Online Staff Report
Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling about 550,000 vehicles worldwide for problems that could make vehicles more difficult to steer, the Japanese automaker announced Nov. 9.
According to Toyota, the recall applies to 447,000 vehicles in North America, 38,000 in Japan, 25,000 in Australia and New Zealand, 14,000 in Europe, 10,000 in the Middle East and 14,000 in Asia outside Japan.
A total of 79 reports have been made about the defect, dating back to 2007. No accidents or injuries have been reported as a result of the defect.
The recall is possibly the result of the outer ring of the engine’s crankshaft pulley becoming misaligned with the inner ring. The misalignment would cause a noise or warning signal to light up. If the problem is corrected, steering could become difficult because the belt for the power steering pump may become detached from the pulley.
In the U.S., Toyota is recalling 283,200 Toyotas, including the 2004 and 2005 Camry, Highlander, Sienna and Solara, the 2004 Avalon and the 2006 Highlander HV; and 137,00 Lexus vehicles, including the 2004 and 2005 ES330 and RX330 and 2006 RX 400h.
Certain models of the Alphard, Highlander, Highlander hybrid and some lexus models may also be affected.
Starting in January 2012, Toyota will mail owners in the United States a notification to make an appointment with an authorized dealer to have their vehicles inspected. Parts will be replaced at no charge.
For more details, Toyota owners can call Toyota at (800-331-4331) and Lexus owners can call (800-255-3987). Further information is also available at www.toyota.com/recall.