Toyota Fixes Wheel Problems bZ4X EV, Will Replace Wheels

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  • Toyota announced a memory for the electric vehicle bZ4X in June, acknowledging that the wheels may have come off the car due to a malfunctioning hub bolt and asking the customer to stop driving the vehicle.
  • The automaker had offered free borrowers to affected bZ4X owners, but the deal has now been upgraded with more sweeteners as well as a new offer: Toyota will buy back the bZ4X outright.
  • Only 258 bZ4X EVs were sold before the recall was announced, but the vehicle has a very big role to play at Toyota.s slow embrace of all electric vehicles.

UPDATE 10/6/22: Toyota announced that they had found a fix for the issue of wheels falling off due to loose hub bolts. It will restart production of the bZ4X EV today and reopen sales in the US in the near future, Automotive News reported today. Toyota said dealers would install newly designed hub bolts with “repaired” washers and wheels, with a target of starting repairs in November.

Toyota issued a statement clarifying that, for recalled models already in customer hands, “No one may drive this vehicle until repairs are made.”

When Toyota first announced a recall for its new bZ4X electric SUV, it said that the hub bolts used on the wheels might loosen “to the point where the wheels could come off the vehicle.” It was a real black eye for one of the world’s biggest automakers to launch an important new model.

The bZ4X is Toyota’s first all-electric vehicle since the company worked with Tesla on the RAV4 EV about a decade ago. The RAV4 EV was discontinued in 2014, and Toyota has been looking outside when it comes to EV sales ever since. The BZ4X is expected to change things.

The recall was announced after Toyota sold 258 units. Toyota’s first offer to buyers was for local dealers to provide them with a free borrower’s vehicle until a solution could be found to keep the hub bolts connected. “The cause of the problem and the driving patterns in which this problem could occur are still under investigation,” Toyota said in June.

After several months of research, Toyota has now sent a letter to the owners of the bZ4X (and later post it on Reddit) expand the benefits it offers, including full repurchase. For starters, bZ4X owners can continue to drive the borrower’s vehicle while the dealer keeps their EV at no cost to the driver. Toyota will pay for the fuel used in these borrowed vehicles and will also offer buyers $5000 for their rental payments or as a check if the EV is purchased outright. Toyota is also extending the time period for bZ4X drivers to get free charging at EVgo stations and extending the warranty period.

If all that isn’t enough for you, then Toyota will repurchase your bZ4X, although the details may vary depending on the situation. Toyota hasn’t said how it will handle the dealer markup initially applied to the purchase price, for example, but the fact that it’s offered to completely take back a new EV over something as seemingly routine as a hub bolt is important. Toyota has also issued a recall for the 2022 Tundra due to an issue with a nut on the rear axle assembly that can loosen over time.

The bZ4X recall also includes 403 Subaru Solterra 2023 units, which share the platform with Toyota, although documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) state that none have yet been sold to dealers or customers.

Problems with selling the new bZ4X unit could hit Toyota extra hard because any EVs purchased from the automaker after September 30 are ineligible for the full federal tax credit under current law. While the rules are likely to change under the Inflation Reduction Act, as it stands now, Toyota is running out of time to offer its buyers a $7500 credit if they can’t afford the new bZ4X any time soon.

Meanwhile, owners of this EV who wish to keep up with the situation can check NHTSA remembers websites for updates.

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