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Toyota Corolla Electric-Assist Power Steering (EPS)



  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    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 Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    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 Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    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 Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    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.
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    As you state yourself, this EPS steering problem only affects some of the "09" and "10" Corollas sold, mine being one not affected. This in mind I would think the Corollas on the road are the ones that are not affected so you need not worry. On another note, don't you test drive the actual car you are going to purchse and not some kind of test drive vehicle?
  • shouravvshouravv Posts: 11
    edited December 2010
    Thanks for the reply, sjarea! Yes, if you can please look up the service record when you are back and let us know if the actual computer module was replaced, that'd be great. I am interested about it for two reasons -

    1. If it is simply a reprogramming issue, I might just ask for it during my next scheduled maintenance, although I don't have any issue with staying centered as of now. Re-programming is a low-cost fix that the dealer shouldn't complain about if I produce the TSB printout (thanks a lot for the link, BTW!). On the other hand, if it is a physical module replacement, I'd be quite reluctant to go for it. Even with Toyota trained mechanics, I'd rather drive the factory assembly which is doing just fine for me, than let someone take my car apart to fix something that doesn't seem broken.

    2. If it is a module replacement issue, then I'd "understand" why Toyota is so reluctant to admit it and is fighting so hard with NHTSA about it. Replacing a computer module is a very expensive procedure, both in terms of the hardware cost, the labor cost, and the cost of other small parts that often gets broken when you take the whole assembly apart. On the other hand, re-programming is a low-cost bad-PR case, which is more acceptable to any company.


    On a related note, I read through the TSB and if I am reading it correctly, then Toyota is saying that if the dealer does *not* find anything wrong with the vehicle and the customer is still dissatisfied, then they should perform the TSB! Funny, ha?
  • Reading through most of the messages on this board, I am convinced that -

    a. Many Corollas in the 2009-10 model years (sale started early 2008) have trouble staying centered on the freeway at high-speed.

    b. Not all the Corollas are affected by this problem.

    So, I was just wondering if it has anything to do with where your Corolla was assembled: US, Canada, or Japan, given that often different part-suppliers are used. If your VIN starts with "1N", it means the US Corolla-etc. joint plant, if it starts with "2T" that means Toyota plant in Canada, and "JT" means Toyota plant in Japan.

    Mine starts with "1N" (US, joint-assembly plant), and I don't have any trouble.

    How about yours?
  • I own a 2009 Corolla S with Manual Transmission, and it is definitely affected by the highway-veering issue. It as a "2T" VIN, so if others who have been having the issue also are "2T", we may be on to something.

    I've been reluctant to get it fixed for a while, due to many reports of dealers having no idea about the problem and Toyota not saying anything publicly and not wanting to make the problem any worse. I have over 25,000 miles in almost 2 years of driving the car, but highway driving is still an extremely stressful and physically demanding experience. I've had enough, and based on the mostly positive feedback of the TSB Power Steering Computer Assembly fix, I'll probably call up my local dealer(s) to schedule the ST1006 fix.
  • sjareasjarea Posts: 49

    You're welcome for the link. It is kinda hard to find. Even on the ODI website where one should be able to search for TSB's it is NOT listed. I will look at my paper work and let you know after the 1st of the year.

    I am somewhat combining my answer for you 1&2- As far as I am aware there is no way to re-program it internally. It has to be Removed and Replaced. That being said it would be best IMO for an owner to have toyota do the R&R because it is covered by them. It is a labor intensive process because of where the module is located. I did not see any adverse affects of toyota doing the R&R for me (i.e the dash has to come off and I was concerned it might rattle, but no such issues have shown up since the TSB fix). But, your 'understanding' of toyota reluctance to do the costly R&R is exactly what I am thinking...that and the press it would generate.

    I did not see the same thing you saw in the TSB about replacing it even if the customer is still unhappy, but I don't think that is out of the realm of possibilities given the issue IMO.
  • sjareasjarea Posts: 49
    edited December 2010

    My corolla is a "1N" VIN so the issue is not tied to a plant per say as far as I can tell.

