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Toyota recalls Yaris over fire risk

Safety check: Toyota’s Yaris is the subject of a global recall, including Australia.

Toyota Yaris seatbelt pre-tensioners under scrutiny in 1.3 million cars

29 Jan 2009

TOYOTA has recalled 45,360 Yaris cars in Australia as part of a massive global rectification program involving 1.3 million cars.

The cars are in danger of catching fire inside the cabin if the pyrotechnic seatbelt pre-tensioners are activated in a severe crash. The heat of the pre-tensioner system can ignite a sound insulation pad under the seatbelt mechanism.

Toyota spokesman Glen Campbell said only three instances had occurred around the world, including one in Australia. “We take safety issues very seriously,’’ he said.

Owners will be sent a safety recall letter within the week advising that they should bring their cars in for attention. Dealers will remove the sound deadening pad at no cost to owners. The operation should take less than an hour, Mr Campbell said.

8 center imageLeft: Toyota Yaris.

The cars affected are Yaris sedans and hatches, many of which are sold overseas under the Vitz and Belta names overseas.

The recalled cars were made between June 2005 and April 2007.

The pyrotechnic (explosive) pre-tensioners are used to tighten and lock the seatbelt when an accident is detected by an on-board sensor, helping to protect the passenger.

The same sensor and the same pyrotechnic activating system are used in airbag systems. As with airbags, the seatbelt pre-tensioners do not work in minor accidents.

Mr Campbell said the sound deadening pad was designed to reduce noise, but subsequent testing by Toyota had found that noise levels did not increase when the pad was removed.

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