Toyota Prius 2003 Steering problems


#1

When driving my 2003 Toyota Prius I have noticed that the steering wheel will start to vibrate,and I can not move it. Thus forcing me to stop the vehicle. It is only when I am turning and most commonly to the right, and happened more in the winter. I have taken it to the place where I bought it twice but they have found nothing wrong. PLEASE HELP!!



Chelsea


#2

sounds like you have a bunch of trash in the power steering system causing it to bind or the belt is slipping on the pump.check the belt tension if it’s tight have the power steering system flushed .


#3

a 2003? wow.

The vibrating/oscillating steering wheel is known in the US 2001-2002 Prius - there was even an extended warranty on the power steering assembly for it, for 5 years/unlimited miles. (A sample warranty notification letter is in the toyota-prius yahoogroup’s files section, which you’d have to be a member of the group to view at: http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/toyota-prius/files/2001Steering.pdf ) Ah, dirty sensors buried deep within the power steering assembly… Usually only noticed when the car is cold (started in the morning) and in reverse, infrequent at first, but may get worse/more common over time and even occur at low speeds going forward.

(The electric power steering assembly is about US$1600 to replace. Only covered by the basic 3 year/36,000 mile warranty otherwise, or an extended warranty if you have it.)

Those that have experienced the oscillation, have had problems getting their dealer to witness it to actually do a repair. You may have to leave your vehicle there overnight with instructions for them to start it first thing in the morning. Some have videotaped the event happening to them and their dealer accepted that as proof.

Although, I shouldn’t be too surprised that your 2003 is having problems, based on the extended warranty issued on the home market Japanese Prius:
issued September 2006:
http://toyota.jp/recall/kaisyu/060913.html
For the NHW10 and NHW11 Prius produced between 1997 December 4th and 2003 May 30th have their Japanese warranty extended from 5 years/100,000km to 9 years/unlimited miles for this component:
“In electromotive type power steering, when it is repeatedly used with the environmental condition high temperature being harsh, when contact resistance of the sensor (torque sensor) for power assist quantitative control of gear box section becomes unstable and e.g., in summer season long haul it is left at the garage, assist torque fluctuates, turns the steering wheel there are times when the steering wheel vibrates to chopping fine.” (translation thanks to http://translate.google.com/ ) The gear box and PS computer are exchanged. Too bad that the longer time and wider production dates of the Japanese extended warranty hasn’t been issued to the US!