Voluntary recalls: 3.7-million Graco child seats, Toyota and Lexus Vehicles

While I am working on a major truck feature for the print version of the April issue of the magazine, this was important enough to require a quick piece to let you know about two recalls that could affect you.

In the largest recall in recent years, Graco is recalling 3.7-million child safety seats for a defective harness buckle used on all convertible car seats and booster seats manufactured from 2009 to 2013.  They are also asking the National Traffic Safety Administration to not recall about 1.8 million more.

Seats produced since July are not affected since the buckle has been redesigned.

The problem on the recalled product is that the red release button in the center can be difficult to unlatch quickly or can become stuck.  That makes it impossible to remove a child from the seat in a hurry during an emergency.

The company says that the problem does not affect the buckle’s restraint capability, but the NHTSA discourages use of the seat until it is repaired.  The new and improved buckle can be obtained at no charge from Graco by calling 800-345-4109 or emailing consumerservices@gracobaby.com.

The affected toddler seats which sold for up to $400 include the Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, My Ride 70, Size4Me 70, Head Wise 70 and Smart Seat.  The harnessed booster seats covered by the recall are: Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Elite and Argos.

Not covered by the recall are infant seats: Snugride, Snugride 30, Snugride 32, Infant Safe Seat Step-1, Snugride 35, Tuetonia35 and Snugride Click Connect 40.  If you have one of these and would like the new buckle you can still call and they will send you one free.

Prius, RAV4, Tacoma and Lexus

Pesky software problems are again plaguing Toyota.  A voluntary recall of 700,000 2010 – 2014 Prius vehicles; and about 260,000 RAV4 (2012).Toyota Tacoma (2012-2013), Lexus RX 350 (2012-2013) vehicles is designed to address these issues although no accidents or injuries have been reported.

For the Prius cars, Toyota will update the motor/generator  control ECU and hybrid control ECU software.  The current software settings “could result in higher thermal stress in certain transistors, potentially causing them to become damaged. If this happens, various warning lights will illuminate and the vehicle can enter a fail safe mode…the hybrid system might shut down while the vehicle is being driven, resulting in the loss of power and the vehicle coming to a stop”, Toyota says.

For the other recalled vehicles, Toyota will update the skid control ECU software to address an electronic circuit condition that can cause the Vehicle Stability Control, Anti-lock Brake and Traction Control functions to intermittently turn off.

A free software update at the dealer will be provided for any of these affected vehicles.  If you are the original owner you should receive a snail mail letter when the update is available.

For more info on the Toyota recall, you can go to toyota.com/recall or call 800-331-4331; for the Lexus recall visit lexus.com/recall or call 800-255-3987.

Remember: if you purchased your vehicle used, the free software update still applies but you will not be notified and must make the contact with Toyota or Lexus yourself.

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