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Prius C Alignment issue

Discussion in 'Prius c Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by chrispdx, Jul 26, 2012.

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  1. chrispdx

    chrispdx Junior Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius c
    Model:
    Three
    So I purchased a Prius C 3 about a month ago, and ever since day one, I've had a nagging suspicion that the car was pulling to the left a tad. Finally it bugged me so much that I took it into the dealer, and lo and behold, there was a problem. The two front wheels were "pigeon toed" inward (defect from the factory), which they fixed.

    Now, the car is pulling to the right (when I have the steering wheel set dead-center), however if I let go of the wheel on a flat surface, say, a parking lot, the steering wheel settles at about a 3 degree turn clockwise and goes straight ahead. When I try to move the steering wheel back to "base" position, then it starts turning slightly right. I took it back to the dealer today and they told me nothing more was wrong. In fact, the service guy took me for a drive in my car with him at the wheel and driving down the road, the car was going straight with the wheel more or less level.

    Am I on crack? Is this normal? Do I forget about "base" on the steering wheel (which I define as "the Toyota Logo is perfectly level and the two yokes with the on-wheel controls are perpendicular"), and just let the car settle straight as it thinks it should? Is the fact that I'm an overweight guy (260lbs) factor into the equation?

    Part of me wants to take the car to another dealer for a second opinion. Part of me just wants to forget about it and enjoy my car. What should I do?
  2. Avi's Advanced Automotive

    Avi's Advanced Automotive Independent hybrid repair shop

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    Alignment refers to the process of hooking the wheels of a car to a machine which measures their position and making adjustments, if necessary, to bring them into the correct position, if possible. At some point in the process the steering wheel is supposed to be held in the straight position while checking if the wheels are pointed straight. If the wheels are adjusted straight while the steering wheel turned a little bit you will have the symptoms you describe. Also, normally, cars are set to pull to the left on a fat surface so that they will drive straight on the arched roads we drive on. I would see it they are willing to re-align it to remedy your concern, and it not, have someone else do it. Also, ask for the print out of the measurements. It is possible that the alignment equipment manufacturer has not provided an update for Prius c yet, this would make it harder to complete the alignment.
  3. Brendanlives

    Brendanlives New Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Binghamton, New York
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius c
    Model:
    Three
    I have one. The rear alignment has no way to be adjusted. Mine they say is bent. Caused by running over a pothole. I've been driving a long time. Never had an unfixable alignment due to hitting a pothole. I have no recollection of hitting anything. Car is brand new. I think these things have weak or already screwed up alignments.
  4. TrafficMPG

    TrafficMPG Junior Member

    Joined:
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    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius c
    Model:
    Two


    If the car "feels" good, then it is good. Don't focus on the steering wheel too much.

    It went straight with the mechanic in it. Enjoy the car.
  5. X HCH2

    X HCH2 Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Upstate SC
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius c
    Model:
    Two
    All cars have a simple tie rod adjustment to center the steering wheel. Just find someone who knows what they are doing.
    X
  6. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    Location:
    Northern California
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II


    Most cars with el-cheapo twist beam rear suspension such as the Prius has can have their rear alignment corrected with shims. I haven't looked up a listing for the C, but the exist for the Gen II and III, probably do for the C.

    There is no alignment done at the factory, the parts are bolted together and of they are all in spec, the alignment is supposed to be good. There is some doubt about the reliability of that on other Prii, I doubt the C is any better.
  7. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    Location:
    Northern California
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II


    A competent alignment shop could align your front end to compensate for your weight. But then it would pull with a light weight driver.
  8. alexjeppson

    alexjeppson New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
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    Your Vehicle Year:
    2013 Prius c
    Model:
    II
    I've been having the EXACT same issue. I test drove a Pruis C 2013 and decided I wanted a different color. They went to the warehouse and found the color I wanted, brought it back and I never test drove that specific car. Obviously I am kicking myself now for not first test driving the car they brought because the second I drove the car off the lot it was pulling hard left. I brought it back immediately and the service rep told me they have been having issues with the alignment pulling a little left out of the factory. Due to how busy the dealership was that day (Toyota Santa Monica) I was scheduled to come back the next weekend to resolve the issue. I came back, they took my vehicle into the shop, and when I got the car back it was still just as bad. I called them back the next day after driving it a little just to make sure it wasn't just me. I brought it back the next weekend and they tried again. When I got my car back 2 hours later, IT WAS JUST AS BAD!! I brought it straight back AGAIN and the manager went on a drive with me and I showed him how if the steering wheel was lined up straight the car drifted right, and if I tried to set the car on a straight path, the wheel would settle a few degrees to the left and eventually pull left after about 20 to 50 feet. They tried to fix it again that same day and guess what happened.. STILL JUST AS BAD!! I immediately called the service rep again and was then told that actual alignment program for my model was not in their machine yet due to how "new" my car is. I gave them the benefit of the doubt and brought it back in AGAIN the next weekend. They tried to fix it again (now with the supposed correct alignment program) and when I got it back.. STILL BAD!! At this point I was very frustrated and called service to insist this car is a lemon and they need to give me a new one. They asked for one more chance to fix it so I gave it to them. I brought my car back in 3 days later and they said I needed a new rear bar assembly and changed it. When I got the car back (three days later), it seemed to be better on city streets... but as soon as I got on the freeway, the vehicle started washing 2 to 3 feet back in forth at speeds over 60 mph and the wheel still settled a few degrees off to the left and would eventually pull left on a flat surface. I came back and took a service manager on a drive with me and he threw ever excuse in the book at me as to why it was going off a little.
    Excuse 1: There is a crown in the road.
    Excuse 2: With only one person in the car, the weight is not evenly distributed (I only weigh 160 lbs).
    Excuse 3: It doesn't seem to be happening all the time.

    Unfortunately for me, the 10 freeway near Santa Monica almost always has traffic so I couldn't get the car up to a high enough speed to show how obvious the problem still was. I told him it might be okay but I would need to drive it on the freeways at a higher speed some more to be sure. After a day, it was obvious to me that the alignment was still just as bad. I called the service rep again and am now being told that they can only make appointments for lemon law inspections during the work week. So now I have to miss a day of work just to prove something which is obviously an issue with more then just MY Pruis C. They better give me a working car or I'm going the the BBB with this. Technically they only get 3 chances to fix the problem and I gave them 4 (2 of which were on the same day). Enough is enough. I'm not wasting any more of my Saturdays trying to get the NEW CAR I PAID FOR!!!
  9. nubomb

    nubomb Junior Member

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    Location:
    somewhere
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius c
    Model:
    Three


    Don't think your on crack and I don't consider myself overweight at 200 :) My car does the same thing. Drives straight but steering wheel is tilted towards the right. I can see it by looking at the top of the steering column (if that's what it's called).
  10. ztanos

    ztanos All-around Geek!

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    Location:
    Duluth, Georgia
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius c
    Model:
    Four
    You can take it in and have them re-position the steering wheel. Sounds like it was installed off kilter.
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