Toyota Announces Safety Recall on 82,000 Hybrid SUVs

Toyota has announced that it will recall more than 82,000 hybrid SUVs in the United States this summer, due to faulty soldering in the vehicles’ Intelligent Power Module, which is located within the Hybrid System Inverter. The vehicles included are model years 2006 and 2007 Toyota Highlander and Lexus RX 400h hybrids.

The voluntary recall was prompted by a National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration investigation launched in February, after 32 drivers complained about their vehicles stalling unexpectedly.

Toyota says that the problem can occur when the IPM overheats, causing various warning lights to go off and the vehicle to enter fail-safe driving mode—which allows it to continue traveling at lowered speeds for a limited distance.

In the worst case scenario, the power supply circuit fuse could blow due to a damaged transistor, causing the vehicle to lose power and roll to a stop. Toyota says it is unaware of any accidents that may have been caused by the malfunction.

In July, Toyota will notify its relevant North American customers through the mail. The carmaker says it is currently working to round up the parts necessary to complete the recall, which will cover more than 110,000 vehicles worldwide. Transistors are one of the key auto components affected by the Japanese earthquake in March, though it’s unknown how that might factor into the recall.

Last year, Toyota faced fallout from a deadly flaw that caused acceleration pedals on many of its models to become wedged in the driver’s floor mat. Since 2009, the carmaker as recalled more than 14 million vehicles worldwide, mostly due to the floor mat issue.

Toyota’s reputation for safety has taken a major hit, but after a lengthy investigation in the United States, a separate but heavily-covered “unintended acceleration” phenomenon that some drivers reported in the Prius—falsely attributed to the car’s sophisticated electronic control system—was concluded to not exist.

The potential danger from this latest recall seems to be limited, and shouldn’t be seen as any more hazardous than dozens of others announced by major automakers each year. Nevertheless 2006-2007 Highlander Hybrid and RX 400h should watch their mailboxes in the coming weeks for further details and instructions on how to arrange for a repair.


  • MrEnergyCzar

    It’s tough to become a larger company and still maintain the same quality level…. still very reliable cars….

    MrEnergyCzar

  • JJJSpawn

    it is getting harder to convince myself to buy one.

  • Dan Fisher

    Your photo for this article is a 2008 model Highlander, one not included in the recall. Please update the photo.

  • jim1961

    As a person who worked as a quality engineer both inside and outside of the automotive industry I respectfully disagree with you. I can understand why you have this opinion and I’ve read other people who have this opinion also. I’ve worked for small companies and I’ve worked for large corporations. In fact, it’s been my experience that smaller companies are the ones that struggle the most with quality control. A larger company has the capital to invest in hiring well trained and experienced quality assurance professionals. Money also needs to be spent on training, equipment, documentation, information technology and communications for proper quality assurance. Also, the quality problems of Toyota are exaggerated by the news media. The quality gap between different automotive companies is also exaggerated by the news media. The quality and reliability of cars, overall has risen steadily for every car manufacturer in every country especially since the 1980s. People easily forget the kind of crap cars we accepted as normal 30 years ago. Certainly, if you are old enough, you remember when automobiles were considered at the end of the life when they approached 100,000 miles.

  • Yegor

    This recall is not because of Hybrid components.

    All gas cars in our days have electronics too – it also can brake and a car can lose power and roll to a stop. Actually it happens all the time.

    It is just this recall affects Hybrid models – this is all. It could happen to any model.

  • Eftyking

    I want to know why Ford has not announced a recall on the Ford Escape Hybrid. There have been many documented cases of water pumps failing in the hybrids and Fail Safe mode kicking in at high speeds. The engine just shuts off and it tells the driver to STOP SAFELY NOW. It is very frightening. At one point last year Ford was back ordered with nearly 900 water pumps for this issue. Imagine driving 65mph in the left lane and your power fails and you need to cut over at rush hour. Someone will die if this is not addresses. Very scary. My Escape is a 2008.

  • Ashley

    2008 is the new body style, and this picture is definitely the older body style that was 2001-2007. This is not a picture of the 2008. Just google it and you’ll see.

  • Mark Werwath

    My 2006 Hybrid Highlander experienced a sudden failure of the inverter. Luckily the car was stationary and had only 99.7K miles on it. Toyota covered the entire replacement to the new design. A cost of over $8K absorbed by Toyota

    Yes, Toyota makes mistakes and yes Toyota makes it right in the end. Was I lucky??? Absolutely. Is this a rare occurrence? My dealer is still talking about it, a high volume dealer on the North side of Chicago and the service department still doesnt believe it. It is THAT rare

  • tapra1

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  • sjo

    2008 Highlander Hybrid bought as a leftover in 2009. 38,900 miles now. Totally died on me while locally driving. Extremely scary but was able to coast to the side of the road. I loved this SUV!! Don’t know what the problem is yet—from what I am reading, does sound like the inverter. Won’t know until Tuesday—this happened on Friday. I will begin to look for a new car after this—I don’t want this to happen to me on a major highway. Loyal Toyota customer—6 in the family over the years—very disappointing and SCARY!!!