2014 Toyota Highlander Recalled Over Passenger Airbag Software Glitch

A couple of months ago Toyota announced a voluntary recall involving its new Highlander model, which seemed to have some problems with the safety restrain system on its third row of seats. With that fixed, the problem appears to have shifted to the front row now, where the airbag might not work.
2014 Toyota Highlander 1 photo
Photo: Toyota
So, Toyota just announced another recall involving around 50,000 Highlander models sold globally for a problem regarding the airbag control software, which might not detect a person sitting in the front passenger seat and thus, fail to deploy in a crash.

To better understand how this works, you should know that most modern vehicles equipped with airbags use a pressure sensor located in the front passenger seat. Its job is to detect if an adult has occupied the seat so it will deploy the airbag in case of an emergency.

This happens for two reasons: one, if there’s nobody on the seat, the system won’t deploy the airbag so you’ll pay less to repair the car in case of a small accident; and two, the system won’t deploy the airbag if a child is on the seat, since his inertia can be easily handled by the seatbelt alone.

In the recalled vehicles, a glitch in the software controlling the whole system might not make the difference between the weight of an adult and a child, possibly rendering the airbag disabled in a crash even if an adult is buckled up in the passenger seat.

The recall will fix the problem for free by updating the airbag control module software to accurately calculate the passenger’s weight. Owners will be notified via first class mail to take their vehicles to a dealership. For further information you can call Toyota Customer Support at 800-331-4331.
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