Toyota recalls 373,000 2000-2004 model year Avalons in the United States

2003 Toyota Avalon

Toyota announced today that it intends to conduct a voluntary recall of approximately 373,000 2000-2004 model year Toyota Avalon sedans sold in the United States to address an issue that could cause the vehicle’s steering lock bar to break under certain conditions. No other Toyota or Lexus vehicles are involved in this recall.

Here is Toyota’s detailed explanation of the issue:

Because of improper casting of the steering lock bar, which is a component of the steering interlock system, there is a possibility that a minute crack may develop on the surface. Such a crack may expand over a long period of repeated lock and unlock operations, and eventually the lock bar could break. If this occurs, the interlock system may become difficult to unlock when stationary.

If the vehicle while being driven is steered to the right with sufficient lateral acceleration, a broken and loose lock bar may move toward the steering shaft. If the engagement hole in the shaft happens to line up at the specific time the broken lock bar has moved, this could cause the steering wheel lock bar to engage, locking the steering wheel, and increasing the risk of a crash.

As a part of the recall, Toyota said it will replace the steering column bracket on involved vehicles – a procedure that takes up to 2 hours. Toyota will start notifying owners throughout next month.

Detailed information and answers to questions are available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and at the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.

– By: Omar Rana