Toyota has announced a voluntary safety recall of 2001 to 2003 Prius models worldwide, including some 52,000 in the United States.
At issue are the electric power steering pinion shaft attachment nuts, which can loosen over time if the steering wheel is repeatedly and forcefully turned to the full-lock position. Over time, drivers will notice that substantially increased steering effort is required for left-hand turns, but Toyota has not referenced any accidents or injuries related to this defect.
Recall notifications will be sent by mail beginning next month, and Toyota dealers will repair the affected vehicles at no charge to owners by installing improved pinion shaft attachment nuts. The repair is projected to take approximately four hours, so Prius owners are best off scheduling the work with their dealership in advance.