The Toyota Avalon is a safe car. Or at least it is when spiders don't weave webs in the air conditioning unit, eventually causing the air bag to deploy at a random time.
Toyota is recalling 870,000 cars for a Halloween season-appropriate reason: spiders. Our 8-legged friends have apparently made a habit of weaving homes inside some of Toyota’s top selling models and triggering the air bags. Air bags launching at the right time save lives, but at the wrong time, they can take lives, or at least break bones. Rather than attempt to discredit the people who would inevitably sue Toyota after a malfunction (“The defendant’s claim that spiders caused his accident calls his entire testimony into question”), Toyota is recalling the vehicles, which include Camrys, Venzas and Avalons.
The issue centers around a part of the car’s air conditioner, where water can condense and drip into the air bag compartment. Spiders, perhaps under the false impression that the moisture will bring flies, weave their webs in that spot, and this seems to exacerbate the issue.
Toyota only knows of three incidences of air bags deploying when they weren’t supposed to, and 35 more of a warning light coming on. The common thread in each case: spiders. Their webs can block a drainage tube and cause water to condense.
Toyota will do the necessary maintenance work to fix the issue for free: they will install a larger spider that eats the smaller spiders. Kidding. They’ll do a simple fix to prevent the condensation issue.
Happy Halloween from the world of auto maintenance.