Toyota has issued a recall for its popular Avalon sedan due to a potential steering problem. The recall affects Avalons from the 2000 - 2004 model years.
According to a release from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the recall centers on "improper casting of the steering lock bar. There is a possibility that a minute crack may develop on the surface of the lock bar. Such a crack may expand over a long period of repeated lock and unlock operations, and eventually, the lock bar could break." Should that occur, the steering wheel could lock, which would inhibit the driver's ability to steer, which sounds like a crash in the making.
The recall affects some 372,593 vehicles, although there's no word of any accidents having been caused by the flaw. It appears that Toyota taking proactive steps to address the problem -- for reasons that are likely obvious to anyone who's been following the automaker's long, drawn-out recall saga.
A fix for the steering lock bar problem will be available in late August. If you have questions in the meantime, we suggest that you call your local dealer, or ring up the Toyota customer service line at 800-331-4331. Alternately, you can call the NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and reference campaign ID number 10V345000.