It would seem that the famed Rav4 Hybrid has been in the news a lot lately for better or worse. The charming little SUV that now has the hybrid option has been turning heads and flying off dealer lots. Now it seems that Rav4 is headed for some murky waters as Toyota puts out another recall on the car.
With all the talk of lawsuits and safety recalls, Rav4 hybrid owners can quickly think they have bought a lemon. However, I would like to explore this recall with you and help you gain a sense of relief.
*Disclaimer* I am not telling you what to do with your vehicle. I am lending professional advice that can be taken into consideration for what to do about your car.
Fact 1 Not To Panic: Read What Recall Actually Says
Here is what the recall notice says: RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid lower suspension arms that connect to the wheels may have been manufactured with the wrong materials.
Driving the RAV4 or RAV4 Hybrid by performing rapid acceleration and deceleration may eventually cause the front lower suspension arms to separate, causing a driver to lose control suddenly. (source pressroom.toyota.com)
Okay, so, the control arms were made of a material that did not meet the quality standards of Toyota. The likely hood of it having an issue is probably nil. Toyota takes pride in the craftsmanship of every vehicle, so for them to say we do not like what it was made of says a lot about the integrity of the company.
Next, look at this "performing rapid acceleration and deceleration". Are Rav4 owners suddenly going racing all the time? Because it "may eventually" cause the lower control arms to separate.
What they are saying here is this. We do not like the material we chose for the construction of the control arm. We think that it could break if you are racing it like a demon, and even then, over time, it "may" have a failure.
This recall statement is a way for Toyota to cover their rear end. They are not sure that it will break, they only think it will, but based on what data? Was the material not up to their standards? It is still probably better than what Fiat-Chrysler is using.
Fact 2: You May Not Have A Rav4 At Fault
If you know the number of recalled Rav4 and Rav4 hybrids, then you probably would not worry so much. What Toyota has reported is that 9,500 of both the Hybrid and non-hybrid version of the Rav4 are suspect.
So out of 448,000 Rav4 and Rav4 hybrids, 97% of them are okay? Toyota loathes high failure rates, so a 3% failure rate on anything for Toyota is far too high.
Fact 3: Toyota Will Make It Right
Toyota is a company that will make this situation right. They are a company that takes every safety situation very seriously.
I can tell you that if you do not feel comfortable driving your Rav4 or Rav4 Hybrid, call your dealer. Give them your VN for your Rav4 and have them check to see if your vehicle is part of the recall. If you happen to be part of the luck 3%, that is you have options. Tell them you want a rental until there is a solution for you. Trade the Rav4 in for a Prius or other Hybrid that suits your needs, or do nothing. The choice is yours.
In all honesty, I am not telling you what to do, but looking at the whole picture and thinking, is it worth a mass panic? Probably not. Again, do what you want with your car, but from a logical standpoint, I doubt you have much to fear unless you do absolutely nothing, and you were part of the 3%. You have been warned. If you have read anything about this issue or received a letter in the mail from Toyota telling you about the recall, take action.
I hope that you can rest and take the appropriate action required to ensure that you are safe and sound in your beautiful Rav4 Hybrid. Have a great week, and I will see you in the next story. Toyota Prius Owners Can Now Join The High Mileage Club.
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.