NHTSA Investigates Steering Problems in Older Toyota Sequoia SUVs

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The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating the steering and braking problems in older models of Toyota Sequoia SUVs after receiving 135 complaints from consumers.

Toyota Sequoia 2016

According to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) of the NHTSA, the consumers claimed in their complaints that there had been incidents of unexpected steering pull while driving due to inappropriate Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) brake interventions in Toyota Sequoia vehicles (model year 2001 and 2002).

The steering and braking problems in Toyota Sequoia vehicles were linked to two crashes that resulted to five injuries.

The ODI found that almost 50% of the complaints indicated that the cause of the VSC activation was a faulty yaw rate sensor. A majority of the consumers (60%) reported a vehicle pull to the right at highway speeds. Many of them reported experiencing multiple incidents involving little to no pull that lasts several seconds while others complained of a greater pull for a short time. Consumers frequently described their experience as feeling a like a jerk to the steering wheel.

The ODI is conducting a preliminary investigation to evaluate the frequency, scope and consequences of the reported steering and braking problems in the older models of the Toyota Sequoia.

50,000 Toyota Sequoia SUVs model 2003 recalled

In 2010, Toyota Motor North America reported a defect in the VSC system of approximately 50,000 units of Toyota Sequoia SUVs model year 2003.

Toyota reported that the centering position of the Steering Angle Sensor (SAS) in those Toyota  Sequoia SUVs were not stored correctly due to a logic problem with the Skid Control Computer programming. The VSC uses information from the SAS to determine the driver’s intended direction for the vehicle. The automaker recalled the vehicles to replace the Skid Control Electronic Control Unit.

The ODI investigated the problem and found that majority of the inappropriate activations of the VSC system occur when the Toyota Sequoia SUVs were turning a low speeds. Toyota explained to the ODI that the defect present an unreasonable risk to safety because the VSC activations were rare and occurred in low speeds. The NHTSA closed its investigation since Toyota recalled the affected vehicles.

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