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I finally got Toyota Corporate's attention about the handling and steering deficiencies with the 2004 Prius at highway speeds. I will be hearing from a Corporate technician in a couple of days to do a thorough and proper evaluation of my handling complaint.
If anybody else has an issue with the instability of your Prius on rain grooves, cross winds, truck wind blast, etc., send me an e-mail NOW with your name and phone number. Include your case number if you have contacted the Toyota Customer satisfaction center about it. I will present them to the factory representative. The corporate Prius specialist I spoke with this afternoon claimed she had NO knowledge of this kind of issue with the 2004 Prius. I find that to be very hard to believe. Help prove me right.

Mike ([email protected])
 

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If you don't know what I am talking about then your car probably does not have the problem. It seems that not all Prius are doing this.
I have a real problem keeping it in the lane sometimes. The car wanders back and forth in the lane causing me to have to constantly make small moves with the steering wheel to get the car to track straight. The small corrections seem to be exagerated by the car over correcting for the smallest movement in the wheel causing me to have to correct in the other direction, back and forth. I described it some time ago as "twitchy" steering. Sometime the car feels like it is "dancing" back and forth. It's a "seat of your pants" feeling. At times it takes every bit of concentrating to keep it in the lane. Other times, with no rain groves, no cross winds, no big vehicles near, minor road crowning, etc., it handles fine. My other Toyotas, Tundra, Celica, Supra, Camry have never had a steering instability problem like this one.

Mike
 

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I obviously don't have the stability problem. I came back Sunday from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando, and I was in a rush because I had to work (this was truly unavoidable; appointments butting up against each other, and whatnot).

So I flew at 80 to 85 on the Turnpike. Um, no....I was NOT the fastest one on the highway. Nearly everybody else was STILL going faster than me, particularly that old guy in the big Lincoln...damn!

Aside from the disappointing 42-43 MPG for the trip, I made it in record time (2.5 hours), and with no stability problems. She flew as smoothly as ever, and truth be told, I think she liked the fast run for a change!

Good luck with yours, I hope they fix 'er!
 

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Mike,
We just got our's about a month ago and took a highway drive a few days after we got it. I noticed the same thing you describe, but thought it was just a quirk of the way the steering is designed (electric-assist vs. hydraulic/rack and pinion) and that I would get used to it. It's not a big deal for us because my wife's trips in it are usually around town and rarely above 50MPH. Please let us know what you find out on this - if there is something Toyota can do that would be great. I'll follow-up with an email.
 

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Mike N. said:
If you don't know what I am talking about then your car probably does not have the problem. It seems that not all Prius are doing this.
I have a real problem keeping it in the lane sometimes. The car wanders back and forth in the lane causing me to have to constantly make small moves with the steering wheel to get the car to track straight. The small corrections seem to be exagerated by the car over correcting for the smallest movement in the wheel causing me to have to correct in the other direction, back and forth
Is is possible that they overfilled your tires? High pressure and LRR tires can feel a bit jumpy.
 

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hmmm, I have noticed what you are talking about, but not as bad as requiring a lot of concentration. I just assumed it was a little different to my celica and that I would get used to it, which I think I did, because after a while I adapted to it without knowing and didnt notice it after about 30 minutes on the freeway
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Tire pressure is not the cause. I have tried numerous pressures and combinations with little or no difference.

Mike
 

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Mike N. said:
Tire pressure is not the cause. I have tried numerous pressures and combinations with little or no difference.
Mike... just looking at your sig, but if the other car you drive on a regular basis is that Supra, there's going to be a huge handling difference between that and the Prius. The Prius isn't a sporty handling car, it's not exactly a wet bar of soap on tile, but it's not a Supra.
 

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My other two cars are an '03 Camry and a '96 Ford van., not exactly sportster's by any stretch, and I noticed this handling characteristic the first time I drove our Prius on the highway. The car just kind of feels like it's floating on water, and you get very little, if any, positive road feedback. Most newer cars have variable power steering to help alleviate this handling issue, but the Prius doesn't seem to have this feature.
 

