A faulty vacuum pump can cause certain Toyota Camry sedans to lose braking power and increase the risk of a crash, the NHTSA disclosed on Monday. Toyota will recall 227,490 Camrys from the 2018-2019 model years to fix the problem.
A vane cap in the vacuum pump can degrade prematurely in vehicles that experience frequent braking and/or extended periods of idling. When the piece breaks, the brake booster no longer gets the necessary power, and the power brake assist function no longer works. The brake pedal can then feel hard, and it could become difficult to stop the vehicle. The driver may need to apply more brake pressure to the pedal, and the sudden loss of power brake assist can alarm the driver and increase the risk of a crash.
The brakes still work, but without the expected amount of pressure. In addition to more brake force needed, the driver may notice audible and visual warnings in the instrument cluster.
Hybrid versions do not use a vacuum pump and are not being recalled. Other Toyota and Lexus vehicles use a different pump design, or use a different material for the vane cap. Toyota reported 14 incidents related to the issue, and suspects that 61 warranty claims have been made in regard to the braking problem.
Owners will be notified of the recall fix as early as Dec. 16, and Toyota dealers will repair or replace the faulty pump free of charge. If owners have already had the work done, they can file for reimbursement. Toyota's recall identification code is 21TB09 / 21TA09, and owners can visit Toyota's recall site or call 1-800-331-4331 for more info.
Owners may also contact the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236, or go to www.nhtsa.gov.