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Loose steering on new car

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Rook Bartley, May 24, 2021.

  1. Rook Bartley

    Rook Bartley Junior Member

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    Hi there. Just 2 weeks ago I got a brand new 2021 Prius (the LE AWD version if that matters). My previous car was a 2005 Prius that I drove for almost 16 years and put 209k miles on. I'm still sad that I parted with it, and I'm finding a lot of little things about the new car that I don't care for. The most serious issue I'm having is that the steering seems very loose compared to my old one. I didn't notice this on my test drive, but my test drive was at the dealership in a city and I don't live in the city. Most of the roads where I live are very twisty and I'm finding it very difficult to navigate S curves with so much play in the steering. Does anyone else with a 2021 Prius find that the steering kind of sucks? Does anyone know if this is something that can be adjusted? Is this just something I need to get used to? Missing my '05. Thanks for any ideas/opinions/etc...
     
  2. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    There has to be something wrong. The Gen 2 was so terrible to drive, I walked away quickly. Gen 4 is a dream to drive in comparison.

    I'd get it checked - check your tyre pressures - specifications are on your door pillar (and check the wheels are attached tight).
     
  3. FuelMiser

    FuelMiser Senior Member

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    Or, it could be that the power assist in the Gen 4 just makes the steering "feel" a lot lighter than a Gen 2. It's been so long since we've had our Gen 2 that I forgot how it felt. You probably just need to re-calibrate your muscles for the new lighter steering feel. The only thing we've noticed with our Gen 4 steering is that you hit the "stop" a lot more frequently. Perhaps due to the lightness of the power steering, you want to keep turning it into a tight corner and it hits the stop.
     
  4. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    Give it a little more time.
    I don't have much stick time in a G2, but "my" 2 G3 work cars steered like a pig on roller skates.


    I'm something of a critic of the G4, but they do seem to be fairly reliable and one of the things that they actually IMPROVED a little bit was road handling according to the same junior high school kids who write the automotive journals that used to poke fun at the previous generations.

    If you have a friend that owns a G4...get them to drive it and see if they think that your car is acting abnormally.
     
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  5. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Check the tire pressure to make sure they haven't left it up at the ~45psi used for the ship journey. That will make any car skittery.

    Just pointing it out as a frequently missed item on new car delivery checklists.
     
  6. Rook Bartley

    Rook Bartley Junior Member

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    Thank you for all the suggestions. I haven't checked yet, but I have a feeling the tire pressure is probably a bit high. I'll be going on a loooong road trip in a few weeks, so hopefully I'll grow used to how it drives, even if this particular trip won't be on very winding roads.
     
  7. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    High front tyre pressures - or one back tyre (or both) low will make it oversteer dangerously. Use the TOYOTA recommendation.
     
  8. Samuel Williams Jr

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    Uh oh? I'm gonna throw a flag on the field here. FWD car's do not oversteer. If you mess up, and have to crank in more steering input? A stock FWD car will understeer like a pig! The front tires will just wash out but the back end will not swap round. You will see the tree coming in the front window, and not the back. AKA old school Porsche 911. :)

    Japanese cars have always had light steering compared to German cars? Not a big deal as far as I am concerned. But if the OP does not like the way car feels on the OEM tires? Then change the tires. Just get a lower profile tire on the same rim. It will make a difference in how the car feel's. Been there done that. :)
     
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  9. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Not correct - my only major accident was in a Renault 12 Wagon, FWD - tyre pressures were wrong after rotating them, and the back snapped out like an arrow, I tried to correct and it snapped back the other way, sliding into a ditch and rolling. That's OVERSTEER.
     
  10. Samuel Williams Jr

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    OK yes you are correct that is "oversteer!" And I am glad you were not hurt :) But come on a Renault?? LOL, at best "death is riding shot gun?" I can match that and beat it down dollar for dollar! Even In the wet! Best handling car's in America was the Porsche 944. I have two both, with modded suspension's.

    My Normally aspirated 944 is intense and my 944 Turbo S is insane. Up graded adjustable sway bars front and back and double adjustable koni coil overs front and back on the 951 and 380hp. It will kill you if your are a fool, no problem!

    But for the back roads and canyons my tool of choice was my 92 Tercel. FWD and the suspension was built to the hilt. You had to counter steer, it hard to make the back end step out. And it was a monster in tight curve's and traffic circles!

