Toyota announced two voluntary safety recalls today, the first of which involves first generation Prius models. “The car maker says the recall includes about 52,000 vehicles from the 2001 through 2003 model years that were sold in the U.S. Worldwide the company is recalling 106,000 Prius vehicles,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

First generation Toyota Prius

The problem stems from the nuts that fasten a steering component called the electric power steering pinion shaft. “If the steering wheel is repeatedly and strongly turned to the full-lock position, there is a possibility the nuts securing the pinion shaft in the steering gear box assembly may become loose,” says Toyota in a press release. “If the vehicle is continuously operated in this condition, over time, the customer will gradually notice significant increased steering effort when making a left turn.”

The second recall pertains to 50 all-wheel drive Sienna and Venza vehicles produced during the 2011 model year. Toyota says the 34 Venzas and 16 Siennas are being recalled to replace an insufficiently heat-treated driveshaft, although only 38 are expected to need the repair. Left Lane News writes that “the driveshafts were not properly heat-treated and will need to be replaced as there is a possibility they can break – causing the vehicle to coast to a stop.”

Prius, Sienna and Venza owners can expect Toyota to notify them by mail in mid-June. If you think your vehicle is affected, more information is available at or by calling Toyota directly at 1-800-331-4331.

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