Toyota will be recalling 1.5 million vehicles worldwide due to a possible brake fluid leak. Honda will be conducting a similar recall as well, on an unknown number of cars.
The cars affected under Toyota’s recall are the 2005 – 2006 Toyota Avalon, 2004 – 2006 Highlander (Excluding hybrid models), 2004 – 2006 Lexus RX330, and the 2006 Lexus GS300, IS250, and IS350. 740,000 affected cars are in the US.
Honda’s recall will affect the 2005 – 2007 Honda Odyssey and Acura RL, although the number of affected cars is currently unknown.
The problem is caused by customers using brake fluid without polymers. The polymers would lubricate the brake master cylinder cup and prevent it from leaking. Without them, a gradual leak is possible. This in turn results in a spongy or soft feeling when braking, with a decline in braking performance.
Toyota will be fixing the issue by installing a newly designed cylinder cup, presumably one which will be able to better handle brake fluids without polymers. Owners of affected vehicles will be notified sometime next month.
Toyota Announces Intent to Voluntarily Recall Certain Toyota Avalon and Highlander, and Lexus GS300, IS250, and IS350 Vehicles to Replace a Brake Master Cylinder Seal
TORRANCE, Calif., October 20, 2010 – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today announced that it will conduct a voluntary Safety Recall involving approximately 740,000 – 2005 through 2006 Avalon, 2004 through 2006 Highlander (non Hybrid) and Lexus RX330, and 2006 Lexus GS300, IS250, and IS350 vehicles sold in the United States to address the possibility that a small amount of the brake fluid could slowly leak from the brake master cylinder, resulting in illumination of the brake warning lamp.
This action follows an announcement made by Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan on October 21, 2010 (Japan).
The Toyota genuine brake fluid used during vehicle assembly for vehicles sold in the United States contains polymers. The polymers act as lubricants for certain brake system components. If during vehicle maintenance, brake fluid is used that does not contain such polymers or only small amounts, a part of the internal rubber seal (brake master cylinder cup) located at the end of the brake master cylinder piston may become dry and may curl during movement of the piston. If this occurs, a small amount of the brake fluid could slowly leak from the brake master cylinder into the brake booster, resulting in illumination of the brake warning lamp.
If the brake warning lamp has illuminated and the vehicle continues to be operated without refilling the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir, the driver will begin to notice a spongy or soft brake pedal feel and braking performance may gradually decline.
Owners of the involved vehicles will be notified by first class mail beginning in early November 2010. Toyota and Lexus dealers will replace the brake master cylinder cup with a newly designed one at no charge to the vehicle owners.
Detailed information and answers to questions are available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall or www.lexus.com/recall and the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331 or Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25 LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987.
Source: Toyota and The Detroit News