    1N stands for the NUMMI plant (RIP) in Fremont, California. A plant that I actually toured all day as part of a class I was in while obtaining my degree.

    By all means - go get the TSB and print it out and take it in and tell them your vehicle is having the centering problem! You are covered by 36 months or 36K miles by the TSB so you are still under its coverage :)
    Here is the link to the TSB-
  • sjareasjarea Posts: 49
    edited December 2010

    The investigation is still on going so we shall see. Investigation summary link- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4&type=VEHICLE&typenum=1&cmpt_id=1&prod_id=400766&make=TOYOTA&model=COROLLA&mode- - - - - - - - - - - - - - l_yr=2009

    You can really only speak for yours as I can only speak to mine. And besides the NHTSA investigation all one has to do is a google search to see how many people are out there and how many other forums beside this one are generating hits/posts......

    "On another note, don't you test drive the actual car you are going to purchse and not some kind of test drive vehicle?"
    Nope. And I am not the only one if you go back thru all the posts here. Who knows what a test vehicle has been thru? Do you have some way of knowing this since the vehicle I test drove had 538 miles on it? As far as I am concerned the test vehicle could have been borrowed to move someone. Who knows?

    I am pretty sure I know what mine went thru since the odometer had a 1 mile reading on it which is the same mileage listed on my sales invoice. (I suspect that it rolled off the factory floor and driven to its spot in the holding lot at the factory then driven onto a truck for dealer delivery then driven off the truck and onto the dealer lot then driven over to detailing for a quick cleaning and then around the back of the lot to the front for me to drive home)

    And I did not know about this issue until AFTER I bought it. And the first time I took it back (and others that I have seen in the NTHSA reports) was within hundreds of miles not thousands or tens of thousands but hundreds of miles.
    Since the issue had been on-going for over a year BEFORE my purchase don't you think toyota should have told me - Hey, even though the test car you drove didn't have a centering issue some people have expressed concern about it and therefore the one you may take off the lot could have the issue and it is how the feel is or it was designed that way and you will need to get used to it (as I and others have posted we were told it was a design issue or it drives that way and we need to 'get used to it' or that it is tire pressure or alignment or crowns in the roads or *insert excuse here*causes it when we take it back in again and again and again....). No? Why not? I mean, if that IS the way it COULD drive or be interpreted that way by someone (cause that's what they told people when they brought it back to be looked at so they clearly had the answer AFTER purchase) then why not tell the potential buyer upfront?

    Glad to hear you are not having any problems w/ your corolla. I clearly had an EPS issue and just want to share my experience and knowledge with others that may be in the same boat. It was not a pleasant experience and if it saves one person time or hassle or gives them peace of mind then that's all I can hope for now isn't it?

    Corolla EPS TSB link-
  • marctrainormarctrainor Posts: 1
    edited December 2010
    I couldn't agree more with amg1099's message. Why should we "have to" get used to a steering that's so light you can't even feel it as you drive. I have pretty steady hands and it's still driving me nuts, how this steering seems to weave to the left and right. I drive small vehicles like Honda Civic's, Mistsubishi Galant (all of which I owned), Toyota mini-trucks, etc. for the last 26 years, 8 to 10 hours a day, and I've never had the problems with steering that I've had on my 2009 Corolla S. I'm a courrier driver and do freeway as well as city. My Galant had really "sensitive" steering, but I finally got used to it, but after driving over 4000 miles, I'm still struggeling with the steering on this Corolla. I'm appalled at the lack of caring and response I'm reading about Toyota's lack of response to this issue. For a company so huge, and so important, Hey...........????????? whats up??? Oh, I bet I know what's up....... a huge loss of money if they admit they might have "screwed up", along with their recent recalls on the gas pedal issue. I loved my old Toyota mini-trucks (400,000) miles out of both of them, but now it seems like it's all about the money (as if they aren't making enough). Marc Trainor.
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    OMG, you should never purchase a car without test driving the exact vehicle you are going to purchase!
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    Take it in and allow them to fix it, it won't cost you a penny. Toyota is aware a few of these newer Corollas have steering problems.
  • sjareasjarea Posts: 49
    edited December 2010

    I do not buy what you're selling my friend.

