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Toyota recalls 2013 Camry again

Updated on October 21, 2013

2013 Camry

The recall

On the heels of last week's Camry and Avalon recall, Toyota issued another voluntary recall. If you are the owner of a 2013 Camry or Avalon, it looks like you have more than one issue. While last week’s recall affected only about 10,000 vehicles due to a wiper switch defect, this new recall may be a bit more problematic.

Toyota just announced a recall of over 800,000 model year 2012-2013 Camrys, Avalons, and Venzas for a problem with the air conditioner condenser housing unit.

Why you should care

“So what?” you may ask. After all, it’s only the air conditioner condenser housing unit. Sounds remarkably banal and inconsequential, doesn’t it? Maybe yes, maybe no. Although there only have been minimal injuries reported to date, more accidents and injuries could be imminent. Let’s take a look at what might happen if you don’t get the current recall issue corrected.

The air conditioner condenser housing unit is located just about the airbag control module. The airbag control module is in control of (try not to be surprised) the airbag. If the air conditioner condenser housing leaks at the seam and water gets into the airbag control module, a number of things may happen.

If you are lucky, the airbag warning light will illuminate. Here is your clue that all is not well with your airbag control module. Get the warning light corrected by your dealer right away and save yourself from further problems. Save yourself from issues which are a tad more serious than a tiny light shining at you.

Imagine if you will, driving down the highway at 65 mph when suddenly ‘whoosh’, your airbag deploys. Ridiculously funny if you are Daffy Duck, not so amusing if you are J. Business groggily on the way to work at 6 AM. Loss of visual fields, physical impact with a speed-loaded bag of gas, and immediate mental confusion will all contribute to the situation. A lucky person will be somewhere unpopulated, dealing with little amounts of traffic and no embankments. The unlucky person will be in rush hour, bumper-to-bumper at a high rate of speed with cliffs on either side of the road.

On the other hand, the leak from the air conditioner condenser housing unit may cause the airbag to not deploy when you need it most. The water dripping from the condenser could cause a short circuit which would render the airbag inoperable. Hopefully, in this case, you are wearing your seatbelt.

Oddly, this same possible drip into the airbag control module could impact your steering. There is a communication line in the airbag control module which impacts the power steering. Damage to this line may cause the power steering function to fail, possibly at an inopportune time. While the steering will still function, an increase in steering effort will be necessary. If you are old enough to remember or you have experienced power steering issues before, you will know that a sudden loss of power steering could potentially cause some serious problems.

The solution

It appears that the best thing to do would be to have your 2012-2013 Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, or Venza vehicle scheduled for maintenance.

The correction seems fairly simple. The service personnel will apply a sealant to the affected area. Additionally, they will also install a cover over the air conditioner condenser housing unit. A couple of (hopefully) quick fixes and you'll no longer have to worry about the airbag or power steering malfunctioning at inconvenient times.

Again, this voluntary recall affects over 800,000 vehicles. Toyota will notify those affected.

Oh, and by the way? If you are one of the unlucky 10,000, make sure you get the defective wiper switch replaced as well.


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