Motoring|

2.8 million Toyotas recalled for steering, water pump faults

Toyota PriusToyota has issued a recall for 2.8 million vehicles around the world, including its Prius hybrid, Corolla and Avensis models.  This is the second multimillion vehicle recall in just over a month, and this time there’s a fault with the steering system and water pump.  The problems haven’t caused any accidents and can be fixed in about an hour and a half, and analysts say it could cost hundreds of millions for the company to repair them.

The Japanese car manufacturer said that this latest recall affects nine models, and about 75,000 are in the UK, 496,000 across the rest of Europe, about 670,000 in the US and 1.5 million in Japan.  The steering fault involves models of the Prius, Corolla and Avensis made between July 2001 and March 2009.  The issue is caused by insufficient hardness in the steering shaft.  This could be damaged if the wheel is forcefully turned at a low speed, impacting the control of the vehicle in severe cases.  The water pump fault involves some 630,000 of its Prius models manufactured between July 2003 and April 2009.  The pump could blow a fuse in the electricity power circuit, which could cause the vehicle to stall.

A spokesman for Toyota in the UK says there’s the possibility of a problem with a component in the steering system that could result in a rattling or knocking, as well as a reduction in the response of turning the steering wheel.  In such a situation, the vehicle will still be safe to drive.  If the water pump fails, the warning lights on the dashboard will indicate that.

The spokesman went on to explain that there’s an electrically powered water pump in the hybrid system that circulates coolant through the vehicle’s components to keep them cool.  It’s possible that the electric motor in the water pump could stop working, which would lead to various warning lights going off in the instrument panel.  In limited cases, the pump’s electric power supply circuit fuse could open, which would make the Prius hybrid stop in mid-drive.

Toyota says that there have only been 12 reported cases of the problems in Europe, but no crashes have resulted.  Some of the Prius hybrids are affected by both recalls.  Vehicle owners are being directed to the manufacturer’s website so they can enter their registration number to find out if their vehicle is affected by the recall.  The company is also contacting all the owners over the coming six weeks to advise them of the issue and to take their vehicle to the closest Toyota dealer.

The latest recall follows Toyota issuing one just last month on 7.4 million vehicles due to a faulty electric window switch.  This recall included 12 models and 140,000 Auris and Yaris models in the UK.  It was also the biggest single recall since eight million vehicles were taken off the road by Ford in 1996.  On top of this, Toyota recalled over eight million vehicles two years ago over brake problems, which included 200,000 in the UK.  Over the past few years, the company has recalled some 14 million vehicles for faulty gas pedals, floor mats and braking issues – some of which had resulted in fatal crashes.

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