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Toyota Corolla Steering Problems May Lead to Another Recall

  • Written by: Staff Writers
  • 23 Comments

A growing number of complaints over steering problems with Toyota Corolla vehicles has sparked a federal investigation, and may result in yet another Toyota recall. The troubled auto-maker has already recalled millions of vehicles in recent months over defective gas pedals, floor mats and problems with brakes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received about 150 reports from 2009 and 2010 Corolla owners who say they have encountered difficulty steering at high speeds. Last Wednesday, U.S. Department of Transportation officials said that they are planning to open an investigation into the Toyota Corolla steering problems.

The Corolla uses electric-assisted steering, which is a cheaper version of power steering that uses an electric motor to reduce the amount of torque the driver needs to exert on the steering wheel to turn the vehicle. According to federal investigators, Corolla owners have been complaining that they have had times where it suddenly became very difficult to steer the car, as though the system temporarily stopped working.

Toyota officials say that if there is a problem, it is most likely related to the braking system or tires. The company has said that they will recall the vehicle if necessary, but have not yet issued a Toyota Corolla recall.

The Corolla is the second-most popular Toyota model in the United States, with sales of 300,000 vehicles here last year. Only the Toyota Camry sold more. Federal investigators say their investigation could potentially affect 500,000 Toyota Corollas currently on the road.

The spectre of a Toyota Corolla recall comes just before officials from the Japanese automaker are scheduled to appear at a congressional hearing on February 24. The hearing will focus on Toyota acceleration problems linked to problems with gas pedals and floor mats causing vehicles to speed up out of control. The sudden acceleration has resulted in accidents throughout the United States, and at least 34 deaths have been linked to the issue.

In September 2009, a Lexus and Toyota floor mat recall was issued for 3.8 million vehicles that contained certain all-weather floor mats, which Toyota indicated could get stuck under the gas pedals, causing unintended acceleration. In January, Toyota issued another recall for 2.3 million Toyota vehicles due to a mechanical problem that was causing some gas pedals to stick.

U.S. lawmakers say they want to determine how long Toyota knew about the problem before taking action.

The Toyota accelerator pedal recalls have resulted in more than 60 Toyota lawsuits, including over a dozen wrongful death and personal injury claims.

Just this week, a $100 million Toyota wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the company in the 122nd District Court in Galveston, Texas, by the family of Kenneth and Janice Berg. The couple died on February 24, 2009 in Clear Lake City when their 2009 Toyota Camry smashed into a poll. According to the lawsuit, witnesses said it appeared the vehicle suddenly accelerated out of control.

Photo Courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/danielctw/ / CC BY 2.0

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23 comments

  1. Gary Reply

    “…Corolla owners have been complaining that they have had times where it suddenly became very difficult to steer the car, as though the system temporarily stopped working.”

    I own a 1989 Acura Legend which exhibits a similar flaw. If I were to work steering wheel inputs from left to right repeatedly, my power steering can not keep up, effectively eliminating power assist. I suspect this flaw exists in LOTS of cars. But after 220,000 miles it’s safe to say the flaw has not prevented safe operation of my car.

  2. Anony Reply

    “…when their 2009 Toyota Camry smashed into a POLL.” Someone wasn’t proofreading. I think you meant to say that it “smashed into a POLE.” That is, unless the car ran into a Gallup polling venue.

  3. Jose Reply

    Toyota Corolla – Alternator/Steering issue.
    I have a 2009 Corolla. One day as I was driving on the freeway the steering became very tough. I got off the freeway looking for a gas station thinking I needed to fill the tires with air. By the time I got to a station it was almost impossible to steer into it. I checked the tires but they were fine. Scratching my head I tried to turn the car back on. It wouldn’t start. still under the 30,000 mile warrenty it get’s towed to the dealer where they replace the battery. One month later the same thing happens. It get’s towed to the dealer again and they find out that the Alternator is shot. Why didn’t they investigate that in the first place since the car started dieing while I was driving it???

    Now, everytime I come to a stop, it feels like the car is going to stall. It does a short, temporary rough idle before settling to a smooth idle. Sometimes when start driving it out of my driveway or from work there is a ticking sound on the roof of the car. Not a ticking sound like a clock, but one that sounds like small rocks hitting a thin sheet of aluminum. i think it’s time to take it back to the dealer so the rough idling and the ticking can be documented.

  4. Paul Reply

    I think this is all political, why dont you go investigate and report about all the other manufactuers that have recalls. This is just a ploy by Government Motors to try and boost domestic sales. You cant tell me that with all the other auto manufacturers out there that they dont have any recalls at all.

