Steering issue after curb drop

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by 134HP Bard Womyn Magnet, Nov 29, 2021.

  1. 134HP Bard Womyn Magnet

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    Vehicle:
    2014 Prius
    Model:
    Five
    So I was at a gas station that had a 4-foot island of random curb in the middle of almost a full block of curb cut. Right as I was pulling out, despite seeing curb cut to my left and right, I must have sensed something was off. I eased off at literally less than 1 MPH, just inching forward, front wheels were cocked to the right probably since I was joining traffic. The front dropped down and I heard a nice scrape/crunch. Did some maneuvering to make sure I didn't drop the rear wheels off too, and pulled out. The steering wheel was angled to the right about 30-40 degrees in order to go straight. Wanted to cry at such a stupid mistake!

    At the same time, I was also pretty shocked that such a slow roll off would have caused such damage. I know Prius had a pretty high curb weight for its size, and from what I heard I expected maybe a scratched rocker panel or bodywork, or at least obvious underside damage. Couldn't see anything. I called a repair shop and drove straight there. Within blocks, the steering got straighter and straighter as I drove, which frankly was bizarre. They put it up on the lift and couldn't find any damage, even showed me the entire area with a bright light. The guy gave me a card for an alignment place they used and told me it was probably just that.

    Could it simply be I screwed up the alignment? That crunch didn't sound great so I'm paranoid I bent something somewhere. If I loosen my grip on the steering wheel the car (and steering wheel) drifts VERY slightly to the right on the highway. No noises, no lights. If I brake (like a decent brake, say a red light) I feel like the steering wheel/front wheels pull to the right as I stop if I don't hold the wheel.

    Any thoughts on what to look into or should I just listen to the mechanic and get it aligned? Thanks!
     
    #1 134HP Bard Womyn Magnet, Nov 29, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2021
  2. tankyuong

    tankyuong Senior Member

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    Should be fine unless uneven tire wear
     
  3. 134HP Bard Womyn Magnet

    Joined:
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    Five
    Thanks for the reply. I would love the car to "track" straight though...and also just for my edification, wondering why the steering is off after this curb drop.

    At first I actually wondered if I damaged something in the steering, putting pressure on and bending something with the wheels turning right when the front end dropped off the curb. But it seems like things would be pulling to the left, if anything. Cue ancient memory of sliding a Jeep straight on into a curb (black ice) with the wheels turned to the right. I had to keep the steering wheel turned to the left afterwards for the front wheels to go straight. Don't know if it was column, rack/pinion or what, or something in the suspension...wondering if that's possible here.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    it might be all in your head, ptsd is real. but if you haven't had it aligned in awhile, why not go for it?

    they'll be able to tell you if there's any damage as well. how many miles on her?
     
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  5. Hokie-Dave

    Hokie-Dave Member

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    As stated above, an alignment shop should be able to tell you if you wacked it out of alignment. I hit a curb with my '07 a while ago going only a few miles an hour and bent a front control arm slightly, and steering was way off after the "impact". Had to have the front lower control arm replaced. Most likely you didn't bend anything if the tire / wheel are still OK.
     
  6. 134HP Bard Womyn Magnet

    Joined:
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    Five
    Thanks everyone.

    @bisco almost 149K! Got it used but seems to have good service records and drove well. I hear you on PTSD/psychosomatic steering issues. However, I was coming from a true beater and really relished my new-to-me Prius tracking so straight and true on the highway, so I don't think it's in my head. Who knows though.
     
    #6 134HP Bard Womyn Magnet, Nov 30, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2021
  7. Kenny94945

    Kenny94945 Active Member

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    Yes, very possible it is just an alignment..... yep, go to the referred shop.

    (Especially since you had inspected and there were no impact/ scratch marks on the suspension at al.)
    (Only other item that comes to my mind is a suspension bushing moved/ got damaged.)

    Good luck and let us know what you find.
     
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