In total, just 3,121 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid SUVs may be affected, but the issue could keep an airbag from deploying, which increases the chance of injury in the event of a crash. Toyota said in the documents the SUVs may feature the incorrect seat trim pieces, which may block the seat-mounted side airbag from deploying effectively. The right trim piece is designed to tear and allow the airbag to burst through, but this wrong component will not break away properly.
Toyota is not aware of any injuries related to the defect and estimates roughly 5% of the recalled SUVs feature the incorrect trim piece.
Owners will need to take their Highlander or Highlander Hybrid to a dealer where a technician will check to make sure the front seats include the proper trim piece. If they don’t, owners will receive the correct piece installed at no cost. Toyota said the recall will begin on Dec. 13, so keep an eye on your mailbox if you own one of the SUVs.