Las Vegas, NV– Dealership Service and OEM parts make a difference to the safety and residual value of your car, as proven in this latest recall from Toyota and Lexus, October 22, 2010.
The VOLUNTARY recalls from Toyota and Lexus for leaking brake fluid, include 740,000 older model year vehicles from 2004-2006 . Toyota is quick to ascertain that the issue surrounds minor leaking where the consumer may not be using GENUINE Toyota brake fluid which is specifically designed with unique polymer agents that keep the parts and seals performing properly. The ue of Non-Toyota materials have been shown to cause curing, drying and aging which potentially causes damage to the calipers and makes the brakes feel “spongy or soft”.
This latest announcement affects vehicles world-wide but perhaps the most important issue to note is in the practice of consumers to properly maintain their vehicles with OEM parts. While Toyota has elected to replace these parts for FREE, making a grand statement of customer appreciation, loyalty and support, should they really be held to this level of expense and accountability when the consumer made a conscious effort to service where the cost of repair may be non-OEM parts and materials? Many repair and service garages do great work at lower cost, however, if the cost is in after-market materials, should you be authorizing this for your vehicle investment, much less personal safety?
Yes, Toyota is voluntarily recalling these vehicles at their expense but will the next problem by a different manufacturer be handled for free?
While the manufacturer’s suggested regular maintenance service schedule can not mandate you must bring it back to the dealership for service, it does state that damage to your vehicle from non-OEM parts Voids the warranty.
2005 through 2006: some Toyota Avalon vehicles.
2004-2006 Toyota Highlander (non-hybrid) and Lexus RX330 models.
2006 Lexus GS300, IS250 and IS350 models.
What’s the answer to this situation? The next time you need service on your car, be sure the company doing the work gives you a copy of the receipt with serial numbers for the genuine OEM parts they are putting in your car, because replacing caliper’s isn’t cheap and that’s not just the parts and labor.
Here is how Toyota is fixing the problem:
Toyota is replacing the brake master cylinder seal to stop brake fluid leakage. This leakage causes the brake warning lamp to light up, the automaker noted.
“The Toyota genuine brake fluid used during vehicle assembly for vehicles sold in the United States contains polymers. The polymers act as lubricants for certain brake system components,” according to a statement released by Toyota Motor Sales USA. If during vehicle maintenance, brake fluid is used that does not contain such polymers or only small amounts, a part of the internal rubber seal (brake master cylinder cup) located at the end of the brake master cylinder piston may become dry and may curl during movement of the piston. If this occurs, a small amount of the brake fluid could slowly leak from the brake master cylinder into the brake booster, resulting in illumination of the brake warning lamp,” according to the statement from Toyota. The automaker went on to note that if the vehicle is driven without the master cylinder brake fluid replenished once the brake warning lamp has turned on, the brake pedal could start to become “spongy or soft.” There could be slow but sure deterioration in the car’s ability to brake. Toyota and Lexus will start mailing notifications early next month. Owners can have their brake master cylinder cup replaced at Toyota and Lexus dealerships for free.
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Sarah Lee is an automotive executive with 22+ years of experience.
She writes about Cars, and is a staunch consumer advocate on car related subjects.
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