Toyota recalls 52,000 Prius hybrids, separately announces minor Venza, Sienna recall

Toyota has announced the recall of three of its models, with the vast majority of the vehicles being affected being the fuel-efficient Prius hybrid.

Toyota has announced two unrelated recalls, one covering 106,000 examples of the 2001 through 2003 Prius worldwide, with just 52,000 of the affected models being sold in the U.S., as well as a recall to replace the front right-hand driveshaft on a handful of Venza and Sienna all-wheel drive models.

The larger recall of the two stems from the possibility that the nuts securing the pinion shaft for the steering box assembly could become loose from repeated full-lock turning of the steering wheel. The automaker says that over time the driver should notice an increased amount of effort required when turning left.

The fix involves installing four "new and improved" nuts and will take approximately four hours to complete.

The second recall - unrelated to the Prius recall - involves just 50 examples (combined) of the 2011 Venza and Sienna. The only affected models are equipped with all-wheel drive, which resulted in 34 Venzas and 16 Siennas being recalled for the faulty front right-hand driveshaft. Toyota says that the driveshafts were not properly heat-treated and will need to be replaced as there is a possibility they can break - causing the vehicle to coast to a stop.

Toyota will be notifying owners beginning tomorrow via certified mail.