really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
96,632 miles

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« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #15

Jul 202010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 68,800 miles
1. recently, the steering started shaking violently periodically upon turning 2. the steering periodically shakes violently and it becomes difficult or impossible to steer the car 3. I contacted the dealer and the Toyota executive offices and they "declined participation" updated IVOQ 11/02/10

- Penngrove, CA, USA

problem #14

Jul 022010


  • 107,400 miles
Severe shaking in steering of 2002 Prius. Also encounter loss of power steering for a short time 4 different times. Taken to dealer 3 times !St two times I was told it just needed grease on the steering column. 3rd time was told it needed $3400 of working and that the car was dangerous to drive. Car had approximately 107,000 miles the third time I took it in. After I contacted Toyota Corp. The dealer called to say he would work with me on the price, but I can not trust him to do the work. It has not been fixed yet I had ask the service manager if the car was safe to take on a long trip the 2nd time I took it in and he said yes. It was on the way back from the trip that I loss power steering driving on I95. Thankfully I was able to control the vehicle until power steering resumed.

- Little Egg Harbor, NJ, USA

problem #13

May 152010


  • 60,000 miles
My 2002 Toyota Prius's electronic motor steering assembly stops working after approximately 1hr of driving at highway speeds. At 75 miles per hour, warning lights turn on and steering assist fails. Steering the car from the road is incredibly difficult. After turning the car off and back on, the steering works once again. The car is not safe to drive as the steering fails unexpectedly at high speeds. The dealer states that the fix will cost $3200, which is over half of the vehicle's kelley blue book trade-in value.

- Boone, NC, USA

problem #12

May 312010


  • 93,000 miles
The electronic power steering assembly malfunctions and stops providing assistance to the driver on a 2002 Toyota Prius, on one instance the gasoline motor stopped working and I was left driving at low speed with the assistance of the electric motor only. The latest incident occurred on May 31st, 2010 while driving at about 65 mph on a freeway, the car lost the power steering operation, multiple warning lights came on the screen, the gas motor shut down and the speed of the car dropped to around 23 mph. The accelerator pedal was responsive only in the range of 0~23 mph. I took the car to a service center and the service advisor told me the electric power steering module was defective and needed replacement. Reviewing the service records for the cars I found that it presented the same symptoms once in 2006 and three times in 2008. The service center either cleaned a sensor or couldn't replicate the problem. The part was never replaced. While researching NHTSA site I found that Toyota has file tsbs back in 2004 recognizing a problem with this particular component and in some cases extended the warranty on the part. I contacted Toyota and they refuse to assist in the cost of the car repair.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #11

Mar 292010


  • 103,000 miles
I complained to the dealer multiple times about shaking in the steering column. After several inspections where they found nothing, I told them to check the rack & pinion. They found that to be the cause. Toyota paid for the new parts and I paid for the labor to get it replaced. Less then 13 months later, I have had multiple incidents of my power steering going out making it very difficult to drive the car. The dealer acknowledged there is a problem, again, with the rack and says I need to replace it.

- Castro Valley, CA, USA

problem #10

Aug 152008


  • 59,516 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6). To whom it may concern, I was attempting to make a left turn in my 2002 Toyota Prius traveling approximately 30mph when the steering wheel suddenly locked. I did manage to slow the car down and forced the wheel into completing the turn after hearing a cracking sound. I was told that the vehicle had a faulty sensor and the entire steering rack had to be replaced. I had just exited the highway and was lucky there were no other vehicles or pedestrians around. This situation occurred 08/15/08. This is after I had brought in both my 2002 Prius and my 2002 Toyota highlander in for numerous sensor defects that were either fixed or replaced. I continued to have problems with my Toyota highlander as well. The last issue with this vehicle was oil the constant loss of engine oil. To be more detailed, I lost 8 quarts of oil in approximately 2000 miles. There was no explanation given considering there were no visible signs of leak or burning. This was the reason I no longer own this vehicle but unfortunately still own the Prius. [xxx]

- Oakland Gardens, NY, USA

problem #9

Jan 152010


  • 40,000 miles
Steering wheel shakes violently when backing up and turning wheel. Happens randomly. Sometimes not for months. In January 2010 it happened three times in one week. Toyota dealership is unresponsive saying they cannot duplicate the problem.

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #8

Jul 152003


  • 39,161 miles
I have a 2002 Toyota Prius that I've had for some 7 years. The steering is very sensitive making it necessary to always attend to accuracy in steering. I thought that this was a chacteristic of the design, but now I wonder if this is actually a manufacturing defect because of reports I see on other models" ""if you take your eyes off the road for a second, the car will drift into another lane, " said one driver an Oct. 18 complaint. Another describes it as the most terrifying thing that ever happened to them." This describes my experience.

