Thank you for your well-wishes. It appears that I have a nasty cold/ fever, not the flu as I had feared. Or, at least, from what I remember the last time I had the flu, I don't think it would resolve this quickly if it WAS the flu, so I'm just going to go with that. Wash your hands, people! It's a jungle out there!
Today I would like to discuss a strange safety recall I got from the Toyota Motor Company regarding our Prius. I've owned several cars in my lifetime, so a safety recall doesn't scare me, necessarily, but I do open them and read them. On a side note, fellow Prius owners-- do you feel like we get a lot of these safety recall notices? Is that maybe just because the Prius/ hybrid is a "work in progress," and so they are figuring things out as they go? I still say the Prius is one of the best cars I've ever owned-- it gets 49 miles to the gallon, got us safely across country, and never breaks down. But, these safety recall notices are baffling and kind of funny, so I took a picture of mine for you. In case you're wondering, yes, the crumpled look of the letter does indicate that I had it in the bottom of my purse. Also, yes, I did use my crack PhotoShop skills to redact personal information from the recall notice, and to make you laugh.
So, first of all, this isn't even a REAL safety recall (meaning there is something you can actually do about the problem, whatever that is). This is an "INTERIM NOTICE," meaning they know there is a problem, they are working on the solution, they don't have one yet, but they would like you to please not sue them while they are working on it (at least that's my conclusion, having matriculated from "Law & Order University Law School."). I like how they have "SAFETY RECALL NOTICE" written in red, so it catches your attention, but then when you actually read through it, you realize that they have scared you, but they're not going to be able to help you right now, sorry. But, THEY WILL SEND YOU ANOTHER NOTIFICATION WHEN THE PREPARATIONS ARE COMPLETE.
I kind of feel like a red/ all caps font situation should be used only when something is actionable right then, don't you? This letter feels a little like they are screaming at me to WAIT UNTIL WE COME UP WITH SOMETHING.
The first problem appears to be with the "Steering Intermediate Extension Shaft," and, more specifically, with the "spline" part of the shaft. This is when I think Toyota is making up words to see if they can get us to adopt "spline" into the common English parlance. The "spline" (see, they have me doing it already) is connected to the extension shaft and could deform if you turn the steering column to the full lock position, then drive it slowly. This is a condition that applies only to people who paralell park frequently (so, if you live in San Francisco, perhaps), or maybe the cast of Jackass, since I can't think of another driver who would full-lock the steering column, then drive slowly. That is a pretty weird scenario, don't you think? I feel like if they're getting THIS specific, they could send out a warning notice every single day.
Anyhow, we don't really paralell park, so I don't think our splines have a problem. See how they got me to say splines, like it's a real thing? Clever!
This is a "combo plate" warning notice, which also includes a totally random mention of how the electric water pump may have been scratched, so it may be corroding, and this may mean that it might possibly STOP WHILE YOU ARE DRIVING IT.
Um-- does this not seem like it should be first on the list in the "safety recall letter" hierarchy? This seems like a far more serious issue, maybe one that deserves its own letter, right? THE CAR MIGHT STOP WHILE I'M DRIVING IT. This is enough to get me to curtail my use of this car until I get the follow-up letter saying that they actually have a solution.
So-- did you get this letter? Are you still driving your car? I continued to drive my Prius during the whole "accelerator is too long" scandal of 2010, and generally I am pretty blase about these notices, but this one I'm on the fence about.
And, in closing: splines.