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Toyota RAV4 roof leaks lead to class-action lawsuit

Owners allege safety system failures and urge nationwide recall due to roof rail defect in 2019-2021 models

Los Angeles—Class-action lawyers have filed the first lawsuit Fishkind v. Toyota Motor Sales, USA et al. No. Case 2:23-cv-02279) against Toyota Motor Sales, USA, and affiliated companies including Toyota Motor Corporation, alleging the roof-rail systems on 2019-2021 RAV4 models are defectively designed and manufactured.

The defects result in “rampant” leaks from the roof that have caused “severe” water damage in the cabin, short-circuiting the SUV’s electrical system, rendering the vehicle unsafe and inoperable. Plaintiffs are filing under consumer protection laws to hold Toyota responsible for its failures to protect all impacted RAV4 owners.

The complaint also details how water seeped into the car’s electrical system — and the air bag assemblies — from the factory original equipment faulty-roof rail channels. On models after 2021, according to the complaint, Toyota replaced the thin, porous washer with a thicker part, appearing to resolve the issue. Besides compromising safety equipment, water in the 2019-2021 models can also cause growth of organic material, such as mold, to which the vehicle’s occupants unknowingly may be exposed and could also result in significant rust damage. 

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