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Safety Recalls

What already qualifies as a really bad year for Toyota seems to be getting worse. And the Japanese car maker’s troubles should serve as an important reminder about vehicle safety and avoiding personal injury.

Still reeling from last year’s recalls of more than 8 million vehicles worldwide, Toyota agreed in April to pay $16.4 million, a record amount, over delays in issuing defect warnings about gas pedals that can stick.

 

Now the world’s largest automaker faces scrutiny of steering rods that may be defective.

The company revealed this week that a federal grand jury in New York has ordered Toyota to turn over documents related to problems with steering relay rods. The subpoenas were issued last month as the grand jury expanded its investigation into the company’s handling of safety issues.

The car maker did not say what vehicles are part of that investigation, but it is not related to the accelerator problems that have been linked to numerous crashes, sever injuries and more than 50 deaths.

However, evidence is coming to light that Toyota knew of possible steering problems long before it issued any warnings to consumers.

Toyota – and just about any other other company – is not going to issue a recall unless it has to. Such recalls can cost millions, open up liability and bring a maelstrom of negative publicity. Drivers have to remain aware of potential equipment failures and recalls because any problem serious enough to warrant a recall can mean a potentially hazardous situation with deadly consequences.

Imagine experiencing steering or acceleration problems while driving some of the roads in a around Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Alomosa and elsewhere along the Front Range!

Some sources estimate that 20 million cars will be recalled this year – the highest total in six years. Too many car owners are unaware or unconcerned by recall notices and do not take the vehicle in to the dealer – even though recalls repairs are done at no charge to the consumer.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has an excellent resource for the most recent recall info, and another site for vehicle safety info is safercar.gov.

But a recent study indicates that not only do a large number of drivers treat the recall as optional, but they then sell the vehicle without the fix and without notifying the buyer of the problem.

Vehicle history company Carfax.com released findings showing that as many as one out of three used cars for sale have active recall notices. The company estimates that at least 1.4 million cars were for sale last year that had been recalled but not repaired.

Reputable used car dealers will check for any recalls on a car and make the fix before they sell it. But private sellers and some dishonest dealers place the car for sale with the repairs undone.

There are a number of ways to check and see if your car has a recall notice, including the sites listed above, a free Recall Check or simply calling the 800 number listed in the car owner’s manual.

Take the time for this simple, free way to help avoid a possible car crash and serious injuries or even death, as well as make the roads safer around Colorado Springs and beyond.