Toyota Motor Corporation announced a series of recalls today and two of these are safety related and involve some of the 2004 to 2009 Prius vehicles.
Approximately 670,000 Prii are included in the United States to inspect and in some cases replace the steering system’s intermediate extension shaft.
As Toyota explained it, due to insufficient hardness treatment of some of the extension shafts, the splines that connect the extension shaft to the steering gear box may deform if the steering wheel is frequently and forcefully turned to the full left or full right position while driving at slow speeds. This deformation may create increased internal clearance and the splines may eventually, over time, wear out.
As is common procedure for safety recalls, Toyota dealers will inspect the extension shaft to determine if it needs to be replaced and, if confirmed, will replace it. The inspection and repair will take approximately one hour depending on the dealer’s work schedule.
Approximately 350,000 of these same Prius vehicles are also being recalled to replace the electric water pump for the hybrid system.
Toyota explained that in the hybrid system, there is an electrically driven water pump that circulates coolant through the hybrid components to provide cooling. There is a possibility that the electric motor installed in the water pump may stop functioning, leading to illumination of various warning lights in the instrument panel. In limited instances, the electric power supply circuit fuse may open, causing the hybrid system to stop while the vehicle is being driven.
Toyota dealers will replace the electric water pump for the hybrid system. The repair will take approximately two hours depending on the dealer’s work schedule.
Toyota said there have been no crashes or injuries reported for these two conditions.
Owners of vehicles covered by these safety recalls will receive from Toyota 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.
Linked to the same global recall, Toyota Europe said certain Avensis, Corolla and Prius models (July 2001 to April 2009) are affected.
If you recall, the European Corolla was different in those years from the North American Corolla.
The problem in Europe is the same as for the Prii in North America. As Toyota GB puts it, there is a possibility of an issue with a component in the steering system, prompting a knocking or rattling and possibly a reduction in steering response.
Toyota GB said in such circumstances, the vehicle will remain safe to drive and stated there have been nine reported cases of this issue in Europe and no reports of any associated accidents.