Toyota Recalling Nearly 20,000 Avalon Vehicles That May Have Faulty Seat Belt Buckles
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Toyota Recalling Nearly 20,000 Avalon Vehicles That May Have Faulty Seat Belt Buckles

The faulty part could cause the air bag to not deploy correctly

September 25, 2018

Toyota is recalling certain 2012 Toyota Avalon vehicles. During a vehicle repair, the seat belt inner buckles may have been replaced with parts that may incorrectly tell the air bag management system that the seat belt is always buckled, which can cause the air bags to not deploy correctly. Approximately 19,354 vehicles are affected.

What's the problem?

This recall stems from a case in which a customer presented a vehicle to a dealer for repair in which the passenger "Airbag Off" light was constantly illuminated. The buckle was previously replaced. Despite replacing the part with multiple new buckles, the problem remained. Only when the part was replaced with a part from a production vehicle did the problem resolve.

An inspection of the new buckles found they were missing magnets that are part of the switch that indicates if the seat belt is buckled or unbuckled. Further investigation found that the buckles made on the service parts line, which produces parts for replacement, were missing magnets. A mechanism that was intended for another vehicle manufacturer could inadvertently be installed in the Toyota part as it has the same shape and appearance. Parts produced for the production line were not affected.

If a seat belt buckle was replaced with one of the affected parts, the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) may not deploy the airbag appropriately, increasing the risk of injury to occupants in a crash.

What happens next?

Toyota will notify owners and dealers will test and replace the inner seat belt assembly as necessary free of charge.

Owners may contact Toyota customer service at (888) 270-9371. Toyota's number for this recall is J0S.