By Jennifer Geiger on November 14, 2012
Steering and water pump problems in Toyota's popular Prius have caused the automaker to issue two recalls affecting 670,000 of the hybrids in the U.S. and 2.8 million worldwide.
Faulty steering components in certain Prius vehicles from the 2004 to 2009 model years could lead to a loss of steering control in 670,000 hybrids. According to Toyota, if the steering wheel is frequently and forcefully turned to the full left or full right while driving at slow speeds, the splines that connect the extension shaft to the steering gearbox are prone to deform.
About 350,000 of those same vehicles could be affected by a separate recall to replace the hybrid system's electric water pump. The pump could stop circulating coolant, possibly causing the hybrid system to shut down while the vehicle is being driven.
Toyota says there have not been any crashes or injuries related to either recall, and owners should expect a notification letter in December. Each issue will be fixed for free, and Toyota estimates the repairs should take about one to two hours, depending on dealers' schedules. Owners can contact Toyota at 800-331-4331 or www.toyota.com/recall for more info.
This is the second large recall issued by Toyota in as many months. In October, the automaker recalled 2.5 million vehicles to address a faulty driver-side power window switch. The Prius wasn't affected by that recall.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer