Toyota is recalling more than 681,000 Camry, Venza and Tacoma vehicles from 2005 to 2011 because of faulty warning lamps, faulty steering cables and the inability of some cars to start.
Approximately 495,000 Toyota Tacoma trucks from 2005 to early 2009 will be recalled to replace the steering wheel spiral cable assembly. A combined total of 186,500 Camry (2009) and Venza (2009 and 2011) are also being recalled because of faulty stop lamp switches.
Due to the combination of steering wheel spiral cable design and characteristics unique to the Tacoma chassis, friction between the spiral cable and the retainer in the steering wheel spiral cable assembly may occur in some vehicles.
Friction over time may result in loss of connectivity to the driver’s air bag module. If connectivity is lost, the air bag warning lamp on the instrument panel will remain illuminated after starting the vehicle and the driver’s air bag may be deactivated, preventing deployment in the event of a crash.
During installation of the contact-type stop lamp switch in the Camry and Venza on one of the North American assembly lines, silicon grease may have reached the inside of the switch and caused an increase in electrical resistance.
As such, warning lamps on the instrument panel may be illuminated, the vehicle may not start, or the shift lever may not shift from the “Park” position. In some cases, the vehicle stop lamps may become inoperative.
Toyota is currently obtaining the necessary replacement parts. Once the replacement parts are available, we will notify owners. In the interim, owners of the involved vehicles will be notified by first class mail in early April, 2012.
The interim notification letter will advise owners of this safety recall, that they will receive a future notice once the replacement parts are available, and what to do if they experience this condition. The repair will take approximately 30 minutes depending upon the dealer’s work schedule.
Detailed information is available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
Article Last Updated: March 7, 2012.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.