Toyota announced today that it is issuing a recall on approximately 420,000 of its Toyota brand and Lexus vehicles in the United States, with an additional 130,000 worldwide.
According to a press release issued by the automaker, the issue prompting the recall stems from parts in the affected vehicles’ engine-driven pulley system. The issue, if not resolved, could affect the vehicle’s power steering system, making the steering wheel more difficult to turn.
The steering issue affects approximately 283,200 Toyota brand vehicles and 137,000 Lexus vehicles. Models recalled in the U.S. include the 2004 Toyota Avalon sedan; 2004 and 2005 Toyota Camry sedan and Camry Solara coupe, Highlander SUV and Highlander Hybrid, and Sienna minivan; the 2004 and 2005 Lexus Lexus ES330 sedan, RX330 crossover, and 2006 RX400h crossover hybrid. Worldwide, the recall includes 38,000 vehicles in Japan and 14,000 in Asia in general; 25,000 in Australia and New Zealand; 14,000 in Europe; and 10,000 in the Middle East.
Toyota states that, at least its U.S. division, it has started the process to obtain the necessary replacement parts. It will then contact owners of the affected vehicles via first-class mail to bring them in for inspection and the part replaced if necessary for free. However, the automaker asks owners to bring their vehicles into the dealership if they experience any unusual sounds from the engine.
Toyota plans to start mailing owners of the issue next January. Note there have been no reported accidents or injuries though there have been at least 79 reports dating as far back as 2007 attributed to the issue. If you have questions or want more information, you can contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at (800) 331-4331, or Lexus Customer Satisfaction at (800) 255-3987. You can also go to the Toyota and Lexus owner websites.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required), Toyota