WASHINGTON, D.C. — As congressional investigators dig further into potential electronic problems in runaway Toyotas, the automaker is facing other safety concerns, recalling 600,000 Sienna minivans over rusting spare tire holders.
Maine is among the states affected by the Sienna recall.
The recall Friday came as House investigators said they would hold another hearing in May to review possible electronic problems in runaway Toyotas. The Japanese automaker has recalled more than 8 million vehicles because of faulty accelerator pedals, humbling a car company long known for its quality and safety.
Company leaders vowed to respond quickly to the safety concerns.
Toyota said its latest recall covered the 1998-2010 model year Siennas with two-wheel-drive that have been sold or registered in 20 cold-climate states and the District of Columbia. Toyota said rust from road salt could cause the carrier cable that holds the spare tire to rust and break, allowing the tire to tumble into the road. The problem could threaten the safety of other drivers.
Toyota said it was unaware of any accidents or injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it received six complaints of spare tires falling off Siennas.
The company said it was working on a fix. In the meantime, customers will receive a notice telling them to bring their vehicle to a dealership for an inspection.
The recall involves Siennas in the District of Columbia and the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s chief quality officer for North America, said the company was providing free inspections of the spare tire carrier cable across the nation, including states not included in the recall. Owners can call (800) 331-4331 for more information.<
Separately, Toyota said its engineers in Japan had duplicated the same results of tests that led Consumer Reports to issue a rare “don't buy” warning on the 2010 Lexus GX 460 over rollover concerns. Toyota responded by halting sales of new GX 460s and conducting tests on all of its SUVs.
Lexus spokesman Bill Kwong said the company was evaluating potential remedies for the GX 460 but it was “too early to speculate [on] the details of the remedy and its timing.”
For information go to www.toyota.com/recall.