Although I’m reasonably confident that none of our readers actually drive a Toyota Avalon, I’ll give you a heads up on this recall anyway. Maybe your parents drive one, or more likely your grandparents. In any case, Left Lane News tells us that Toyota is recalling some 373,000 Avalon models, from model year 2000 to model year 2004, to replace a defective steering column bracket. Due to a potentially bad casting, this bracket can crack, making the steering wheel difficult to unlock when the car is stationary.
Under a “worst case” scenario, which would involve bracket failure while the car is being driven, the steering wheel can lock in the turned position, but only when the wheel is turned to the right. As you’d expect, this can greatly increase your chances of being in an accident.
Update: Toyota is also recalling 39,000 Lexus LX470 SUVs for an unrelated steering defect. Under certain conditions (off-road driving, severe pothole impact) a snap ring on the steering shaft may come loose, causing a loss of steering control. The Lexus 470s being recalled range from model year 2003 to 2007.
Toyota expects the LX470 recall to begin in mid-August, followed by the Avalon recall in late August. Customers with questions or concerns can reach Toyota’s customer service hotline at (800) 331-4331.