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slider65 said:
The car just kind of feels like it's floating on water, and you get very little, if any, positive road feedback.
I've seen complaints about this in just about any car with electric power steering. The only exception I've seen (that I can recall) is the new Hybrid Accord, where Edmunds makes it a point to call out GM on how well Honda did it.
 

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hydroplaning

Driving the posted speed of 100kmh south of Chetwynd, BC in heavy rain I experienced extreme hydroplaning and only dropping back to 80kmh did I regain control. This happened several times on the highway through to Prince George, BC.

A combination of OEM tires and road engineering would be my guess.

Other than that I have not experienced any of the other problems that people complain about. Every time I passed or was passed by a big truck I waited to be blown off the road. Nothing! Driving twisty turny up and downy roads the car went where pointed when pointed. No, it's not a sports car, but it handles just fine. Requires very little effort to keep in its lane.
 

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Re: hydroplaning

DuncanNixon2004 said:
Driving twisty turny up and downy roads the car went where pointed when pointed. No, it's not a sports car, but it handles just fine. Requires very little effort to keep in its lane.
Both my 2002 and my 2004 tend to drift on straight roads and require constant correcting. "Twisty turny" roads are no problem.

I was begining to think it was me!
 

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Prrius owners have said that the low resistance tires seem to follow the angles of the road, and the cracks in the road.
 

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Hmmm... odd... my last non-hybrid was a 1986 Cavalier Z24 with the "F41 sport suspension" (I think that's what it was called), and don't seem to notice any "handling issues" on either the 2003 or 2004. Okay, so a Z24 is still a Cavalier, but I think it handled very well. Am I missing something on the Prius side of the aisle?
 

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Mike N. said:
I finally got Toyota Corporate's attention about the handling and steering deficiencies with the 2004 Prius at highway speeds. I will be hearing from a Corporate technician in a couple of days to do a thorough and proper evaluation of my handling complaint.
If anybody else has an issue with the instability of your Prius on rain grooves, cross winds, truck wind blast, etc., send me an e-mail NOW with your name and phone number. Include your case number if you have contacted the Toyota Customer satisfaction center about it. I will present them to the factory representative. The corporate Prius specialist I spoke with this afternoon claimed she had NO knowledge of this kind of issue with the 2004 Prius. I find that to be very hard to believe. Help prove me right.

Mike ([email protected])
I've got it too on a 2005, mostly noticable in the wind. Caveat: My problem may be self-inflicted. I had the dealer install Goodyear Tripltreds on the car before I picked it up, and perhaps that's my problem. I now wish I had waited until I got home (1200 mile drive from the dealer) before I made the tire switch.

Definitely interested in what you find out from Toyota, and I'm more than willing to allow anyone from Toyota to drive my car if it adds anything to the investigation.

Geoff
 

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I'm glad mine came with factory fitted Michelins. If they are good enough for the formula 1 cars, they are good enough for me!
 
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Tires

I THINK I know the feeling you are describing. I do NOT find it detrimental, but it is mainly an attribute of the car itself. I switched my OEM tires after 400 miles and that made a HUGE difference. john1701a has changed to Michelin Hydroedge (my next change for sure if they're good in snow) with excellent results. If you feel so inclined, invest in the Hydroedge tires with a garage that will give you a 30 day try out period (some do). Now the only issues I have are wake turbulence from 18 wheelers at highway speeds. The Prius feels much more susceptible to these wakes than other cars I have driven. Other than that, I think the car feels fine.
 

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Hmmm #2 from me on this one... perhaps tires are a contributing factor? Mine came with Pirellis on 17" wheels; just got back from a short trip (30 miles each way, mostly highway @ 45-65mph) - didn't notice any handling issues.
 

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Check out this thread

I started a similar thread about the "classic" model a while back, you might check it out here:

http://www.priusonline.com/viewtopic.ph ... highlight=

I just updated that thread also after reading this similar thread here.

I've "adjusted" to it, and it doesn't bug me as much as it used to, but it is still annoying and definitely something that shouldn't exist on a modern vehicle - at any price, let alone a Toyota. It's the only complaint I have about the vehicle.
 
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