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  1. #1

    '01 Prius Steering Column noise

    I'm at 62K and have noticed a progressively loud rubbing noise while turning (right or left), especially once the car warms up. Initially, the dealer said it was the tires rubbing, although I have not changed the size of the tires upon their replacement. Next, the dealer says it is possibly the brake rotors which, despite having over 50% left on the pads, may need turning.
    Anyone else having a similar problem?

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  3. #2

    '01 Prius Steering Column noise

    Karen: I feel like I'm listening to Klick & Klack ... Have you investigated the level of your power steering fluid or had your p.s. pump checked? Sounds like a possibility ... Good Luck!

  4. #3

    '01 Prius Steering Column noise

    We have the same problem on our '03 Highlander. Dealer has yet to identify the problem. They put some lubricant on the steering column, which gets rid of the noise temporarily, but it returns within a few weeks.

  5. #4

    '01 Prius Steering Column noise

    Our steering wheel vibraties badly when doing turns -- our dealer told us that the entire steering mechanism would need to be replaced for $1800 (OUCH!)

  6. #5

    '01 Prius Steering Column noise

    Our 2002 Prius (first non-Ford vehicle we've owned) has developed a pulsing/shake in the steering wheel when the vehicle got to about 40K miles. This condition is most noticeable when driving straight and making slight corrections to stay in the lane. Moving the steering wheel an inch or so would suddenly produce a "pulse" - almost like the power steering assist was giving an unwanted boost. It has been getting progressively worse over the last several weeks. My wife said that the steering also felt very loose. We had the steering aligned about four months ago. At that time there was no identified looseness nor was this steering problem present.

    My wife just got back from the dealership and they told her that Toyota already has a quality(?) program to remedy this condition in certain, but NOT all, Prius vehicles. I'm not sure what criteria Toyota used to determine who's Prius was going to get a free repair and who was going to get screwed paying such a huge repair bill - but the dealership said our car was not covered. They indicated that parts alone were going to run ~$1500! <

    To their credit, the dealership was going to discuss with Toyota's service division(?) the possibility of covering our Prius even though it falls outside Toyota's suspect vehicle population. I'm trying to be optimistic that Toyota will do the right thing and stand behind their product, but my wife is devasted at the thought of spending that much money to fix a Toyota Prius with such modest time in service and mileage. (We had been reveling in her foresight to buy the Prius when it was still this quirky unknown vehicle and gas was still comparatively cheap!)

    Toyota obviously has identified a quality issue with certain parts in, or the entire electronic power assist steering system (BTW - there's no hydraulic power steering pump on the Prius like more conventionally powered vehicles).

    When manufacturers bracket a specific group of vehicles it's because they believe that there was a specific start and end date to the given problem -"bookends" in the vernacular of the trade. Many times that decision is based on incident rates. That can be an effective way to manage these kind of problems, but you have to account for the same thing happening on a smaller number of vehicles outside of the "suspect population" ... like our Prius and others would appear to be.

    Toyota has already determined they have a steering problem with some of the Prius vehicles on the road and have committed funds to pay for most of the problem vehicles if/or when the condition develops. The right thing for Toyota to do for those early customers, who bought their Prius' before it became the popular thing to do and are not covered by the existing program, is provide a no cost repair for what Toyota must have decided are less frequent occurrences. Handle them on an "as-they-come" basis if Toyota thinks that is wise (they should have decided up front to cover all of these failures!), but keep these customers happy. It would be penny-wise-and-pound-foolish not to cover the minor additional costs on the Prius' that are less likely to experience the problem - but still experience the same failure.

    Prius owners are as enthusiastic and loyal a customer group as any. It would be ridiculous for Toyota to generate anger in this customer base in order to save a comparatively few dollars. If any Prius owner ends up paying ~$1800 for a steering repair that occurs shortly after the standard 36K mile warranty period ends, but still at very modest mileages - and that same repair is covered on a similar Prius built in the same model year(!) - well that destroys every financial and reliability motive to own and drive their car. That would leave owner feeling betrayed and angry. How would Toyota ever expect these people to brag about either the Prius car or Toyota's famed quality again?

    What kind of endorsement is, "Yeah, the technology is great ... but all the money I might have saved getting 50 miles per gallon I just spent because I had to pay $1800 to replace the new fangled steering system that failed at 40K miles ... oh, and Toyota fixed it for free on other Prius' but not mine!"

    If Toyota treats their Prius customers like this then they do not deserve to be held in the high esteem that they obviously worked decades to achieve. I really hope Toyota does the right thing for their customers!

  7. #6

    '01 Prius Steering Column noise

    Toyota agreed to cover the costs for the parts to fix the steering problem in our 2002 Prius. What a relief! We will still have to pay for the labor - $250.

  8. #7

    '01 Prius Steering Column noise

    Hi, Im in Australia and have a prius also that has this steering shaking problem, Toyota Australia just don't want to know about it and act like it's not their problem, can anyone tell me what the actual fault is. Is it in the steering colum or engine bay or what. Any help would be great.

  9. #8

    '01 Prius Steering Column noise

    My name is Bruce and my early 2004 Prius 11 is a real handful to drive at freeway speeds. It wandersand needs constant vigilance to maintain lane position. Tunnels are a white knuckle experience.
    Toyota denies the problem.
    Have tried a variety of tyre pressures to no avail.
    I have owned many cars in my 45 years of driving, none that handle as badly nor feels so unsafe.
    Any thoughts?
    PS Also an Australian!

  10. #9

    '01 Prius Steering Column noise

    RECALL... there is a steering system recall on Toyota vehicles.. including the Prius.

    Check with your local dealer.

  11. #10

    '01 Prius Steering Column noise

    The recall appears to cover Prius NHW20 model vehicles made in Japan between July 2003 and November 2005.

    My 2002 Prius with 73,000 km (About 43,000 miles) is not covered the recall nor Manufacturer warranty. The replacement part in Canada is
    $4700 and I have decided to proceed with
    the repair.

    I will not be keeping my Prius

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