The abject cars, ranging in age from the 2004 models to 2009 models are being recalled for insufficient hardness on some the steering assembly extension shafts, involving the gear splines that connect the extension shaft to the steering box gear assembly.
The splines may fail if the steering wheel is frequently and forcefully turn fully to the left or the right.
Inspection of the offending shafts will be done by Toyota dealers Worldwide, and a determination will be made on a case by case basis, and if a confirmation of the inferior metal is determined, will be replaced.
Toyota says the inspection and repair will take approximately one hour, depending on the individual dealers service schedule.
Toyota also announced another recall today, this one in regards to the Prius Hybrid. The Prius Hybrid is being recalled for replacement of its electric water pump.
The Prius Hybrid has an electrically driven water pump that distributes the coolant water to the various components of the Hybrid system, providing cooling and keeping them from overheating.
The prospect of failure of the electric motor that powers the coolant water pump is at question here. If the electric motor fails to function properly, the warning light panel will illuminate and the electric power supply circuit breaker will fail, causing the engine to stop running and the vehicle to be disabled.
Toyota has indicated it will voluntarily replace the motor, and it should take roughly 2 hours to identify and repair the problem, depending on the dealers service schedule.
What this means to the owners of the Toyota Prius, in laymen’s terms is, if you turn your steering wheel all the way right or left, the gears in the steering box may strip, causing the vehicle to not respond to your steering commands and the potential for accident and bodily injury are enormous.
This is just the next in a series of recalls for Toyota vehicles, and they have been having problems with the image of their automobiles as of late.
This is also the second steering box related recall for the Prius, as the first one happened in June of 2011. In the June 2011 recall, the electric power steering pinion shaft end nut may shear off, and this will cause wheel failure. The recall was for the 2001 – 2003 year models.
Toyota issued a statement, which reads in part, “Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS), will conduct two safety recalls involving Prius vehicles as part of the recall announced today by Toyota Motor Corporation.”
“There have been no crashes or injuries reported for these two conditions. Owners of vehicles covered by these safety recalls will receive an owner notification letter via first class mail starting in December 2012. Any authorized Toyota dealer will perform these recalls at no charge to the vehicle owner.”
Detailed information is available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
Article by Jim Donahue