Toyota has announced a recall on 7.43 million vehicles globally over an issue with a faulty power-window switch. According to reports, it’s the largest single recall since 1996, when Ford pulled back eight million vehicles to replace defective ignition switches.

The voluntary recall aims to fix issues with the power-window switch on the driver’s side on a variety of models. The company said that in affected vehicles, grease wasn’t applied evenly during production, causing it to carbonise and lose its lubricating properties, resulting in a “notchy” or sticky feel during operation.

Toyota says that if someone tries to fix this problem by applying commercially available grease, it may cause friction in the switch and the possibility of smoke to be emitted from the malfunctioning part as well as that of fire. The fix involves putting a special fluorine heat-resistant lubricant on the switches, or exchanging them.

In a statement Toyota filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it said it received the first field report indicating a problem in September 2008, citing an unusual smell coming from the power-window switch as well as heat damage. The part was returned to the supplier for examination, but cause for the issue could not be determined.

In May 2010, more reports popped up, this time with the controls smoking. An internal investigation revealed sticky driver-side switches made by Japanese supplier Tokai Rika and Tram, its American subsidiary, Toyota said. Aside from the US and Japanese-made parts, similar defective components were also manufactured in Thailand and China, the company added.

The recall includes 2.47 million vehicles in the US, as well as 1.40 million vehicles in China and 1.39 million vehicles in Europe, while in Japan 459,300 vehicles are affected. In Asia and Australia, the figure is 650,000.

The models being recalled include certain models of the Yaris, Vios, Corolla, Matrix, Auris, Camry, RAV4, Highlander, Tundra, Sequoia, xB and xD produced between 2005 and 2010.

Meanwhile, UMW Toyota Motor has issued an announcement that it is conducting a “special service campaign” to address the same issue here. The company says that a total of 63,083 Toyota vehicles it has sold in Malaysia are involved in the exercise.

The vehicles affected are Camry, Corolla Altis, Vios, RAV 4 and Yaris models produced between 2006 to 2010. As soon as the improved parts are available, UMW Toyota Motor will contact all affected customers for the special service campaign to carry out the necessary corrective measures, with the procedure process expected to take approximately one hour.