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Toyota Corolla Being Reviewed For Potential Steering Issue

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In recent weeks Toyota has managed two major acceleration-related recalls covering much of its lineup; this week it announced a braking-related recall on its iconic Prius tech flagship; and now, looking ahead, Toyota might be facing a steering issue as well on one of its best-selling vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed to Automotive News that it is reviewing a large number of steering complaints concerning the electric power steering system used in 2009 and 2010 Toyota Corolla sedans.

Going back to April 2008, NHTSA has logged a total of 83 complaints so far related to the steering, according to AN, with 76 of these reporting that the vehicle would unexpectedly pull to the side at higher speeds.

In all, the complaints cite a total of six accidents and ten injuries due to the phenomenon, which is described as a strong pulling to the side, like being buffeted by crosswinds, requiring two hands on the wheel to maintain a straight path.

Beginning with the 2009 model year, Toyota replaced the previous hydraulic power steering unit in the Corolla with an electric one. Newer electric power steering systems typically include logic to correct for environmental variables like the crown of the road as well as crosswinds, although we're not sure if the system in the Corolla does.

The Corolla from those model years is already covered by both of Toyota's two major accelerator-related recalls—for pedal entrapment (floor mats) and for an issue with a sticky pedal mechanism.

The review stage might presage a formal investigation, which then might eventually prompt a safety recall.

2010 Toyota Matrix

2010 Toyota Matrix

Enlarge Photo

The 2009 and 2010 Toyota Matrix hatchback is closely related to the Corolla and thus might also be affected, as might the Pontiac Vibe. Both remain covered by the other two accelerator-related recalls.

According to Ward's, the supplier JTEKT Corp. produces electric power steering units for the Corolla, Matrix, RAV4, and Venza, along with the Lexus RX 350 and Pontiac Vibe. Previously, Toyota sources have confirmed to TheCarConnection.com that its EPS units follow a similar design across applications.

[Automotive News]

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Comments (13)
  1. Toyota is not having a good 2010
     
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  2. Talk about a bad couple of weeks! So far Toyota has not responded well to this problem at all.
     
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  3. Wow, not good times over at Toyota...
     
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  4. starting to feel like a bit of piling on here. "pull to the side at higher speeds" reported by 83 people since early 2008. any potential there may be some user error here?
     
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  5. @Autoboy, Front-wheel drive cars are going to pull to the side when you floor it. However, I think Toyota just became overconfident and too complacent. Remember GM?
     
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  6. Jeez, this is all getting too confusing to keep straight. Couldn't they just recall everything for everything? gaaaaaaaaaah ...
     
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  7. Torque Steer?
    It would be extra bad if the new RX got recalled ... that is Lexus's big seller.
     
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  8. If it's not a recall yet it sure sounds like it will be. After a few denials, maybe?
     
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  9. @Damien. You’re correct. The feeling that the front drive car pulls to the side when you get on or off the throttle quickly is called torque steer. If you think the Corolla is bad just because of electric power booster steering – not likely.
    When GM introduced the Oldsmobile Toronado with a 7 liter V8, there was lots of throttle-on steer. It required that the longitudinal engine / transaxle offset had to be eliminated by using a jack shaft that extended the passenger side CV joint equally far off center as the left side. That made the angles, as seen from the front, of the axle shaft and the wheel spindle to be the same.
    There are a lot of things that affect straight line stability on crowned roads or in cross winds. The whole three-dimensional picture of the front and rear suspensions has to be just right. Most European chassis engineers know how.
    Despite learning how to handle the torque steering for the 1966 big FWD car, GM’s people forgot the lesson when the 1980 X-cars were introduced. Those cars had an inline four or a V6 engine located crosswise. Even the V6 is puny compared to a big block V8. Torque steer was again due to unequal length axle shafts. It was a problem only with the manual transmission cars. Why? The sharpness of the power-on / power-off transitions are much worse with a clutch car compared to the torque converter car.
    Based on that experience, my guess is that the wayward Corollas have manual transmissions – and lopsided front geometry.
     
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  10. Torque steer happens under moderate to heavy acceleration and under load. The article doesn't say anything about pulling on acceleration so what does torque steer have to do with it? My guess is its a software problem?
     
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  11. Hyannis Toyota refused to repair the window re-call on my soon to be ex and never to purchase again Corolla or any other Toyota.What goes around comes around!
     
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  12. my 05 corolla had perfect steering at 100,000 miles.my 09 with 17000 miles is an accident waiting to happen especially at turnpike speed or in a crosswind.toyota fixed what was not broken.why?cheaper maybe.as rocket88 says its not torque steer nor transmission.mine is auto. toyota is going to get someone killed
     
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  13. They already have.
     
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