  5. Ray Reply

    When we bought our new Toyota Corolla last fall we thought there was something wrong with the steerin and took it back to the dealer the next day. The service manager told us there was nothing wrong with the steering and went on a drive with us and told us the electronic power steering was far superior because it would improve our gas milage because the moter did not have to drive a belt. We bought the story because I thought it sounded reasonable. The steering is unpredictable and you must be constantly on guard while driving. We want out of this deal ;but see no way to get our money back.

  6. Christopher Reply

    I had similar problems with my 2008 Toyota Corolla. I took it to the dealer and told them that every time I stopped at a redlight or something the car would cut off. They test drove it and told me that nothing was wrong, but it continued to do it. I tried many times to schedule a time for them to fix it as it only had 30,000 miles and I bought the additional 6 year 100,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty but they wouldn’t answer the phone ever. I was on my way to one of my College classes on a nice sunny day on Sept. 2nd 2009. when suddenly on a straight stretch that I was doing the speed limit on I suddenly couldn’t steer it and crossed the center line crashing head on with another vehicle. The other driver was allright but I suffered 2 fractured hips, I broke my back in 4 places, my left wrist was broken, I broke 3 ribs and my nose. I had my seatbelt on as always and the airbag deployed (Which broke my nose) I couldn’t figure out how I wrecked. I didn’t know what could have happened to make me wreck on a straight stretch on a sunny day doing the speed limit looking straight ahead….until I heard about the steering problems with Corollas and my car cutting off. I urge anyone who has this problem or has had this problem to first STOP driving it immediately and contact a lawyer if you,ve been ignored by Toyota.

  7. Donna Reply

    PLEASE HELP!! I have a 2007 Toyota Camry, and just tonight I was on the highway going to pick up my daughter going about 67 mph. My car had a sound that sounded like a soft pop, sounded like it came from the front driver side wheel. then it jerked to the left very fast! i slowed down very quickly and was able to steer the car back into my lane so I could pull over on the shoulder because it terrified me! I turned the steering wheel from the left to the right several times and heard nothing. The wheels seemes like they were turning like they should with the steering wheel. I was scared but I had to pick up my daughter. when I proceeded it steered properly at first. when I was driving I was going about 45 -47 in a 65 MPH zone because I was so scared, the car began to feel like it was swaying left to right as I accelerated and pulling to the left frequently! almost like it was over correcting its self! took it to the closest garage and the jacked the car up and seen nothing wrong in the front end and they also checked the rear end. They looked all underneath the vehicle. Nothing was broken and the bushens lookedd fine.They drove the car and said that there is something deffinatly wrong with it! I am very scared to drive my camry and I just got it back for 2 recalls that was done on the car! anyone else have this problem?? I will be at my local dealer in the morning when they open!!! I have searched the internet and I cant find a duplicated issue on the 2007 Camry’s!

  8. Yolanda Reply

    Purchased a 2010 Corolla on 12/26/10. (My 4th Toyota) While driving 9 miles into my drive home on the freeway @ 65 mph my car started to hydroplane/felt like driving on ice and the steering was difficult to stay in the lane. It veered L to R, I was fighting with the wheel. It was the scariest drive ever. Toyota regional say the car on 3/17/10, sd the steering was normal. On 4/4/10, Easter sunday, it was raining and windy. Hydroplaning with loss of steering and felt like my car was driving on casters in the lane. TOYOTA HAS TO DUPLICATE THIS BEFORE THEY CAN FIX IT, IF THEY CAN. ABRITRATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 105 CALLS SINCE 12/26/09!!! ENOUGH!

  9. John Reply

    I have always been a Toyota customer since 1973 and have owned many Toyotas both new and used. I can’t remember ever having a problem with any of them. Enter 2010. I bought a new 2010 Corolla in January. When I drove it off the lot it had 9 miles on it. I was driving home on the highway and about 20 minutes into the drive my car started to veer on the road. Just as I was pulling it off to the side my right front tire blew. Fortunately we did not have an accident. I took it back to the dealer for a new tire. As the days passed I noticed that the car would not stay straight on the highway. I had to constantly correct the steering and fight for it to stay straight. I took it back to the dealer and they worked on it for a few days. Had to readjust the toe-in and other adjustments. I will admit that the drive had improved dramatically but to this day I still have a steering problem although not as bad as before. My last new Corolla was in 2008 and I had no problems at all with it. I am waiting to see if a recall is made on the steering of this vehicle because it still is not right for a new car.

