In October, Toyota recalled 2.5 million vehicles in the United States, affecting 12 models ranging from one of its smallest, the Scion xD, to one of its largest, the Toyota Sequoia. According to NBC News, the October recall proved to be Toyota’s largest individual recall since it flagged millions of vehicles for unintended acceleration in 2009 and 2010. Yesterday, Toyota announced a different voluntary recall impacting 670,000 Prius hybrids from the 2004 to 2009 model years, which may need repairs for two separate issues.
“The newest recall is the result of a water pump problem and a steering shaft defect,” NBC News explains. “These can result in steering problems with a variety of Toyota products using the components. The maker commonly shares parts on numerous models to reduce costs – but that approach risks the possibility of creating widespread recalls if there’s a problem. In this case, two problems may exist on the same vehicle.” Toyota says in a statement that about 350,000 models may need repairs for both problems.
With the steering issue, Toyota says that “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.” In about 350,000 of the 670,000 Prius models, the electric motor in the water pump could malfunction and may cause warning lights to turn on when they shouldn’t. In some cases, this could cause the hybrid system to shut off when the vehicle is moving. Toyota isn’t aware of crashes or injuries related to either problem.
In the past few years, Toyota has recalled about 14 million vehicles, a figure that the Associated Press says is hurting the automaker’s reputation for “pristine quality” and “super-lean production methods that empowered workers to hone in on quality control.” Toyota executives say the 2.5 million vehicles recalled in October were produced before they revamped production methods, but the AP writes that “the latest recall underlines how quality problems continue to dog Toyota, especially as it has gone back to pursuing aggressive growth.”
If you are impacted by the Prius recall, Toyota will contact you in December, and dealers will make necessary repairs for free. For more information, contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331 or visit www.toyota.com/recall.
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