Toyota is recalling 412,000 large sedans sold in the U.S. for problems that can cause the steering wheel to lock up.

The recall affects 373,000 Avalon sedans and 39,000 Lexus LX 470 SUVs, and is Toyota's largest since recalling 600,000 Sienna minivans over rusting spare tire holders in April.

Toyota has been caught in a safety nightmare since October, when 5.3 million cars and trucks were recalled to fix floor mats that are thought to trap pedals and cause unintended acceleration. More recalls followed, including ones from sticky gas pedals to braking problems with the Prius hybrid, to rusting frames in the Tacoma pickup.

Toyota has now recalled 9.5 million cars and trucks in the U.S. since October, or 39 percent of the 24.1 million vehicles Toyota has sold in the U.S. since 1998, according to Wards AutoInfoBank.

Three unconfirmed accidents with no injuries have been reported because of the Avalon problem, Toyota said. It will fix the Avalon steering problem by replacing a part called the steering column bracket, which houses the lock bar.


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