    I think you would be right in the case where someone buys a vehicle and then has 'buyers remorse' over the decision they made to purchase that make/model.

    That is not the case with the people posting about EPS issue nor the cause of the NHTSA investigation into toyotas EPS issue. I say that because people who have the EPS issue classify it as a safety issue not an aesthetic one like - I don't like the color now or I wish the window controls were different or I had gotten the one with the intermittent windshield wiper function instead of wipers that are just on or off and wish I got a different make or model.

    I have never ever had a problem buying the two previous brand new toyotas from stock off the lot after driving their test models(or from any other manufacturer and I have bought lots of new cars over all my years and most people I know do it exactly as I do and also do not have any problems).

    And to be told what tom after testing the one I was going to buy? That it's 'how EPS feels' or the tire pressure is wrong or the crown in the road causes it or it's the alignment because that is what they would have told me or anyone else. Perhaps toyota should have tested them all before selling them?

    Why should a test model drive or steer any different than the one I am going to buy?
    What do you think they would have told me or done different?

    Let me just put mile after mile on new cars that I MIGHT buy? Of course not. That is why they have test vehicles to begin with. Otherwise some yahoo could come on the lot and want to drive all their stock to "find the one". It does not and will not ever work or happen that way.

    But, when all else fails I guess you can always fall back on blaming the customer... Because that is what toyota was doing IMO. And some have even bought tires and paid for alignments, etc. to 'fix' this problem from what I have read since during the 1.5yrs after this generation (#10) went on sale. IMO that is pretty sad.

    It is NOT the general public's job to do Quality Assurance for toyota after buying the vehicle.

    Here is the link to the NHTSA report summary- - 4&type=VEHICLE&typenum=1&cmpt_id=1&prod_id=400766&make=TOYOTA&model=COROLLA&mode- - l_yr=2009

    Here is the .pdf of the TSB-
  • sjareasjarea Posts: 49

    I agree with you 100%
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    "I have never ever had a problem buying the two previous brand new toyotas from stock off the lot after driving their test models(or from any other manufacturer and I have bought lots of new cars over all my years and most people I know do it exactly as I do and also do not have any problems)".

    Well you have never had a problem until now did you? To each his own, but I would never settle on a $20,000 purchase without checking out or test driving my purchase first. I think your dead wrong that most people will spend $20,000 without a test drive of their particular vehicle first.

    "Why should a test model drive or steer any different than the one I am going to buy"

    Well it shouldn’t but sh*t happens you know. Why does one banana in a bunch go brown and the others don’t? Why do you get one flat tire at a time and not all four? Some cars come off the assembly line with problems because assemblers and even machines are not perfect my friend. Do you think a dealer would want you to test drive one of these particular vehicles with the EPS problem or do you think he would pick-out a problem free car for you to test drive? If he wants to sell you a car he’s gonna want you to test drive the cream of his inventory not a lemon.
  • sjareasjarea Posts: 49
    Do you think a dealer would want you to test drive one of these particular vehicles with the EPS problem or do you think he would pick-out a problem free car for you to test drive? If he wants to sell you a car he’s gonna want you to test drive the cream of his inventory not a lemon.

    Yes! That is exactly what I am saying. They picked the test models. Toyota had knowledge of this issue for almost 2yrs until the fix came out. It was an issue not only on the corolla, but other models that had the same EPS controls. They initially told people a myraid of excuses that caused it or said they did not know of the issue. It took an NHTSA investigation into this issue before they started to address it(six months after the investigatoin opened they came out w/ a fix. Shocker. NOT.).

