Vehicle Safety
October 20, 2016

Defective Toyota Parking Brakes; 340,000 Prius Sedans Recalled Worldwide


Vehicle Safety Recall: 340,000 Prius Sedans Recalled

A week after recalling more than 200,000 cars in Russia, Toyota has announced a global recall of 340,000 Prius sedans, including 94,000 in North America. In Russia, the recall stemmed from a problem with “a vapor recovery system using a carbon absorber in the fuel tank.” The international Prius recall is more straightforward than that, but could be far more dangerous. The parking brakes in Prius models assembled at the Tsutsumi plant in Japan between August 2015 and October 2016 have the tendency to stop working.

In a statement announcing the recall, Toyota Motor North America Inc. admitted that “there is a possibility that the parking brake could become inoperative.” There are, however, conflicting reports to whether the defunct parking brakes have caused injury or death to date. Toyota claimed, in a statement, that there have been no accidents as of October 3, but there are reports that have linked the defective brakes to alleged accidents, which led to injuries and even death.

Toyota’s statement explained that the brake malfunction could happen when “the driver exits the vehicle with the transmission in a gear other than ‘Park’ while the ignition is on,” at which time, “the vehicle could roll away, increasing the risk of a crash.” This recall evokes memories of actor Anton Yelchin’s tragic death, who was killed by his runaway Jeep in June. The reasons for that incident have been debated in court, but have no connection with this recall.

Make Sure Your Car is in Park

Owners of the Prius models in question will not be notified by Toyota until early November, but they are being directed to put their cars in park and to turn off their engines when exiting their vehicles, even if it is only for a moment. The parking brakes in the 320,000 affected Prius models that can become “inoperative” will require corrections to the dust boot on top of the brake cables to ensure that they work properly moving forward. Toyota will cover all costs for the repairs.

In 2009 and 2010, Toyota was involved in another massive recall that ended up affecting 6 million cars for a variety of issues, including a brake override malfunction. The Prius recall came one day before Toyota’s announcement to partner with Suzuki Motors to advance the technology in their cars.

To see if your Prius is affected see: