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Toyota recall includes 242,000 Prius, Lexus cars with braking problems

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Denis Poroy/AP/File

(Read caption) Toyota Prius cars sit in the lot of the Toyota of El Cajon, Calif., in 2010. Toyota has issued a recall of nearly a quarter of a million cars – including the Prius and the Lexus HS 250h — due to braking problems.

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Toyota is recalling nearly a quarter of a million cars in Japan, the US, and Europe due to problems with the vehicles' brakes that could increase the distance cars take to stop moving.

The models affected by the Toyota recall include Prius cars manufactured between March and October 2009 and Lexus HS 250h cars manufactured between June and October 2009. Of the recalls in the US, 81,570 are Prius cars and 5,030 are Lexus HS 250h cars.

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"The involved vehicles are equipped with a brake pressure accumulator that may develop a fatigue crack on an internal part due to vibration," Toyota USA said in a statement on its website. 

If the brake pressure accumulator cracks, nitrogen gas could be released into brake fluid, causing drivers to experience increased stopping distances. More than 90 complaints have reportedly been issued to Toyota about drivers needing to step more heavily on the brake pedal to stop their cars.

No injuries or accidents associated with the defect have been reported yet. All consumers driving affected vehicles will receive messages about the recall through first class mail, Toyota USA said in a statement.

As part of the recall procedure, consumers can have their cars' brake booster pump assemblies inspected and — if necessary — replaced for free. The procedure is expected to take around three hours.

The recall is the latest in a series for Toyota, which, in April, recalled 1.7 million cars around the world due to an airbag glitch. The automobile maker also recalled more than 7 million cars last October because of problems with power window switches that posed potential fire risks to drivers.

For more information, visit www.toyota.com/recall or call Toyota's customer hotline at 1-800-331-4331. Lexus drivers can call 1-800-255-3987.