An investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found no defect with the electronic steering in 2009 and 2010 Toyota Corolla models.
The agency had investigated the Corolla (and the Toyota Matrix) for complaints of steering wander or poor on-center steering feel, based upon complaints submitted to the agency by vehicle owners.
Subsequently, Toyota released a technical service bulletin advising dealer service departments on how to address customer complaints of poor on-center steering feel, and has developed an optional control unit that improves steering feel on Corolla and Matrix models. Toyota's action to address consumer complaints was sufficient for the NHTSA to close the investigation into the Corolla's steering.
Closure of the complaint is good news for Toyota, which paid a record $48.8 million in fines to the NHTSA for delaying action on the unintended acceleration and steering rod defect recalls. The NHTSA, working with NASA, ultimately found that sudden acceleration was caused by pedal entrapment in floor mats, a sticking accelerator and human error only; the agencies could find no evidence of problems with Toyota's electronics.
The Corolla is one of Toyota’s most popular models, and a recall to fix the electronic steering would have impacted some 750,000 vehicles. It took the NHTSA almost 15 months to conclude their investigation, but their findings should help Toyota in their quest to rebuild consumer confidence in the brand.