Toyota Avalon 2003 Steering Recall

I just had my car serviced for the steering bracket replacement recall. Afterward, the feel of the steering is different–more resistance. I would say more than normal for a power steering car, but not extreme. Also, I notice that the key has to be inserted more in order for it to be turned. So, has something been done wrong? Or is the thing just a little tighter, and should revert to normal with a little wear? Any knowledgeable opinions?

The recall involves replacing the steering wheel lock bar mechanism. The lock bar is what locks the steering wheel when the vehicle is turned off. The original had a casting flaw which could allow the lock bar to break, and thereby allow the steering wheel to lock up as the vehicle is driven. Not good.

Drive the vehicle for a while. Either the steering will loosen up or you’ll just get used to it.


I’m sure Tester is correct, but you can bring the car back and decribe your concern to them. It is possible that in the process of oding the recall they misadjusted something.

Another thing, it is harder to turn the ignition key. You have to push it in quite firmly
in order to be able to turn it.

Hi I am curious becuaser I have Toyota to…but a Camry model. Did your steering wheel ever vibrate when driving? I am concerned with the “defective metal” I have been hearing about that Toyota has used for some of its models. Thanks for your info.

I’ve never had that problem. Yours sounds like a tire out of balance.

Find another 2003 on the dealer’s lot and drive it (pretend you might buy it - don’t tell them why you want a test drive). Does it behave the same way yours does after the repair? If not, return to the service area and tell them that you are not satisfied with the repair. If they try to blow you off, ask to speak to the service manager. If you still don’t get satisfaction, speak to the dealership manger. All repairs are not done satisfactorily. Maybe yours was not done properly.

OK,the mystery deepens. I’ve been back to the dealer. First, nothing changed.
They said that there is nothing about this clamp replacement that could cause the insertion of the key or the feel of the steering to change. But I swear they did change. They said the keys were worn…but I have a fresh unused key which also binds. Basically I have to push key in pretty firmly in order to it to turn OK in the ignition. Does anyone know about the construction of this system, so that they could tell me whether the problems I am seeing could be caused by the dealer?

A second problem is that I am not sure that they have the ability to fix it, even if I were to be aggressive about it. They tried to program some new keys for me, and I had to tell them that the problem was that I had 5 keys–the limit. They wanted to put in a new computer.

Does anyone know whether this bracket replacement can affect steering feel or ignition key insertion?

Has The Dealer Agreed That Something’s Not Quite Right, Yet ? File A Complaint With NHTSA And While There See If Others Are Registering.


I took my 2001 Avalon to the dealer for the recall repair. The next day I realized that I could shift my automatic transmission even when there was no key in the ignition. I could park my car, leave it in neutral, lock it and walk away. Service manager said my key was worn, and wouldn’t engage the lock mechanism. Now I need to buy a new key? Because of the recall?

On my third trip to the dealer, they told me a piece in the recall kit had been reversed. They fixed it, and now it works fine.

I’m glad your persistence paid off. Did they charge you anything for the unneeded repairs they recommended? If so, get it back.