Shafted: Potential steering shaft disengagement prompts latest Toyota recall.
TOYOTA has announced a worldwide safety recall of its previous-generation 100 Series LandCruiser wagon, including the Lexus version badged as the LX470, affecting more than 4000 vehicles in Australia.
The latest recall from the embattled car-maker includes 2630 Australian examples of the Toyota LandCruiser 100 built between May 2005 and November 2006, and 1738 versions of the Lexus LX470 built between July 2002 and August 2007, totalling some 4368 vehicles.
The recall was announced yesterday and also includes about 373,000 examples of North America’s 2000-2004 model year Avalon sedan, which was not sold in Australia.
As in the US, where about 39,000 versions of model year 2003-2007 LX470s are involved, the recall aims to eliminate the potentially life-threatening risk of steering shaft disengagement in LX and LC100 Sahara models fitted with VGRS steering systems.
Left: Lexus LX470.
“Lexus has determined that the construction of the steering shaft on involved LX470s is such that the snap ring on the shaft may disengage when the vehicle experiences an unusually severe impact to the front wheels, such as striking a deep pothole,” said Toyota Motor Sales USA in a statement yesterday.
“If the snap ring becomes disengaged and the steering wheel is then repeatedly turned to the full locked position, the steering shaft may disengage over time.” Toyota says it has received four reports of such cases globally, but is not aware of any accidents related to the condition.
“At Lexus, we are committed to setting a new standard for quality customer care and aggressive attention to the safety of our drivers,” said group vice-president and general manager of Lexus in the US, Mark Templin.
“Our engineers have thoroughly investigated this issue and have identified a robust and durable remedy that will help prevent this condition from affecting drivers in the future.” Toyota says it will write to the owners of all affected vehicles from mid-August, advising them to contact an authorised Lexus dealer to arrange a free-of-charge fix, which it says involves replacing the snap ring with a newly designed part and the installation of an additional component to prevent separation of the steering shaft.
Prior to its latest recall, Toyota Motor Corporation had called back a total of 10.8 million vehicles globally since late last year, to fix faulty floor mats, sticking accelerator pedals and sub-standard ABS braking systems.
The latter issue affected 2378 examples of the latest Prius hybrid in Australia earlier this year, while the latest in a spate of recalls affecting Toyota’s luxury brand involved engine problems with 1120 examples of the top-shelf LS limousine and GS large sedan in Australia earlier this month.
At the same time, Toyota issued a safety recall notice for its latest LandCruiser 200 Series for a problem that could prevent the seatbelt buckles from engaging in 18 diesel-powered GXL models built in May this year.