The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has confirmed that Toyota is issuing
a recall on 2004 to 2009 Prius hybrids that could affect over 670,000 of those vehicles in the United States. The recall will affect more than 2.76 million cars worldwide. About . The Japanese automaker recalled certain Prii after an issue with a metal used in steering that could cause problems controlling the car.
Reports indicate Toyota first became aware of a problem in 2010 in Japan makes only. Officials launched an investigation, but the results were inconclusive and no official action was taken. In February, Toyota received word of the first case of steering loss in the United States. Another investigation was launched and the cause was finally determined last month.
It appears that under certain conditions one of the metals used as a steering component isn’t sufficiently hard enough to weather wear and tear. When the steering wheel is frequently turned forcefully in full to either direction when operating at low speeds, the driver could lose control of steering abilities.
The component in questioned is called the intermediate shaft. Toyota doesn’t manufacture it, but sources it from two different companies. The companies built the part to Toyota specifications and not all were faulty. However, the design is no longer used for Toyota’s production.
It seems that when with forceful use of the steering wheel, the intermediate shaft develops ridges due to the insufficient hardness. The problem can cause noisy driving or it may feel like the driver has lost control. This usually happens in situations like parking, where the wheel is turned to extreme positions in low speeds.
Once the cause of the problem was determined, Toyota immediately issued a recall. The recall does not affect the newest models of Prii. Any that were manufactured between August 2003 and March 30, 2009 are part of the recall. There are no current reports of accidents or injuries caused by this particular design flaw. Technically, the shaft has not shown actual breakage and steering will continue to function.
In addition, Toyota issued a recall for water pumps in 350,000 Prii affected by the intermediate shaft recall. The electric water pump helps with the internal cooling system. All that is required is a replacement pump.
If you were injured in a vehicle that was recalled, speak to a personal injury lawyer. Visit the Accident Attorneys’ Group for a free legal consultation.