Toyota Hybrids Catching Fire
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Toyota Hybrids Catching Fire

Tuesday, November 27, 2018By Richard Alexander

In September, Toyota issued a recall for over one million hybrid cars sold around the world due to a potential fire risk in the affected cars. The recall affects hybrid cars – including Prius, Prius PHV and C-HR- manufactured between June, 2015 and May, 2018. The recalled cars are located in Japan, North America and Europe. The recall covers almost 192,000 cars manufactured in the United States. Toyota reported one incident in Japan in which the car began to generate smoke. There have been no other reports of fires in other locations.

The defect involves faulty electrical wiring which has the potential to short circuit as it deteriorates. The wiring harness that attaches to the hybrid electrical system is the source of the problem according to Toyota. Accumulation of particles in this area could cause the wiring’s insulation to corrode when the vehicle is in motion and lead to eventual exposure of the wires. Wires with no protective coating create a higher risk of electrical short circuits. This could produce heat and ignite a fire in the vehicle. Toyota plans to conduct a full replacement of the wire harness assembly in vehicles where the wire core is exposed. If the wire core is not bare, the dealer will apply protective tape to the engine wire harness assembly.

Toyota has had its share of problems with its hybrid vehicles. The carmaker recalled over three million vehicles, including Prius models, in 2016 due to problems with defective airbags and leaky fuel tanks. During those recalls, Toyota stated that the issue was not related to Takata airbags. Instead, the affected cars contained side airbags that could eventually deteriorate and result in sudden inflation of the devices. In several cases, these airbags partially deployed with no warning in cars that were unoccupied. Separately, Toyota recalled more than 20 million of its vehicles for installation of defective Takata airbags. Other Prius models were subject to recalls for cracks in the fuel tanks that caused leaks when drivers filled up their tanks.

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