TORRANCE, CA (11/14/12) – In an announcement today, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) issued two safety recalls involving 2.77 million Prius vehicles worldwide. This is the second major Toyota recall in the past month. Last month’s recall was the third largest recall in the world in the past 16 years. There were 7.43 million vehicles recalled then, with more than one third of that total in the US.
Approximately 670,000 Prius vehicles are being recalled in the United States to inspect and, in some cases, replace the steering intermediate extension shaft. The latest recalls include products sold as recently as the 2011 model year.
According to Toyota’s pressroom web page, 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.
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. In the hybrid system, there is an electrically driven water pump that circulates coolant through the hybrid components. 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.
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.
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