Airbag, forward collision-avoidance, and brake issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
The 2021 Toyota Camry is a sedan that has been a popular choice among drivers. The automaker labels it a “clear-cut leader” that offers multiple variants while “advancing safety.” It might lead in terms of the variants it offers, but there are an increasing number of owners who condemn its lack of safety. A variety of risk-laden forward collision-avoidance issues, faulty brakes that lead to crashes, and malfunctioning airbags linked to injuries keep piling up.
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Most Common Problems
With 17 varied models and grades offered, purchasers of the new 2021 Toyota Camry are spoilt for choice. But one thing they can’t choose to eliminate are possible malfunctions and failures. Official complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other reliable sources highlight issues with faulty brakes, forward collision-avoidance, and airbags that don’t deploy.
There are also many other less common problems including windshield cracks, sunroof glass that explodes, and tires that are defective. Other components and systems that are listed in complaints include the electrical system, engine, lane departure, powertrain, steering, structure, suspension, vehicle speed control, visibility/wiper, and wheels.
One particularly disturbing complaint filed as an unknown or other problem, blames the lack of structural support as a factor that caused the death of a driver in a crash. The complaint, from Florida, states that “My son hit a tree at an estimated speed of 45” mph and the car burst into flames. The entire inside of the vehicle and his son were burned beyond recognition. “I am amazed at a new car that does not have enough front crash support.” Also, “most importantly, the fuel pump should have shut off due to hitting the front to prevent the car from being burned. Yes, my son died in the accident but we did not have the chance to see him because of the fire, we have only bones to bury.”
2021 Toyota Camry Complaint Summary
|Number of Complaints
|Unknown Or Other
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
|Lane Departure: Assist
The most common airbag problems relate to them not deploying during a crash. Shockingly, considerably more than half the complaints report injuries to drivers and passengers. Some complaints mention brake problems being the cause of crashes.
An owner from Nebraska states in an NHTSA complaint that he, his wife, and his daughter were “severely injured” during a crash when the airbags didn’t deploy. While driving at 35 mph, another vehicle struck the front passenger side of his car. It was deemed “a total loss.” He filed a case with Toyota.
While driving at 45 mph, another owner was T-boned by a van and pushed across three lanes of traffic. There were no warning indicator lights illuminated and the airbags didn’t deploy. The driver sustained injuries to his arm, back, and neck. He received medical attention and filed a police report.
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Brake Problems Contribute to Crashes
A New Jersey woman’s leased 2021 Camry was also totaled in a crash. She was pulling into a parking space, but when she depressed the brake pedal, it didn’t respond. As a result, she crashed into trees. Again, the airbags failed to deploy. The woman was injured and required medical assistance. This car was totaled and the police were notified. The manufacturer responded to the incident stating there was no recall related to the failure.
A woman from Georgia was parking her Camry when it repeatedly lurched forward. She was unable to stop even though the brake pedal was depressed to the floorboard. Even after the vehicle hit a gate, it continued to accelerate independently. She put it into reverse, but it still continued to accelerate, hitting a vehicle behind her, which hit a third vehicle. She put it back into drive, “which sent the vehicle into another gate which then finally stopped the vehicle.” Both gates were damaged. The airbags didn’t deploy, and she suffered pain in her shoulders and lower back, but didn’t seek medical attention.
Similar lunging or lurching experiences are described by owners some of whom crashed and others who didn’t.
A New Hampshire owner was driving slowly, at 10 mph, when the brake system power assist function failed. This prevented the brakes from operating normally, and resulted in the Camry rear ending another vehicle.
Similarly, a “partial brake assist and auto emergency braking failure to engage” contributed to a rear end collision for an owner in Massachusetts. “The Toyota Legal Claims department issued an incomplete report that they claim absolves the vehicle.”
An owner from Massachusetts crashed when the auto emergency braking system failed. In response, Toyota maintained that the ABS “worked.” On the other hand, the dealer agreed that “the brake pedal was abnormal.”
Many complaints to the NHTSA about brakes relate specifically to parking brake malfunctions. There are also issues with brake system power assist, and the Georgia complaint, above, was filed as a hydraulic brake problem. Additionally, there are problems that pertain to faulty auto emergency braking and anti-lock braking systems (ABS). Most of these are filed as forward collision-avoidance issues. Of course, all these individual brake issues are probably related in one way or another.
An owner from Montana describes “surging” when depressing the brake. When it started snowing, the surging began happening when braking to slow down to turn. “This surging was scary, even with studded snow tires.” Driving home from work one evening, rain had turned to “black ice” on the road. On a slight curve on the bridge, close to the white line, “the car decided to pull me away from the white line. This was the final straw. Not going to allow a car to make the decision to pull on black ice or other driving conditions. I did not want to become a statistic by having this vehicle cause a car wreck and hurt myself or other drivers. I had contacted Toyota Care and they said it was not a warranty issue. That is when I knew it was time to get rid of this hybrid after only 5 months.”
When the parking brake fails to engage, some drivers get error codes, for example “Parking brake malfunction/ Hold brake malfunction.” Others find that even when the brake is set, “the vehicle will begin to roll if put on an incline.” An owner from California accidentally put the Camry into reverse with the parking brake engaged – “and it still moved.” So, to check, ”I put gear in ‘Drive’ and engaged the parking brake. The vehicle still moved.”
Forward Collision-Avoidance Problems
In addition to forward collision-avoidance issues that clearly relate to the braking systems, there are other issues as well.
An owner from New York states that the steering gets so loose when using cruise control with the radar feature, “I don’t have good control when changing lanes. I feel that this is a serious safety issue.” Like some many other complaints already mentioned, the dealer “claims there is no problem with the cruise feature.”
With only 100 miles on the clock, an owner from Pennsylvania found that the forward collision-avoidance system failed. It “became inoperable, nearly causing the vehicle to crash on several occasions.” Neither the dealer’s mechanic nor the automaker’s engineer were able to determine the cause of the failure.
Is your 2021 Camry a Lemon?
If you think you’ve bought lemon, you can ask Lemberg Law to assess your problems free of charge. The law makes Toyota pay legal fees and you may be able to get your lemon out of your life. After all, every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners.
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