Toyota Tundra recall - it's teeny, tiny this time

by Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer

NEW YORK ( -- Toyota Motor Corp., under fire for how it handled its recall of more than 8 million cars has a new problem, but it's a tiny one. The carmaker is recalling two Tundra pick-up trucks.

Not two models of Tundra truck, mind you. They're recalling exactly two trucks.

2010 Toyota Tundra, but not one of the ones being recalled.

As part of -- actually, all of -- the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's recall campaign number 10V091000, Toyota is recalling two model year 2010 trucks built on October 24 in its San Antonio, Texas, factory because an improper weld on the front propeller shaft could cause it to separate.

A total of 500 trucks were made that day with the faulty part. When the problem was discovered, during a vehicle test, two trucks had made it all the way to customers' homes.

To fix the problem, Toyota will replace the front propeller shaft on both trucks.

"Toyota dealers are currently in the process of contacting the owners of both of the covered vehicles," Toyota said in a recall acknowledgement letter sent to NHTSA. Having discovered the problem on its own, Toyota had brought the issue to the agency's attention.

Generally, recalls come with a stringent set of requirements to make sure that the problem involved gets fixed.

Under NHTSA regulations, as laid out in a letter to Toyota, the automaker is required to submit a draft owner notification to the agency at least five days before mailing it to the customers and is required to submit six quarterly reports detailing its progress in completing the recall.

In reality, the automaker will probably not be required to submit a draft customer letter if it can prove that phone calls were enough to get the job done and, if both trucks are fixed promptly, the automaker could stop at just one quarterly report, a NHTSA source said.

For its part, Toyota's playing by the rules as they're writtern, a Toyota spokesman said. Two first class letters have probably already been mailed to the trucks' owners. The automaker is also planning to report, every quarter for a year and a half, on its progress fixing the two trucks, even if they're fixed right away.

In February, 2009, 8,000 Toyota Tacoma trucks were recalled for the same problem.

A recall is usually considered successful if at least 75% of the cars affected by the problem are eventually fixed. To top of page

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