Two recalls for the price of one! That's what some of you lucky Prius owners from the 2004-2009 model years have to look forward to. Toyota recently announced the steering intermediate extension shafts in 670,000 Prius cars sold in then U.S. need to be inspected and possibly replaced. Of those 670,000 vehicles, 350,000 will also need to have an electric water pump replaced.
Worldwide, Toyota plans to recall an additional 2 million vehicles, including the Prius and Corolla, to fix the same issues.
A manufacturing error can cause a deformity in the steering intermediate extension shaft. The part, an important component of the steering system, can bend when the wheel is turned all the way to the left or right while driving at slow speeds; like while performing a U-turn, for example. That is, unless you're James Bond and perform those sort of maneuvers at car chase speed, in which case you're probably fine.
Toyota dealers will inspect the extension shaft to determine if it needs to be replaced. If so, the inspection and repair should take approximately one hour according to Toyota.
Water Pump Problems
In addition, 350,000 vehicles have a faulty water pump that circulates coolant through the hybrid components to keep everything operational. Toyota says that the motor that powers the pump may breakdown, meaning coolant won't be circulated and overheating is inevitable.
Toyota dealers will replace the pump for the hybrid system, if needed. The repair will take approximately two hours depending on the dealer's work schedule (i.e. How many other stressed-out Prius owners with broken water pumps are ahead of you in line).
Owners of the affected Prius's (Prii?) should expect a notification letter in the mail starting in December 2012. Any authorized Toyota dealer will be able to perform the needed repairs, if necessary, at no cost to the owner.
Detailed information is available to consumers on Toyota's recall page or by calling 800-331-4331.