— A Toyota brake booster pump assembly recall allegedly didn't include all the models affected by the problem, alleges two Toyota owners who claim the brake booster pump assembly problems are "dangerous and life threatening," something Toyota has allegedly known for years.
Both owners claim Toyota is guilty of "greedily placing profits ahead of consumer safety" by concealing defects that cause brake failures.
According to the lawsuit, these vehicles are equipped with "brake booster pump assemblies with the master cylinder" that were "designed and/or manufactured defectively" which cause brake failures.
- 2010-2015 Toyota Prius
- 2010-2015 Toyota Prius PHV
- 2012-2015 Toyota Prius v
- 2012-2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid
- 2013-2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid
According to the class action, the July 2019 recall was ordered because the brake booster pump could fail, causing brake assist failures and deactivation of the stability control.
In September, Toyota issued technical service bulletin (TSB) 0130-19 for 2012-2014 Camry Hybrids and 2013-2015 Avalon Hybrids because a "condition may be caused by a small internal brake fluid leak in the brake booster assembly with master cylinder."
The vehicles present diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) C1391, C1252, C1256 or C1253, but the lawsuit alleges Toyota took additional actions with a warranty enhancement in September 2019.
The plaintiffs say Toyota warranty enhancement ZKK included Camry Hybrids and Avalon Hybrids because "reports have indicated certain internal malfunctions of the brake booster assembly" in 2012-2014 Camry Hybrids and 2013-2015 Avalon Hybrids.
The Toyota lawsuit further alleges two recalls (DOH and KOL) and the warranty enhancement (ZKK) were joined by a customer support program labeled ZJB. The program allegedly concerned 2010-2015 Toyota Prius and Prius HPV vehicles.
The lawsuit says Toyota told dealerships to replace the brake booster and brake booster pump assemblies for free through November 30, 2019, (for 2010 Prius and Prius HPV vehicles) and through August 31, 2021, (for 2011-2015 Prius and 2012-2015 Prius HPV vehicles).
The program also applies thereafter until 10 years from the date of first use or 150,000 miles if one of four specific trouble codes was stored in the vehicle's memory showing the brake system had already experienced a problem.
Although the automaker took all the above actions, the lawsuit says they not enough to protect customers from brake problems and failures. The two plaintiffs claim Toyota is forcing customers to wait until problems occur before taking action to make repairs.
For affected customers who have not experienced brake problems, Toyota told technicians, "if an owner has not experienced the condition, he/she is asked to place the notification tear off slip in the Owner's Manual for future reference."
Additionally, the lawsuit alleges customers may get stuck with paying for initial diagnostic fees if the problem is not covered by the customer support program.
"There are approximately well over 1,000,000 vehicles with brake boosters and brake booster assemblies impacted by Toyota's 2018 and 2019 Customer Support Programs, placing the risk of brake failure on their owners, drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and consumer purchasers of the Defective Class Vehicles. This number does not include the owners of Prius vehicles, such as the Prius V, that Toyota excludes from such Customer Support Program." - Lawsuit
According to the plaintiffs, Toyota only offers reimbursement for repairs after the brakes in the 2010-2015 Prius fail or malfunction, a vehicle that wasn't included in the previous recall. The plaintiffs also claim Toyota has been "unfair" by not recalling all the vehicles as a preventative measure.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received a petition to open an investigation into Toyota brake problems, but the government hasn't announced if it will take action.
The Toyota brake booster pump assembly lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Turner, et al., v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al.
The plaintiffs are represented by Barrack, Rodos & Bacine, Emerson Firm, PLLC, and Badgley Mullins Turner, PLLC.