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Toyota Corolla Electric-Assist Power Steering (EPS)

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Comments

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    I do know about these steering systems.

    Actually, based on your comments today and prior, I have to conclude you know very little about EPS systems. For example, your comment today that there's nothing that can be done to improve the steering feel of such systems. That's absolutely false. As was pointed out by someone else, EPS is computer controlled. Computers are programmed. Programs can be changed--and pretty easily. While I don't have direct experience with a 2009-10 Corolla that has had its EPS reprogrammed, I have read reports from reliable sources (e.g. automotive mags) that steering feel can be significantly changed/improved on an EPS-equipped car by simply reprogramming it, and I know of multiple car models on which this has been done. Whether that's happened for the 2009-10 Corolla, I don't know for a fact. But it is possible.

    While I think the Defenders of the Toyota Faith can get a little tiresome, I think it's worse to go on and on about how terrible a car is and how terrible is manufacturer is because you don't like one aspect of the car. By now we all know how you feel about the Corolla and Toyota. About time to go get that replacement car and start posting on its discussion how wonderful it is, don't you think? Not to mention the peace of mind it will give you to drive a car every day that you enjoy driving, and feel safe driving.
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    Great post, well stated!

    Based on your summation it sounds like it is actually possible to own a 2009/2010 Corolla that is not experiencing any of these EPS problems. In other words, some of these EPS computer controlled systems might actually be programmed correctly from the manufacturer, right. This would explain why some of us "Toyota defenders" might be posting until our fingers get numb to explain our satisfaction with our cars steering. I don't know, don't you think that's plausible? That's why I really get anoyed when a poster thinks that for some reason, when they are having a problem with their cars they think everyone else should be having the same issues. Actually, I heard somewhere that for some reason the "S" models seem to be infected with this EPS problem more than the LE's, XLE's and the XRS's.
  • sjareasjarea Posts: 49
    edited September 2010
    I highly doubt it was/is a programming issue. If I had to bet I would say it was an overall defective EPS module.

    It seemed to me(as well as my two brothers that are ultra gearheads that drove mine) that there was a timing issue with it. Meaning from the time it received the feedback info. and made the calculations and applied them it was too late causing the driver to have to make the under/over correction.

    This is why it happened at high(er) speeds and not low(er) speeds. If it was truly the programming it would have reared its ugly head even at low speeds IMO. And perhaps it did it's just at higher speeds a tiny margin of error becomes greatly magnified which is why you need to be going over 40-45MPH to have it start acting up.

    I do not think toyota is out of the woods on this issue yet. Again, if I had to bet there will be a full blown recall on it(which may only apply to affected ones and not everyone). It may take toyota time to find out which EPS modules had a bad manufacturing run, but since they are the ones that make them it should be too hard to find out. Hopefully, this is the type of info the NHTSA is/will be looking into.

    Just to be clear this is my opinion and experience driving it and I have no actual facts to back it up.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    Notice I made no statement wrt what ails the Corolla's EPS. I was pointing out that it is possible to change the steering feel of an EPS-equipped car via programming changes. That's all.

    However... if all of this angst from some owners about the Corolla's steering were fixable via a programming change... I think it would have been done a long time ago. It's cheap, easy, and fast. Also, a mechanical problem would better explain why some owners (and test drivers, including moi) report no problem with the EPS, and others do.
  • sjareasjarea Posts: 49
    edited September 2010
    Backy I was not implying that you were making that charge. I was just wondering aloud as to what I think is the problem w/ EPS.

    As far as a mechanical issue I don't think that is it either. All toyota did was replace my EPS module and it is like driving a totally different car. There were no moving or mechanical parts replaced. Again, I think they had some bad runs manufacturing the EPS module. In going thru this process at no time was a mechanical issue raised by me or toyota. I was told - I need to get used to EPS, the roads cause it, tire pressure causing it, alignment causing it etc., Turns out that was not the case. I had a defective EPS module anyway you slice it IMO.

    I agree if it was a programming error it would have been done long ago because it would be the fastest and easiest fix.

    And no offense to anyone but I also think it is very peculiar that people that are NOT having an EPS issue would post so much on this particular thread. That is like me spending time on a dental site in a cavity thread saying I have no cavities. That doesn't do squat for people that do. Just sayin'
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    edited September 2010
    "And no offense to anyone but I also think it is very peculiar that people that are NOT having an EPS issue would post so much on this particular thread. That is like me spending time on a dental site in a cavity thread saying I have no cavities. That doesn't do squat for people that do. Just sayin'"

    Well I guess if you enjoy reading about dental work and had good teeth you probably would post on a dental thread defending yourself if all you heard from certain posters is, since I have bad teeth all dentist suck and everyone of you have bad teeth also. You probably would continue to post and argue, not true, my mouth is fine.

