Toyota's latest recall now affects their Lexus luxury brand. Four models of the LS460 range is affected, the LS460, LS460L, LS460h and the LS460hL (LS600h). The latter two being the hybrid versions of the former two mentioned. This time the recall is due to a defect in the electronic steering control system of the cars.
According to reports, the cars would keep on going straight for a few seconds even if the driver has turned the steering wheel to a certain direction. The reports also state that a flaw in the computerised steering may prevent the steering rack to return to its original position until after a few seconds after the corner. If you are doing 40km/h nothing major would happen, but imagine if you're doing a160km/h corner and this happens.
The Lexus uses a Variable Gear-Ratio Steering system, which automatically alters how much the steering wheel turns and the position of the wheels, depending on vehicle speed and other conditions. If the car utilising this system is travelling at 20kmh, the system can change the direction of the wheels with only a slight turn of the steering wheel. The higher the speed, the wheels change direction at a slower rate of turn so that the car does not unsettle mid-corner.
The transport ministry of Japan had received 12 complaints from Toyota customers pertaining to the malfunctions with the electronic steering system since March 2010. There are 4,500 affected cars in Japan and this is part of a total 12,000 of the current generation LS460s that have been sold worldwide this year. All of the LS series car manufactured in 2010 are affected under this recall.
Singapore's bilingual daily My Paper reported on Thrusday (20th May 2010) that 55 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600 cars in Singapore are affected by this recall. According to the daily, Borneo Motors, which distributes Toyota in Singapore had stated that there have not been any safety issues so far.
The recall will be officially issued within the next few days will involve reprogramming the software so that the variable ration steering system works properly. LS owners here and elsewhere, kindly take note if you're reading this.
Somehow this shows that certain major systems could still be better if it were still mechanical or hydraulic assisted. Anything that utilises computers, hardware and software can do what our smartphones, laptops and PCs usually do. Which is hang or crash while we're in the middle of something. If these electronic items can crash for no apparent reason, I have no idea why car manufacturers insist that these are safe to use in cars. I hope they start listening to skeptics instead of brushing them aside and thinking that electronics are the answer to everything.
- The round thing in the picture above that you use to change direction with in this Lexus is currently having issues. You may be able to corner better in a Vios than in one of these