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Toyota Just Issued a Recall for an Engine Issue That Could Cause a Fire

The thought of your engine catching fire would give any driver pause. When a company known for its reliability like Toyota announces a recall that has “engine” and “fire” in the same sentence, it really raises some eyebrows. The end result is that around 44,000 2019 and 2020 Toyota models, including hybrids models, are being recalled to see if their engines will have to be replaced. Exactly what is happening in some of Toyota’s most popular models to make them stall, overheat, or even catch fire?

2019 and 2020 Toyota models with 2.5-liter inline-four engines recalled

The recall is because cracks could possibly occur in the engine, causing stalling, coolant leaks, overheating, or engine fires. The potential defect is in the cylinder block assembly in the engine block. It’s important to note that even though Toyota needs to recall 44,191 vehicles, that is just to check them.

According to Car & Driver magazine, they only actually expect to have to repair about 250 Toyota vehicles.  That means a very small 0.5 percent of the vehicles have the problem. This is a relief to owners of newly purchased Toyota models but still results in a big inconvenience for drivers. 

What happened to cause the Toyota recall

The issue began in the Toyota factory and a faulty machine on the production line. A water flow meter that normally regulates the metal casting of Toyota’s 2.5L four-cylinder engine (called their A25A engine) failed. It was later discovered that the failure caused some engines to not cool properly. This created the possibility of cracks, or what Toyota calls “higher porosity levels.” If a fault in the engine block cooling passages does occur, coolant can leak both internally and externally, resulting in a very dangerous situation.

Unfortunate drivers in this potential situation could experience engine smoke, warning lights, engine noise, and/or overheating. Internal mechanical damage is also very possible, with the heat causing the engine components to seize up. If the overheating and engine damage occurred while the vehicle was traveling at a high speed, abrupt stalling could occur which could cause a serious crash. Internal engine damage has other serious consequences as well, such as causing an oil leak. Any oil leaking near an ignition source has the potential to catch fire, not a good situation when you’re on the road. 

This is not to be confused with another Toyota recall that also involves the risk of stalling at high-speed, but this one is caused by the fuel pump. You can check here to see which Toyota vehicles could be affected by a malfunctioning fuel pump. 

Which Toyota models are affected?

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid compact SUV on display at Brussels Expo
The 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

All the vehicles being recalled by Toyota were built between September 2019 and December 2019 and include some of Toyota’s most popular models. A Lexus model is also affected. The recall only involves models that have the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, including gas/electric hybrids. The recalled Toyota models are:

  • 2020 Camry
  • 2020 Camry Hybrid
  • 2020 Avalon Hybrid
  • 2019 RAV4
  • 2020 RAV4
  • 2020 RAV4 Hybrid
  • 2020 Lexus ES300H

If your vehicle is on this list, bring your vehicle into a dealership, or you can wait to be notified by Toyota. They plan to notify all owners affected by early April 2020. Before then, you can input your vehicle identification number (VIN) at the NHTSA recall site to see if yours is involved. Dealerships will check your number against the cars and SUVs affected, and hopefully, yours isn’t on the list and you can be on your merry way.  If it is one of the Toyota vehicles with the issue, the dealership will replace the entire engine, including the engine block.