Toyota said today it will begin a voluntary safety recall that covers about 82,000 hybrid sport utility vehicles sold in the U.S. during 2006 and 2007.

The affected models are the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the Lexus RX 400h, which share an understructure and Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system.

Lexus will recall roughly 36,700 RX 400h vehicles. About 45,500 Highlander Hybrids are affected.

The recall will inspect, and if necessary replace, the vehicle's Intelligent Power Module (IPM), an electronic control inside the inverter that changes the voltage of electric power within the hybrid system.

According to the company, specific transistors on circuit boards inside the module weren't properly soldered.

2007 Lexus RX 400h

2007 Lexus RX 400h

Large current flows during high-load driving may damage those transistors, which could cause the vehicle to enter fail-safe driving mode and reduce available power. If this happens, various warning lights on the instrument panel will illuminate.

Under some circumstances, Toyota said, a damaged transistor could cause a fuse in the power-supply circuit to blow. If that happens, the hybrid system would shut down, meaning the vehicle would coast to a stop.

The company will notify owners by first-class mail, starting in mid-July. When adequate stocks of replacement parts are available, Toyota will send a second notice advising owners to bring their vehicles in for inspection and possible repair.

Owners will not be charged for the dealer visit and any repairs.

For further information, Highlander Hybrid owners can visit Toyota's Recall Center or call Toyota directly at 800 331-4331.

Lexus RX 400h owners can view recall information on the Lexus website or call 800 255-3987.



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