After being recalled back in December 2007 for a crack in the fuel pipes
, in April 2006 for seat belt issues
and in December 2005 for the gas pedal assembly getting stuck in the carpeting, Lexus has just announced a fourth recall that affects the 2nd-generation Lexus IS.
As the official Lexus North American Pressroom
informs us, "Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. will launch a Safety Recall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) involving approximately 214,500 Lexus vehicles sold in the United States.
On certain 2006 through 2008 model year GS300/350, IS250/350, and LS460/460L vehicles, Lexus has determined that some ethanol fuels with a low moisture content may corrode the internal surface of the fuel delivery pipes. If this condition occurs, the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) in the combination meter may illuminate. Over time, the corrosion may create a pinhole in the fuel delivery pipes resulting in fuel leakage.
Lexus dealers will replace the fuel delivery pipes with newly designed components. No other Lexus or Toyota vehicles are involved.
Lexus will inform owners of the involved vehicles with a Safety Recall notification via first-class mail beginning in late January. Owners are requested to contact their local Lexus dealer for diagnosis and repair at no charge.
Customers with questions or concerns should contact the Lexus Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-255-3987."
This recall begs for a couple of clarifications. First of all, despite the similar description, this is not
merely a rehash of the third "crack in the fuel pipes" (no, not that
kind) recall, but a separate issue. Some may also be baffled at the reference to ethanol, adamantly insisting they've never put E85 into their Lexus. As a Wikipedia article
informs us, all cars sold in the U.S. are calibrated to run on up to a 90% gasoline/10% ethanol blend (E10), purportedly to help extend our gasoline supply just a little bit, cut down on air pollution and to help Midwest farmers. Although, as of this writing, only nine states (with Florida set to become the tenth in 2010) mandate 10% ethanol in their gasoline, many other locales, especially those with high levels of air pollution, use E10 gasoline as well. Somewhere between half to 2/3 of the gasoline sold in the U.S., in fact, is E10.
Although not explicitly stated, this author's educated guess is that the higher alcohol/moisture content of even the 10% ethanol in E10 gasoline is wreaking havoc with the sensitive direct injection system and corroding the fuel delivery pipes. And, even though the recall notice states "some ethanol fuels with a low moisture content", 100% gasoline would have NO "moisture" content versus E10.
In a Club Lexus thread
, member cbrfreak informs us that Special Service Campaign (SSC) 9LA, as this recall is labeled within Lexus, covers 85,800 IS 250 (54,000 2WD, 31,800 AWD) and 24,900 IS 350 vehicles in the U.S.
Cbrfreak further informs us that Lexus has also launched two Special Service Campaigns that are not
considered official NHTSA recalls. The first of these, SSC 9LB, involves the inspection of rear brake calipers on certain 2006 and 2007 IS and GS vehicles. The slide pin in the rear brake calipers may not operate smoothly. If the vehicle continues to be operated under these conditions, the brake pads may make noise.
The other campaign, SSC 9LC, involves the replacement of the electric power steering link (EPS) assembly on certain 2006 and 2007 Lexus IS, GS and RX 400h vehicles, as well as 2007 GS 450h models. Those vehicles may experience a noticeable gradual increase in the steering effort necessary at low speeds when turning the steering wheel to the complete left or right position. This condition may be most perceptible when parking the vehicle.
Please bear in mind that, with these campaigns, service bulletins and recalls, merely owning a 2006 or 2007 Lexus IS (or an '08 in the case of the recall) is no ironclad guarantee that your particular vehicle is included. Our recommendation is to either check with your local Lexus dealer or call the Lexus Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-255-3987 and give them your car's 17-digit VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to verify whether or not it is included.
There are separate discussion threads on this subject in the 2nd-Gen IS250/IS350 General Discussion