2003 Steering Column Broken?!

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by Cara, Jun 22, 2020.

  1. Cara

    Cara Junior Member

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    2003 Prius
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    I think my car, at 204,073 miles, is done. Months ago, the steering wheel started creaking when I would turn it. Last week something inside the steering wheel began rattling a bit. When the tires are straight, the steering wheel is almost upside down. The power steering seems messed up because turning the car is a lot of work. Today it froze up mid turn in a parking lot. I can still make turns with it, left turns are particularly hard. I have to take turns slow or the wheel starts locking up. I did get the recall pinion done in 2012. I have had the engine and the triangle light on since last year and and back then a mechanic told me my hybrid battery cells are dying. I know the car is dying and it’s not safe to drive but I’ve had it for 12 years. I’m torn as to wether to take it in and fix it or just sell it for parts to someone and get a newer one. Does this sound like an expensive repair? I don’t know much about fixing cars but it seems to me this is not going to be worth it. Any ideas? Also, know any good Prius mechanics near DC?
     
    #1 Cara, Jun 22, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
  2. WHCSC

    WHCSC Member

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  3. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    You have told the exact story, including "harder to turn left", of the Gen 1 Prius pinion nut, as described here.

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    There was a recall. If it was never done, you have an easy fix. If it was done and the replacement has now failed, there is no second repair; it needs a replacement steering rack.

    Either way, the job is labor intensive. Replacing the nut(s) might sound like less work but it's more: the rack still needs out of the car first, and then the nut replacement was a very challenging job with significant chances of failure, resulting in having to replace the rack. Some people went in for the nut recall and drove home with new racks after the nut procedure had defeated the dealer techs.
     
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  4. kalen

    kalen New Member

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    Jun 23, 2020
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    Vehicle:
    2002 Prius
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    The steering wheel power transmission also shuts down as an automatic preventive measure and stems from the sensors trying to keep the car from being further damaged by moving. This happened to me when I had problems, thinking it was the steering shaft. It was just the car kicking into extra safety mode and the issue was something else. Find out what the codes are and fix that, and or clear the codes and the power steering should come back.
     
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