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Toyota Corolla Electric-Assist Power Steering (EPS)



  • gerryagerrya Posts: 9
    Good point. I'll have to dig out my old work orders and see what's actually recorded on them - if it's not documented then I'm probably screwed. I know I had the alignment re-done last October to try and fix the problem, but the car might have already been out of warranty by then. Thanks for the reminder though.

    I'm really peeved at this steering issue and the dealer's response to it. But just so nobody thinks I'm bashing for the sake of bashing - I still think these are darn good cars for the money. Other than one alignment that I paid for, and tires, and the regular oil changes, I have spent precisely $0.00 in mechanical repairs on this car to date. No brakes, no windshield wipers, nothing.
  • Hello all!

    I too, have a 2010 Corolla S, and have this same steering issue. Totally fine below 50mph, and then when I get above that on the freeway, I start feeling like there are high winds! But the trees aren't moving! Iv'e been driving it for a year feeling like the steering is more just annoying feeling than anything...kind of rationalizing myself out of it, because this is the only new car Iv'e ever had!

    It feels like it wants to drift out of it's lane constantly. It takes very little effort to correct, but I am making constant tiny corrections as I drive, which I have never had to do in any other car. I read the discussion about the car sensing the "crown of the road", which makes perfect sense, but I do most of my driving on 4 or 5 lane FLAT southern CA highways, so that doesn't really seem to apply. There is also a lot of graded pavement on these roads, but the odd thing is it feels pretty much the same on graded or finished pavement. It can make driving a harrowing experience every now and then, but I have never really had an experience where I feel i have legitimately lost control, it's more just a vague feeling(oh what a feeling? haha!) that I might lose control. Which can be tiring.

    However, the kicker was that my significant other borrowed the car for the first time today and he told me that it "swerved". Now that my suspicions have been validated, I'd like to take action on this because this is the ONLY thing I don't like about my car. I have been doing sporadic online searches on this issue over the last year, and this forum was the only place Ive found a valid sounding solution to this problem.

    Also, I have driven a LOT of different cars...most of them older, even 60's beetles..and my new Corolla has the absolute worst handling of ANY of them, including my battleworn 1993 Toyota pickup with no power steering! I have driven cars of all different makes and years and believe you me...something is wrong here. I just had to convince MYSELF.

    So now I think I am just hoping for suggestions of how to handle this at the dealership when I take it in. Anyone have any? :D
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    edited November 2010
    Simply tell the dealer your having this problem and describe it as you did on your post. Tell them that you researched this problem and let them know that you read that there is a "computer fix" for this problem. Ask them to check their TSB's as there is one out there for this problem (see post #522). If you don't get any satisfaction from the dealer, get in touch with the Toyota regional rep.
  • Thanks terceltom!

    I've never done this before, so that's a great help! I've read a lot of posts from people taking their Corolla in over the last year and being told there was no problem, or that they were imagining the problem, or trying a bunch of fixes I don't feel I have time for, so I'm expecting that might be what would happen to me...but maybe by now it's a known issue. I will give that a try and post my results! might not be this weekend but next. ;)
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    edited November 2010
    I understand how you feel and hopes it goes well for you. Perhaps taking someone along might make it less intimidating for you. You should feel 100% satisfied with your car; your steering is something that should be taken care of for your comfort as well as your safety.
  • Thanks again! I believe I will be recruiting some moral support!

    I have read almost all 500+ posts in this thread out of curiosity. I noticed that I drive the same sections of freeway on the 405 as another poster... I wonder if I see this other Corolla daily, LOL! But who knows, there are SO MANY Corollas on the road it :)

    Something I'm wondering now is if this issue is more prevalent in either manual or automatic transmission Corolla S, I read an interesting discussion elsewhere on how the geometry of the cars is slightly different, although I'm not sure if the discussion was relevant..

    The only reason I got the S is because I prefer a manual transmission.
  • Both of my Corollas were Automatics and they both were S models and both had steering issues.
  • You should complain to the General Manager and the Repair Manager at the Dealership you purchased the car from. Then call Toyota's Customer Experience hotline and tell them A) that your scared to drive the car on the highway B) that you know other Toyota owners that have had their EPS computer boxes replaced C) that you wish to have yours replaced D) that you feel like if the steering issue is not addressed and you have an accident or injure another human being you have informed your attorney to sue Toyota for damages E) Above all else do not take no for an answer and do not back down on the phone!!!! you make sure they hear you and understand you and that you will take legal action if they do not make this car safe for you and your passengers!! When they tell you they are going to help you then you can do the whole "I'd like to stay a loyal Toyota customer....blah blah blah
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    Don't really think all of those threats are necessary at this point in time. By now I believe the Toyota dealers are well aware of the problems with the EPS on some 2009 and 2010 Corollas as well as the EPS TSB out on some of these Corollas. I believe if you just show them that you are educated on the problem they will repair as necessary. I like to think if you stay respectful you'll usually get a lot further with the dealer.
  • I am fully aware that it's an apples to oranges comparison, and can no way to be on the same scale. But, since these are the two cars I drive regularly, here's my impression on the EPS issue.

