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Published: 4/27/2011

Nissan, Toyota recall 250,000 vehicles for safety problems

BLADE NEWS SERVICES
Problems with the Nissan Pathfinder could cause the steering column to break. Problems with the Nissan Pathfinder could cause the steering column to break.
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Nissan Motor Co. is recalling nearly 200,000 Pathfinder and Infiniti QX4 sport utility vehicles and Toyota Motor Corp is recalling about 51,000 model year 2011 Tundra pickup trucks.

Nissan said its vehicles are affected by a problem that could cause the steering column to break and the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

The recall, announced this week, comes mere months after Japan’s No. 2 automaker launched two other major recalls, including one that involved more than 2 million vehicles. The massive numbers involved in recent recalls are linked to cost-cutting strategies that result in the same parts being used in many models.

In the latest recall, Nissan said that certain model year 1996-2004 Pathfinders and 1997-2003 Infiniti QX4s potentially have the steering problem, which is the result of snow and salt entering a hole in the car’s strut housing and causing water to collect inside. Over time, the strut housing may corrode, possibly causing the steering column to break.

Nissan says notification letters will be sent to owners by May 16. Nissan will inspect the strut housing and repair the vehicles as necessary. Owners can call Nissan for more details at 800-647-7261.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigation said on its Web site that it has received 35 reports of problems with the vehicles. Those included 18 reports of allegations that failures affected the vehicles’ steering, and 5 that alleged the steering column broke and resulted in a loss of steering control.

Toyota recalled about 51,000 of its Tundra trucks to inspect the rear drive shafts that may include a component that could break. Toyota recalled about 51,000 of its Tundra trucks to inspect the rear drive shafts that may include a component that could break.
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Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, is recalling some Tundra trucks because of a drive shaft part that may break.

The rear drive shaft in an estimated 0.05 percent of the vehicles may include a component called a slip yoke that could break due to improper casting during the foundry process, the company said. The automaker said it’s aware of one slip-yoke failure and that no accidents or injuries have been reported.

The company will notify owners of the affected vehicles by mail beginning next month. Dealers will need about 10 minutes to inspect the drive shaft, Toyota said.

Toyota last year faced congressional and regulatory inquiries in the U.S. for its handling of recalls, including of Tundras. The automaker last year recalled model years 2000 through 2003 of the trucks for frame corrosion that could damage brake lines and dislodge spare tires.



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