NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Toytoa is recalling 870,000 vehicles because a problem with an air conditioner part could cause airbags to suddenly deploy unnecessarily.
In some cases, the problem was caused by spiders.
The automaker says that sometimes spider webs can create a blockage in a drainage tube coming from the air conditioning condenser. That can cause water to drip down onto an airbag control module, causing a short circuit. That, in turn, could cause the airbag warning light to light up on the dashboard and it could even cause the driver’s side airbag to deploy, something that happens with explosive force.
In some cases, there could also be a loss of power-steering force, Toyota said.
The vehicles involved are model year 2012 and 2013 Camrys, Venzas and Avalons, including hybrid versions of those cars.
So far, Toyota is aware of three airbag deployments as a result of this and 35 cases of warning lights coming on, Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Knight said. In the cases Toyota has investigated, the only consistent cause of the blockages has been spider webs. Knight could not say if spider webs caused every incident, however.
In 2011, Mazda recalled 52,000 Mazda6 sedans for a problems caused by spiders building webs inside a vent line for the gasoline tank.
To fix the Toyota problem, Toyota dealers will make fixes to block water from dripping onto the airbag module. Owners will be notified by mail to take their vehicle to a Toyota dealer where the necessary work will be performed at no charge.