On November 9th, 2011, Toyota announced it is recalling 283,200 Toyota cars, including the 2004 and 2005 Camry, Highlander, Sienna and Solara, the 2004 Avalon and the 2006 Highlander HV. It is also recalling 137,000 Lexus vehicles including the 2004 and 2005 ES330 and RX330 and 2006 RX400h.
The recall is to prevent a possible loss of power steering assist, which can make the vehicle difficult to steer.
The problem, according to Toyota, is that the outer ring of the engine's crankshaft pulley may become misaligned with the inner ring, causing noise or a warning signal to light up. If the problem is not corrected, the belt for the power steering pump may flip off of the pulley, causing a sudden loss of power steering assist.
On these applications, there are two v-ribbed drive belts: one for the alternator and A/C compressor, and one for the power steering pump. The inner belt for the PS pump (which Toyota refers to as the "Vane" drive belt") is the one that may come loose if the pulleys are misaligned.
Toyota will inspect and replace any defective parts at no cost to the vehicle owner. For further details, contact your Toyota or Lexus dealer.