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242,000 Toyota Prius and Lexus hybrids recalled for brake issue

In yet another public relations nightmare for Toyota, the automaker announced it is recalling 242,000 Prius and Lexus hybrids because of a braking issue. The models affected by the recall were manufactured between March and October 2009, and the recall applies worldwide.

Toyota received over 90 complaints from consumers who said they were having a hard time depressing the brake pedal. Fortunately, there were no reports of any injuries or accidents reported at this time because of the problem.

The automaker said a defect allows nitrogen gas to get into the brake fluid. This causes the brakes to become less effective. Because of this, the brake booster pump assembly on the affected vehicles will be inspected. If the defect is found, the booster pump with be replaced. The Prius and the Lexus HS 250h are the affected vehicles.

The recall affects about 91,000 vehicles in North America and 30,000 in Europe. In addition, there are another 117,000 vehicles located in Japan.

In September 2009, Toyota had the largest automobile safety recall in history. It was after four members of a family were killed in a high-speed crash. The company ended up as the defendant in multiple wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits.

The U.S. Transportation Department hit Toyota with $17.35 million fine a few months ago for failing to address a defect, as well as delaying to initiate a recall. This fine makes the total fines since 2010 $65.75 million from the Transportation Department because of the company's delay in recalling vehicles.

Honda, Nissan and Mazda, as well as Toyota, recalled vehicles for defective airbag systems. Those recalls affected more than three million autos.

If you or your family has been injured due to a manufacturing defect in an automobile, you should contact an experienced attorney to discuss your options. You may be entitled to compensation for claims including pain and suffering, lost wages and medical bills, as well as other damages.

Source:  zacks.com, "Toyota Recalls Prius and Lexus" No author given, Jun. 14, 2013

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