Earlier today, the folks at Toyota issued a recall of approximately 283,000 Toyota vehicles — Avalon, Camry, Highlander, Sienna, Solara — and 137,000 Lexus vehicles — ES330, RX330, RX400h — over concerns that a potential problem in these vehicles may suddenly make it much harder for the driver to steer.
Specific models and model years affected by the recall:
2004 and 2005 Camry, Highlander, Sienna, and Solara
2006 Highlander HV
2004 and 2005 ES330 and RX330
And 2006 RX400h
Toyota says this recall only involves these models with V6 engines.
There is a possibility that the outer ring of the crankshaft pulley may become misaligned with the inner ring, causing noise and/or illumination of the discharge warning light. If this condition is not corrected, the belt for the power steering pump may become detached from the pulley and the driver may notice a sudden increase in steering effort. There are no reports of accidents or injuries related to this condition.
The car make says it is working to gather up the necessary replacement parts and will be notifying affected vehicle owners in January.
Owners of recalled vehicles can then go to a Toyota/Lexus dealership to have the crankshaft pulley inspected and if necessary, replaced at no charge.
But Toyota says that if you hear an abnormal noise coming from the engine compartment, you should make an appointment with any Toyota or Lexus dealer to have the vehicle inspected for this condition.
Detailed information and answers to questions are available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and the Toyota Customer Experience Center (1 800-331-4331) or www.lexus.com/recall and Lexus Customer Satisfaction (1 800-255-3987).