  10. scott Reply

    my 2010 corolla steering is not right.On the highway i am always making small corrections to keep the car straight. If its windy when on the highway this car is borderline dangerous.The dealer is of no help they dont have a fix .Iowned a subaru justy that was better on the highway than this car

  11. Donna Reply

    I just bought a 2011 Camry- I am having the exact same problem- Car veers left at highway speeds, hard to control, constantly needs correcting to stay straight. Dealer has realigned 3 times, balanced tires- still the same problem. Headquarters is no help so far. Back to the dealers today, this is the last time. I cannot continue to drive this car.

  12. Ann Reply

    I just bought a 2011 Toyota Corrolla in March, 2011. Since I bought it I have had a number of steering issues with it. In high wind sheer the vehicle steering is hard to control and needs constant driver correction at the wheel. Also, at high speeds the car tends to veer off the road. I reported this to my local Toyota dealer, along with these reports. They agreed to check the problem, and today April 18, 2011 they evidently repaired the steering. I am worried this problem is going to re occur judging from all these posts. Any suggestions?

  13. Tony Reply

    These new Toyota vehicles have column mounted electric steering in them. They all have absolutely horrible road handling. The steering is loose and wobbly at all speeds from parking lot to highway. The reason for this is the mechanical design of the steering system. The column mounted electric steering in them uses a worm gear in the design. This design does not allow the steering wheel to self center at any speed and makes for extremely sloppy road handling. Very tiring and nervewacking to drive. The road handling had absolutely nothing to do with the programming/tuning/ECU unit. It is entirely a mechanical issue. Toyota has lied about this problem. Toyota’s decision to use these new steering systems is entirely a profit based decision. They are very cheap systems. Yes Toyots the all popular brand of car manufacturer is now making cars that drive like absolute ans utter and complete crap. Super sloppy unstable steering that is truly unbfixable. Buyer be warned and beware there is no “fix” for this problem. There is nothing they can do with a recall either. These cars are designed to drive as I described earlier. Dont believe me then go ahead and continue living in fantasy land. FYI there is an abundance of Toyota company trolls lurking on every major message board debating with people such as myself when we are critical of the steering and handling in these new Toyota cars. I’m not real happy with this company. I attempted to get them to repurchase my 2009 Corolla and they refused. I wish I could sue them.

  14. berrest Reply

    i purchase a 2008 toyota camry the car is only four years old with only
    21000 mls on the clockand i have a problem with the clunking noise in my steering and it is getting louder and louder i think toyota should have a recall on this problem what are we going to do.i also wentand buy my next toyota venza2012 i hope i dont have this problem with my new venza

  15. Bob Reply

    I went into buy a Camry 4 weeks ago and looked under the hood and low and behold there was no steering column. NO STEERING COLUMN!!! So I went next door and bought a Honda Accord WITH a steering column. I don’t care if the steering is power assisted with hydraulics or electro servo motors, but to not put a rack and pinion in with a mechanical steering column is simply needless. Electronic steering is more expensive to install than a rack and pinion.

    Also, I don’t trust the programmers at Toyota, particularly after the jammed accelerator fiasco on the Lexus in 2009. There has already been recalls and complaints about drifting at high speed, oh, that’s nice, and tight turn lock-up necessitating towing.

    This is a case of over engineering something that worked great.

    The software designers at Toyota did not implement feedback to the steering wheel so that you can assess road feel. So driving the totota is like driving a video game or a WII except you are inside a steel, glass and plastic projectile that thinks it can steer better than you.

    1) it increased the cost of the vehicle,
    2) no road feed back
    3) it is less reliable than rack and pinion
    4) it already is being recalled
    5) it wasn’t necessary
    6) I dispute that it reduced the fuel consumption, (anyway if Toyota is relying on that to sell this they are hard up)

    I owned an 83 Tercel, an 89 Corolla, and a 2006 Camry. I was going to buy a 2012 Camry and refused based on 1 reason. I will not drive a car whose steering wheel is not attached to the wheels.

  16. Jerry Reply

    I purchases a 2011 Toyota Camery. The car is good except for thr steering. It drives and handles terribly. The Toyota dealer said there is nothing wrong with the car. Local tire and front end alignment shops don’t see anything wrong but admit the car drives funny. I bought this car as a replacement for a 2008 Honda accord which was lost due to a accident which was not our fault. The Toyota is suppose to be my daughters college car but I don’t feel safe driving it around the corner. I am a very unhappy Toyota owner and wish I stii had my Honda. I will not buy another Toyota because of the poor way this car drives. Buyers beware !

