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Toyota recalls 495,000 Tacoma pickups for airbag risks

Toyota Motor Co has announced a recall of select Toyota Tacoma pickups over a concern that an internal component of the steering wheel assembly could malfunction and, in the worst case scenario, cause the airbag not to deploy in the event of an accident.

This Toyota Tacoma recall pertains to certain 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and early 2009 model year pickups with a total number of roughly 495,000 possibly affected by this recall. The culprit behind this Tacoma recall is the steering wheel spiral cable which is also commonly known in the auto industry as a clock spring. Due to the design of the spiral wheel cable and “characteristics unique to the Tacoma chassis”, there may be friction between the cable and the retaining portion of the steering wheel assembly.

Over time, this friction can cause the cable to become disconnected from the airbag assembly which will lead to the air bag lamp lighting up on the dash and in the case of an accident – the airbag might not open.

The type of recall hitting the 2005-2009 Toyota Tacoma has become fairly common with “clock spring” issues related to the airbag system hitting a variety of automakers in the US over the past decade. The good news with a clock spring (aka a Toyota steering wheel spiral cable assembly) problem is that when they fail, there is no immediate danger to the driver or passengers. This situation generally brings about an air bag warning light so the driver/owner of the 495,000 recalled Tacoma pickups should know that there is a problem as soon as one is present.

Considering that an air bag warning light generally indicates that the air bag may me malfunctioning, it is wise to always look into why the light is lit in any vehicle but those Tacoma owners who are experiencing this problem – you are about to get it fixed for free.

Toyota is in the process of gathering the parts needed to fit the problem and once they have a sufficient number of parts, they will contact the owners of the 2005-2009 Tacoma pickup and ask them to return to their neighborhood Toyota dealership, while also explaining the recall and telling the owners what to do if they experience any conditions of the failure. Toyota expects the recall to formally begin in April 2012 and owners can expect to wait for about 30 minutes for the actual repair to take place. Owners who want to know more can contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.

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Joshua M. Wilson (not verified)    February 9, 2015 - 10:15PM

I have an 09 tacoma and my airbag light just came on and never got a recall notice that I can remeber . How much will it cost to get it fixed?

joe pettyjohn (not verified)    March 30, 2015 - 6:36PM

wrecked my 2004 Tacoma double cab ,hit frontend hard flipped oversmashed cab, air bags did not deploy why didn't they,pushed grill guard and wench intogrill and hood, no warning lights on about air bags

Jim c (not verified)    June 10, 2015 - 11:28PM

Recall repairs completed last week. Now I can feel every bump on road with vibration evident through steering column!?? Is this a scam??

Bob Hanery (not verified)    June 28, 2015 - 6:09PM

I have a 2005 Tacoma & the airbag light has come on. Toyota says my truck is NOT part of the recall and they want $600 to fix it. Hmmm, OK.

Well, my son just got into an accident where someone fell asleep behind the wheel and crossed into oncoming traffic. The airbag did not deploy and the damage and personal injury is significant. My partner will try the case and this is yet more unfortunate negligence on the part of the automotive industry influenced by greed.

Anna lambert (not verified)    July 29, 2015 - 12:10PM

My husband had a wreck yesterday in 2008 Tacoma and the airbags did not deploy. He had no warning light on. He was not sent a recall notice that we know of.

Robert Berger (not verified)    August 19, 2015 - 7:39PM

I just purchased a used 2008 Toyota Tacoma...the airbag light is on and I have no information on the Recall that was issued by Toyota. In addition, I am located 800 air miles from the closest Toyota dealer. Does anyone know if Toyota will ship the replacement harness in order for me to install it as it would cost about $1,300 to air ship my Tacoma to Anchorage, Alaska and about $5,000 to return it to Kotzebue, Alaska.

troy l carpenter (not verified)    July 31, 2016 - 5:10PM

I have a 2002 Toyota single cab pickup prerunner, I also have an airbag light on, and I fear it Is the same problem, why is this year pickup not included in the recall?

C Pressgrove (not verified)    December 12, 2016 - 1:08AM

I just bought my neighbor's 1995 Tacoma and she told me about the light and she had dealership try to find Toyota part but they tried 4 places with none available. I thought it would be easy to find an after market part but no luck so far. Seems like they must have had this problem with Tacomas for years and just recently caught up with them. They should have included all their models. Anyone know where I might find the parts.

Bettye (not verified)    December 4, 2017 - 12:39AM

My son totaled his 05 tacoma , the front end is maybe a foot long now , the air bags did not deploy cause his face to hit steering wheel and windshield . Which broke his nose , teeth , and ripped his lip. He is unable to walk for at least 3 months , I'm so thankful he's alive . I just need answers and awareness. Second tacoma we have had and front end totaled on both and no air bag deployment .

William Ryan (not verified)    January 31, 2018 - 2:26PM

I have a 2001 Tacoma that I bought from Scranton Toyota in PA. Not only was it missing a catalytic converter, last week I rear ended someone so hard, 3 other cars were damaged! Needless to say the airbags did not deploy and luckily I had my seat belt on or it would've been 100 times worse!!

Shelly Townsen… (not verified)    April 19, 2018 - 11:34AM

We were just driving along, (in town thank God), going approximately 25 because we were about to approach our turn, when all of a sudden the airbag deployed hitting my husband in the face. Has this happened to anyone? Now seem to be getting the run around saying not a part of a recall. Well what happened then?

Joseph Hoskin (not verified)    October 27, 2018 - 4:21PM

I have a 2006 Tacoma and mine just came on about a month ago. I don't believe I had ever heard about this re-call neither. I have had my truck in for at least 2 other recalls, you would think they would have done it, or at least arranged to have had it done at the time.

Kenneth W Sivils (not verified)    November 13, 2018 - 4:38PM

I have a late model 2004 Toyota Tacoma pre runner and the airbag light has been on. I hope that if I'm in an accident that the airbags will deploy and save me from hitting the steering wheel or my passenger from hitting the dashboard. I've been blessed with this Toyota for I've driven this truck for more than 335k miles and still running strong. Most people say that it's the clock spring that's making the airbag light to come on however the horn still works.
Please help

Nick (not verified)    March 18, 2019 - 6:38AM

I have a 2005 Tacoma V6 and the airbag light came on. A mechanic pulled an error code that indicated a clock spring failure. Unfortunately, replacing the clock spring was a waste of time and money and I still have the issue. Just about everyone I know that has a Tacoma has this issue but Toyota seems to be ignoring the problem. I have not received a recall notice and Toyota has told me my truck is not part of the campaign. I never expected Toyota of all mfgrs to be so negligent.

Vincent Licata (not verified)    September 14, 2019 - 1:57AM

I own a 04 Tacoma prerunner, 163000 miles owned for about 5 months now. Air bag light has been on dash now for at least a month. got the code B0101 going to order a clock spring and module. good luck folks