2009 Toyota PriusEnlarge Photo
Toyota is conducting a voluntary safety recall of 2.77 million vehicles worldwide over concerns about flaws in the steering and water pump systems of certain of its gasoline and hybrid vehicles.
A report in Bloomberg BusinessWeek cites a Toyota spokesman in Japan who said that the automaker will recall 1.52 million vehicles in Japan and 1.25 million overseas, including an estimated 670,000 Prius vehicles in the United States. The publication said the worldwide recall involves the Prius hybrid and Corolla compact sedan, among 14 models due for inspection and possible repair.
2004 Toyota PriusEnlarge Photo
A statement on the Toyota website detailed the U.S. recall of 670,000 Prius hybrids from the 2004 to 2009 model years. The Prius recall involves two separate recall campaigns, both of which will be conducted simultaneously.
Steering shaft issue
Toyota said that all of the 670,000 Prius vehicles will be inspected for a possible flaw in the steering intermediate extension shaft causing the splines connecting the extension shaft to the steering gear box to wear out over time. If required, the shaft will be replaced. The inspection and repair should take about one hour, depending on the dealer’s schedule.
Bloomberg quoted a Toyota spokesman who said that the possible steering system defect “may cause a knocking or rattling and possibly a reduction in steering response.”
2007 Toyota PriusEnlarge Photo
Water pump issue
Some 350,000 of the same Prius models involved in the first recall will also require the replacement of the hybrid system’s electric water pump. Toyota said that the electric motor in the water pump may stop functioning, leading to the illumination of warning lights on the instrument panel. In some limited instances, the electric power supply circuit fuse may open. This may cause the hybrid system to stop while the Prius is being driven.
Replacement of the electric water pump should take approximately two hours, depending on the dealer’s schedule.
Toyota said that it is not aware of any crashes or injuries as a result of either of these two conditions. Notification letters to owners of 2004-2009 Prius vehicles involved in the campaigns will be sent out via first-class mail in December 2012.
In the meantime, owners of vehicles involved in the campaigns with any questions or concerns may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331 or go to www.toyota.com/recall for detailed information.
UPDATE: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has posted a recall notice on its website covering 669,705 2004-2009 Toyota Prius vehicles for the steering shaft issue, NHTSA campaign ID No. 12V537000, and for 350,662 2004-2009 Toyota Prius vehicles for the water pump issue, NHTSA campaign ID No. 12V536000.
Owners of vehicles involved in the campaign may contact NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to http://www.safercar.gov.