Toyota Recalls 373,000 Avalons Over Steering Issue

The recall tab for Toyota keeps adding up, as the world’s largest automaker announced a recall of 373,000 Toyota Avalons “to address the possibility that the vehicle’s steering lock bar could break under certain conditions.”

The affected Avalons are from model years 2000-2004.

From Toyota’s recall announcement:

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.

The car company says they will begin notifying owners of recalled vehicles by mail in late August. Toyota dealerships will replace the steering column bracket — which they say should take about about two hours — for free.

Toyota Announces Intent to Voluntarily Recall Certain Toyota Avalons to Replace Steering Column Bracket [Toyota press release]