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Inside the Toyota Tacoma recall

Thousands of Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks are being recalled due to a problem with the seatbelts. The manufacturer announced Aug. 7 that it was enacting a voluntary safety recall for more than 342,000 Tacoma pickup trucks. 

All of the affected models of this midsize truck were produced between 2004 and 2011 and are Tacoma Access Cabs with rear-hinged rear doors. There is a possibility that the front seat belts of these trucks could have a screw come loose, which would potentially put both the driver and passenger in danger. According to PickupTrucks.com, repeated slams of the cab doors could loosen the screw attached to the seatbelt pre-tensioner, causing this spring to lose its function and negatively impact the performance of the seatbelt itself. 

The Chicago Tribune reports that this is the result of a design flaw rather than a manufacturing defect, and the issue can be fixed with the installation of a new screw and sealant. Tacoma owners will be notified by mail, but in the meantime they can check out the Toyota Recall Information Site to see if they have any cause for concern. 

Drivers who have designated their Tacoma for off-roading should heed the warning and make sure they bring their truck in for a check. Seatbelts are always important, but they become even more essential when you're traversing rocks or mudding through unknown terrain. You may want to invest in special seatbelts that are designed to offer complete protection when off-roading. Often coming in the form of harnesses, these devices disperse pressure during a collision and can help keep passengers secure in a vehicle. 

Off-road driving is an exciting but dangerous pastime, and having secure seatbelts is the only way to drive.