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Toyota Tundra recall: Headlights can catch fire

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Toyota announced a recall of nearly 160,000 Tundra pickup trucks over an issue related to halogen headlamps that could be a potential fire hazard. The recalled trucks are from the 2018-2021 model year.

The official recall statement reads:

“This recall applies to the aforementioned Tundra vehicles equipped with halogen headlamps that were designed incorrectly to allow the circuits for both the high and low beam bulb filaments to be energized simultaneously when the high beams are switched on. Tundra vehicles with non-halogen headlamps are not affected. Other Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in the U.S. are not equipped with the headlamp electrical circuit described below.”

According to information related to the recall it is unknown what percentage of the trucks involved in the recall actually contain the faulty electrical circuit.

The recall bulletin states:

“Although all of the subject vehicles equipped with halogen headlamps contain the incorrectly designed headlamp electrical circuit described below, whether the issue in each case will lead to a fire that may propagate to other parts of the vehicle depends on the customer usage pattern.”

The full description of the known problem reads:

“The subject vehicles are equipped with halogen headlamp electrical circuits that were designed incorrectly to allow the circuits for both the high and low beam bulb filaments to be energized simultaneously when the high beams are switched on. If the high beams are subjected to repeated extended use (e.g., continuously switched “on” in a commercial setting when the vehicle is idling or driving at low speed for extended periods of time and not allowing air flow to cool the headlamp connector), excess heat over multiple days could lead to degradation of the bulb insulation and eventually the bulb connector. This can cause an open headlamp circuit, leading to an inoperative headlamp that can be noticed by the driver and repaired. However, if an open circuit does not occur, there is a possibility that the connector could continue to overheat, resulting in an increased risk of a fire that may propagate to other parts of the vehicle.”

There are 18 reported incidents, six of which resulted in fires, according to information from Toyota.

The corrected measures for dealers include modifying the engine wire harness assembly and inspecting the headlight bulb connector, bulb and headlight assembly. According to the bulletin: “If one or more of these components is found to be damaged due to this overheating condition, the damaged component(s) will be replaced with new ones as needed.”

Any owner impacted by this will receive a letter with instructions. Anyone who has already paid to have this condition fixed will be reimbursed by Toyota. According to the bulletin: “Notifications to owners of the affected vehicles will occur by November 1, 2021. A copy of the draft owner notification will be submitted as soon as it is available.”

Bottom line on Toyota Tundra headlight recall

As is always the case, safety is the top priority for everyone. It’s good for Toyota to be out ahead of this issue. You never want to mess around with wiring or fire hazards, even if it’s rare. The entire recall alert can be seen right here. Tundra has previously been recalled for turn signal dimness and a loose rear seat belt bolt.

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Jimmy Dinsmore

Jimmy is News Editor for PickupTruckTalk with an expertise in new vehicles. He is also a Ford Mustang historian having authored the book Mustang by Design (available on Amazon). His second book, about the history of Ford's F-Series truck comes out next year.

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