    Now getting back on topic; this site is not just a b**ching thread. This thread is also to inform others that not all Corollas suck like some would like you to think. It's also a great tool to express your own experiences with EPS. I think those of us that are informing potential Corolla buyers that the large majority of Corollas have EPS as intended and work just fine and are great little cars, is doing them a great service by not discouraging them from driving one just because others don't like it or don't want to take the time to take care of the manufacturing problem.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,918
    Some posts have been removed. Speculating about the motives and employment of other members isn't helpful. If you don't like a particular member, the best policy is to skip their posts.

    ALL members are welcome here.
    Those who don't like the steering on their Corollas are welcome here.
    Those who like the steering on their Corollas are welcome here.
    Those who want to ask questions about others' positive & negative experience with EPS on the Corolla are welcome here.

    MODERATOR
    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • I'm just saying that as well. People who are just commenting much ado about nothing. When I came to the thread I had Googled EPS + steering problems in Toyotas and here I am. I did it to find if others were experiencing the same problem and if they knew what was wrong with my 2008 Corolla. I posted my concerns and that I had been to the NHTSA site and found many more Toyota owners with the same issue with their cars. Then when I found out from Toyota that there was indeed a fix I was happy and excited to let all those here know about it. I thought I was doing a good deed because I know personally how frustrating the car's meandering is. I was challenged about it in so many words by people here and then there were some who were happy about it and said they would call the Toyota experience hotline and tell them they knew about the new modules and they wish to have theirs replaced. Since my car is like brand new and I am happy with my new module, the only reasons I have been sticking around are A) in case someone new comes to the thread and doesn't know about "the fix" and B) to see if anyone else was able to obtain the new module and reports on how their car is behaving and C) to report my experiences with my car and if its better or worse or whatever. I dont have an agenda im just an office assistant at a school. Now to go back to the top, I dont get posters who just come to the thread to bash a brand. I mean once, twice understandable but I think it speaks volumes that the same poster has nothing better to do than repeatedly bash Toyota but they do not say if they own(ed) one, they haven't said why they come to the thread, they haven't said that they experienced a steering problem and that's why they are here, they haven't said they got their Toyota fixed and it did or didn't work. So that what angered me. i have a life and I dont have time to just come shoot the breeze and complain about Toyotas in general especially if I didn't own one or never owned one. Even if I had many moons ago I would have to ask myself why is this so important. Perhaps they had such a bad experience with Toyota and it traumatized him, but if this is the case I'm willing to listen aka read his plight, but to just say all Toyotas stink is not helpful and to just insult those like me who had 1 bad experience but now, since Toyota made it right, reported that I love with my Toyota is just unfair, uncalled for and can be offensive.... I mean lets be adults here please. :)
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    edited September 2010
    Well said! I think everyone's driving experience is important for the readers of this thread, not just the negative experiences. Glad to hear this thread was able to at least solve your EPS problem. I hope others will check into the "fix".
  • biffprestonbiffpreston Posts: 59
    edited September 2010
    In the variable assist column mounted electric steering in the Corolla the best that can be achieved is awful. This specific type of electric steering system is going to be awful.You can talk all day about "fine tuning" and replacing ECU units and it is not going to make the Corolla with EPS drive and handle even remotely well and like what I call a normal car.It is a whole new realm of bad road handling.
  • From the very large number of reviews that I have read and particularly the more honest ones I get the picture that pretty much all cars with EPS are rated very poorly when it comes to road handling with the Corolla being the worst of the worst and noticeably so to those reviewing.
  • "And no offense to anyone but I also think it is very peculiar that people that are NOT having an EPS issue would post so much on this particular thread. That is like me spending time on a dental site in a cavity thread saying I have no cavities. That doesn't do squat for people that do. Just sayin'"


    It doesn't surprise me. I have a pretty good idea that you have a couple of different types of people who do this.
  • sjareasjarea Posts: 49
    edited September 2010
    First off let me say I mis-interpreted this forum use. I thought it was for those having EPS issues. Clearly I was incorrect about that. Also, again for the record I have had the TSB-0140-10 applied and my 2010 corolla is doing fine so far.

    2nd all my posts have been about my issue and my experience. I have never said all toyotas are bad. All I am trying to do is provide constructive criticism back to toyota. I know they watch forums. Don't interrupt that as bashing. Many times in the past for various companies I have worked for my personal experience is - The customer tends to know more about the issue than the maker because the customer uses the product everyday.

