Toyota is recalling 2.77 million cars worldwide because of potential faults with the steering wheel and water pump.
The steering problem affects the Avensis, Corolla and the second-generation Prius, while the water pump issue involves only the Prius. Around 75,000 UK-registered vehicles are expected to be recalled for checks.
In the UK, the recall involves various Avensis and Corolla models manufactured between July 2001 and March 2009, and certain Prius models built between July 2003 to April 2009.
Toyota says the steering problem is due to 'insufficient hardness of the steering shaft', which can cause damage to the splines that connect the shaft to the steering gearbox. Toyota says this could eventually result in the loss of steering.
The second problem, which involves faulty electric-powered water pumps, could result in a failure of the Prius's electric motor on the move.
Toyota has stressed that no such steering-related accidents or injuries have been reported. However, it has received more than 400 complaints in Japan over the faulty pump and several about the steering problem.
A registration number and VIN look-up function is now available on the Toyota website, which allows owners to check if their car is affected. Toyota will also contact the owners of all affected vehicles within the next six weeks. All necessary work will be carried out free of charge.
This latest recall comes just weeks after Toyota issued a global recall of more than seven million vehicles over concerns about faulty window switches. The recall affected more than 138,000 cars in the UK – including Auris, Corolla, RAV4 and Yaris models built between September 2006 and December 2008.
Despite high-profile recalls over recent months, Toyota is far from the most prolific issuer of such notices.
Figures for UK recalls in 2011 reveal that Vauxhall topped the table, with faults affecting more than 435,500 cars, followed by Honda, which recalled nearly 150,000 vehicles. Citroen issued the third-largest number, with 24 recalls affecting just over 60,000 cars. Toyota was in fourth place, with 20 recalls covering around 46,500 vehicles.
By Pete Barden
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