Steering Difficulty Prompts Recall of 52,000 Toyota Priuses

Toyota says a problem with electric power steering is prompting a recall of about 52,000 Priuses from 2001-3 in the United States, part of a global action affecting 106,000 vehicles.

In a news release early Wednesday, the automaker said the electric power steering pinion-shaft attachment nuts could loosen and “over time, the customer will gradually notice significant increased steering effort when making a left turn.”

Toyota’s announcement did not mention any accidents, but when reached for comment, Brian Lyons, a Toyota spokesman, said the automaker received one unconfirmed report of a minor accident. The company described the recall as voluntary, but under federal regulations, once a manufacturer was aware of a safety problem it must inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration within five business days of its plan for a recall.