It’s been a bad month for automotive airbags. Earlier in October, Hondo Motor Co. announced the voluntary recall of 374,000 vehicles, citing an electrical issue that can cause airbag systems to malfunction and deploy prematurely. Now, Toyota has issued a massive recall of 870,000 2012 and 2013 Camry, Venza and Avalon cars – and they’re blaming it on, of all things, spiders.
Just in time for Halloween, Toyota announced the recall “due to a problem with the air conditioning condenser unit housing.” A media release explained that water from the water from the air conditioning condenser unit housing could leak onto the airbag control module and cause a short circuit. In most cases, the result is the airbag warning light illuminating. But in several others, airbags have deployed unexpectedly. The company added that in limited instances, communication lines in the airbag control modules can be damaged, rendering the power steering assist function inoperable.
What Toyota officials skipped in that media release, but confirmed in conversations with reporters, is that in every instance of these water leaks, there were spider webs found inside the AC condenser units. While they still won’t say for sure that the webs caused those leaks, it stands to reason considering that webs are amazingly water resistant. With webs blocking the condenser units’ drainage systems, the water instead drips into the airbag modules.
If your car is affected by the recall and you’ve suffered no injuries as a result of the airbag issue, take it to your nearest Toyota dealer for a free-of-charge repair. If you or your dependents have been injured however, get medical attention and contact an experienced product liability attorney.
Speaking of cars and Halloween, remember that kids will be out in full force trick-or-treating this Thursday. Statistics show that children are four times more likely to be injured in pedestrian-involved car accidents on Halloween night than on any other night of the year, auto accident attorneys warn. Protect your kids by walking with them while trick-or-treating and keeping an eye on neighborhood traffic. Have your children hold flashlights or glow sticks, and place reflective tape on their costumes, props, shoes and candy bags to make them more visible to oncoming drivers.
From all of us here at Harrell and Harrell, have a safe and happy Halloween.