A free repair program to address safety issues with all Rhino 450, 660, and 700 model off-highway recreational vehicles is underway.
Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A., of Cypress, Calif., also has agreed to voluntarily suspend sale of these models immediately until repaired, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Consumers should immediately stop using these recreational vehicles until the repair is installed by a dealer, the commission recommends.
The commission staff has investigated more than 50 incidents involving these three Rhino models, including 46 driver and passenger deaths involving the Rhino 450 and 660 models. More than two-thirds of the cases involved rollovers and many involved unbelted occupants. Of the rollover-related deaths and hundreds of reported injuries, some of which were serious, many appear to involve turns at relatively low speeds and on level terrain.
About 120,000 of the 450 and 660 model Rhinos have been distributed nationwide since fall 2003. Some units have been equipped by Yamaha with half doors and additional passenger handholds, either before or after sale.
Yamaha’s repair includes the installation of a spacer on the rear wheels as well as the removal of the rear anti-sway bar to help reduce the chance of rollover and improve vehicle handling, and continued installation of half doors and additional passenger handholds where these features haven’t been previously installed to help keep occupants’ arms and legs inside the vehicle during a rollover and reduce injuries.
Owners of the affected Rhinos should stop using them and call their dealer to schedule an appointment to have repairs made once they are available and to take advantage of a free helmet offer, the commission said in a statement about the recall.
Yamaha is also voluntarily implementing the same repair program and suspension of sale for the Rhino 700 model, in order to ensure customer satisfaction. Consumers should stop riding in the 700 model until it’s repaired, the commission said. About 25,000 Rhino 700s are part of this repair program.
When repairs have been made to their vehicles, Rhino users should always wear their helmet and seatbelt and follow the safety instructions and warnings in the on-product labels, owner’s manuals, and other safety materials, the commission advises.
The Rhino is only recommended for operators age 16 and older with a valid driver’s license. All passengers must be tall enough to place both feet on the floorboard with their back against the seat back.