  17. Dianne Reply

    I have a 2011 Toyota Coralla Sport. I have already had to put brakes on this vehicle and tires. I have had many new cars and have never had to do either of these so early. Also, about a week after I purchased the car, I called Toyota about an issue I am having with the brakes. Sometimes, with no warning, my brakes kind of bump bump bump when I hit them. Especially if I hit them quickly. I have never had an issue like this. Toyota blew me off and said it was normal. They sent me a survey after I purchased the car and lo and behold it asked if I had any problems with the brakes acting strange. To date, nothing has been done. I shouldn’t have these issues on a two year old car. I will never buy another foreign car again. No wonder they only give you a two year warranty on their new cars.

  18. Adri Reply

    Toyota corolla I had same issue I have to do brakes each year. I don’t drive that much. There must be a defect with the car that wears out the brakes so fast. I’ve taken it to dealer but they say nothing is wrong. They obviously won’t admit the car is defected.

  19. maryann Reply

    I have a serious problem and don’t know what to do. I bought my son a 2010 Toyota corolla on Dec 2013 worst mistake I have ever done.. there was a few times that I drove the car and found the car accelerated then the abs turned on for a little I didn’t think anything about it until he told me it happened to him too.. he would take his car for oil changes and inspection as they so call recommend but nothing was ever told or done.. then the big one came my son got into a car accent in may 2, 2014. he was driving in the I-4 turning to the turnpike the abs went on and the car accelerate and the steering wheel turned hard and he had no control of the car.. instead of the turning his car kept going straight leading him to crash in to the wall of the turnpike. the car got messed up at the front of the driver side the wheel got hit hard by a miracle of God my son is still alive and well but soon enough the car got messed up.. and everything is coming out of our packets. I got a mechanic to fix the wheel but the steering wheel is still stiff it is hard to move.. he took it to have an aliment done and when they did it they said we had to take it to the dealer so they can re start the steering wheel with the computer so I took it and they looked at me like if I was crazy they told me that it had nothing to do with it.. I told them what the mechanics said and they said no that had nothing to due with it.. I had explain earlier about the accident and told them that once it was fix I was coming back to find out about the abs because that was what cause the accident… they said due to that I got in an accident with the car they couldn’t do anything plus they said abs light wasn’t on so it had nothing to do with it.. I really don’t understand but mean while I keep seeing these recall with the same reason why he got in to the accident and don’t know what to do next we are paying for a car that is parked and have this big lost..

  20. Jasmine Reply

    I have a 2011 Toyota Corolla Le. August 26 2014 as I was driving my steering wheel locked as I was turning on to a busy street and made it difficult to turn and I also notice my battery light kept coming on and off. I finally made it home and had the vehicle towed to our local Toyota dealership where I told him that my battery light is on and it’s hard to steer my vehicle and was advised that the battery controls all of that. Toyota put in a new battery that I payed for but also informed me that it may be another problm also where it might be the alternator and they were charging $917.10 and I just paid $180 to get the new battery. I decided to get one from another place thats a little cheaper because thats just too much. As I was driving home I would say about a hour later my steering wheel started to lock again which they advised its going to keep doing that and shut my vehicle down completely until I get a new alternator. Im not understanding why they didnt figure that out at first when they said I needed a new battery. Last year I had to buy new brakes for the vehicle and earlier this year 4 new tires. For this to be a fairly new car its causing to many problems that Toyota needs to look into!

  21. theresa Reply

    i have a 2011 corolla also and i am having same steering battery alternator problems . i almost crashed with my grandson in the car when i turned into my local store parking lot when my steering wheel locked upand then the car cut off and would not start sad i also bought brand new top quality battery ans still ended up replacing the damn alternator

  22. theresa Reply

    i have a 2011 corolla also and i am having same steering battery alternator problems . i almost crashed with my grandson in the car when i turned into my local store parking lot when my steering wheel locked upand then the car cut off and would not start sad i also bought brand new top quality battery ans still ended up replacing the damn alternator

  23. Debra Reply

    I just bought a 2010 Toyota Corolla S,and only had a week,and am having steering problems.The car veers left,to right,left to right ,and I have to fight it to keep it straight.I m terrified.The dealership will not give me my money back,but will only do a trade in.But they don’t have anything I want yet in my price range.I have called up there crying serveral times about it.I feel like it is going to cause me to wreck.If I do,will I be able to sue them if I survive.

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