Toyota recalls 420,000 cars in US

Updated: 2011-11-10 08:58


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Toyota recalls 420,000 cars in US

A visitor is reflected on a Toyota car at the company's showroom in Tokyo November 8, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

CHICAGO - Toyota Motor Corp. said on Wednesday it is recalling about 550,000 vehicles worldwide, including 420,000 in the United States, for a potential steering problem.

In the United States, the automaker is recalling 283,200 Toyota brand cars, including the 2004 and 2005 Camry, Highlander, Sienna and Solara, the 2004 Avalon and the 2006 Highlander HV. Its recall of 137,000 Lexus vehicles includes the 2004 and 2005 ES330 and RX330 and 2006 RX400h.

There is a possibility that the outer ring of the crankshaft pulley may become misaligned with the inner ring, causing noise and/or illumination of the discharge warning light, Toyota's US unit said of the problem in a release.

If this condition is not corrected, the belt for the power steering pump may become detached from the pulley and the driver may notice a sudden increase in steering effort, according to the company.

Toyota has received a total of 79 reports about the defect dating back to 2007, said company spokesman Dion Corbett. There have been no reports of accidents or injuries related to the problem, he said.

The recall affects 447,000 vehicles in North America, as well as 38,000 in Japan and another 25,000 in Australia and New Zealand. In Europe some 14,000 vehicles are being recalled, in addition to 10,000 in the Middle East and 14,000 in Asia outside Japan.

In the United States, Toyota will send an owner notification, advising owners to make an appointment with an authorized dealer to have their cars inspected once replacement parts have been produced in sufficient quantities. If needed, parts will be replaced for no charge, the company's American sales unit said.

In the meantime, if an abnormal noise is heard coming from the engine compartment, the owner is asked to make an appointment with any Toyota or Lexus dealer to have the vehicle inspected for this condition, the company said.