- Lompoc, CA, USA

problem #7

Oct 092009

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Tla contact owns a 2002 Toyota Prius. While driving approximately 35 mph on normal road conditions, suddenly, the steering wheel began to shake violently with excessive vibration. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer. The failure was contributed to the steering mechanism chip. The vehicle was not repaired for the malfunction. On a separate occasion the steering wheel locked without warning. The driver forced the steering wheel to the right as a result of the wheel unlocked. The vehicle was able to resume to normal operation. At this time the vehicle is not being driven due to the potential safety hazard. The failure mileage was unknown. The VIN was unavailable. Updated 03/01/10 the consumer stated when the weather was cold, the steering wheel would shake violently. The shaking would stop when the wheel was straightened. The dealer informed the consumer there was a problem with the computer chip. Updated 07/19/10

- Marionville, MO, USA

problem #6

Oct 262008


  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Prius. While driving less than 65 mph, the emergency and power steering indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The power steering would lock and the contact was able to maneuver the vehicle off the highway. Once the vehicle was shut off and restarted, the warning indicators would no longer illuminate; however, there was a lot of play in the steering. The manufacturer stated that the VIN was not included in any recalls; therefore, they would not assist with the liability of the repairs. The failure and current mileages were less than 96,000. Updated 3/16/09 the consumer stated there was an occassional shimmy in the steering wheel. Updated 03/19/09.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #5

Dec 292008


  • 70,400 miles
While on a trip and after start up on a cold morning, I left the hotel parking lot and was proceeding to the on ramp for the interstate. While I was turning left, the steering wheel began to shake violently for 3-4 seconds before it subsided. I noticed this shuttering or stiffness a few more times before we returned from our trip. After returning home, we took it to a Toyota dealer. They checked it out and stated, "checked to find power steering rack & pinion gear is causing problem est $2160.85. Would need to order part # 44200-49055."

- Owensboro, KY, USA

problem #4

Dec 102008


  • 87,933 miles
On cold days when the car is first started the steering wheel shakes uncontrollably when put into reverse or drive. The car has to be turned off and restarted to get it to stop. This continues when restarted. The car cannot be driven due to this shaking of the steering wheel.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #3

Aug 042008


  • 73,000 miles
2002 Toyota Prius, this car suffers from an intermittent steering shake. What happens: Often at parking lot speeds and some times at highway speeds, the steering pulses violently and steering control is temporarily lost.

- Keene, NY, USA

problem #2

Jun 292008


  • 129,847 miles
Intermittent severe steering wheel movement at low speed and steering failure which illuminated the ps failure light. Steering was difficult after failure. System reset after ignition turned off. Still have severe wheel vibration. Toyota dealers state an internal failure in the rack and pinion.

- Westerville, OH, USA

problem #1

Jul 162004

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,932 miles
Just wanted to alert you that there may be a potential defect with the torque sensor, which affects the power steering. I recently encountered this in my 2002 Toyota Prius with 43,000+ miles on the vehicle. \ basically, there are no preceding symptoms before the power steering fails. Upon failure, the Prius central color touchscreen lcd display shows three icons, with the "ps" icon in red. You will also see an exclamation point icon lit on the green lcd display next to the speedometer. At which point, you have no power steering and the car will be hard to steer. \ when this occurs, there may be a temporary fix, which worked for me. Pull over to a safe area and turn off the car. Wait 30 seconds, and then turn on the car. You have effectively rebooted the Prius computer system with the torque sensor, and the power steering should return for the time being. \ the vehicle should be taken to the nearest official Toyota service shop (aka dealership) and have them run a diagnostic check. They should see code "C1513 torque sensor abnormal" in the Prius' memory banks. Then sit down for the price tag: $3159 - $4,160 to replace the entire power steering rack, since the sensor is integrated in the rack itself. This includes the labor of about $261. \ it is recommended not to accept any "cost coverage offer" from the service shop until you call the Toyota consumer support line at 1-800-331-4331. Make sure you have a service quote from the shop, then call the support line and complain. The support line will assign you a case worker and provide a case number. They will contact the shop and make arrangements to repair the vehicle. Toyota covered the cost of the part 100% for me, and all I had to do was pay for the labor since my car was out of warranty per the 36,000 bumper-to-bumper coverage. \ in conclusion, I am very happy on how Toyota handled the power steering issue. This is to inform other 2000-2003 Prius owners if they encounter a similar problem.

- Raleigh, NC, USA