NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2006 Toyota RAV4

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2006 Toyota RAV4, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. INVESTIGATION: Rear Suspension Arm Assembly Failure

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE12013

    Component(s): Suspension
    Suspension:Rear

    Summary: In a letter dated August 1, 2012 Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (Toyota) submitted a Defect Information Report (NHTSA Recall No. 12V-373) to the NHTSA identifying a safety defect regarding possible separation of the Rear Suspension Arm No. 1 Assembly ("arm") at the threaded portion (shaft and turn buckle) of the component in MY 2006 through MY 2011 Toyota RAV4 vehicles built from October 2005 through September 2010 and in MY 2010 Lexus HS250h vehicles manufactured from July 2009 through August 2010.According to Toyota, if the adjustment nuts for the rear wheel alignment are improperly tightened when alignment is performed in service, backlash may develop at the threaded portion of the arm, followed by rust formation.The threads may then wear causing the arm to separate, which may result in a loss of vehicle control.In analysis of both Vehicle Owner Questionnaire (VOQ) data submitted to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) and consumer complaint data submitted to Toyota, ODI identified 131 non-duplicative reports alleging failure of the subject rear suspension arm (Note:some of the complaints and related service records refer to the arm as a rear "tie rod").Six of the complainants allege the failure resulted in some loss of vehicle control.For purposes of this analysis, loss of control events involve alleged complete or partial departure from the intended lane of travel.An additional four complaints reported difficulty maintaining control of the vehicle when the arm failed.Recalled vehicles will be inspected for proper torque of the adjustment nuts and replaced as necessary.In addition, Toyota will take several actions to reduce the potential for improper torque in future alignment procedures.This includes:(1) providing proper tightening sequence and torque specification information to two major wheel alignment equipment manufacturers, who would disseminate the information to alignment shops using their equipment; (2) installation of a clip on each arm with an instructional label showing proper tightening sequence and torque specification (the clip must be removed to perform a wheel alignment); (3) installation of additional labels on the front and back vertical surfaces of the Rear Suspension Arm No. 2 assemblies; and (4) providing an instruction booklet to owners to place in the glove box.This investigation is closed.

  2. INVESTIGATION: Unintended and Uncontrolled Acceleration

    NHTSA Defect Investigation #RQ10003

    Component(s): Electrical System: Software
    Vehicle Speed Control:Accelerator Pedal

    Summary: On February 16, 2010, NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened RQ10-003 to determine whether the scope of prior Toyota recalls relating to potential unintended acceleration were sufficiently broad, including, among others, Toyota recalls 07E-082, 09V-388, 10V-017, and 10V-023.NHTSA also requested information regarding potential electronic causes of unintended acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles.I. Pedal Interference from Floor mats, Carpet Covers and Plastic Pads in Carpets.During the RQ10-003 investigation, ODI reviewed a large volume of documents to assess whether additional vehicles should be recalled.Following the agency's analysis, NHTSA requested that Toyota recall additional vehicles.Toyota complied with the agency's request.The details of these recalls are set forth more fully in Toyota's reports to NHTSA pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573.These recalls are as follows:Recall 11V-112: (1) model year (MY) 2004-2006 Toyota Highlander and Highlander Hybrid; and, (2) MY 2004-2007 Lexus RX330, RX350, and RX400h (hybrid model). The total estimated population under this recall is 769,379 vehicles.This recall remedies potential accelerator pedal entrapment caused by a loose floor carpet cover (trim panel). Recall 11V-113: (1) MY 2003-2009 through 2009 Toyota 4Runner; (2) MY 2006-2010 Toyota RAV4; and, (3) MY 2008-2011 Lexus LX570.The total estimated population under this recall is 1,381,000 vehicles.This recall supplements recall 09V-388 and remedies potential accelerator pedal entrapment by an unsecured floor mat.Recall 11V-115: (1) MY 2006-2007 Lexus GS300 (all wheel drive vehicles); and, (2) MY 2006-2007 Lexus GS350 (all wheel drive vehicles). The total estimated population under this recall is 19,647 vehicles.This recall remedies potential accelerator pedal entrapment caused by inadequate clearance between the pedal linkage and a plastic pad embedded in the vehicle's carpet.II. Potential Electronic Causes of Unintended Acceleration.After NHTSA opened RQ10-003, NHTSA launched a ten-month study of potential electronic causes of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.NHTSA launched the study in the spring of 2010 in light of concerns aired in Congressional hearings.NHTSA enlisted engineers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with expertise in areas such as computer controlled electronic systems, electromagnetic interference and software integrity to assess whether electronic systems or electromagnetic interference played a role in incidents of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.That study has concluded.Two reports are associated with the study and are available on NHTSA's website.NASA's report is entitled "Technical Support to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on the Reported Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) Unintended Acceleration (UA) Investigation, " NESC Assessment No. TI-10-00618 (Jan. 18, 2011).NHTSA's report is entitled "Technical Assessment of Toyota Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) Systems" (Feb. 2011).Both reports should be read in conjunction with each other. As stated in its report, NASA did not find an electronic cause of large throttle openings that can result in unintended acceleration incidents. NHTSA did not find a vehicle-based cause of unintended acceleration incidents other than the physical pedal interference causes that are being addressed by Toyota's recalls. This RQ is closed.

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