Toyota is recalling the first-generation Prius hybrid to address an issue with its steering gear that could make it harder to turn left. The problem affects 106,000 vehicles worldwide, about half of which are within the U.S.
The Problem: Toyota says that if the Prius’s steering wheel is repeatedly turned rapidly to the full-lock position, nuts holding part of the steering assembly to the steering gear box might come loose. Eventually, this will mean that it requires “significant increased” steering effort to turn the vehicle to the left.
The Fix: Dealerships will install new nuts that more securely fasten the pinion shaft to the steering gear box assembly. The free recall takes about four hours to perform.
Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 52,000 2001-2003 Toyota Prius hybrids in the U.S.; 106,000 vehicles worldwide.
The Problem: In a separate recall, Toyota says the right-front driveshaft in all-wheel-drive models of the Sienna minivan and Venza crossover may have been insufficiently heat-treated, which could cause them to snap. If the driveshaft breaks, the engine cannot transmit power to the wheels.
The Fix: Toyota will inspect these 50 vehicles and expects 38 of them to have faulty driveshafts. Dealers will replace the affected driveshafts.
Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 34 2011 Toyota Venzas and 16 2011 Toyota Siennas