07 Toyota Yaris Unstable at 60 mph+

I have an interesting issue with my 07 Yaris… Around November of 2009 when I was driving from Chicago to Minnesota, I noticed my car would wabble (pull to the right and the left) from side to side every once in a while, totally sparadic. It progressively got worse to where I would wabble from side to side everytime I hit the expressway. I finally took it to a few independant shop where I had the alignment checked, tires rotated, & bought 2 new tires… issue unresolved. I then took it to the local Toyota dealer where they said they were unable to align the car and to take it to the body shop to have the frame straigtened out. It turned out the subframe was bent (maybe because I drove over a parking lot curb) and I had it straigtened out and the allignment redone. Hence, the problem is partially fixed (doesn’t wabble AS MUCH), but at speeds 60mph+ I feel completely unstable. I am all over the road and can’t maintain a straigt line. I can’t drive with just one had, two sweaty hands are required at all times and I tend to get very nervous. It doesn’t happen 100% of the time, I tend to start out ok at high speeds and then the wabble progressively gets worse. If I sick it out, it might subside a bit and then come back unannounced.

The car has been in an accident where I was hit pretty hard in the rear. After the accident I had the car fixed and it drove great! No problem! The dealer and the body shop say they have both driven it on the expressway (though not for extended periods of time) and say they don’t feel anything and that the car just won’t drive like it would have had it not been in an accident.

I can’t buy that… ugh!

Any ideas?

Might be worn or damaged front and/or rear struts/shocks, assuming someone has gone over every suspension link and bushing.

You bent the subframe and you had a significant rear-ender?

It’s very possible that this vehicle will never be right again. Have a good four wheel alignment done and accept the results. They’ll let you know if there’s anything that needs repairing.

The only real way to find out how viable the car is now is on a chassis alignment table. And that will not be cheap.

I had similar symptoms but it turned out to be 1 or more worn bushings. Not a Yaris.

Let’s hope the OP is as lucky. But considering the car’s history…

So, the steering problem happened at a time after the accident. At first, I thought that the accident fixed the problem.

The rack bolts may be loose or the structure that the rack is attached to may be broken. If you have a tilt steering wheel, something inside the mechanism may be broken. Your power steering may have taken damage and the steering is probably electrical and electronic too.

Bad rear wheel bearing maybe. Kind of wild, but you never know.

I would accept the whole “your car will never be the same” answer but it was just fine directly after the rear end… it was 6 months later that the wobbling started. So I feel like there is some other factor involved here. Thanks for your input!

I know! I feel like it could be so many things… I also have been wondering if the power steering is the problem. Even picked up some power steering fluid to open the hood and realize there is electronic power steering. Duh! But I’m not well versed on cars… so I forgive myself. Thanks for the response!

Oooh… I hope it’s that easy!

I think your alignment is the problem and you need to pay very close attention to it. Get the print outs and examine them - may be even publish them here for the group to look at. There are several very keen observers here who can help a lot simply by providing the print out.

My experience says that the published alignment tolerances are too wide. Not the target value, but the allowable deviation from that value. I think it ought to be half of what is published.

Put another way, the alignment should be within the inner half of the spec.

You should be aware that even vehicles that do not have a pull can be out of alignment. There are settings where one out of spec condition is offset by another out of spec condition ? typically camber vs toe.

Also, many alignment techs think that if the factory did not make provisions to make adjustments for the alignment, then they can?t make an adjustment and will declare the vehicle ?OK?. This is totally wrong.

ALL alignment settings are adjustable, but it may require an eccentric bolt, some shims, etc. A GOOD alignment tech will know what to do and the vehicle should leave a shop with ALL the alignment settings close to the nominal.

You need to ask before you leave the car if they agree with the above. If not, keep looking.