— A Toyota brake booster pump class action lawsuit alleges brake booster and brake booster pump assembly problems plague more than 1 million of these models.
- 2010-2015 Toyota Prius
- 2010-2015 Toyota Prius PHV
- 2012-2015 Toyota Prius v
- 2012-2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid
- 2013-2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid
California plaintiff Jason Medeiros purchased a used 2015 Toyota Prius Hatchback that allegedly began experiencing brake booster pump problems within his first 10,000 miles of driving.
The plaintiff says he noticed the car continued to travel at previous speeds even when he pressed the brake pedal to slow down when driving over dips, railroad tracks, manhole covers and other bumpy obstacles.
According to the plaintiff, he noticed warning lights illuminated when the brake problems occurred, including the master warning light, brake system light and slip indicator light.
Medeiro received a letter from Toyota letting him know about possible brake problems, but after a visit to the dealership the plaintiff was allegedly told the vehicle was acting normally.
Toyota issued a technical service bulletin (TSB 0130-19) in September 2019 for 2012-2014 Camry Hybrid and 2013-2015 Avalon Hybrid brake booster assembly malfunctions. The TSB says the problem “may be caused by a small internal brake fluid leak in the brake booster assembly with master cylinder.”
The brake fluid leak will trigger diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) and Toyota covered the cost of repairs under an extended warranty program if certain trouble codes were produced.
The class action alleges Toyota evades its vehicle warranty obligations by failing to inform customers about the brake booster pump problems. Then the automaker allegedly refuses to perform free repairs unless the vehicle has registered diagnostic trouble codes related to the brake boosters.
Toyota is allegedly fully aware of the brake booster problems not only because of the TSB, but due to customer support program ZJB created on August 9, 2018.
The lawsuit says Toyota instructed its dealers to replace the brake booster and brake booster pump assemblies for free, "regardless of age or mileage 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), and thereafter until 10 years from the date of first use or 150,000 miles, whichever occurs first."
However, the offer is good only if "one of four specific Diagnostic Trouble Codes was stored in the vehicle’s memory, i.e. the brake system had experienced a malfunction during operation."
According to the plaintiff, Toyota is evading its responsibilities by repairing the brake booster problems only when a customer's vehicle experiences problems.
Toyota issued customer support program ZKK more than a year later which expanded the brake booster and brake booster pump assembly repairs to 2012-2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid and 2013-2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid vehicles.
The automaker allegedly told dealers to replace the brake system parts only if the vehicle had experienced a malfunction of the brake system as indicated by the presence of one of four diagnostic trouble codes stored in the vehicle’s memory.
The plaintiffs also complain how vehicle owners could get stuck with paying for testing and repairs.
“Please be aware that, if the condition is not covered by this Customer Support Program, you may be responsible for the initial diagnostic fees and any other repairs you may decide to have performed. Any authorized Toyota Dealership can determine if a condition is covered by this Customer Support Program.” - Toyota
The lawsuit says Toyota should "repair, recall, and/or replace the Class vehicles and to extend the applicable warranties to a reasonable period of time, or, at a minimum, to provide Plaintiffs and Class Members with appropriate curative notice regarding the existence and cause of the Defect."
The automaker did issue a brake booster pump recall in July 2019, but the lawsuit alleges the recall wasn't nearly large enough.
In addition, the federal government received a petition to investigate brake booster pumps in Toyota vehicles, something safety regulators are still considering.
The Toyota brake booster pump class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California - Medeiros, et al., v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al.
The plaintiffs are represented by McCune Wright Arevalo.