I was a little disappointed in Tom & Ray’s answer. Shouldn’t this problem be reported to someone? Toyota’s CEO? The Automotive Safety Commission? The Government?
Was the power steering system advertised or even designed as a fail safe system? Even on non-electric power steering systems parts could fail that lead to high steering effort. Belt slippage,pump pressure concerns. I have no doubt both Toyota and the D.O.T. are aware of the situation,now what threshold has to be passed before a safety campaign is started I dont know. it took alot for Ford to get interested in the power steering concerns on their 2005-2006 Crown Vic police cars as I previously mentioned our local dealer (Jim Click Ford) fixed cars out of his own pocket. I dont believe a mandantory fix was ever issued by D.O.T. Cars would exibit high steering effort during high-speed U-turns. I tried to check my facts on this issue but the site wanted money for a answer (I didnt pay)
I am curious if anyone has disected the failed electrical steering unit to determing how it failed. Also I would like to know if the failure of the unit locked up the steering or if the failure just required high effort to steer the Prius.
A little more information would allow consumer/users to better evaluate the operation and safety of this particular system.