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Toyota: New Lexus recall

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Toyota Motor Co. said Friday that it was moving ahead with plans to recall about 138,000 Lexus cars for engine problems that could, in rare instances, lead to stalling.

The automaker announced that it had informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of its intent to file an official Defect Information Report, a step toward initiating a recall.

Lexus LS460

On Thursday, Toyota said it was investigating engine problems affecting 270,000 vehicles worldwide. Small valve springs that were made from low-quality metal could crack, potentially causing engines to stall, said Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco. More likely, Toyota said in an announcement, owners would experience rough idling or abnormal engine noise.

"Lexus estimates that the likelihood of a customer experiencing this condition is 0.2%," the automaker said in a statement.

All the vehicles involved are Lexus sedans with V8 or V6 engines. Models that could be involved in the recall are model year 2007 and 2008 GS 350 and 450h, 2008 GS 460, 2006 through 2008 IS 350, 2007 and 2008 LS 460 and LS 460L and the 2008 LS 600hL.

Toyota has not received any reports of injuries or fatalities related to the issue, the automaker said.

Owners of these vehicles will receive a recall notification in the mail, the automaker said. They will be asked to visit a Lexus dealer for a repair if needed. The repair, which would involve changing the car's valve springs, would be performed at no cost.

In the meantime, the automaker said, owners can continue to drive their vehicles. If they experience any possible issues, such as vibration or rough idling, they should bring their car to a Lexus dealer for repairs, Toyota said.

Toyota has been dealing with a long-running spate of quality and safety problems.

In recent months, the automaker has recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide for a variety of safety issues including possible unintended acceleration and problems with anti-lock brake software.

Most recently, the automaker recalled some Lexus SUVs because of problems with electronic stability control software.

In a recent J.D. Power survey of initial quality, Toyota slipped to 21st place from 6th place last year.

-- CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki and CNNMoney.com senior writer Chris Isidore contributed to this report. To top of page

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