Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Shades of Ralph Nader: Is Your Car Unsafe?

Shades of Ralph Nader’s warning that Chevrolet Corvairs were unsafe to drive at any speed.

I don’t mean to be an alarmist, but you may be driving a car that is unsafe at highway speeds. Your car’s low pressure fuel pump could fail, causing a loss of power and even an engine stall. The vehicle may be unable to be restarted. An accident could very likely occur.

For about two months I ignored notices from Toyota late last year that my 2019 Camry could be susceptible to this condition. Even more problematic—Toyota at the time said it had no timetable as to when a fix could be implemented because no remedy had been discovered.

It wasn’t until tragedy struck close to my extended family last fall that I was shocked into action. A former wife of my nephew’s girlfriend’s dad died after her car stalled and was struck by another on a roadway in California. I did not know what make or model year car she was driving, but her death, catapulted me into action.

I immediately called my car dealership. Like its namesake owner Hall of Fame New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, the dealership in Mount Kisco saved the day. Without hesitation it agreed to pay for an open-ended Hertz car rental until a repair could be done. That turned out to be three months, ending the end of February.

I’m not going to bore you with details of what a low pressure fuel pump does, but know that more than 3.3 million Toyotas and Lexus brand vehicles have been affected. In addition, other car brands that use the equipment supplied by Denso, a Toyota affiliate, include Honda, Ford, Subaru and Mitsubishi for some models sold in the United States from 2013-2020, according to (

Not all model years are affected. Go to and enter your car’s VIN (vehicle identification number) to see if you’re driving a car with a defective low pressure fuel pump. Your safety depends on it.

(P.S.: Some Kia owners have their own problem to contend with. Faulty electronics could short circuit with the engine shut off, causing a fire. So the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is advising not to park Sportage and Cadenza models from 2017-2021 in a garage or you could burn it down along with your home (