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Gen 3 Steering Fault

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I bought a 6 year old TSpirit (with sunroof) from an authorised Toyota dealer in Kent.  One (business) owner, full Toyota service history and a verified 45,000 miles.  The dealer gave the car a 3 month warranty.  Four months after I bought the car, I became aware of a rattle coming from the dashboard  directly in front of me. Small road irregularities would produce a sound like two pieces of metal tapping against each other.  When stationary, if I pulled and pushed on the steering wheel, I could hear - and feel - a small clunk.  I returned to the original dealer who said (I paraphrase) "it's probably something loose in the dash and - anyway - it's not covered by warranty."  I contacted my regular Toyota dealer (Jemca in Croydon) who I'd been using for the past 10 years with my earlier Prius - and a Corolla before that. 

Jemca Croydon said it could be the lower steering shaft (£385 fitted) or the upper steering column (over £1000).  See pic.  The Workshop Controller at Croydon said "these Gen 3 Prius are common for both noisy bearings in the upper steering column, and even more so for the lower steering shaft universal joint".  He added that "the Gen 3 Prius did not have a recall for this. Although they do suffer with a knocking issue they were not found to fail, hence there was no recall." 

Jemca Croydon diagnosed a worn / knocking lower steering shaft.  Croydon 'negotiated' with the selling dealer and I paid Jemca Croydon £60 to have it replaced.  But the tapping noise continued, albeit at a reduced volume.  Croydon said that it had to be the upper steering column. 

I contacted the Honest John website.  The reply was:  "Tell the Toyota dealer who sold you the car that for it to have worn so badly in 4 months, the fault must have already been developing on the date you bought the car and because of this the dealer is liable to repair it free of any charge to you."

I contacted the Citizen Advice Bureaux.  They advised: "Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, the goods purchased were not of a satisfactory quality.  This means it is reasonable to expect that the goods are free from faults, be fit for purpose, last a reasonable time and be safe to use. These are your statutory rights by law.  Goods are covered for up to 6 years from point of sale, under the limitations act. This is separate to any guarantee, or warranty you may have, or returns policy which the Trader advertises, or has stated.  Repairs that are carried out should be free and any replacement should be on a like for like basis."

I contacted my local independent garage and they said no steering shaft should ever wear out in 50,000 miles.  Further, I could not have worn it out in four months, the previous owner must be responsible for 95% of the wear. The concluded that the selling dealer should replace the part free of charge.

I contacted the selling dealer with this information and they replaced the upper steering shaft free of charge. 

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That sounds like the "known" fault I just posted on the original post by Deet.

If it was, the cure was to tighten the pinch bolts on the 2 steering shaft universal joints - doable from within the car and takes minutes to sort. Some owners have put high tensile bolts in so could tighten really well.

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I get this "clunk" at low speeds, usually noticeable when parking, but it hasn't got any worse in the (nearly) 3 years I've had the car and I've noticed nothing else of concern with the steering so never did anything about it. Various parts of the interior rattle on bad roads, but I don't think any of that is the steering column.

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Yeap, well known fault and should be a recall from Toyota, all Priuses gen 3 , Auris and Prius plus has that. I have same on my current Auris Hybrid 1, before that had on 4 different Priuses gen 3 and Prius plus, as for the plus one the fault has developed at around 14000 miles, only two months after I had it brand new, it’s not the shaft that rattle and it’s the steering assy, the more expensive part, made by Mitsubishi, it’s where electric motor and steering gears are, there is something like a bearing that really wears out very quickly. To check your car just have the wheel with both hands at 12 and 6 a clock, try to moved up and down and you will hear  the clank. It’s not a fault that would lead to an accident that’s why probably Toyota doesn’t care, btw a large fleet of Toyota cars that I used to work didn’t cared too, and when I complained they said that I am to crazy?! Anyway it’s not that of a big problem but for a car enthusiast can be very irritating 😠. I wouldn’t pay £1000 plus for something that just rattle. 

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Hi, my Toyota Avensis Vermont 2002, cranks, starts and dies immediately as if it's running out of fuel but ecu was checked and its fine, fuel, compression checked and ok, what else could be the cause? 

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2 hours ago, Vermont8366 said:

Hi, my Toyota Avensis Vermont 2002, cranks, starts and dies immediately as if it's running out of fuel but ecu was checked and its fine, fuel, compression checked and ok, what else could be the cause? 

This is a thread in the Prius Club section, yours is an Avensis problem.