    TercelTom wrote:
    "I think those of us that are informing potential Corolla buyers that the large majority of Corollas have EPS as intended and work just fine"

    This is were you and I disagree Tom. I think the problem is larger. This does not mean I am bashing toyota and all are bad. However here are some very unofficial numbers I have been able to glean. If you have or can find other numbers please let me know.

    From Toyota's own website from their reported monthly sales I estimate they sell about an average of 30K Corollas per month in the US. This means they sell about 360K units/year. Note from year-end 2009 they state - Corolla recorded 2009 sales of 296,874 units.

    Here is what the NHTSA is saying about this issue as reported back in Feb 2010-
    "Approximately 363,000 2009 Toyota Corollas and 136,000 2010 Toyota Corollas are affected, the U.S. Department of Transportation said.

    The problems emerged soon after Toyota introduced a new electrical system for its power steering with the 2009 Corolla model.

    Safety expert Sean Kane of Safety Research & Strategies Inc. said that in recent years complaints relating to steering have surged.

    "We look at complaints from 2008, there's about two complaints related to steering," said Kane. "All of sudden in 2009 model year, you see the complaints shoot up to nearly 200 complaints related to steering issues."

    Owners have reported their cars suddenly veered side to side, even though they never turned the steering wheel.

    In Japan today, Toyota's CEO Akio Toyoda again apologized — the third time in two weeks - as he revealed the Corolla problem and admitted the company had cut too many corners before he took over."

    Based on those reported numbers IMO the issue has the risk potential of being much higher than just 1% affected.

    It is up to toyota to do what is best for their customers. I find it very hard to swallow that a CEO would say we did cut corners, but will not issue at least a voluntary recall when you admit there IS a problem. And remember this EPS unit is not just in the corollas. It has the potential to affect other makes an models(i.e Pontiac Vibe for example uses it too). If little ol' me knows this then you can bet your bottom dollar toyota knows it too.Yet toyota commercials claim they spend a million dollars an hour on safety? Uh, might want to put some money elsewhere IMO.

    That is why I am suggesting toyota should do a voluntary recall at the least. And to stop telling customers they have to get used to it or it's the alignment or it's tire pressure or the crown in the road, etc. and make sure all service managers are aware of this issue too. If the company CEO said in Feb 2010 there is an issue why 6-8months down the road don't service managers know? That is a huge turn-off to their loyal customers(as I have owned and driven toyotas for about 20 yrs. A 1990 pick-up, 1994 camary and now a 2010 corolla all bought new) that are having issues and trying to work w/ toyota to resolve them. I am also very well aware that car makers are not perfect and that issues are going to arise. It is how you handle it.

    I think toyota is making a huge mistake by not doing this and just having customers 'look into it' is not how it should be handled IMO.
  • biffprestonbiffpreston Posts: 59
    edited September 2010
    Oh you can certainly change the steering feel of one of these pieces of fine engineering but the road handling is another issue entirely. It's going to continue to handle like a wheelbarrow with a flat tire regardless of how you try to "fine tune" the programming or swap the ECU unit. Changing the "feel" and improving road handling are 2 different things. Toyota admitted this in a press statement concerning the almighty TSB. Very easy to google and find this statement.They stated that replacement of the ECU would change steering feel but not affect road handling. I was actually surprised at the honesty.

    There is a serious tradeoff with these EPS systems. You do not get something for nothing and they are trying to cut costs to improve their profits and improve fuel economy with these systems. There not going to handle as well as a good hydraulic assist rack and pinion or electro-hydraulic. Not even remotely close..

    No these variable assist column mounted electric steering systems are not designed to handle well, period. You are going to feel disconnected from the driving experience always. A computer chip cannot take the place of tactile feedback or having consistency between steering output and input. I don't care how many people spit out how much bologna, this is fact.

    I have driven several of these cars with my own being the one I have driven by far the most. When you drive one of these cars it feels like something is broken or seriously wrong with the car. Take it to the dealer and they will tell you it drives normally and handles fine. All this other crap about the "fix" is bologna. Toyota admitted that the "fix" would change the feel but not improve handling. This is no surprise to me.. Once again no such thing as a free lunch. You don't get something for nothing. In this case the something is cheap cost to the manufacturer and slightly improved fuel economy. The con associated with this, that unfortunately the consumer will bear, is severe chronic poor road handling. .

    There is NO free lunch and there IS a serious tradeoff with these EPS systems.

