Toyota has announced plans to conduct two safety recalls involving 2.77 million vehicles worldwide due to a water pump problem and a steering shaft defect. This announcement comes just one month after Toyota announced its biggest recall ever. In that recall, a total of 7.43 million vehicles were involved, more than a third of those in the United States, making it the largest recall in the world for the past 16 years.
In the latest recall, due to insufficient hardness treatment of some of the extension shafts, the splines that connect the extension shaft to the steering gear box may deform and eventually wear out over time if the steering wheel is frequently and forcefully turned to the full left or full right position while driving at slow speeds. The steering shaft defect is involved in the recall of approximately 670,000 vehicles in the United States. The most notable models impacted are the Corolla and the Prius hybrid produced and sold in the United States between the 2000 and 2009 model years.
Of the 670,000 vehicles affected by the steering shaft defect, some 620,000 have a defective water pump in addition to the steering shaft defect. Affected vehicles include the Prius and four other hybrid models sold in the United States from 2003 to 2011. Another 10,000 vehicles are being recalled solely due to the defective water pump. In some instances, the electrically driven water pump that circulates coolant through the hybrid components may stop functioning, leading to illumination of various warning lights. In limited instances, the electric power supply circuit fuse may open, causing the hybrid system to stop while the vehicle is being driven.
According to Toyota, there have been no accidents or injuries reported related to these two defects. Toyota will begin notifying owners of vehicles covered by the safety recalls in December.