Toyota Recalls Certain Sienna, Camry Models – TheTruthAboutCars

Two different recall campaigns were announced yesterday by Toyota. One affects the Camry, while the other is for a deficiency with some new Sienna models. Both are related to safety equipment (as most recalls usually are) with the sedan and minivan being recalled for brake and seat belt issues, respectively.

First up is a safety recall involving certain 2018 – 2019 model year Camry vehicles in America. Approximately 227,400 vehicles are involved in this recall. At issue is the system which provides power brake assist, with Toyota stating that components in a part of this system can prematurely wear. This could lead to a sudden loss of power assist to the car’s brakes but non-power assisted braking will remain functional. However, as anyone who’s ever tried to stand on a stiff brake pedal knows significantly more pressure is needed to whoa up a car without power-assisted brakes.
Given the vast majority of today’s drivers have never experienced such a system, and even those of us who have wouldn’t expect this type of behavior from a late-model Camry, the increased risk of a crash is certainly present. For all involved vehicles, Toyota dealers will inspect the vacuum pump and repair or replace the thing. Owners of involved vehicles will be notified by mid-January 2022.
The other recall affects a small percentage of 2022 Sienna minivans. Approximately 2,300 vehicles are involved in this action. According to the company, the subject vehicles are 8-passenger Sienna vans that were equipped with second-row outboard seat belts which were manufactured with an incorrect component. There is apparently the potential for these belts to “bunch” in the shoulder anchor during certain types of crashes, potentially causing the seat belt webbing to tear. This can increase the risk of injury in those incidents. For all involved vehicles, Toyota dealers will replace the outboard second-row seat belt assemblies with ones that have been manufactured correctly. The notification timeframe is similar to the Camry recall above.
For readers who’ve made it this far into the story without falling asleep, congratulations. You may have noticed a 2022 Camry TRD was used as the lead shot for this post, not because it is necessarily one of the affected models but simply because your author enjoys the absurdity of that particular model. It’s as if your normally staid math teacher suddenly started showing up for class wearing a backward baseball cap and RIPNDIP hoodie. Taking a spin in one about a month ago revealed little in the way of extra power but the platform spoiler and interior red accents were amusing. And, yes, the exhaust is different and does indeed bark slightly on startup.
For more information about the recalls, customer support is available by calling the Toyota Brand Engagement Center at 1-800-331-4331.
[Image: Toyota]
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Classic car non-assisted brake systems would typically have different brake pedal pivot length and primary-to-secondary cylinder area, as compared with a modern vacuum brake system. Meaning, it would be much harder to press the pedal of a modern car with a failed assist system, than the pedal of a car that was designed without brake assist.
It’s analogous to driving a car with a failed power steering pump, as opposed to a car with a manual steering rack. There, too, the level of effort is significantly different between the two scenarios.
In other words, even those who have driven classic cars might be caught off guard and challenged by a failed safety system in a modern car. Given that that the Venn diagram of Camry buyers, sexagenarians, and classic car drivers probably has substantial overlap, this may be a relevant distinction.
I wonder if TTAC and its corporate handlers realize what a gold mine they are sitting on with the depth and breadth of automotive knowledge among what remains of the B&B.
(No, I don’t wonder – I fully realize that they are completely unaware of the [potential] riches beneath their feet.)
Good explanation.
My 71 Pinto with 4 drum brakes and no power anything wasn’t hard to control, but losing the power assist in a modern car is a frightful thing.
Amherst NY
Making a left turn from Transit to Maple.
1980 Crappy monte Carlo. I start the turn
back off the throttle a little
But i m committed
Cars coming – get out of the way – or get smashed.
hand crank that wheel over with real high effort.
Not fun.
You are exactly spot on.
Effort is much higher than a car without any power steering at all.
And my understanding is that in cars with electric power steering, the wheel is even harder, if not impossible, to turn in the event of assist failure!
In fact, using Honda as a basis, I wonder if they took advantage of this fact to eliminate the steering column lock on US-market vehicles. My 2013 Accord had an electronic steering column lock which you could hear working whenever you would power the vehicle on or off, but beginning in 2016, perhaps, the OM indicated that was only the case on Canadian vehicles. Indeed, my 2019 Accord, with EPS and pushbutton start across the model range, doesn’t have that lock, and when the car is off, I think I could actually turn the front tires if I tried hard enough and wasn’t concerned about something breaking.
It’s too easy to panic, but stand on the brakes with both feet, two hands on the bottom of the wheel (from under) and pull up hard, like a bumper jack.
Now go practice it. You might have only a split second to decide, do or die.
There’s a joke in there somewhere about how no amount of threats can persuade a Camry driver to even approach the speed limit, thus limiting the impact of failed brakes, but yikes.
Years ago I had the opposite problem. My brakelines snapped after they rusted through. The car was used and had been sitting outside for months not being driven. I was told it “needs brakes” and figured that meant pads and rotors. Pedal all the way to the floor, but no slowing to be had. Ended up consciously aiming for a ditch beside an on-ramp the middle of winter. Getting out of said ditch was…exciting…in a code brown sort of way.
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