    FYI there is not a damn thing Toyota can do to these cars to make them drive and handle well with a recall. What the TSB "Fix"? Pipedream on if you think there is.
  • new57new57 Posts: 11
    I am new to this corolla forum. i recently purchased a 2010 LE for my child. I want to state this as clear as possible and what i am about to say happened before i saw this forum.

    A few weeks ago i drove the corolla to my child at college 200 miles away. I felt no perceptible difference in the steering/handling. Everything was smooth for all 200 miles. i could not tell if i was driving a car with EPS.

    So to state that all corollas with eps have a built in, non correctable deficiency is just not true.

    I do not know what will happen with the car in the future, but for now, my child and i are thrilled with the purchase.
  • There are people who are going to be satisfied with this car. Yes they do all drive the same for the most part and very badly in my opinion. There are definately people who will read magazines like consumer reports or others and who really feel confident in an established brand or car to the point where they will feel better and safer in a car they feel is a "sure bet". It doesn't matter after purchase how badly the car drives. I have test driven several 2010 and my 2009, they all had horrifically bad road handling. Every review that I have read on the new Corolla with EPS except for consumer reports slams the cars handling as being very poor.

    When you say you didnt feel any perceptible difference. Difference to what? A normal hydraulic rack and pinion steering system? So you couldn't tell a difference between this car and its steering and any other you have driven? Really?! Are you kidding?
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    Biff wrote "Yes they do all drive the same for the most part and very badly in my opinion".

    Yeah, we know! Because your Toyota Corolla is infected with a bad EPS module you think everyone else's Corolla is also. You've had at least five people try to tell you that their cars are fine but you just won't accept that will you?
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    edited October 2010
    Biff wrote, "And no offense to anyone but I also think it is very peculiar that people that are NOT having an EPS issue would post so much on this particular thread"

    Well see, that's where you're wrong (again) Biff. This is an EPS thread, not just for your complaints about the EPS but for those of us that love it just the way it is. Get used to it, it's the wave of the future in cars.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    edited October 2010
    In the variable assist column mounted electric steering in the Corolla the best that can be achieved is awful. This specific type of electric steering system is going to be awful.

    And knowing all you do about EPS systems, and knowing that the best that can be achieved with the Corolla's steering is "awful"... you bought one anyway? Something doesn't add up here. Hard to fathom why anyone, especially someone who is knowledgeable in these kinds of steering systems, would put themselves into such a car. Or, didn't you know before you bought the car that it has variable assist column mounted electric steering? Long test drives are a really good idea for car buyers, also. I notice you are taking that approach for your next car, yes? Good idea.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    ... I get the picture that pretty much all cars with EPS are rated very poorly when it comes to road handling...

    I don't know you'll find many reviews saying the Golf/Jetta, with EPS, are rated poorly on road handling. Having owned a Golf (nee Rabbit) with EPS, I can personally say it's handling was excellent for a relatively inexpensive FWD car.

    A more recent example that EPS can be done right:

    Another source of worry is the all-new Electric Power Steering (EPS) system that’s making its debut in the 2011 5-Series. BMW has long produced had some of the best steering systems in the business.

    Fortunately, all of our worries—and most of the worries we can think of for BMW’s enthusiast base—are for naught. First off, the steering in the new BMW 5-Series is the best you’ll find in a sedan its size; it’s one of the best systems yet—with a great, natural feel on center and plenty of road feel in tight corners. There’s none of the disconnected, ‘digital’ feel that’s present in some other electric power steering systems.


    http://www.thecarconnection.com/marty-blog/1041861_first-drive-2011-bmw-5-series-

    But as you know, there's still some cars out there w/o EPS. Hope you find one to your liking.
  • biffprestonbiffpreston Posts: 59
    edited October 2010
    Some of these higher dollar cars have better quality electric steering in them. It is NOT the variable assist column mounted garbage like in the Corollas, I have read that the volkswagen do have some of the best electric steering out of all the lower dollar cars possesing it. I still very seriously doubt that it handles anything like a good hydraulic rack and pinion assist. That is just my doubt.

    As far as these reviewers go. I do not trust car reviewers in general. Consumer reports is absolutely ridiculous when it comes to car reviewing. It isnt even possible to get any idea about what a car is really like from reading any of their publications. Diplomacy is their main concern. Many of these car reviewers are extremely biased. Even more so the so called "reputable" ones. At the very least theyre extremely diplomatic to the point where even reading their review of a car is useless as the reader is unble to really get any idea of what the car is really like.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I think you're overlooking something; there are Corollas that drive dangerously (WITH the problem) and those that simply "don't handle well," essentially just like every other mainstream Toyota model.

