2006 Lexus RX400h

2006 Lexus RX400h

Toyota execs must still shudder at the thought of having to issue a recall. Especially when that recall starts to approach anything that can be tagged with a million vehicles--or half million, as it were.

Safety must go on, though.

Toyota has now issued a voluntary recall affecting an estimated 283,200 Toyota and 137,000 Lexus models.

According to Toyota's recall announcement, it is possible that the outer ring of the crankshaft pulley on one of its V-6 engines may become misaligned with the inner ring, causing noise and/or illumination of the discharge warning light. If this is left unchecked, the power steering pump belt could detach from the pulley causing sluggish steering.

Toyota is currently preparing parts to make repairs on the affected models and will contact owners by first-class mail. Notices will go out to owners in January 2012, and those affected will be prompted to get their vehicles checked out at an authorized Toyota or Lexus dealer, which will inspect the pulley and replace it free of charge, if necessary.

The Toyota models affected are the 2004 Avalon; 2004 and 2005 Camry, Highlander, Sienna and Solara; and 2006 Highlander HV. Lexus models affected are the 2004 and 2005 ES 330 and RX 330 and the 2006 RX 400h.

The recall relates only to models with V-6 engines; four-cylinder models are not affected.

If you own one of these models and hear a strange noise from the engine, Toyota recommends getting it checked out at an authorized dealer.

For more information visit www.toyota.com/recall or www.lexus.com/recall. You can also reach the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331 and Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-255-3987.