Massive Toyota RAV4 Recall Issued Over Battery Fire Risks
Toyota Motors has issued a massive recall impacting more than 1.8 million RAV4 vehicles, due to a design defect, which can cause the battery to come loose and cause a fire in the engine compartment.
The U.S. National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the Toyota RAV4 recall on November 1, indicating vehicles equipped with certain battery hold down brackets and trays may have an unsecured replacement battery, which can potentially short-circuit and catch on fire. To date, Toyota has received at least 22 consumer complaints in relation to the issue.
The recall follows an investigation initiated by the agency in 2021, after officials received at least eleven consumer complaints of thermal events in certain Toyota RAV4 vehicles, involving engine compartment fires that originated from the left side of the vehicles where the battery is located.
Toyota RAV4 Fire Investigation and Recall
The NHTSA opened a RAV4 12-volt battery fire investigation in February 2021, after becoming aware of the multiple engine compartment fires. At first, the issue was believed to be due to several factors, including aftermarket replacement batteries that did not meet Toyota’s specifications, incorrect installations of replacement batteries, and installation without the proper battery hold down hardware.
In response, Toyota issued a consumer advisory in July 2021, in an effort to address the battery fire issues. Toyota then became aware that some of the replacement batteries had a smaller top case dimension than the rest of the battery, which revealed that the batteries did not properly fit into the tray assembly.
Toyota found that the battery tray assemblies were not designed to meet the specifications of aftermarket batteries with a smaller top during the manufacturing process, and decided to issue a recall. As a result of the incorrect battery size, the automaker warns that the smaller battery can move around in the oversized tray, even when it is correctly installed, which can generate enough heat to short-circuit the battery and cause an engine compartment fire.
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The recall impacts approximately 1,853,568 model year 2013 through 2018 Toyota RAV4 vehicles equipped with certain battery hold down assemblies and trays that were produced from November 23, 2012 until November 14, 2018.
Toyota expects to begin notifying owners of the recalled vehicles by mail beginning on December 17, 2023. Certified Toyota dealers will provide free replacement of the battery clamp sub-assembly, battery tray, and positive terminal cover.
For more information on the recall, consumers may contact Toyota customer service by phone at 1-800-331-4331, and reference recall number 23TB13 or 23TA13. They may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or online at www.nhtsa.gov.
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