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Toyota recalls Lexus LX 470 for potential 'steering shaft disengagement'

2003 Lexus LX 470 – Click above for high-res image gallery

While the BP oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico may have shifted the media spotlight away from from Toyota's recall problems over the last several months, that doesn't mean the crisis has ended. One of two new recalls announced by the automaker today covers 39,000 Lexus LX 470 SUVs built between the 2003 and 2007 model years.

According to Toyota, a snap ring that retains two sections of the SUV's steering column can get dislodged following a heavy impact on the front wheels of SUV, such as hitting a severe pothole. Without the snap ring in place, using the steering can result in the column working itself free.

Toyota claims that no accidents have resulted from the problem and that a redesigned snap ring will keep the part where it belongs. LX owners can expect to see notifications in their mailbox starting in about two weeks. In the meantime, interested parties can check out the official recall press release after the jump.

[Source: Toyota]
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Lexus Announces Intent to Voluntarily Recall Certain LX 470 Vehicles to Address Potential for Steering Shaft Disengagement

TORRANCE, Calif., July 29, 2010 -- Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today announced that Lexus intends to conduct a voluntary safety recall of approximately 39,000 2003-2007 Model Year LX 470 vehicles to address a steering shaft condition. No other Toyota or Lexus vehicles are involved in this safety recall.

This action follows an announcement made by Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan on July 29, 2010.

Lexus has determined that the construction of the steering shaft on involved LX 470s is such that the snap ring on the shaft may disengage when the vehicle experiences an unusually severe impact to the front wheels, such as striking a deep pothole. If the snap ring becomes disengaged and the steering wheel is then repeatedly turned to the full locked position, the steering shaft may disengage over time.

Lexus is not aware of any accidents related to this condition.

"At Lexus, we are committed to setting a new standard for quality customer care and aggressive attention to the safety of our drivers," said Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager of Lexus. "Our engineers have thoroughly investigated this issue and have identified a robust and durable remedy that will help prevent this condition from affecting drivers in the future."

The remedy for this condition involves replacing the snap ring with a newly designed one and the installation of an additional component to prevent separation of the steering shaft.

Lexus will begin sending out notification to owners of involved vehicles by first class mail beginning in mid-August 2010, advising them to bring their vehicles to their local Lexus dealer to have this remedy performed at no charge.

Detailed information about this recall is available through Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25 LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987 or at

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