New-Gen Toyota Highlanders Could Be Losing Body Parts on the Go, Major Recall Issued

Highlander front bumper causes headaches for Toyota 86 photos
Photo: Toyota
Recall actions are common in the automotive industry. That's not necessarily to be viewed as an indicator of the fact some cars are built poorly, but a hint that the safety systems currently in place work, and most faults are found before they can do any real damage.
All of the above means that not even news of an important vehicle for the American market being recalled for the possibility of it losing body parts while on the road should have you worried.

That's right, one of the heavy hitters of the SUV segment, with constant yearly sales of over 200,000 units on the American market, is affected by a fault we don't come across very often: in certain conditions, parts of it can detach and fall.

It's the Toyota Highlander I'm talking about, more specifically the models of the fourth generation made for the American market over the past three years (2020 - 2023). And not just a few of them, but a total of 751,000 are affected by the recall announced by Toyota at the end of last week - that's a number so huge it probably covers the entire production run of the nameplate for the mentioned period of time.

Toyota says the Highlander and Highlander Hybrid SUVs that come equipped with a resin cover assembly for the front bumper are involved in this action. That's because it was found that even a minor impact can cause some serious hazards for other road users.

The said cover is attached to the rest of the car with mounting tabs. For reasons that were not disclosed, these mounting tabs can detach even after a small hit. They can do this including while the SUV is in motion, and that poses a risk of creating road hazards out of nothing.

To fix the issue Toyota is calling back hundreds of thousands of these vehicles. All of them will have to go through a dealer inspection, with mechanics looking for damage on both the cover and the tabs slots.

In the event no damage is found, a retention hardware with an improved design will be installed. Should damage be revealed by the inspections, the entire upper and/or lower front bumper cover will be replaced, and new retention hardware will be installed.

As usual in such cases, the entire operation will be conducted free of charge for the SUVs' owners.

If you happen to own a Highlander from the mentioned production years, you should get an official notification from Toyota by the end of December 2023. If you don't plan on waiting that long to find out if your Highlander is at risk, you can check out the NHTSA website or call directly Toyota's Brand Engagement Center at 1-800-331-4331.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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