Several common problems could affect a Toyota vehicle’s electric power steering. These issues are a difficult to maneuver steering wheel, high pitch sound coming from the steering gear, and a drifting vehicle, and a few other issues.
What causes electric power steering problems?
Electric power steering systems or EPS systems are far more efficient and power-saving than other types of power steering. Instead of using a system of hydraulics to move the tires in the direction of the steering wheel, it uses electricity.
But that doesn’t mean an EPS system is perfect and will have no issues. The EPS system develops its own unique problems. It is important for drivers to learn the signs of a malfunctioning EPS system.
Many of these issues are because of the electric motor. If the motor gets too hot, it can fail and make the vehicle harder to manipulate and move. Also, poor sensor data, dirt or contaminants, and tire pressure issues can cause additional issues in the EPS system.
There are a few signs that will let you know if your vehicle has an issue with its power steering along with their solutions:
The steering wheel is much more difficult to manipulate. It should be easy to move your steering wheel. But if you notice you have to use some elbow grease every time you want to make a u-turn or make a sharp left or right, then there is an issue.
To fix a sluggish steering wheel, first, check the pressure in the tires. Low tire pressure would make it harder to steer tires.
When you turn your steering wheel, you hear a squeaky or high-pitched sound. The sound goes away when your steering wheel is back in its original position. The squealing sound could become higher if you turn at a higher speed.
Here, the wire harness would cause a squeaking sound. The harness is rubbing up against the steering column seal. The two parts must have become loose and started rubbing up against each other. They must be placed back in their proper positions.
The vehicle keeps drifting to one side as you drive. It is normal for a vehicle to drift slightly when you take your hands off of the steering wheel. But if the drift is sharper than usual or you have to hold your steering wheel in place to prevent drifting, then that is an issue that needs to be checked.
When the vehicle drifts sharply to the side, there is an issue with the steering gear and it is too loose. Loose steering must be taken apart, cleaned, and then tightened. Some parts may need to be repaired as they are worn down and no longer stay in place. The signs of issues with the steering gear are that the vehicle keeps drifting to one side, the steering wheel is hard to control, and there are high-pitched sounds coming from the steering wheel when you try to turn it.
One common issue with electric power steering systems is that one side of the wheels is receiving more power than the other side. When this occurs, it is known as an issue with the alignment.
First, check the alignment and have it straightened out. You want to visit your mechanic who can straighten out your alignment and find any other alignment issues that could be developing. But if the alignment is perfectly fine, then the issue could be with sensors. Since it is an electric power steering system and not a hydraulic power steering system, the issue is most likely with one or more faulty sensors. The sensors are not providing the right data to the ECU. The sensors must be checked, reset, or replaced.
The power assist is not working in situations where it normally would.
Toyota’s Recent Power Steering Failures
If you have noticed that your power steering continues to develop problems and fail, you may think that you drove a dead vehicle off of a lot. But what if I were to tell you that many Toyota customers have found that the power steering in their vehicle has multiple problems?
It seems that the issues with the power steering are not just affecting a handful of cars. The problem seems to be a manufacturing issue. The number of Toyota vehicles affected by power steering is now suspected to be in the tens of thousands.
Toyota has recently come under fire by the organizations and government bodies that regulate vehicle manufacturing. As a result of the high level of complaints and an investigation, Toyota has had to recall over 100,000 cars in the US alone.
Not all of these cars had power steering or electric drivetrain issues, but they were all made with the same parts that are causing the power issues in some vehicles. Over 100,000 cars have been found to randomly shut down their electric power steering.
The issue seems to be caused by the circuit boards in the power steering layout. The vehicles that had to be recalled are the RAV4 from 2014 and 2015 as well as the 2015 Camry and the 2015 Highlander.
Any vehicle that also was a hybrid edition of these four vehicles had to be recalled as well. The vehicles were either recalled from dealerships or the dealership had to inform customers that had already purchased these vehicles and driven them off the lot.
This is not the first time that Toyota has been investigated by government bodies. There was a large investigation from 2009 to 2010. The investigation was also centered around issues with power steering. There was only one type of vehicle affected and that was the Toyota Corolla.
Rather than using a hydraulic power steering system, Toyota favors using electric power steering systems for their vehicles, but they have their own problems.
Over the past two decades, the Toyota company has come under Fire from manufacturers and customers about issues with their vehicles’ power steering. Over 100,000 cars have had to be recalled in the past couple of years and the company was forced to pay out money to a class action lawsuit.