Toyota recalls 52,000 Prius hybrids for steering defect

Toyota is recalling 106,000 Prius models built between 2001 and 2003. A total of 52,000 of those units were sold in the States.

Toyota says that if the steering wheel is strongly turned to the full lock position over and over again, the electric power steering pinion shaft nuts may become loose. Over time, that may result in the driver having to exert more force than typically necessary to turn left.

Owners can expect to be notified of the recall in early July, and the repair (in which dealers will replace the electric power steering pinion shaft nuts with new equipment) is expected to take around four hours.

In addition, the Japanese automaker is recalling a handful of Venza and Sienna all-wheel drive models for improperly heat-treated front drive shafts. The recall covers a total of 34 Venza models and 16 Sienna units produced in 2011, and owners can expect to be notified of the problem by June of this year. Hit the jump for the full press blast.

[Source: Toyota]
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Toyota Announces Voluntary Safety Recall of Certain Prius Vehicles

Separately, Toyota Will Recall 50 Venza AWD and Sienna AWD Vehicles to Replace the Front Right-Hand Driveshaft

Torrance, Calif., June 1, 2011 – Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. (TMS), today announced that it will conduct a voluntary safety recall involving approximately 52,000 2001 through 2003 Prius vehicles sold in the U.S. to replace the electric power steering pinion shaft attachment nuts. This announcement is for U.S. vehicles included in Toyota Motor Corporation's global recall of 106,000 vehicles.

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. 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.

Toyota dealers will install improved nuts that secure the pinion shaft at no charge to the vehicle owner. The repair will take approximately 4 hours depending upon the dealer's work schedule.

Owner notification letters by first class mail will begin in early July, 2011.

The separate recall announced by TMS involves 34 Venza AWD and 16 Sienna AWD vehicles to replace an insufficiently heat treated front right-hand driveshaft. All of these vehicles are recently produced 2011 model year. Only 38 are expected to have an insufficiently heat-treated driveshaft.

Due to insufficient heat treatment, there is a possibility that the front right-hand driveshaft may break. If this occurs, engine power will not be transmitted to the wheels and the vehicle will coast to a stop.

No other Toyota or Lexus vehicles are involved in these recalls and the driveshaft recall only involves vehicles in the U.S. and Canada.

Owner notification letters by first class mail will begin in mid June, 2011.

Detailed information and answers to questions are available to customers at and the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.

Toyota Prius Information

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