Toyota RAV4 Seatbelt Problems Result in Recall for Nearly 3M Vehicles

Due to concerns about problems with the rear seatbelts separating from the vehicle in a crash, nearly 3 million Toyota RAV4 compact sports utility vehicles are being recalled by the Japanese auto maker.

The Toyota RAV4 seatbelt recall was announced on February 17, after at least two accident reports where the rear seatbelt restraints were severed during front end collisions, which caused the vehicle’s metal frame to cut and separate the belts. This may leave passengers unprotected in the event of a crash and more likely to suffer a severe injury.

Of the two accidents involving the Toyota RAV4 seatbelt problems, at least one resulted in a fatal injury for a vehicle occupant.

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After discovering the potential design defect, Toyota opened an investigation that concluded that the seatbelts themselves are safe and that the problem was not caused by the supplier. However, the lap-shoulder seatbelts in both second-row outboard seats have the potential to be cut and separate in the event of a frontal crash.

During a front-end collision involving a Toyota RAV4, the lap belt webbing could contact a portion of the metal seat cushion, either cutting, pinching, or completely separating the restraints from their anchors.

The investigation is still ongoing into the two crash reports, which occurred in the United States and Canada. The fatality occurred in Canada and Toyota announced that it has not been confirmed whether the death was a result of the seatbelt failure.

The recall includes 2.87 million RAV4 sport utility vehicles sold in the U.S., Japan, Europe, China and various other regions. The vehicles included in the recall include 2006 through 2012 model year RAV4 and 2012 through 2014 model year RAV4 EV compact sport utility vehicles. Newer 2016 models are included in the recall in Japan, but not in any other country.

Toyota Motor Sales, USA announced that there were an estimated 1,124,000 recalled RAV4 and RAV EV vehicles distributed throughout the country for sale. The recall states that 625,000 recalled vehicles are in Europe, 434,000 were sold in China and 177,000 in Japan.

Toyota has not released a repair schedule at this time and stated that the number of impacted vehicles is subject to change as the investigation continues, which could potentially add more to the recall.

Customers will be notified via first class mail with information detailing the safety defect and information on how to schedule an appointment at their local licensed Toyota dealer to have plastic resin covers put over the metal seat cushion free of charge. Customers with questions may contact Toyota Customer Service at 1-800-331-4331 or visit them online and enter their Vehicle Identification Number to verify whether the vehicle has been recalled at http://www.toyota.com/recall

Image Credit: Image via FotograFFF / Shutterstock.com

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