Toyota today announced a voluntary safety recall of about 52,000 2001 through 2003 Prius models in the U.S. to replace the electric power-steering pinion shaft attachment nuts.
According to Toyota, there is a possibility that the nuts securing the pinion shaft in the steering gear box assembly may become loose "if the steering wheel is repeatedly and strongly turned to the full-lock position."
The driver could, over time, notice that more effort is needed in steering when making a left turn, the company said.
Toyota dealers will make the necessary repairs, free of charge, by installing improved nuts that secure the pinion shaft. The repair will take about 4 hours, Toyota said.
In a separate notice, Toyota announced the recall of 34 2011 Venza AWD and 16 2011 Sienna AWD vehicles to replace an insufficiently heat-treated front right-hand driveshaft. Only 38 vehicles are expected to have an insufficiently heat-treated driveshaft, Toyota said.
"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," the company said in a release.
Owners of the vehicles involved in the recall will receive notices in the mail, beginning in July. More detailed information as available to customers at on the Toyota Web site or by calling the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.