Barely a month after calling back 7.4m vehicles to check for a potentially faulty power window switch, Toyota has announced a 2.77m vehicle worldwide recall, including second generation Prius models, due to potential problems with the steering and the hybrid system water pump.
Toyota is recalling 1.5m vehicles in Japan, 670,000 vehicles in the United States and 496,000 vehicles in Europe over a problem in the steering intermediate extension shafts, which could be damaged at slow speed, spokesman Joichi Tachikawa told Reuters on Wednesday.
This problem, seen in cars such as the second-generation Prius and some Corolla models, can be fixed in about 50 minutes, he said.
Separately, the carmaker is also recalling 630,000 vehicles worldwide, including 350,000 in the United States and 175,000 in Japan, to fix water pumps in hybrid vehicles, Tachikawa said.
Some vehicles are the target of both recalls, making the total number of vehicles to be recalled at 2.77m, he said.
Toyota’s 7.4m vehicle recall last month for faulty power window switches was the industry’s biggest single recall since Ford recalled 8m in 1996.
A series of Toyota recalls involving more than 10m vehicles between 2009 and 2011 damaged the firm’s image but it recovered and earlier this month raised its full-year net profit forecast to US$9.7bn, citing solid sales, Reuters noted.
It has sold about 3.3m Prius hybrid vehicles globally since the car went on sale in December 1997. The total number of hybrid vehicles it sold worldwide, including other models such as the Camry, was 4.6m by the end of October.
The Guardian said about 75,000 cars would be recalled in the UK.
Toyota GB said the recall affected Avensis, Corolla and Prius models made from July 2001 to April 2009 but it had not received any reports of crashes and injuries resulting from the faults.
It said that there might be a possibility that, due to insufficient hardness of the extension shaft material, splines, which connect the extension shaft to the steering gear box, may deform if the steering wheel is frequently and forcefully turned to the full lock position while driving at slow speed. This may create an increased backlash and splines may eventually wear out over time.
There have been nine reported cases of this issue in Europe and no reports of any associated accidents, Toyota GB said on its website.
On second generation Prius models there is an electrically driven water pump assembly which circulates coolant through the hybrid components, including the inverter assembly, to provide cooling. There is a possibility that the coil wire of the electric motor installed in the water pump may have been scratched during the coiling manufacturing process at the supplier. In this condition, the coil wire may corrode at the scratched portion and in some cases break. If this occurs the water pump could stop, leading to illumination of various warning lights in the instrument panel. In limited instances, a short circuit occurs between adjacent coil wires, resulting in a blown fuse for the electric power supply circuit, causing the hybrid system to stop.
There have been three reported cases in Europe. There are no reported accidents related to this issue.
Toyota drivers are encouraged to visit the company’s website where they can enter their registration number to learn if their car is affected. The UK unit will also contact the owners of all affected vehicles within six weeks to advise them to take their car to the nearest Toyota dealer. It said most problems could be fixed within 90 minutes.