Toyota Recalls 750,000 Pickups, SUVs

Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), in one of its largest safety recalls ever, said Tuesday it is recalling more than 750,000 pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles because of problems with the front suspension that could hinder steering.

The company said the recall covers 774,856 vehicles in the United States, including the 2001-2004 model years of the Tacoma, the 2001-2002 versions of the 4Runner (search) and the 2002-2004 model years of the Tundra and Sequoia.

Toyota said the surface of a ball joint which connects to the front suspension may have been scratched when it was manufactured, which could lead to wear and tear over time.

Any excessive wear or looseness in the joint could force drivers to exert more effort when steering, allow the vehicle to drift and increase the amount of noise from the suspension.

Ming-Jou Chen, a Toyota spokeswoman, said the company had confirmed six cases in which the condition existed in the suspension. There have been no injuries associated with the problems.

Toyota said it planned to conduct a similar recall of the affected vehicles in Canada, Japan, Australia and other countries, but did not immediately have the number of vehicles that would be covered outside the U.S.

Chen said it was one of the largest recalls in company history.

In 1992, Toyota recalled about 550,000 Camrys (search) from the 1987-1990 model years because of the potential for power door locks to malfunction and lock passengers out of or inside the vehicles.

In 2002, the company recalled nearly 400,000 subcompact and minicar vehicles exported to the United States, Europe and Canada because of improperly designed brake fluid pipes.

In Tuesday's recall of trucks and SUVs, owners will be notified beginning in July and will be able to have the problem fixed at no cost, Chen said.