Owners of Toyota’s HiLux vehicles will not be able to have their vehicles fixed for at least another year, according to recent reports. The design fault is causing many of the diesel vehicles to go into what’s called “limp mode.”
The vehicle’s air filter is the issue, with dust leaks allowed to pass through the filter. When the dust moves past the filter, it will put the vehicle into limp mode, which cuts the engine’s power and disables many of the vehicle’s safety features. Traction and stability control features are turned off when in limp mode, causing drivers to lose many of the safety features that make their vehicles safer on the road.
The top-selling vehicle isn’t expected to have a fix for the issue until at least August 2019. Estimates suggest that there will be 280,000+ vehicles on the road in Australia before the fix has been issued.
The engine design, which hit the market in 2016, is still in use in newer vehicles. Owners have only reported 340 cases of the engine going into limp mode. Toyota may not issue a recall or fix for the issue, and may require owners to inquire about the fix when it’s available.
Limp mode, in this case, is only an issue when the vehicle is driven in extremely dusty conditions. The majority of reported cases came from drivers near the mining industry where dust is more prevalent.
Toyota Australia and Toyota Japan are working together in cooperation to recreate the issue.
The duo has been able to recreate the issue, but the Australian division claims that this is not a safety issue due to the vehicle still being operational despite the issue. Engineers have not considered recalling the vehicles just yet and state that they’re not ignoring the issue.
Extreme driving and the lack of occurrences has led the company to hold off on a potential recall.
Fine dust particles are allowed to pass through the air filter, disrupting the vehicle’s readings. The mass air flow sensor, which is responsible for the rate of air that enters the engine, is disrupted, causing the engine control to be unable to determine the correct fuel ratio for the engine.
Bulletins of the issue were first reported in 2017, with the company urging owners to have their mass air flow sensors cleaned every 5,000km. Air filter cleanings are also recommended at this duration. A proper fix will require the introduction of a new intake system.