2009 Prius- handles badly


#1

purchased one owner Prius from Honda dealer May 2014 with 92000 miles.
Now 2 months later 94000. Both service departments of Honda and a Toyota dealer
said my car handles normally for a Prius.
The car dips from left to right while driving at slow and highway speeds. It feels
like a boat moving through water.
The suspension was said to be good.
Driving it feels unstable, like a Montero Sport or a stage coach.
Any suggestions. I wanted to do a lot of driving this summer, but this feels so uncomfortable.
Please help.


#2

You might need new front struts.

Go out to the vehicle and place your hands on top of the fenders.

Now push down and let up in a manner that allows the front end to start bouncing. Once you get that corner to start bouncing real good, release the fender. If the fender bounces up and down at all that strut is shot.

Tester


#3

If you don’t mind giving up a little gas mileage, put a set of decent tires and wheels on it…


#4

Causes of unstable handling like you describe are
(1) worn struts
(2) worn suspension components
(3) poor alignment
(4) poor tires
(5) residue from an accident
(6) poor vehicle design.

Prius cars do not have a reputation for this problem, so you can rule out (6).
At 94,000 miles, my guess is that your struts are shot. Take the car to a reputable chassis shop and have them take a look-see. If the alignment parameters are in-spec and you have no worn out jointery (I made that word up), than it’s a safe bet that your struts are tired.


#5

Has anybody checked the tires for major damage? I have a hard time believing at that mileage the suspension parts would be that worn. Unless the car was abused or driven on harsh roads.


#6

If I was the OP, my first priority would be to have the car put up on a lift by an independent mechanic in order to check for evidence of impact damage to the chassis, and/or for evidence of a broken anti-sway bar link.

If no evidence of damage is found, then I think that the best thing to do would be to replace the struts. While tires do have a major effect on handling, I disagree that the way the car “dips” from side to side would be attributable to bad tires. However, a bad anti-sway bar link, or weak/worn-out struts, or a bent chassis could be the cause of this instability.