Toyota is issuing a vehicle defect recall for 2.8 million cars including its high-profile Prius hybrid models. According to an NBC News report, the most recent recall is the result of a water pump problem and a steering shaft defect. These defects can result in steering problems on a variety of Toyota models using the components. The steering shaft defect is involved in the recall of vehicles including the Corolla and Prius models. About 620,000 of those vehicles may also be equipped with the defective water pump.

Vehicles that may need both parts repaired were sold between 2001 and 2010 in Japan and from 2003 to 2011 in the United States. Another 10,000 Toyota vehicles are being recalled solely due to the faulty water pump. This recall is being viewed as a significant setback for Toyota, according to the news article. One month ago, the Japanese automaker announced its biggest recall ever for a single part – 7.4 million vehicles over a faulty power window switch that could pose a fire hazard.

Auto Recall Statistics

According to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), automakers recalled about 15.5 million vehicles in 2011 compared with 20 million in 2010. Honda led all manufacturers with 3.9 million vehicles recalled in 17 instances followed by Toyota with 3.5 million vehicles in 13 recalls.

Dangers of Defective Autos

Based on this news account, the Toyota vehicles are being recalled for defects that could result in steering problems. When there is steering loss in a vehicle, it becomes very difficult for the driver to regain control, which increases the risk of an injury crash. Toyota also recalled millions of vehicles between 2008 and 2010 for sudden or unintended acceleration problems. The automaker ended up paying $32 million in government fines for not taking timely action with regard to the defective vehicles.

Auto Product Liability Issues

Victims who have been injured by defective autos or auto products would be well advised to preserve the vehicle in its current condition, unaltered, so it can be thoroughly examined by an expert for evidence of defects and malfunctions. In cases where defective vehicles cause injuries, automakers or manufacturers of defective parts can be held liable. An experienced California auto products liability lawyer can better advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.