Remember the other day how we wrote about Toyota being king of the hybrid hill, with 4.6 million mostly Prius green cars being sold since 1997? A chunk of them have now been recalled, according to the Japanese auto manufacturer, for not one, but two, safety issues impacting hundreds of thousands of domestic Prii between the 2004 and 2009 model years, which are part of a total 2.77 million of its total vehicles worldwide that look to be subject to these problems.
Toyota said in the United States the first recall of 670,000 Prii is for a need to inspect and perhaps replace the steering intermediate extension shaft. It noted that “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 if the steering wheel is frequently and forcefully turned to the full left or full right position while driving at slow speeds. This deformation may create increased internal clearance and the splines may eventually, over time, wear out.”
A smaller subset of these same vehicles, around 350,000, will also be inspected for the second recall, which focuses upon the electric water pump for the hybrid system. In this particular situation, the electrically driven water pump, which circulates coolant through the hybrid components to provide cooling, has a “possibility that the electric motor installed in the water pump may stop functioning, leading to illumination of various warning lights in the instrument panel. In limited instances, the electric power supply circuit fuse may open, causing the hybrid system to stop while the vehicle is being driven.”
Toyota noted there have been no crashes or injuries reported because of either recall. Owners of vehicles covered by these safety recalls, it is said, will receive an owner notification letter via first class mail starting in December. Any authorized Toyota dealer will perform these recalls at no charge.
Over the years the Toyota Prius has seen its share of recalls because of one issue or another. These have included, either domestic or globally, 52,000 cars needing their electric power steering pinion shaft attachment nuts replaced, 223,000 which had a serious braking issue and 378,000 with a water pump fault that could lead to overheating (which, interestingly, looks to be the same part that’s part of the smaller secondary on-going recall).