Toyota is recalling 6.5 million vehicles worldwide because a power window switch poses a fire hazard. During manufacturing of the switch, grease may have been inconsistently applied to the sliding electrical contacts. If the switch isn’t lubricated properly, debris and moisture can cause a short circuit and the switch assembly may overheat and melt, increasing the risk of a fire. One U.S. customer has reported a hand burn from a melting switch, and Toyota is also aware of 11 incidents where switches and door trims burned.
The faulty components are made by Japanese automotive parts manufacturer Tokai Rika. In addition to Toyota, Tokai Rika supplies parts to 14 other automakers, such as Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Nissan, and Volvo. The defective Power Window Master Switch (PWMS) was used in certain production runs of the following Toyota models: Tundra, Sequoia, Corolla, Corolla Matrix, Scion xB and xD, Highlander and Highlander Hybrid, Camry and Camry Hybrid, RAV4, Yaris, and Pontiac Vibe.
About 2.7 million of the recalled vehicles are in North America, with an additional 1.2 million in Europe and 600,000 in Japan. This is equivalent to more than half a year of Toyota vehicle production. The recall is expected to begin December 20, 2015. Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the switch and apply a lubricant if no abnormality is found. This repair should take less than an hour. If abnormality is found, dealers will replace the window switch’s circuit board, free of charge.