local Home Depot store and installed the heater himself. The installation amounted to connecting the heater to a gas supply line. After approximately three days use, a fire occurred. Luckily, the fire was quickly extinguished with minimal burn damage to the floor and smoke damage throughout the remainder of the home. Upon visual examination of the gas line connection, it was noted that the shutoff valve had been attached to the heater gas line fitting. The proper position for the shut off valve was in the gas supply line from the home at the point where the line was accessed above the floor. The outlet of the valve is then supposed to be connected to that part of the gas line that is connected to the heater. However, the main problem was found to have been in the connection of the valve to the heater fitting. The shut off valve appeared to have been cross-threaded onto the fitting. The pipe joint compound used to seal the threaded connection was also scorched and was indicative as well as a confirmation of a gas leak at that point. In should be noted that since propane is heavier than air, an accumulation around the heater while it was in operation would have ignited, which is what actually happened. The photographs below show how the shut off valve was misaligned with the heater fitting and the resulting damage to the heater.

%d bloggers like this: