2009 Toyota Highlander HybridEnlarge Photo
Toyota has issued two unrelated recalls today. Together, they affect more than 235,000 vehicles in the U.S.
The first recall centers around the 2006-2010 Highlander Hybrid and the 2006-2008 Lexus RX 400h. According to Toyota, the transistors located in the inverter assemblies on those hybrid models may have been improperly manufactured. As a result, they can overheat, which will, at the very least, trigger warning lights on the instrument panel and "in most cases" force the vehicle into "limp home mode".
In more extreme circumstances, the overheating could force a shutdown of the entire hybrid system, which would bring the vehicle to a complete stop.
All told, the Highlander/RX recall affects some 133,000 vehicles.
Toyota's second recall involves 102,000 Lexus vehicles from the 2006-2011 model years -- specifically, the Lexus IS 350, IS 350C, and GS 350. Toyota says that on those vehicles, "bolts used to secure the variable valve timing control device can become loose, causing the vehicle to stop while being driven".
If you own one of those cars, listen closely as you start it up: Toyota says that an "abnormal noise" could be an early warning sign of the problem.
Owners of the affected vehicles should receive notice of these recalls via snail mail, though there's no timeline given. If you'd like to know more, you can visit www.Toyota.com/recall or www.Lexus.com/recall, or call Toyota's Customer Experience Center at 800-331-4331.