FAQs for Certain 2000 through 2004 Toyota Avalon Steering Column Brackets

July 29, 2010

What is the condition?
Due to the improper casting of the steering lock bar (“bar”), which is a component of the steering interlock system, there is a possibility that a minute crack may develop on the surface. Such a crack may expand over a long period of repeated lock and unlock operations, and eventually the bar could break. If this occurs, the interlock system may become difficult to unlock when stationary.
 
If the vehicle while being driven is steered to the right with sufficient lateral acceleration, a broken and loose lock bar may move toward the steering shaft. If the engagement hole in the shaft happens to line up at the specific time the broken lock bar has moved, this could cause the steering wheel lock bar to engage, locking the steering wheel, and increasing the risk of a crash.
 
Under what conditions does this occur most frequently?
This condition mostly occurs when the vehicle is parked, the steering wheel is turned to be locked and the ignition key is removed.
 
Where is the steering lock bar located?
The steering lock bar is integrated into the ignition key cylinder.
 
How many cases have been reported?
There have been 6 cases of this condition lock bar breakage reported in the U.S.
 
Have there been any reports of accidents?
There are three unconfirmed minor accidents alleged to be related to this condition. The accidents do not involve injuries.
 
Are there any warnings that this condition has occurred?
No, there are no specific warnings that this condition exists.
 
What is Toyota going to do?
Owners of the involved vehicles will receive a Safety Recall notification by first class mail beginning in late August, 2010. Toyota dealers will replace the Steering Column Bracket at NO CHARGE to the customer.
 
How long will the repair take?
The repair will take approximately two hours. However, it may be necessary for the owner to make the vehicle available for a longer period of time depending upon the dealer’s schedule.
 
What if an owner has previously paid for repairs for this condition?
Owners who have previously paid for their steering column bracket to be replaced to address this specific condition should refer to the owner letter for reimbursement consideration instructions.
 
What if an owner has additional questions or concerns?
Owners with questions or concerns are asked to please contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-888-270-9371 Monday through Friday, 5:00 am to 6:00 pm, or Saturday 7:00 am through 4:00 pm Pacific Time.