2016 Prius Touring Alignment Issues

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Bikeman, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. Bikeman

    Bikeman Junior Member

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    Hi Gang,
    So we took the plunge and bought at beautiful red 2016 Prius Four Touring. This is our 4th Prius, and the difference is amazing. Love this car. We are however, having some issues with high speed handling on the road.

    Right after buying the car I noted that the steering was incredibly sensitive. It felt like you are balancing on a knife edge while driving at highway speeds of 75-80mph. It required constant adjustment to maintain a straight line and wanted to dart left or right when coming off-center with the steering wheel.

    I contacted my local dealer (Las Cruces, NM) and made an appointment for an alignment. Now dig this: I dropped it off to be informed that they do not have an alignment machine and that they would outsource it to Pep Boys. I agreed, they called me after having the car all day to inform me that Pep Boys didn't have any alignment specs so they did nothing. So nothing accomplished.

    We were in Tucson, Arizona, so I made an appointment with a dealer there. They called after a few hours and said the vehicle was grossly out of alignment and that they would align all four wheels. When I picked it up, the service manager said it would be a different vehicle, that it was way out front and rear, and the invoice said the car was realigned "due to improper assembly".

    A few days later we returned home and I have to say that it is an improvement, but it is still not right. The vehicle is very nervous, requiring constant input to stay in a straight line. In a strong crosswind it is literally almost dangerous, darting from side to side with absolutely no self centering to the steering.

    Is anybody else experiencing anything like this? I am considering taking it to a shop specializing in high performance alignment but am wondering what specs to request for re-alignment. Any input would be appreciated.
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    this is all covered by warranty, right?
     
  3. Bikeman

    Bikeman Junior Member

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    Yes, it was covered by warranty. They said Toyota would do one free alignment in the first 12k miles. But the problem is not resolved and I question if they can resolve it by aligning to standard specs. I think it needs more toe in, which may hurt mileage a bit, but would improve stability?
     
  4. wrprice

    wrprice Active Member

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    Not normal. Insist Toyota fixes it. Do not give any more business to a dealer that outsources simple things like an alignment.
     
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  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    call toyota customer service before spending any money.
     
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  6. kithmo

    kithmo Couch Potato

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    More toe in will make it worse, more toe out makes it more stable. It may not be the toe that's the problem it could be the caster or camber.
     
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  7. Bikeman

    Bikeman Junior Member

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    Well, it has been a saga since my last post. I ended up taking it back to the dealer in Tucson again, because the problem was just not resolved. They re-checked the alignment, said they tweaked it a little, and sent me on my way. No change, vehicle still feels very nervous, like I am balancing on a ball. So I called Toyota Customer Service. After much going round and round, I finally had an appointment with the Toyota FTS. Went for a drive with him last Thursday. Unfortunately, the traffic on the freeway was pretty slow, so we never really got up to speed. But I demonstrated my concerns, he drove it, brought it back to the dealership and put it on their alignment machine. He brought the car out afterwards and said the alignment was spot on, and that he was going to go drive a like vehicle for comparison's sake. The next day I got a call from Toyota saying that the car handles like it's supposed to and the case is closed.

    Where I am at is that if I cannot resolve this issue I do not want the car. I feel it is borderline dangerous at highway speeds, my wife won't drive it. I would never think of having a cocktail and getting behind the wheel as any cop tailing me would think I was drunker than a skunk, the way I wander down the road. I am so disappointed, all I can say if this is normal, they have truly screwed up what was a fabulous car. I mentioned taking it to a shop that specializes in high performance suspension setup, the FTS said to beware, that most shops would not be equipped to deal with it.

    So I sure would appreciate input from anyone knowledgeable with the new generation suspension and steering. I would love to fix it and drive this one for many years.
     
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  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Could they get another 2016 Touring for you to drive, for comparison?
     
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  9. Bikeman

    Bikeman Junior Member

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    Oh, yes. I forgot to mention that. I drove a new 2017 Prius Four Touring just like mine off their lot. It was rock solid, tracked straight and had great stability. Totally different from mine.
     
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  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    But Toyo rep is blind to the difference, that's not good.
     
