Disturbing Steering Rack Situation

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by OrphanageExplosion, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. OrphanageExplosion

    OrphanageExplosion Junior Member

    Feb 2, 2014
    2007 Prius
    I took my 2007 Prius into the Toyota garage last week to get new brake pads and discs (highlighted at the last service as needing replacement after a further 5k miles) and to correct a 'drift' to the steering, where a centralised steering wheel would cause the car to move to the left.

    After around 3.5 hours, the service assistant popped out to say that re-adjusting the steering had caused the entire system to seize and that the car was undriveable. It would take £1000 in parts and labour to replace the steering rack. As the car is only worth around £4,000, I informed the assistant basically, they have written off my car. I was offered a potential scrappage deal against a new vehicle (!!!), or that more hours could be sunk in to put the steering back to where it was originally - ie still drifting to the left.

    Obviously I wasn't happy and escalated a complaint to management. Within five minutes, the manager came out and said that the issue had been fixed, the car wasn't dangerous to drive and would pass an MOT. I was told that the thread had corroded but luckily where it was fixed now had corrected the initial fault and the steering wasn't seized any more - BUT - the steering would never be able to be adjusted again without a replacement. Having been initially shocked, I was just happy to get a working vehicle to take home.

    However, the more I think about it, the more something isn't right here. Surel, the rack is a toothed rod which engages with a a toothed gear wheel, which is controlled by the steering wheel. Turning the steering drives the rack left or right which changes the steering. As I understand it, these are normally lubricated and sealed for life. So what had corroded, what thread is being talked about and how did a catastrophic issue get resolved within five minutes me of kicking off?

    The car is old and I am intending to move onto another vehicle - most likely a full electric, which unfortunately rules out another Toyota (the Prius has been the best car I've ever owned). My concern now is that this issue is on the car's Toyota record, affecting its value when I'm not entirely sure if there is an issue at all. I'd appreciate any insights!
    bisco likes this.
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    May 11, 2005
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Plug-in Base
    how many miles on her?
  3. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

    Mar 8, 2008
    Green Valley, AZ
    2015 Prius
    The front suspension toe-in is adjustable. Tie-rods at the ends of the steering gear are threaded to allow adjustment of the overall length.

    Hence, my insight is that you need to get under the car to inspect the steering gear where it connects to the tie-rods which then connect to the front steering knuckle assemblies, and see if you can confirm the corrosion at the threaded tie rods that was described to you. Without seeing the vehicle, it is hard to say whether the findings of your mechanic are good or bad.