Another month, another Toyota recall.
The Japanese automaker announced Wednesday that it is recalling 1.5 million models worldwide for brake fluid and fuel-pump problems.
Nearly half of those cars – some 740,000 – were sold in the United States. The Toyota recall involves these US models: the 2005-06 Avalon, 2004-06 nonhybrid Highlanders, 2004-06 Lexus RX330, and 2006 models of the Lexus GS300, IS250, and IS350.
In the US, the problem is brake fluid. If car owners maintain their brake system by using a non-Toyota fluid that has no polymers or only a small amount of them, it can cause an internal rubber seal in the braking system to become dry and curl, Toyota said in a release. The polymers act as a lubricant.
If that happens, a small amount of brake fluid can leak, which over time could weaken the brakes if more fluid isn't added. "If the brake warning lamp has illuminated and the vehicle continues to be operated without refilling the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir, the driver will begin to notice a spongy or soft brake pedal feel and braking performance may gradually decline," the Toyota release said.
Starting next month, Toyota will begin sending out letters to owners urging them to schedule an appointment with a local dealer who will replace the seal. There's no charge to the owner.
Owners wanting more information can call Toyota (800-331-4331) or Lexus (800-255-3987).
Toyota has recalled more than 10 million vehicles in the past year. The company has more information on those recalls at www.toyota.com/recall and www.lexus.com/recall.