Toyota recalls another 8,000 vehicles

February 13, 2010

Toyota recalls another 8,000 vehicles

Some pickups may have cracks in front propeller shaft

Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling 8,000 vehicles over concerns that a faulty propeller shaft may have cracks.

The recall includes about 8,000 2010 four-wheel-drive Toyota Tacoma pickups produced between mid-December and early this month, said Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons. Some models have a crack in the front propeller shaft that could cause the pickups to lose control .

Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. also use the part made by Toledo-based supplier Dana Corp., the supplier said.

The small recall wouldn’t typically get much notice — but it’s the latest for embattled Toyota, which recalled three models this week — and has recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide in recent months over sudden acceleration concerns.

Dana disclosed the defect in a notice to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Friday. Dana said it affects less than 2 percent of vehicles in its submission. The company said few of the vehicles have been sold, and there have been no accidents or injuries.

The part was on 14,300 Ford Escapes and Mercury Mariners and 11,185 Nissan vehicles. Ford spokesman Said Deep said the automaker doesn’t plan to recall the vehicles because it isn’t a safety issue, the company determined. The vehicles are car-based SUVs, less heavy and less likely to go into four-wheel drive, he said.

"Nissan/Infiniti vehicles built with one of these yokes will not experience a loss of control or present a safety risk even in the unlikely event the part should fail," said Nissan spokesman Colin Price. "We are investigating the situation to determine the best course of action to address the issue."

Lyons said Toyota will notify customers who have purchased the trucks next month. Because the cracks are invisible to the eye, Toyota will replace the part on all vehicles.

Separately, Toyota offered concessions Friday to congressional investigators ahead of planned hearings later this month on the company’s safety woes, saying it would re-examine some customer complaints and weigh new safety measures.

The automaker will consider expanding the installation of a braking system that can override a vehicle’s throttle, a company attorney said in a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Toyota also plans to take another look at consumer complaints of unwanted acceleration in late-model versions of its Tacoma pickups.

The brake override fix would address the sudden acceleration issues and is unrelated to the brake issues in the Prius, or the prop shaft in the Tacomas.

Toyota has turned over 3,969 pages of records to the committee, which will hold a hearing on the recalls Feb. 24.

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