About 13,000 Lexus GX 460 vehicles are being recalled by Toyota Motor Corp. due to a high risk that the SUVs may rollover going around sharp turns.
The Lexus recall was announced last week shortly after Consumer Reports gave the vehicle a “Don’t Buy” recommendation for safety reasons. Test drivers at Consumer Reports say that under certain conditions, the rear of the vehicle may slide going around turns, increasing the chances of a Lexus rollover accident.
The Lexus GX 460 recall affects the 2010 model year, including 9.400 vehicles in the United States and about 3,600 more vehicles worldwide.
Problems with the Lexus GX 460 are known as trailing throttle or lift-throttle oversteer. According to test drivers at Consumer Reports, if the driver takes his foot off the gas while the vehicle is driving through a sharp turn, the rear end of the vehicle may begin to slide. On most vehicles, the electronic stability control system would detect the slide and stop it from happening, but it does not seem to be responsive enough to the problem on the Lexus SUV.
Test drivers said that it is a common maneuver for drivers, which may occur when they take an off-ramp too fast, or realize they are in a sharper turn than they expected. Testers at Consumer Reports said they wouldn’t allow their families to ride or drive in the vehicles in their current condition. Consumer Reports said that the problem could cause a driver to lose control and pose a risk of serious personal injury or death.
The last time Consumer Reports issued a “Don’t Buy” warning was 2001, for the 2001 Mitsubishi Montero Limited.
The low rating came at a sensitive time for Toyota, which is still reeling from accusations that they covered up problems with sudden acceleration in many different Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Toyota has recalled about 8 million vehicles due to the gas pedal problems and has paid a fine of $16.4 million to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Toyota quickly halted sales of the Lexus GC 460 following the negative recommendation by Consumer Reports. Now officials in Toyota’s Lexus division said that they have developed a fix that requires an update of the SUV’s Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system. All Lexus dealers will have the updated software by the end of April, according to the press release on the Lexus recall (pdf).
Toyota officials urged owners of the vehicles to return them to their dealers to get the update, which should not take much longer than an hour, depending on the dealer’s schedule. Owners of affected vehicles will begin receiving letters in early May alerting them to the problem and the fix.
Any Lexus GX 460 owners with questions can go to www.lexus.com/recall.