Toyota announced yesterday that it would conduct a voluntary recall of 133,000 Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX400h crossover utility vehicles.
The affected vehicles cover model years 2006 through 2010 for the Highlander, and 2006 through 2008 for the RX. Both vehicles share a platform and use the same powertrain.
The recall will fix transistors in the hybrids’ inverter assemblies, which Toyota says can “experience heat damage due to variations in characteristics of the transistors’ parallel circuits.”
Toyota says the malfunctioning inverters will cause warning lights on the dashboard to illuminate, and in most cases will cause a vehicle to go into “limp-home mode.”
In some cases, however, Toyota says the problem could cause the entire hybrid system to abruptly shut down, meaning affected vehicles could stop while being driven at any speed.
This is not the first time that Toyota has issued a recall of its hybrid SUVs because of faulty inverter assemblies.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid inverter. PHOTO: Automotive Career Development Center
In 2011, the company recalled 2006-2007 RX400h and Highlander Hybrid models.
The culprit then was a batch of improperly soldered transistors, which were also susceptible to heat damage.
As with the current recall, failure of those parts could have caused vehicles to enter limp-home mode or shut down completely.
Vehicles in the 2011 recall had their inverter assemblies inspected and replaced if necessary.
Toyota will send information on the current recall to customers via first class mail.