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Toyota Recall Fuel Leaks

Toyota Recall Fuel Leaks - Toyota Motor Corp. took almost two years to submit its U.S. recall today of Lexus models after the automaker’s initial investigation of a potential gasoline leak failed to find defects in the cars’ fuel-line components.

The first U.S. report of fuel odor was in March 2009, according to a letter Toyota sent today to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Toyota investigated the case and two more reports in 2009, including one from the U.K., and “no abnormality in parts was found,” said Brian Lyons, a spokesman for the Japanese automaker’s U.S. unit in Torrance, California.

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, voluntarily recalled today about 245,000 Lexus IS and GS luxury cars in the U.S. to inspect and tighten fuel-pressure sensors. Globally, the Toyota City, Japan-based company, is recalling 1.7 million vehicles for potential defects in fuel pipes and pumps, pressure sensors and spare-tire carriers, including 1.28 million units in Japan.

Toyota studied the Lexus issue throughout 2010, and not until reviewing manufacturing processes and an additional defect report could it determine the likely cause was a section of pipe that was tightened improperly, according to the letter. The time needed to uncover the problem isn’t unusual, given how complex vehicles have become, said Ed Kim, director of analysis for industry researcher AutoPacific Inc. in Tustin, California.

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