Toyota recalls 760,000 RAV4s in U.S.

A Toyota RAV4 is displayed at Boch Toyota in Norwood, Massachusetts January 27, 2010. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

(Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp said on Wednesday it is recalling about 760,000 RAV4 utility vehicles and 18,000 Lexus HS 250h hybrid cars in the United States to correct problems in their rear suspension that could arise when taken in for maintenance.

The RAV4 cars were made from model years 2006 through 2011, while only 2010 models of the HS 250h were affected.

Toyota said that if nuts on the rear suspension arm are not tightened properly during a rear wheel alignment service, rust could form, leading to wear and possibly cause the arm to separate.

The car maker will inspect the tightened nut on the recalled vehicles to make sure they meet the proper torque specification.

The models carry no design or production-related defects and would not need to be inspected unless alignment work was done, a Toyota spokesman in Tokyo said. The company is looking into specific measures to prevent errors during maintenance.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in a defect investigation opened June 4 into a similar problem with 2006-2008 Toyota RAV4s, said the rear suspension arm assembly “may fail due to corrosion, potentially causing a loss of vehicle control.”

The federal agency said at the time it was probing about 460,000 RAV4s. NHTSA said it had received seven complaints alleging corrosion-related failure of suspension arms on the RAV4.

Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit and Chang-Ran Kim in Tokyo; Editing by David Gregorio and Edwina Gibbs