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  11. kithmo

    kithmo Couch Potato

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    FWIW, mine is very sensitive to crosswinds at 70 mph but rock solid at 60.
    As I see it you have 3 options, 1) put up with it and drive slower, 2) have it looked at by a suspension tuning specialist and adjusted, or 3) try experimenting with tyre pressures. Softer rears tend to cause oversteer and harder cause understeer, I would try upping the rear pressures first. Would be interesting to know what pressures were in the one you drove off the lot and compare them to yours.
     
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  12. Bikeman

    Bikeman Junior Member

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    I'll give the tire adjustment a try. Also thinking of trying another tire completely. Will do research to find
    the most stable tire out there. Any suggestions?
     
  13. MikeDee

    MikeDee Senior Member

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    Maybe you have some binding somewhere in the steering. I had an International Scout that had ball joint adjusters put in the adjust the camber. It bound up the steering such that the vehicle was very nervous on the road. I had them taken out and it fixed the steering problem. Maybe your steering rack is defective or a suspension component is bound up.
     
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  14. Bikeman

    Bikeman Junior Member

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    You know, I have often thought just that very thing. The steering feels kind of sticky, it takes a set and stays there.
     
  15. Elektroingenieur

    Elektroingenieur Senior Member

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    I haven’t noticed any objectionable handling on my Three Touring.

    If you were to have adjustments made anywhere other than a Toyota dealer, it wouldn’t surprise me if Toyota were to disclaim further responsibility for alignment.

    To avoid this, you could take the car to an independent shop with an alignment system, but ask them only to road test it and measure the current alignment, without making any changes. (Be sure they write on their invoice that they did no adjustments, repairs, or disassembly.) You’d have to pay for this, of course, but it might identify the cause of the problem, and if they give you a clearly-written report, also establish that there is still a real problem. This may help you persuade Toyota and the dealer to try again.

    The alignment specifications (camber, caster, toe-in, etc.) for the Prius are in the Repair Manual (RM3200U) on techinfo.toyota.com (subscription required, starting at $15 for two days). See these topics:
    • SPECIFICATIONS: ALIGNMENT / HANDLING DIAGNOSIS: SERVICE DATA
    • SPECIFICATIONS: TIRE / WHEEL: SERVICE DATA
    • ALIGNMENT / HANDLING DIAGNOSIS: FRONT WHEEL ALIGNMENT: ADJUSTMENT
    • ALIGNMENT / HANDLING DIAGNOSIS: REAR WHEEL ALIGNMENT: ADJUSTMENT
    • TIRE / WHEEL: TIRE AND WHEEL SYSTEM: INSPECTION
    If you subscribe, you could also view and download Toyota’s technical training, which can be as valuable for understanding Toyota’s troubleshooting approach as for the technical content itself. The course materials also discuss some causes other than misalignment for handling problems; this may be your situation, since the alignment has already been checked. See these courses:
    • Course 453: Suspension, Steering and Handling
    • Course B503: Steering and Suspension — Analysis and Repair
    For a quick review of alignment geometry (not specific to Prius), see these free links:
    Especially if another repair attempt were to be unsuccessful or refused, it may be time to ask a lawyer about your rights, if any, under your state’s lemon laws, and if there are specific things you should do (or not do) to preserve those rights.
     
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  16. Bikeman

    Bikeman Junior Member

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    Wow, thanks for the well-thought out post, Elekroengenie. Lot of good ideas there. Now to find the time!!!!
     
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  17. Dillster

    Dillster New Member

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    I know this is an old thread but what was the fix on this issue? I have a 2017 prime with the same feeling in the steering and Toyota thinks I'm crazy in the head and says its in spec for the wheels and alignment. I've played with tire pressure and even changed tires with no change in the way it feels on the high way. The car never goes back to center and I'm always trying to keep it in the lane. Help??
     
  18. padroo

    padroo Senior Member

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    I have had bad experience with wheel alignment. Instead of taking it to the local guy look for someone who does frame and axle work and work on a lot of wrecked cars. They get the worst of the worst to fix. Make sure they do a four wheel alignment and have them test drive the car with you so they understand what is wrong.
     
  19. William Redoubt

    William Redoubt Senior Member

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    It's a lemon. Invoke the lemon law and get another car. This guy (Steve Lehto) can help you understand how to do it.
     
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  20. Sinful619

    Sinful619 New Member

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    I have a 2017 Prius with the same issue and have driven 40k miles without rotating the tires. The front tires are ruined worn from the inside completely as if there was too much negative camber. I believe that's where the issue begins. I'll post pictures
     
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