    And, Ford & VW (among many others) have EPS racks that handle much more nicely than the Toyota systems, so NO it isn't just EPS that instantly means bad handling.

    Like I've said, it goes back to the tuning of the system; Toyota in the last two decades is known for soft-riding cars that don't have the handling dialed in for a person who actually likes to drive -- why would they change that now?

    They have numb steering, pillowy suspensions, and lethargic responses from throttle and brake pedals, because the vast number of appliance-car shoppers like it that way. The people who buy these don't actually like to drive, instead, they seek the most comfortable transport from A to B, and the Toyota generally meets that desire.
  • biffprestonbiffpreston Posts: 59
    edited October 2010
    These cars cannot be "programmed" to handle well. There is not some infinite ability to "tune" the car to handle well.

    I like a soft comfortable riding car as well. Doesnt have to be a sports car for me. Struggling to maneuver the car is not comfortable. I have been in a large number of soft riding comfortable cars that drove well. My grandmothers old Buick for example. Her Chrysler Fifth Avenue was pretty ok as well. Those cars handled superbly compared to the new Corolla. The Corolla is not a soft riding comfotable car. There is nothing comfortable about the car. I personally enjoy comfort and it can be simple comfort and I can tell you the Corolla is not it.

    You do have a lot of people who do not like to drive who buy cars. I would say that I used to love getting out and driving but I'm not a driving enthusiast in the sense that I like to get out and drive fast. I'm not into cars like the street racing crowd. I do however like basic transportation that makes it easy to get from A to B. To me that is a pleasure. It makes getting out enjoyable. I'll make this very clear. This car does NOT make it easy to get from A to B and if you have to go to C, D and E as well then your in for a very nervewracking and tiring experience. I like a car to make it very easy to transport myself around and do all the work for me. My last car was a Dodge Neon and did a perfect job of getting me from A to B in comfort. It was a very cheap car that I bought brand new for $11,500 before tax title and license. I would have liked a better car but it worked just fine and I had no complaints.This Corolla does not even come close to that car in terms of road handling or comfort.
  • biffprestonbiffpreston Posts: 59
    edited October 2010
    Biff wrote, "And no offense to anyone but I also think it is very peculiar that people that are NOT having an EPS issue would post so much on this particular thread"


    I didn't write that quotation. I mistakingly did not label it as written by someone else. However you are wrong in your response. This message board is not just for people who are having problems with the EPS in their Corollas and "people" who love the EPS, yeah right. This message board is for anyone even those who play games by misrepresenting themselves. For whatever reasons. Happens every single day all over the internet and is a very common occurence in all types of message boards. No actual paranoia required to understand this as fact. It is a very open message board to all people regardless of honesty or dishonesty. The terms of service protect everyones right to log on and say whatever they want truth or lie , so long as they dont spill the beans, and also prohibits people from pointing out their suspicions about people when they clearly recognize this.
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    Biff wrote - "These cars cannot be "programmed" to handle well. There is not some infinite ability to "tune" the car to handle well"

    Not true; as judged by the number of posters on this thread who had their EPS modules adjusted or replace to their complete satisfaction, and also by those of us who are 100% satisfied with our EPS just the way it is.

    Biff wrote - "The Corolla is not a soft riding comfotable car"

    On the contrare, I can't say enough about the abilty to move the drivers seat up, down, front or back. It has an anjustment to suit eveyone's needs. Not to mention the luxurious velour type seats.

    Biff wrote - "I like a car to make it very easy to transport myself around and do all the work for me"

    This EPS steering couldn't be any easier to steer. I could parallel park my new Corolla literally with one finger.

    Biff wrote - "My last car was a Dodge Neon" "This Corolla does not even come close to that car in terms of road handling or comfort"

    That's funny,lol ! If my new Corolla drove like a Dodge Neon I would have dumped it a long time ago. Keep your Corolla, it'll outlast three of your Neons
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I could parallel park my new Corolla literally with one finger.

    Problem is, you can steer it up a curvy road with one finger too; terribly overboosted.
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    Biff wrote - "This message board is for anyone even those who play games by misrepresenting themselves"

    Interesting, can this be the pot calling the kettle black ???????
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    Just trying to show the ease of steering, I don't suggest you actually drive with one finger.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    It's handy in lots (my Sonata is very light in lots but firms up with speed), but not good when it doesn't build effort with speed. I've only driven a Corolla S with the new system, but it didn't build effort like a driver's car should; it wasn't confidence inspiring to me, lack of road-feel notwithstanding.
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    Yeah, as I posted previously, it seems like the "S" models are dominantly the problamatic models.
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