    I got more tickets driving that thing then any of my other cars. The Prius is passive by comparison? I seriously doubt it is capable of "oversteer?" I have found it to understeer like a pig if you have to crank in more steering input, uh because some tool in a Camaro was not as fast as he thought he was! That was the only time our "Prius," got out of shape.

    But "oversteer" in a "Prius?" As they say in Missouri "Show Me." I don't see that happening?
     
    #10 Samuel Williams Jr, May 27, 2021
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  11. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    The Renault was about 10 years before the 944 - a good car for the time. It actually did well, the crash repairer was surprised at how solid it was - pointing to a Corolla in the yard (about '76-77) which had a similar, slow speed rollover, but far more extensive damage. My roof was pushed out so it wasn't "V" shaped, new screen, bonnet, side mirror and roof lining. And he was amazed the parts arrived within 4 days. Except the roof lining which arrived after I'd had it back a week.

    But it let go with a vengeance in an Oversteer reaction. When I got it back, I put the good tyres back on the back!!! Far more stable.
     
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  12. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    And you will check the tire pressures BEFORE you go in this trip.......right ?
    And if the pressures are OK, you will take it back to the dealer BEFORE this long trip.......right ??
    There could be something serious wrong.

    I recently had a rental car that had 70 PSI in 3 of the tires; 50 in the 4th one.
    It felt like driving on glare ice.
     
  13. Samuel Williams Jr

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    Yeah perhaps I overstated the Prius as regards oversteer? Maybe highly unlikely to "oversteer" is a better choice of words?

    But I don't know that car you speak of? Is it FWD,RWD where is the engine?
     
  14. Rook Bartley

    Rook Bartley Junior Member

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    Going to be honest here - I am not a "car person" so this has gone a bit technical for me. I looked up oversteer vs understeer but at this point, I couldn't tell you which it's doing, if either. I've just been driving around (very small) town at low speeds all week so the issue is not as noticeable. The completely non-car-person way I'd describe it would be that either I have to move the steering wheel further to get a result, or maybe it just takes more time for steering wheel action to translate to wheel action.

    Hopefully I'll be able to check the tire pressure today. As for taking it to the dealer, that's more difficult, as the dealer I purchased it from is 5hrs away, and the closest at all are 1.5-2hrs away. But if it still seems wrong, I'll try to find the time to get it seen. Meanwhile, I'll try to pay more attention to whether it's under or over steering...
     
  15. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    upload_2021-5-29_10-34-42.png

    I'd posted the photo in another thread yesterday. Was a great car - good boot space, FWD, nth/sth engine, well equipped for the time - height adjustable headlights from the driver's seat was one thing I remember.

    I'm surprised you haven't heard of it - 2½ million made + another 2 million in Eastern European countries. Made/assembled in at least 15 countries. Rallied with reasonable success as a GORDINI - 5th in class '73 MonteCarlo.
     
  16. Rook Bartley

    Rook Bartley Junior Member

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    I finally got the tire pressure checked and they were indeed all overfilled to around 50psi. So that's fixed but it will probably be the weekend again before I can really drive it anywhere to see if it's solved my issue.
     
  17. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    With 50 psi, you didn't have much rubber planted on the road. There are several essential items for car owners One is a functional tire pressure gauge. ;)
     
  18. Valiant V

    Valiant V Member

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    I find that even dealers - who supposedly know the care - and tire shops - who allegedly know tires - can't get tire pressure correct.

    Make sure you set your tire pressure to whatever the manual and/or sticker on the door frame says and see what it's like then.

    Just make it a point to trust no one but yourself when it comes to tire pressure.


    You may need to re-initialize your TPWS after properly inflating the tires.....
     
  19. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Contact the service manager? Tire pressures are supposed to be dropped to spec, along with a litany of other items, during the Pre-Delivery Inspection. Ask to see their checklist. At the least you might get some freebies, plus a proper PDI. They charge what $600~1000 for this??

    the question: what ELSE did they “mail in”?
     
  20. Valiant V

    Valiant V Member

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    I used to do "New car prep" at a Buick dealership back in the 70's-80's. The "PDI" isn't extensive - and not difficult. I'm sure Toyota has a detailed one, but I'd be equally willing to bet that the "Service Manager" doesn't police it's being followed very well.

    Consider too that the newest mechanic(?) at the dealership may get that "easy" job. That's what I started out doing. In that case, it's a matter of who that new guy learned his habits from - a pro with pride in a job well-done - or a schmuck who thinks is't "busy work".
     
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