Car Recall Roundup: Toyota, Chrysler

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) –Toyota (Stock Quote: TM) announced even more recalls this week.

The car company is voluntarily recalling 110,000 of its 2011 Sienna minivans to replace a an electrical switch that is too close to the brake pedal. The recall includes about 94,000 Sienna vehicles in the United States, about 12,600 in Canada and some 5,000 cars in Mexico. All affected vehicles were produced before early November this year.

The vehicles contain a stop lamp switch bracket whose close proximity to the parking brake pedal could cause it to become deformed by the driver’s foot. When severely deformed, the faulty switch may cause brake lights to remain on or, in some instances, could cause brakes to become partially engaged due to contact from the bracket. Obviously, driving with the brakes partially engaged could reduce braking effectiveness, the company said on Tuesday.

Toyota is not aware of any injuries or accidents that have occurred due to the problem.

The company will mail out initial notifications of the recall to affected car owners in mid-January containing instructions on what to do if the problem occurs and how to minimize the possibility of inadvertently coming into contact with the stop lamp switch bracket while operating the parking brake.

Once replacement parts are in stock, vehicle owners will receive a second notification prompting them to make an appointment at any Toyota dealer so repairs can be performed at no charge. The parts are expected to  arrive in mid-February. In the interim, customers with questions should contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331, or visit the company’s website at www.toyota.com/recall.

This hasn’t been the best year for Toyota owners. As we’ve previously reported, the company had 15 major recalls that affected more than six million vehicles in 2010. These faulty vehicles have allegedly led to more than 100 deaths as well as some massive lawsuits involving two deaths caused by Land Cruisers. Also, just last October, the company recalled 1.53 million Lexus, Avalon and other models for brake fluid and fuel pump problems. Consumers can check here for a full list of the recalled vehicles, which also include the popular Camry and Corolla.

Brake-related problems also caused Chrysler (Stock Quote: DAI) to recall nearly 76,000 of its 2010–11 Dodge Rams this week. The recall affects 2010 and 2011 model year trucks manufactured between March 2009 and October 2010.

These vehicles come with a faulty cap in the power steering fluid reservoir that can cause the trucks’ brakes to not retract quickly enough after they are applied. The lag time causes the brake lights to remain on, a road hazard that increases the risk of a crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which formally announced the recall on Tuesday.

Chrysler plans to notify affected vehicle owners of the recall, and repairs should begin free of charge next February. In the meantime, owners can contact Chrysler at 800-853-1403 with questions.

For the latest news on recalls in all industries, check MainStreet’s recalls hot topic.

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