Toyota Recalling 7.4 Million Cars Globally, 2.5 Million In U.S. For Overheating Switches

Toyota has announced a new recall that affects 7.4 million vehicles worldwide, of which about 2.5 million are in the U.S. The recall is reportedly the largest since Ford recalled about 7.9 million vehicles with faulty ignition switches in 1996.

The Problem: The driver's side power-window switches in certain vehicles may stick or feel notchy, prompting some owners or mechanics to lubricate the switchgear for smoother operation. Toyota says that adding commercially available lubricants or greases can cause the switch to overheat, potentially causing it to melt or smoke. But the automaker claims this wouldn't start a fire, and says there have been no reported injuries or crashes resulting from this problem. The issue was first reported in September 2008.

The Fix: Toyota dealers will disassemble and inspect the window switches, and apply a special type of fluorine grease that won't cause overheating or smoke. The repair should take about an hour to complete. Owners will receive letters about the fix in October, and should not try to loosen window switches with lubricants on their own.

Number Of Vehicles Potentially Affected:The problem concerns 7.4 million vehicles globally, of which 2.5 million were sold in the U.S., 1.4 million are in China, and 1.39 million are in Europe. Affected American-market models comprise:

110,300 2007-2008 Toyota Yarises

336,400 2007-2009 Toyota Rav4s

337,100 2007-2009 Toyota Tundras

1.05 million 2007-2009 Toyota Camrys

34,400 2008-2009 Scion xDs

77,500 2008-2009 Scion xBs

38,500 2008-2009 Toyota Sequoias

158,600 2008 Toyota Highlanders

270,900 2009 Toyota Corollas

53,800 2009 Toyota Matrixes

A General Motors spokesman told us today that the 2009 Pontiac Vibe also will be affected by the Toyota window switch recall, because the Vibe was based on the Toyota Matrix. The spokesman confirmed that almost all the engineering for the Pontiac Vibe was done by Toyota, and the two cars even came off the same assembly line at the NUMMI plant in Fremont, California. The recall concerns 47,000 Pontiac Vibes sold in the U.S., and an additional 17,000 cars sold in Canada.

Sources: Toyota, Automotive News, General Motors

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