    The 2007 Santa Fe 4WD I drive for work, long distance usually, has a classic power steering. It is quite "stiff", needs force to be steered, and you feel the road very intimately. The upside is that you don't veer in the lane. The downside is that your arms get tired pretty quickly as little corrections due to road pattern change require significant force, and non-smooth road surface keeps vibrating the hands severely.

    By comparison, the 2010 Corolla that I bought for personal use about a month ago, and which i drive 3-4 days a week medium distance has a "light" steering. The upside is that I can effortlessly steer the car using nearly zero force, and little corrections on the road take no energy at all. I hardly feel the road through the steering, no matter how rough it is, and I like it this way. The downside is that even little tugs on the steering moves th ecar, and I dare not drive it using one hand even on a long straight road, as I comfortably do with the Santa Fe.

    Here is my *guess* about what's happening. The motor controlled Corolla EPS is meant to make driving physically effortless. But no matter how steady hands you have, you inadvertently keep turning the steering a little with minimal force, and then need to correct for that, and out of habit from old car feel, you'd over-correct by using too much force.

    Now, while I like the Santa Fe's stability, I love that the Corolla does not leave my hand sore after every ride longer than 10 miles. While it is true that the Corolla EPS does not feel natural, I am loving the ease of driving it. In my personal opinion, the hydrolic to full-electric switch is a progress. But Toyota will do better to offer the hydrolic steering as an option, so that those who want old-style steering can get it.

    Or may be, the car can have an easy to use "tuner", using which each driver can pick how stiff they want their steering to be? It seems that all future hybrids / electric cars are going to come with a engine volume control, to choose how loud they want to make the engine noise. Then why for a steering stiffness control as well?
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    You have some very good ideas and suggestions I really like, that would please all drivers’ steering taste. I would remind all drivers that “natural” is just what we’ve become used to having all these years, it’s not really “natural” it’s just the past standard as it’s all we had.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    edited December 2010
    "Natural" would refer to steering in its unaltered state, the fewest barriers between the driver's hands and the road.

    "Normal" would be the standard everyone is using (and thankfully it isn't like the Corolla). I know tom wasn't speaking about the Santa Fe, but I'll reply here: my fiancee has an '07 Santa Fe GLS, and it's steering is quite nice. Relatively numb, and too light, but not so light that it doesn't know straight-ahead.
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    Well how in the world would you know if “unaltered steering feel”, is the old manual steering feel or the new EPS steering feel? Perhaps the steering feel your trying to describe is “most common” but not necessarily “natural”.
  • sjareasjarea Posts: 49
    edited December 2010
    As someone that has had the issue and took it to the dealer for the TSB fix I can assure you I do not/did not hold my hand more or less steady than I did when I was having the ECU (Electronic Control Unit that is the 'brains' for EPS) issue.

    I completely agree w/ your assessment of the corolla feel, but at the same time I do not think you had one that had the issue.

    Do you think actions speak louder than words?
    When I first went in I was told - it's the alignment, tire pressure, crown in the road or I gotta get used to it. I did not believe that for one second. I have driven cars out of alignment, low and high tire pressure, on extremely crowned roads and I have gotten used to a variety of steering systems before. The kicker w/ this issue is that is only rears it's ugly head when you start to hit 40+ MPH. If it were any of the other issues I was told I would have noticed them at lower speeds as well as at higher speeds. I as well as my two gear-head brothers that drove/inspected it all suspected it was ECU-related.

    However, a few months later out comes the TSB. Well, when I took it in (with a print out of the TSB) for the fix I let the service manager purposely NOT KNOW I KNEW. So, I go thru the schpell of telling him what it does and when it does it (Which they already had records of by that time). Mind you, I was very civil and polite each and every time I went in. Yet seriously, this guy (like the others before) looks and me and talks to me like I am a doofus or a child or in the vein of this can't possible be in such a manner as I describe.
    As soon as he said we'll take a look at it and call you (like all the previous times before) I said oh yeah - Here is a TSB on it that may help you and here is my case # w/ corporate. From this point on the service managers mannerisms changed in a way I think you can deduce... And he never said he was unaware of the TSB or acted like he hadn't heard. It was kinda like OK you gave me the super double secret hand shake so....

