Toyota officially announced today that it will be conducting a voluntary safety recall on approximately 3,800 late 2009 and certain 2010 model year Lexus LS 460 and LS 600h L vehicles in the United States. The models being recalled are equipped with Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS).
The VGRS system in the Lexus LS allows easier handling during low-speed driving and provides better stability during high-speed driving.
Toyota said that the “VGRS system may exhibit a temporary steering wheel off-center condition after driving away quickly from a very tight turn where the steering was at full lock position. The steering wheel off-center position will automatically be corrected in approximately five seconds by the VGRS system as the vehicle is driven.”
Toyota said that the driver may notice the system auto correcting as the steering wheel moves slowly to the center position while driving straight during VGRS correction. Under certain circumstances, the LS condition will not occur during normal driving such as changing lanes or turning.
The 3,800 Lexus LS units being recalled in the United States are a part of a worldwide recall of 11,500 units.
Click through for the list of FAQs involved with the recall.
Lexus LS Variable Gear Ratio Steering Recall Customer FAQs
Which models is Lexus recalling, and how many vehicles are affected?
Lexus is recalling approximately 3,800 late 2009 and certain 2010 model year Lexus LS 460 and LS 600h L vehicles in the U.S. to address an issue with the Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) system.
What is the condition that prompted Lexus to take this action?
On certain Lexus vehicles equipped with VGRS, under certain limited driving circumstances the steering wheel may temporarily become off-centered.
If the steering wheel is fully turned in one direction to the end of its travel (full lock position) and then very quickly turned in the opposite direction, the driver may observe that the center position of the steering wheel is temporarily off-centered. The VGRS system will self-correct the steering wheel off-center condition as the vehicle is driven for a few seconds (approximately five seconds).
Due to the limited circumstances in which this can occur, this condition will not occur during normal driving, such as lane changes.
What is the VGRS system?
The VGRS system enhances the relationship between the amount the steering wheel must turn and the reaction of the vehicle’s front wheels, which varies depending on the situation. For example, VGRS increases the gear ratio at high speeds to make handling less sensitive and twitchy. It can also lower its gear ratio to make less turning of the steering wheel necessary while maneuvering at slow speeds.
What can drivers do to prevent this condition from occurring?
Until the remedy has been completed on the vehicle, drivers can take the following steps to minimize the likelihood that this condition will occur:
1. When turning left or right at sharp intersections, when making a tight u-turn, or when parallel parking the vehicle, the steering wheel may reach the end of travel (full lock position). If this occurs, the driver should slowly turn the steering wheel back in the opposite direction and slowly exit the turn.
2. If possible, avoid quickly turning the steering wheel in the opposite direction, especially if the steering wheel was turned to the end of travel (full lock position).
3. Do not attempt to duplicate this condition.
What action should drivers take if they experience this condition?
If the driver notices an apparent steering wheel off-center condition when driving straight, he or she should carefully steer the vehicle and not make any sudden maneuvers. Steering should be based on the vehicle direction of travel rather than the steering wheel position. The VGRS will correct the steering wheel off-center condition automatically (approximately 5 seconds).
How many customer complaints did you receive to prompt this action?
Lexus recently received one customer report in the U.S. regarding this condition and has received no reports of any accidents or injuries.
What is Lexus doing to address this issue?
As soon as the remedy parts are available, Lexus will begin sending notification letters by first class mail to owners of the involved vehicles. The letter will advise owners to bring their vehicle to a Lexus dealer to have the Steering Control computer replaced with a newly designed one at no charge. The computer replacement is expected to take less than one hour, depending on dealer workload.
Will customers have to pay any money out of pocket for this repair?
No. The Steering Control computer will be replaced with a newly designed one at no charge.
Is it safe to continue driving my vehicle until the update becomes available?
Lexus believes that the involved vehicles are safe to drive. If the driver notices an apparent steering wheel off-center condition when driving straight, he or she should carefully steer the vehicle and not make any sudden maneuvers.
Are any other Toyota or Lexus vehicles affected by this recall?
No other Lexus, Toyota or Scion vehicles in the North American market are involved in this Safety Recall.
What should customers do if they still have questions or concerns?
Owners with questions or concerns are asked to contact their local Lexus dealer for diagnosis and repair, if applicable. Owners may also contact Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-255-3987 or visit www.lexus.com/recall.
– By: Omar Rana