Saturday, April 11, 2015

Toyota recalls top sellers for loss of power steering

Toyota recalls top sellers for loss of power steering
James R. Healey, 3:09 p.m. EDT March 11, 2015

Toyota Motor said today is will recall some popular models for a defect that could kill power assist to the steering. It also will recall a handful of electric vehicles for a problem that could result in "a complete loss of drive power" with little warning.

The big car company said it knows of no accidents, injuries or deaths as a result of either issue.

The bigger group:

•110,000 2015 Camry, Camry hybrid, Highlander, Highlander hybrid and 2014-2015 RAV4 SUVs.

The automaker says a circuit board for the electric power steering "may have been damaged" during manufacturing. As a result, the vehicles could lose power-assist to the steering.

Unassisted manual steering still works, but it's much harder to steer the vehicle, especially at low speed — even more difficult than it is to operate a car without the power-steering feature in the first place.

Toyota says a warning light on the dashboard would illuminate when the problem occurs.

The defect "increases the risk of a crash," the car company said.

Camry is Toyota's best-seller in the U.S. It was the industry's No. 3 seller in February, bumping the Ram full-size pickup out of its customary third place on the charts.

The smaller group:

• About 2,500 of the 2012-2014 RAV4 EV battery vehicles.

Components in the electric motor assembly can unexpectedly shift to neutral due to a software issue, killing all drive power to the vehicle. It also would trigger a "Check EV System" warning light, Toyota says.

Without any power, the vehicle can't be quickly maneuvered out of harm's way, and the risk of a crash increases.

Owners will be notified by mail, Toyota says, and dealers will fix the vehicles for free.