Toyota Motor Corps. has announced that it will recall 1.3 million Corolla and Matrix vehicles due to defective engines that have caused at least three automobile accidents.
The Toyota Corolla and Matrix recall was announced on Thursday, increasing the total number of recalled Toyotas over the past year to more than 12 million. This latest recall came amid a federal probe into the engine problems that have led to more than 160 complaints to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), including at least three crashes.
About 1.13 million Toyota Corolla and Toyota Matrix cars from model years 2005 through 2008 sold in the U.S. are included in the recall, as well as another 200,300 sold in Canada. In addition, General Motors has announced that it is recalling 200,000 Pontiac Vibes, a clone of the Toyota Matrix built for GM by Toyota. All of the vehicles are equipped with the 1ZZ-FE engine and two-wheel drive. According to the NHTSA, which began an investigation on August 18, the engines can stall at any speed, without warning, and fail to restart.
Toyota engineers testing the affected engine modules say they have determined that cracks can develop in some of the electrical components when exposed to extreme heat or cold, causing excessive voltage and damaging the engine. The defective components were manufactured by Delphi.
The Japanese auto maker has faced multiple federal investigations over its recalls, and currently faces a federal probe over whether it acted quickly enough on recalling one million vehicles in 2005 that were taken off the road due to steering problems.
Toyota is also still reeling from the recall of millions of vehicles due to problems with sudden acceleration, which also involved allegations that the auto maker delayed acting on safety concerns. As a result of the recent recalls, Toyota faces a criminal probe, has received hefty government fines and dozens of new Toyota lawsuits over injuries and deaths have been filed.
Toyota will begin notifying registered owners of the recall and arranging for their vehicles to be repaired by a Toyota dealer in mid September.