Toyota Recalls 670,000 Priuses in U.S.; 2.8 Million Vehicles Worldwide

By Jacob Brown | November 14, 2012
Toyota is recalling 670,000 Prius hatchbacks to fix possible water pump and steering defects amid a new recall that covers 2.77 million vehicles worldwide. The electric water pump recall affects 630,000 vehicles, while the power steering rack accounts for the difference. Around 620,000 Priuses fall under both recalls—second-generation models sold globally from 2004 to 2009. The water pump in the Prius helps cool all of the hybrid components in the car, such as the battery and electric motor. If those get too warm, they can deteriorate prematurely, leading to a loss in fuel economy and performance. The steering rack has a tendency for its splines, or gear connectors between the steering wheel and the axle, to deform under forceful steering. That can lead to steering becoming inaccurate, if not dangerous. Toyota says it could take an hour to fix the steering rack and two hours to repair the water pump.
In the U.S., 350,000 of the 670,000 Priuses recalled fall under consideration for having their steering racks replaced. Toyota is considering the recall of these parts voluntary because, as it notes, no accidents or injuries have been reported as a result of these defects. Still, if you're worried or just want to make sure your Prius is operating well for the long-run, this wouldn't be a bad way to go, especially since each recall will be performed free of charge. To reach Toyota for more information, the automaker can be reached at or at its customer service line at (800) 331-4331. It will be sending out information regarding the recall to second-gen Toyota Prius owners, among others who may be affected, beginning this December. Several months back, Toyota launched a massive recall—7.4 million vehicles—for window switches that could malfunction. And, as it is, Toyota has announced a recall at anything that so much as rattles the wrong way, largely as a sign that it will no longer sit back on recalls as it did in 2009 when the company recalled more than 9 million vehicles worldwide for much more severe issues. Consider it a blessing and a curse. Sure, you're going to be getting a lot more mailers about things your dealership would have fixed in a few months ordinarily when you'd go in for service that maybe you'd never hear about. But isn't that better than the alternative of never hearing about it with a little too much inaction? Sources: Toyota, Automotive News (Subscription required)