• Toyota recall affects 2004-2009 Prius
  • Steering defect is to blame
  • 670,000 units are affected

Toyota will recall around 670,000 Prius models in the U.S. for a steering defect. Toyota says the recall affects 2004-2009 models and covers 2.8 million units worldwide. It follows another Prius recall earlier this week, which affects the popular hybrid's water pump.

According to Toyota, the recall is due to a faulty steering shaft. If the steering wheel is turned quickly at low speeds, it can begin to wear the shaft. Over time, this could fail and cause faulty steering, risking crashes and injuries.

The recall affects Prius models built between August 2003 and March 2009. That's every second-generation Prius, though Toyota says the first- and third-gen models are not involved. But second-gen Prius drivers concerned about the recall can take comfort in knowing Toyota has not received reports of crashes due to the defect.

Owners of recalled cars will get a notice in the mail next month about the action. As with all recalls, the issue will be fixed for free. Toyota says the fix will take one to two hours. Drivers with questions can contact Toyota's recall hotline at 800-331-4331 or visit www.toyota.com/recall for more info.

We urge drivers who bought their Prius used to contact Toyota instead of waiting for a recall notice, as Toyota might not have contact details for drivers who didn't buy their Prius from a dealer. The same goes for drivers of Prius models who have moved since buying their car--especially if they don't often visit a dealer. Shoppers looking for a used Prius can also contact Toyota to find out if a car they're considering is being recalled.

The recall is the second to involve the Prius this week. An earlier recall affects 350,000 second-gen models and relates to the Prius's water pump. Toyota says the pump's failure could cause the hybrid system--and the car--to shut down while being driven.

What it means to you: If you own a 2004-2009 Prius, expect a Toyota recall notice in the mail. Concerned drivers can also call Toyota to find out if their car is on the list.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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