NHTSA Investigating 561,000 Toyota Prius Hybrids

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The Toyota Prius is coming under fire once again for its steering. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating an improperly installed steering shaft that could cause the Prius to lose steering control.

It is the second-generation of the hybrid – from 2004 to 2009 model years – that is currently under fire. Fox News is reporting that NHTSA is looking into a petition filed by Reston, Virginia-based Automotive Systems Analysis that had discovered the upper steering shaft of a 2005 Toyota Prius to have come loose from the electric power steering column.

According to NHTSA, there is just one complaint that has been filed with the agency regarding a failure of the steering column, but there are currently two other complaints on the agency's websites citing issues with the steering and steering column being replaced under warranty. All of the complaints filed, along with ASA's petition, state that drivers have lost control of steering control while driving. This investigation does not necessarily mean that there be a recall, though Fox News states that a recall could potentially affect some 561,000 vehicles.

Toyota recalled the 2004-2009 Prius last fall to repair steering shaft splines that could wear or deform over time. Dealers inspected and, if necessary, replaced the splines. The new investigation is similar, but different – it concerns the entire steering shaft assembly.

Source: Fox News

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The NHSTA also found all 561,000 Prius to suffer the defect of "ugly" but did not require the manufacturer to correct the problem.

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