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Toyota Motor (NYSE: TM ) announced today that it is recalling 670,000 Prius vehicles with model years 2004-2009 in the United States for issues with the steering shaft and, in some cases, the electric water pump for the car's hybrid engine.
Worldwide, Toyota is recalling an estimated 2.8 million vehicles for potential steering and water pump problems, with production years ranging between 2000 and 2011.
The company warns that the splines that connect the extension shaft to the steering gear box may "deform" if drivers frequently and forcefully turn full left or full right at slow speeds. More than 50% of the vehicles being recalled in the U.S. will also have their water pumps replaced, after the company discovered that limited coolant flow may shut down the hybrid system while the vehicle is being driven.
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The announcement comes just one month after Toyota recalled more than 2.5 million vehicles in the U.S. and 7 million vehicles worldwide for a potentially fire-prone power-window switch.