Faulty manufacturing of the engine block has led Toyota and Lexus to recall over 44,000 cars and SUVs. The problem could allow oil or coolant to leak. This could cause the engine to stall or a fire could start while the vehicle is in use.
Warning signs could include warning lights and chimes, increased engine noise and even smoke emanating from the engine.
Since the defect is part of a known manufacturing error, not every vehicle affected by the recall will actually need an engine replacement. Toyota has announced that only around 250 vehicles in the recall group will actually get a new engine, but that dealers can only determine which ones by checking serial numbers on the engine blocks.
The recalled vehicles include:
- 2020 Toyota Camry sedans
- 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid sedans
- 2019-2020 Toyota RAV 4 SUVs
- 2019-2020 Toyota RAV 4 Hybrid SUV
- 2020 Toyota Avalon Hybrid sedans
- 2020 Lexus ES300h sedans
What caused this defect?
According to Toyota, these vehicles’ engine blocks were manufactured at a Tennessee plant. A flow meter in the factory apparently failed while some of the engine blocks were being cast, causing them to cool improperly. That caused cracks to develop in the engine block, which could leak coolant or oil.
Toyota says it noticed the problem while inspecting new cars at factories and dealerships. They believe the majority of the affected vehicles were sold to customers, but some remain on lots. Those cannot be sold until the issue is fixed.
According to Consumer Reports, a Toyota spokesperson refused to say whether Toyota is aware of any crashes, injuries or incidents involving this issue.
Is the repair free?
Yes, although you may not need one. You should schedule a time for your dealer to check the serial number of your engine block and determine if it is among the faulty batch. If it is not, you will not need service. If it is, the engine will be replaced free of charge.
Details and contact information
The recall is expected to begin April 6, 2020. Toyota’s recall number for this issue is 20TA04. Lexus’s number for the recall is 20LA02. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued its own recall number: 20V064.
You can contact Toyota customer service about the issue at 888-270-9371, or Lexus customer service at 800-255-3987.
If you aren’t sure your car is among those recalled, you can enter your vehicle identification number (VIN) into NHTSA’s recall website and it will tell you if there are any open recalls on your vehicle.
This defect may only affect a few hundred cars and SUVs, but it could be extremely dangerous. Don’t wait to have your vehicle checked out.