    Also, keep in mind the car had been driven by toyota three times before and they 'could not replicate the issue'. Yet, with nothing done to the car except the print-out of the TSB it was miraculously diagnosed that go around. Things that make you go hmmmmm........

    Trust me when I say- you'd notice it like it was the difference between day and nite if you had one w/ the issue.

    I am pleased to say that since I had the TSB applied to my car in SEP '10 it seems normal now.
  • Just out of curiosity, sjarea, what *exact* difference do you feel after the EPS computer TSB fix? Do the steering feel heavier / stiffer like hydrolic ones all the time, or is it just better at staying centered once you straighten the wheels and speed up?

    Also, do you happen to know if your EPS computer assembly got replaced or reprogrammed?
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    I'm glad you were able to get your steering to your liking. I agree with your sumation of shouravv's assesment. I was also very fortunate as to not have the EPS steering problem when I purchased my 2009 new Corolla. Although many, many 2009, 2010 Corolla owners acused me of being a Toyota rep. or just being plain crazy or lying because I defended my car. I'm glad you at least acknowledge that some never even had this steering issue in their cars to start with.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Yes, I'm referring to manual steering. It couldn't be the Corolla's new EPS feel, because it has no feel at all. :shades:
  • I bought a Corolla for my daughter and after the first 2 months she refused to drive it .

    I lived for a year with phone calls to Toyota Customer Service and bringing the Corolla from dealer to dealer (we managed to put 3 thousand miles on the car in 1.5 years, everyone was afraid of driving it).

    Dealers acknowledged there was a problem, but Toyota told them and me that the car was designed to drive like that.

    I started Lemon Law proceedings with my state attorney general and Toyota referred me to "National Center for Dispute Settlement" a completely useless company. NCDS concluded without seing my car, that the car was designed to drive like that (veer from lane to lane).

    My attorney general office made an appointment to meet with me and gave Toyota one last chance to drive the car. This time Toyota took it seriously drove the car and made an offer to buy the car for full price I paid, plus loan interest, minus 12 cents per mile.

    Even after we reached an agreement the customer service people decided that they wanted to pay only the loan portion and not the down payment. They claimed it was because they had no proof I had given a down payment. My bank came to the rescue and for a fee gave me a copy of the canceled check.

    My 2 lessons learned were: 1) Always pay the down payment with a check and keep a copy, and 2) After 5 Toyotas, I know own a Honda Accord.

    If you need to find help look for Lemon Law in your state. This is Florida's You have 2 years from purchase to do it or loose your rights.

    Good luck!
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,017
    Glad it finally worked out for you in the long run. I hope you have much better luck with your new Honda.
  • sjareasjarea Posts: 49

    I had the centering issue. The TSB-0140-10 fix did NOT stiffen the feel. As far as I can tell it remained the same. I think the best description I've heard to describe it is - video-game like. No road feedback at all and every effortless when turning.

    But, toyota is known for light steering feel and I knew that as a previous owner (except for my 91 pick-up that had manual steering. My '94 camary was heavier than the '10 corolla but still a light feel compared to most cars IMO) and the feel was not a make or break issue for me when buying. Driving down the freeway and having the car stay centered IS!!

    However, the mistake I made was NOT testing driving the car I bought. One would assume that such a vast difference would NOT exist between the test model and the purchase vehicle. The test model I drove on the freeway was fine in terms of centering issue. Which, IMO, leaves me to conclude toyota & dealers knew of this issue (since '09 has the same issues on some corollas as well and those started selling in mid '08 or there about) and picked test models that did not exhibit the centering issue. Again, that is my opinion. I can not back that up w/ hard facts(although you've seen how I described my overall experience in a couple of posts above).
    But, keep in mind toyota is not going out of it's way to let people know. If you go out of you way to find out and complain - sure they will fix it if the TSB applies. Otherwise, look out for the corolla owners on the road that think the issue is normal......yikes!! IMO, that is a huge mistake for toyota and a whole other issue on how they handle recalls Vs customer satisfaction issues. We'll see. Keep in mind the EPS investigation by the NTHSA & ODI is still on-going.
    Here is the link to the report summary- 4&type=VEHICLE&typenum=1&cmpt_id=1&prod_id=400766&make=TOYOTA&model=COROLLA&mode- l_yr=2009

    In terms of reprogrammed and replaced - Both as per the TSB. It is a re-tuned module and replaced the old one.

    Here is the .pdf of the TSB-
    "A re-tuned Power Steering Computer Assembly has been developed to
    provide an alternative steering feel for these customers."

    I can't go look at the paper work because I am visiting relatives until after the new year. If you would like I can review it and post back after Jan 3, 2011.
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