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Hi Andrew, it just shows what can be achieved when you go back armed with the correct information. Second hand cars are automatically covered by law for 6 months for defects that are not wear and tear stuff like tyres, brakes and clutches etc. so I don't know why so many dealers think they can offer a three month warranty and get away with it. Heck, some even try to sell you the 3 months warranty that is totally unnecessary.

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2 hours ago, TonyHSD said:

Yeap, well known fault and should be a recall from Toyota, all Priuses gen 3 , Auris and Prius plus has that. I have same on my current Auris Hybrid 1, before that had on 4 different Priuses gen 3 and Prius plus, as for the plus one the fault has developed at around 14000 miles, only two months after I had it brand new, it’s not the shaft that rattle and it’s the steering assy, the more expensive part, made by Mitsubishi, it’s where electric motor and steering gears are, there is something like a bearing that really wears out very quickly. To check your car just have the wheel with both hands at 12 and 6 a clock, try to moved up and down and you will hear  the clank. It’s not a fault that would lead to an accident that’s why probably Toyota doesn’t care, btw a large fleet of Toyota cars that I used to work didn’t cared too, and when I complained they said that I am to crazy?! Anyway it’s not that of a big problem but for a car enthusiast can be very irritating 😠. I wouldn’t pay £1000 plus for something that just rattle. 

But if the problem is not dangerous, and not a MOT failure, I can understand why Toyota are not doing a recall....... its just a rattle.

Toyota, I find, are very good with recalls, better I believe then some other car manufacturers who deny problems when they are clearly there.

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4 hours ago, TonyHSD said:

It’s not a fault that would lead to an accident that’s why probably Toyota doesn’t care

The DVSA recall system relies on owners reporting possible faults, and then reports have to reach a certain threshold before an investigation with the manufacturer into the issue is conducted. So if either no reports or a limited number of reports are received, no action by DVSA is taken.

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Well in this case we should take an action and organise a good report of complaints so Toyota can fix it. 

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That's down to individual members to report their concerns using the process DVLA has in place. Depending on the number of individual reports received, DVSA will investigate with the manufacturer, and if it is deemed a safety issue, recall action may take place.

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An interesting mix or replies - thank you.

The original dealer checked the pinch bolts on the 2 steering shaft universal joints when i first took it back to them.  They said there was nothing wrong.  I would have suspected the dealer would have repaired it - without replacing an expensive part - if they could have. 

But I was also voicing my dissatisfaction with an official Toyota dealer.  I deliberately chose to buy from a 'proper' dealer as I thought I was buying a guaranteed level of service and back up. Instead they tried to fob me off with excuses and half truths.  If I'd bought it from an unknown dealer on some grubby industrial estate (maybe) it would have been expected.  But a Toyota Main Agent?  I expected better. 

 

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Hope this isn't too far off topic, but might be a bit relevant regarding dissatisfaction.

I had my car in for a service and the recall recently at my preferred dealership, and was very disappointed to have to experience a 'disagreement' with a member of their staff (I was eventually proved to be in the right, but no apology was forthcoming on the day). However, another member of staff who had witnessed the 'conversation' did ring me the following day to offer an apology, and suggested I make an appropriate comment in any follow-up questionnaire I might receive, as Toyota take a dim view of any adverse comments given, and look to expect 10/10s throughout.

I would certainly make an 'appropriate comment' if I get a questionnaire, but in all my years (30+) of dealings with Toyota I think I have only ever received just one, so I don't hold out much hope.

Hope you get to receive a questionnaire Andrew so you can have your two'penneth, although the cynic in me still wonders if Toyota would take much notice.

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David - good idea but....  The steering shaft was replaced a few months ago and I never received a questionnaire.  (I've received them in the past.) 

I looked up my service history on https://www.toyota.co.uk/tme#/my-toyota/vehicle

On the date I had the lower steering shaft replaced, it says "REPLACE LOWER STEERING SHAFT".  On the date I took it for the upper shaft to be replaced, it says is "Please investigate clunking noise ***** "  Looks like my upper shaft replacement was 'off-the-books'.  Or am I just seeing a conspiracy when there isn't one?

 

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Out of interest - I've just received (and completed) an emailed questionnaire. Obviously someone at Toyota reads this forum.......

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Surely it's just coincidence?  How would anyone at Toyota GB know who you are?  All the information (about you) that's on this forum is:

  • First Name
    David
  • Gender*
    Male
  • Toyota Model
    Prius T Spirit
  • Toyota Year
    2014
  • Location
    Gloucestershire

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Yeah, it was meant as a tongue-in-cheek comment Andrew! 

I ticked the box authorising my (adverse) comments to be passed to the dealership, but I bet I don't receive any contact back from them. Seriously considering changing to a different dealership next time.

 

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