Toyota will recall Highlander Hybrids, and Lexus RX 400h, IS 350 and GS 350 vehicles
Toyota has announced recalls for two groups of vehicles. First, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid from 2006 through 2010 along with its slightly more fancy sibling the Lexus RX 400h hybrid from model years 2006 through 2008. In total Toyota estimates that 133,000 vehicles are impacted.
The nature of the issue with the hybrid sport utility vehicles is inconsistency, something that Toyota has been a global leader in for decades. In this case, Toyota warns that manufacturing inconsistency from vehicle to vehicle in the hybrid drive’s inverter wiring can cause a transistor to overheat. Should that occur, a variety of warning lights will illuminate on the dash.
Should the vehicle have this issue, it will enter the “Limp-home” mode. Thus, the vehicles can be driven to safety, but not much further than that.
The Lexus IS 350, IS 350C and GS 350 from model years 2006 through 2011 is also being recalled. These vehicles all have a variable valve timing system. According to Toyota (Lexus) a bolt in the variable valve timing control system can become loose. If it does, the engine will become louder than normal during start-up and warm-up. It is unclear if that will offer much help to owners since the engine in those vehicles is almost completely silent to the driver when the windows are up. This problem is actually capable of stopping the car while being driven.
As usual, the Toyota announcement concludes that customers will be contacted by first class mail, as opposed to say, 3rd class mail, carrier pigeon, or via the rumor mill. Based on our experience, Lexus is likely to also have dealers phone known customers of these Lexus vehicles. How Toyota and Lexus plan to reach customers who buy their car second hand, and use local repair facilities is not mentioned. No mention of the length of time required to perform the service or if loaner cars for the Toyota customers would be provided. Lexus dealers do provide loaner cars for lengthy appointments.