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Toyota recall: 1.3 million vehicles for rogue airbags, faulty wiper blades

Toyota recall affects 1.3 million vehicles, mostly in the United States. Corollas with airbags that may deploy accidentally and Lexus sedans with faulty wiper blades are involved in the latest Toyota recall. 

By Schuyler VelascoStaff writer / January 30, 2013

A 2010 Toyota Corolla automobile is displayed at a Toyota dealership in Daly City, Calif. Toyota Motor Corp will recall nearly 1.3 million cars globally for two separate defects, including 752,000 Corolla and Corolla Matrix vehicles in the United States to fix airbags that could be deployed inadvertently. Lexis sedans with faulty windshield wipers are also part of the Toyota recall.

Robert Galbraith/Reuters/File

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Safety woes continue for Toyota, which has had a busy few months on the recall front. The automaker is recalling nearly 1.3 million cars over issues with faulty airbags and wiper blades. So far, two crashes related to the airbag issue have been reported in the United States (though unconfirmed by Toyota), as well as 18 minor, non-crash-related injuries to drivers, a Toyota Motor Corp. spokesman told AP Wednesday.

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Staff writer/editor

Schuyler Velasco is a writer and editor for the Monitor's business desk.  She writes about consumer issues, sports, and the occasional sandwich.

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The Toyota recall for airbags involves some 907,000 vehicles worldwide, mostly Corolla models. The wiper blade issue is separate, and involves 385,000 Lexus IS luxury sedans. The Corollas are from the 2003 and 2004 model years. The Lexis IS vehicles run from model years 2006 through early 2012.

Although the Toyota recall is worldwide, but the bulk of the recalled vehicles – including 752,000 Corollas and 270,000 Lexis IS vehicles – are in the US.

According to a press notice issued by Toyota Motor Sales USA, the airbags may be short-circuiting in their restraint systems, which may cause them to deploy accidentally. 

“The airbag control module for the supplemental restraint system (SRS) in the Corolla and Corolla Matrix vehicles could have been manufactured with application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) that are susceptible to internal shorting,” the Toyota release reads. “These could experience an internal short that creates abnormal current flow and increased heat. If this occurs, there is a possibility that the ASIC could become damaged. In some instances, the front airbag(s) and/or seat belt pretensioners could inadvertently deploy.”

Regarding the faulty Lexis wipers, the nut holding the wiper arm together might be too loose. “If movement of the wipers is restricted by an external load, such as a buildup of heavy snow on the windshield, one or both of the wipers could become inoperative,” the Toyota statement reads. 

Car owners affected by the recall will be notified via mail “in the near future,” according to Toyota.  Authorized Toyota and Lexus dealers will repair the problem free of charge.

The latest recall continues what has been an eventful six months for Toyota. In October, the automaker recalled 7.4 million Toyota and Scion brand vehicles for faulty window switches, its largest single recall in 16 years. The next month, 2.8 million Priuses were recalled worldwide due to problems with power-steering shafts.

To check if your vehicle is affected by the recall, Toyota owners who purchased their vehicles in the continental United States can visit the Toyota Owners web page and enter a valid Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). More detailed information for Lexis owners is available at lexus.com/recall. 

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