The 2003 Toyota Sequoia is the latest Toyota vehicle to be hit with a recall, this one involving its traction control system. A little more than a week after the company was forced to recall every 2010 Lexus RX 460 due to a malfunctioning stability control program that placed the vehicle at risk for a rollover during certain high speed maneuvers, the Japanese automaker is once again forced to call back one of its sport-utility vehicles for safety-related repairs.
The problem this time around? Unintended deceleration. While the issue isn't being described in exactly those words, it would seem that hot on the heels of Toyota's problem with the runaway throttles found on of millions of its automobiles it now has to deal with one that exhibits the exact opposite behavior. The 2003 Toyota Sequoia has been found to have a unique bug in its rollover protection software that causes it to suddenly apply the brakes when being driven at slow speeds. Not only does the sport-utility vehicle put on its brakes seemingly at random when driving at speeds of less than 10 miles per hour, but it also cuts throttle response. At no point does the Toyota Sequoia illuminate its brake lights during these sudden stops, which puts drivers at risk not only due to the loss of control over the vehicle's forward motion but also by increasing the chances that motorists following behind might not be able to detect that the truck has stopped until it is too late.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) there have been 64 complaints concerning the Toyota Sequoia's bizarre braking behavior from drivers across the country. The NHTSA has been investigating the issue for 16 months. Toyota has also received an additional 96 complains for the same issue. While it has not been officially asked to recall the approximately 50,000 vehicles affected by the problem, the company has decide to go ahead with sanctioning dealer repairs of the SUV in an attempt to quell further public ill will concerning its products.
Toyota has described the problem as being limited to occurring only a few seconds at a time at speeds of approximately nine miles per hour. It has stressed that it does not feel that the issue puts vehicle occupants in danger, and that so far no one has been injured as a result of the unexpected braking. Toyota actually upgraded the computer component responsible for skid control in the middle of the 2003 model year, and it projects that almost half of the 50,000 vehicles that have been recalled will be found to have already had the improved software upgrade installed. Nevertheless, the company will be sending notification to all 2003 Toyota Sequoia owners to have their vehicles checked out at a local dealership.
This latest repair campaign adds one more to the list of recalls that Toyota has initiated in the past three months, bringing the total number to six. Aside from the massive unintended acceleration recall which has affected over six million vehicles, and the previously-mentioned Lexus recall, Toyota has also announced call backs for 1998 - 2010 Toyota Sienna minivans due to corrosion issues, the 2010 Toyota Camry to repair a power steering hose problem, the 2010 Toyota Tacoma due to a propeller shaft issue and the 2010 Toyota Prius and Lexus HS 250h hybrid models in order to reprogram their braking software.