Toyota Recalls Avalon Sedans Over Steering Problem

Improper casting of the steering lock bar cited.

Toyota on July 29 announced a recall of 373,000 Avalon sedans in the United States over a steering-related issue that could increase the risk of a crash.

"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," Toyota in a statement from its U.S. headquarters.

"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."

Avalons from the 2000 to 2004 model years are affected.

Detailing the problem, Toyota said a broken and loose lock bar could move toward the steering shaft when the car is steered toward the right. In turn, this could engage the steering wheel lock -- increasing the risk of a crash.

Toyota said it would replace the steering column bracket, a procedure that takes about two hours.

In a separate announcement, the automaker said it would recall 39,000 Lexus sedans from the 2003 to 2007 model years because of steering shaft problems.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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