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2001 prius makes noises

when turning right they go away, but when driving straight or turning left they get louder…they’ve been getting louder over time and I’m almost afraid to drive it…

I went to the dealer and my appointment is the 22 of March (geeze, Toyota is in some deep stuff right now isn’t it?)

anyways, my thoughts are a bearing, and I’m scared of what it might cost to feex this issue. Outside of that, this car has been purrfect since I got it, April 1, 2001.


You never actually described the sound - so it is practically impossible to say. But based on your description of changes when you turn I’d say a wheel bearing is most likely - one or more on the passenger’s side. I don’t know how the prius is set up but on most cars a wheel bearing is a fairly routine wear & tear repair.

I would call around local, independent shops, describe it and see if someone else can look at it. If your problem involved the hybrid system or something like that a dealer might be your best bet. But a wheel bearing is just a wheel bearing. Anyone should be able to handle it.

If it is a bearing or CV joint, any competent mechanic can diagnose and repair this. No need for a dealer, especially one so backed up they need a week to schedule.

geeze, thanks, ah, the sound is repatitious (sp?) seems to be at the same tempo as the movement of the tires, eg. 10mph or below its hardly noticeable, but around 50-60MPH
it sounds like sitting in a jet airplane in the rear next to the engine…

A bad wheel bearing very often gets described as the sound of an airplane.

Of course this could be tire noise as well.

the Chevron Oil Stop folks couldn’t find any weird issues with the exhaust system and the Lee Schwab tire folks rotated the tires and couldn’t find any issues with the tires…

Stop going to corporate chain places like that. Find a reputable, independent mechanic - the kind of place called like “Ralph’s Auto Repair” or something. You can get ok service from one of those corporate things but it is a crapshoot and these boards have plenty of folks who show up having had their cars messed up by these types of places.

Here’s a case in point - unless you didn’t mention it and they didn’t drive it - any good tire shop should be able to figure this noise out.

interesting that Lee Schwab didn’t find anything. Specially since the last time I did the dealership, they said I needed brakes, but the Lee Schwab folks said the brakes were fine.
So you are saying that the tire place should have been able to diagnose the bearing issues?

;-",Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 2001 prius makes noises ,

The brake lights appear to be fine, but I’ll keep checking them when I have trouble again. Thanks for the thought.

The search continues.

Anyone who works with cars - but maybe especially tires - should be able to diagnose bearing issues. It is one of the most basic things on all cars.

Of course - wheel bearing is only a guess right now. So maybe they didn’t find anything wrong with the bearings b/c there is nothing wrong with them.

well, I didn’t ask them to inspect the bearings…but I did ask them to listen to the noise coming from the left turn and straight ahead driving…hmmm…ok then, I suppose I should try to find a local auto mechanic and get a 3rd opinion!!!
this car has been so good for so long that I’ve just been so happy and haven’t had to think about anything except my growing fear of driving (it’s gotta be a middle age thing, right?)…and now that Toyota is full…I’m just a little nervous…so anyone got a “Car Talk” quality mechanic near Windsor, California?


well, you all were right! Right rear wheel bearing…took it to Larsen Auto in Santa Rosa…$400! damn I love NPR and click n clack…!

well, I thought I had heard that bearings on front wheel drive vehicles are usually replaced in pairs, so it was actually $840 for both read wheel bearings. Sigh…however, the 2001 Prius has been the best car I have ever driven. Still gets about 49MPG during the summer and 44 in winter (don’t understand the difference but…)…Thanks to Larsen Auto in Santa Rosa, CA…great serviced, and the mechanic used his ears to troubleshoot this problem. Everyone in this blog needs to be commended for guiding me from the blood sucking dealer to the local folks. I still can’t get thru to the dealer to cancel my appointment for next Monday. DOH!

I’ve been working on cars for a long time, and I have never heard the one about having to replace wheel bearings in pairs on fwd vehicles. You only have to replace them in pairs if both of them happen to go bad at the same time, which almost never happens. If you requested this service, I cannot fault the shop you went to for replacing both of them (I would personally ask the customer why if it were requested this way, but others wouldn’t. Easy money.), but if they told you they have to or should be replaced in pairs, I would question their integrity.