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May 30th
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A Toyota 'Prius for everyone'...after the safety recalls

toyotalogo_optBY REBECCA SHEEHAN

When selecting a new car, each and every potential buyer should do the necessary research to find a car that is gas efficient, safe and practical for their driving needs. Among the most popular cars on the markets is the Toyota Prius hybrid, which is now on its third generation of models. But now the automakers' trusty hybrid has two safety recalls in effect, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Toyota’s first recall includes about 670,000 of its 2004-2009 Prius hybrids as part of a worldwide recall involving roughly 2.77 million vehicles, including the Prius and Corolla models, according to the Associated Press. The Japanese automaker informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA), that it must fix problems involving the loss of steering and the hybrid powetrain shutting down, due to the issue that the metal in the steering component. Based on the official report that was filed on Wednesday with the NHTSA, the part could wear out “if the steering wheel is frequently and forcefully turned to the full left or full right position while driving at low speeds,” and that “could result in the loss of steering ability,” as stated in the New York Times. Additionally, in some cases, this can cause the hybrid system to stop while the vehicle is still in motion.

The first findings of such a failure were reported back in February of 2010 in Japan which resulted inconclusive, while steering loss was first found in the US in February of last year.

Toyota spokesman, Brian Lyons told the Times that the second recall deals with 350,000 of those same vehicles which will need an electric water pump replacement – which could fail and shut down the hybrid powertrain system. The water pump failures were first documented in 2009 in Japan and changes were immediately made to the pump the following year. Nonetheless the failures continued with the pump and a coil wire that could be scratched resulting in corrosion – after that (this month) Toyota deemed the cause a problem as reported in the NY Times.

Thankfully, there have not been any crashes or injuries linked to both of these failures. However, if recalls became a pattern with the Prius, says George Cook, professor at the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester, the problem may dissuade potential car buyers.

"This recall may also cause some sales problems for the company as the Prius model has been a hot model for Toyota," he said in a LA Times article.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time the Prius has had problems that resulted in a loss of power. Back in 2005, the NHTSA investigated about 124,000 Priuses made in 2004-2005 after complaints concerning the gasoline engine stalling.


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