Toyota has announced a massive recall of Toyota and Lexus hybrids. According to the automaker, the recall affects 482,000 vehicles registered in the U.S., including the 2010 - 2012 Toyota Prius, 2010 and 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, and the 2011 - 2012 Lexus CT 200h.
The problem with those vehicles is their airbags--not Takata's fatally flawed frontal airbags, which have killed more than a dozen people worldwide and injured upwards of 100, but curtain airbags manufactured by Autoliv Inc. As Toyota explains, some of those devices may contain imperfections that could cause them to deploy without warning:
"The involved vehicles are equipped with curtain shield air bags (CSA) in the driver and passenger side roof rails that have air bag inflators composed of two chambers welded together. Some inflators could have a small crack in the weld area joining the chambers, which could grow over time, and lead to the separation of the inflator chambers. This has been observed when the vehicle is parked and unoccupied for a period of time. If an inflator separates, the CSA could partially inflate, and, in limited circumstances, one or both sections of the inflator could enter the interior of the vehicle. If an occupant is present in the vehicle, there is an increased risk of injury."
Owners of affected vehicles will be notified by mail. After receiving those notifications, owners will be able to take their vehicles to Toyota and Lexus dealers, who will install retention brackets on the curtain shield air bag inflators. If an inflator should separate, those brackets should prevent the device from entering the vehicle.
Toyota and Lexus owners can find out whether their vehicles are subject to this or any other recall by visiting Toyota.com/recall and running a search using their vehicle's Vehicle Identification Number. Owners can also call Toyota Customer Service at 1-800-331-4331or Lexus Customer Service at 1-800-255-3987.