    So, yes, they picked test models they knew in advance that did not have the EPS issue and let people drive of the lots w/ cars they did or did not know had the issue directly even though they knew such and issue existed IMO.

    Also, anyone can go into the NHSTA Database and pull summaries of people that said they tested the one the bought and still did not find out until later. So, if a buyer is unaware of the issue and the dealer does not even acknowledge the issue when they have known something was up for two years then of course they are going to pull models w/out the issue and let people test drive that one.

    Therefore I still do not buy what you're selling about whether I should test the car I buy. It is not as 'slam dunkable' as you try to make it seem. It just makes no sense in light of everthing else.

    Why? Because toyota decided that they should go w/ chips in the EPS module that were NOT flash change enabled. That is a cheaper option than going w/ a chip (EEPROM) that are flashable. Meaning there is not way the replace or update the chip in the EPS module thus it has to be replaced which is costing them money!

    Like you say - stuff happens.
  • The new Corolla is garbage, they would have trouble selling them if without the Toyota name. I rented one in Fla. On a 2 hour drive on I95 and I4 which are very smooth the steering required constant correction. On an empty road I drove 15 MPH with my hands off the wheel and the car went straight so it was not an alignment issue. The car always felt like it was bobbing up and down gently but the road was smooth and the brakes are awful. It seems like the first touch of the brakes does nothing.

    I have driven an '07 Rav4 which is on a Corolla platform and the steering had no problems at all.

    The only good thing I can say about the Corolla's steering was that it was the same at 75 as it was at 55.
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    So why then did you allow him to have you test drive a hand picked cream of the crop car instead of the same lemon you wound up with?
  • sjareasjarea Posts: 49
    edited January 2011

    For the same reason they picked a corolla w/out an EPS for me to test drive.

    They wanted to sell one and I wanted to buy one.

    And the way your question is phrased makes it sound like I knew of the issue before hand. I did not. You have stated you own an '09. Did you know of this issue before you tested one? Of course you didn't. So, how would you have tested for it? You can't.

    If I do not know about the issue how am I supposed to test or look for it? Otherwise I would never have 'allowed' them.

    No one except those that endlessly believe toyota can never do any wrong would 'allow' that wouldn't they? I don't know anyone like that. Do you?

    However, Toyota knew of the issue for almost 1.5yrs which is why they picked the one they did. Of course, with that knowledge toyota was allowed to sell me one w/ out the issue. Unfortunately, they did not allow that to happen. And unfortunately for toyota based on smallcar1 they are allowing them to be rented out as well. Ouch.
  • sjareasjarea Posts: 49

    Sounds like the new model corolla you rented had the EPS issue. You describe the symptoms to a T. I am also not surprised they are being rented w/ the issue. While I think that is a bad move to allow the rentals to make that impression on people(because that is exactly what it is going to do) I am not surprised....

    I would assume the reason the 07 Rav doesn't have the issue even though it is one the same chassis is because the Rav has hydraulic power steering and not EPS. Do you know if the 07 Rav is hydraulic or EPS?
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    All 2009 and 2010 Corollas have EPS.

    Actually I did know of the EPS problem in some of the new 2009 Corollas, that's why I insisted on test driving the same vehicle I was going to purchase. This is also why I don't have a single issue with my EPS or any other problem. Now whether or not you knew of the EPS issue in some new Corollas beforehand or not, if you would have test driven the same vehicle you were going to purchase I assume you would have caught the problem in the particular car you have now, correct?
  • sjareasjarea Posts: 49
    edited January 2011
    Thats a pretty fast response there TercelTom.

    HOW did you know the 09 had an EPS issue?

    Whether I knew or not (which I did not know toyota had EPS issues) does NOT matter nor is is now a 'new' issue.

    Toyota knew of the issue and continued to sell the cars. Period.

    Again, if you knew HOW and if you knew why didn't toyota?
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