Toyota recalls Prius due to braking issue

Toyota has issued a global recall of 242,000 gas-electric hybrid vehicles. In the US, the recall affects around 87,000 Toyota Prius and Lexus HS250h models assembled between March 31, 2009 and Oct. 9, 2009.

The carmaker stated that the problem has to do with a brake pressure accumulator made from weak materials that have the potential to develop fatigue cracks caused by vibrations. Toyota noted that while there have been no recorded accidents or injuries as a result of the defect, they have received dozens of complaints from car owners.

"The involved vehicles are equipped with a brake pressure accumulator that may develop a fatigue crack on an internal part due to vibration. Toyota has had no reports of any accidents or injuries associated with this condition," the company said in a statement. "Owners of vehicles subject to this recall will receive a notification by first class mail.  The recall remedy will involve inspection of the brake booster pump assembly to see if it is equipped with an involved accumulator.  If so, the dealer will replace the brake booster pump assembly with an improved one at no cost to the customer."

The company did not say what effect a crack would have on a brake pressure accumulator, but USA Today speculates the result could likely be a loss of breaking pressure. Toyota said the latest Prius and Lexus HS250h recall would begin at the end of July and the company would replace all affected parts.

In 2009 and 2010, the company went through an embarrassing series of recalls that also related to braking issues, most notably, a huge recall of cars with defective floor mats that could cause the accelerator pedal to stick. The company has since maintained a good record for issuing voluntary recalls of defective vehicles ahead of requests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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