Toyota Motor Corp. has recalled certain Lexus GS 350 sport sedans from the 2013 model year to fix a problem with its variable-ratio steering system that could cause drivers to lose control. The recall includes cars built from Dec. 12, 2011, through Feb. 7, 2012. On the affected vehicles the electronic control unit or ECU that controls the variable gear ratio of the steering system could cause the steering wheel to be off-center. In a document filed with NHTSA the car maker said the problem can affect the car when it is restarted after being parked with the steering wheel turned. If this happens, the driver may not realize the steering wheel is off-center, and the car may move in an unexpected direction and possibly cause a crash.
The recall affects 663 vehicles. It could raise questions about variable-ratio steering, which is gaining popularity in the auto industry. Such variable systems allow the front wheels to turn farther and faster with less steering-wheel movement at low speeds, such as when parking or maneuvering in tight spaces. At cruising speeds the ratio changes to make the steering less sensitive or twitchy. Under the recall, Lexus dealers will update the variable steering system free of charge. The recall was expected to begin this month. Owners may contact Toyota at 800-331-4331 for more information.
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