Toyota is recalling 342,451 model-year 2005-10 and 2011 Tacoma Access Cab pickup trucks due to a potential problem with the seat belts that could reduce the effectiveness of seat belt pretensioners, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The affected vehicles from the 2005-10 model years were manufactured between Sept. 14, 2004, and March 29, 2010, and those from the 2011 model year were manufactured between July 1, 2010, and Sept. 7, 2011. If the access doors are repeatedly and forcefully closed, the screws that attach the seat belt pretensioner to the seat belt retractor can loosen over time. If the screws loosen completely, the pretensioner and the retractor spring cover could detach from the retractor; if this happens, the pretensioner will not perform as designed, increasing the risk of injury in a severe crash, NHTSA stated.
Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will correct the problem for free. Depending on the results of an inspection, the seat belt assembly will be replaced or new pretensioner screws will be installed with thread-locking sealant and a retractor spring cover with stopper ribs to prevent loosening of the screws. The automaker has not provided a notification schedule. Owners can call Toyota at 800-331-4331, NHTSA’s vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.