— A Toyota brake failure lawsuit alleges the following models are equipped with defective brake booster pump assemblies that cause brake failures and a loss of vehicle value.
- 2010-2015 Toyota Prius
- 2010-2015 Toyota Prius PHV
- 2012-2015 Toyota Prius v
- 2012-2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid
- 2013-2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid
California plaintiff Mariano Alaniz purchased a 2014 Toyota Prius in 2017, but on multiple occasions the Prius allegedly had problems coming to a stop despite pushing the brake pedal. The plaintiff says the longer stopping distances cause severe safety hazards to himself and everyone on the road.
According to the brake failure class action lawsuit, more than 1 million Toyota vehicles should have been recalled long ago when the automaker issued recalls associated with "defective brake pump assemblies."
The plaintiff references a 2013 Toyota brake booster pump assembly recall due to “brake pressure accumulators consisting of a metal plunger containing brake fluid encased in a metal housing.”
According to Toyota, the “plunger is designed with metal pleated bellows to allow for motion,” and “nitrogen gas is sealed between the plunger and the housing.”
The brake failure lawsuit alleges there was a possibility that a fatigue crack could occur in the bellows because of vibrations of the plunger while driving.
The automaker said, “nitrogen gas could lead into the brake fluid and gradually cause the brake pedal stroke to become longer, resulting in decreased hydraulic pressure.” This could affect stopping distances which increased the risk of a crash.
The plaintiff says the problem with the 2013 recall was only certain models were recalled. The 2010 Toyota Prius and 2010 Lexus HS250h would be repaired, but the vehicles included in this lawsuit weren't repaired.
Then in July 2019, Toyota announced a recall because the brake booster pumps may have contained plastic brush holders of the wrong shape.
The brake failure lawsuit says that because of the brush holder’s improper shape, there was a “possibility that the plastic brush holder may have become stuck in the brush holder.”
The brush wouldn't be able to maintain an electrical connection which could stop the motor, leaving a vehicle without braking assist. However, the plaintiff claims hundreds of thousands of vehicles should have been included in the recall.
In September 2019, Toyota issued technical service bulletin (TSB) 0130-19 for 2012-2014 Camry Hybrids and 2013-2015 Avalon Hybrids because of brake fluid leaking in the "the brake booster assembly with master cylinder.” If a vehicle indicated certain diagnostic trouble codes, Toyota would cover the cost under an extended warranty program.
The federal government received a petition to investigate brake booster pumps in Toyota vehicles, but safety regulators haven't decided if a formal investigation is required.
By allegedly ignoring more than 1 million vehicles at risk of brake failures, the class action lawsuit alleges Toyota is forcing customers to pay for repairs by concealing the braking defects.
The Toyota brake failure lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California: Alaniz, et al., v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al.
The plaintiff is represented by Bursor & Fisher, P.A.