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Discussion Starter #1
I drove my 07 Prius on a 400 mile round trip yesterday. It was a very windy day and I had to fight the car constantly. I don't think I have ever been in a car that was as affected by the wind as this one. Even my last car, a corolla blew around some but this was ridiculous. Are there any mods that would help with this?
 

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Here's a helpful thread from last March. A BT stifening plate is mentioned as a possible mod. Also I've heard adjusting the toe-in (alignment) to compensate, and better tires.
 

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Before you throw money away, find as many threads as possible on the BT plate and just don't go by the web-site. A lot of these things have been refuted and are more of a mental thing when installed. (If it worked, and corrected a problem, why hasn't Toyota done it in the last four years?)
The toe-in might help and there are still many wind complaints, but many more satisfied with their cars in the wind so it may be an individual thing with the way your suspension was set up at the factory.
 

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It could also be a tolerance thing. Some people are more bothered by certain things like this than others. Also, some adapt better to them so they don't notice it after a short time.
 

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lowbone said:
Thanks for the thread. I'll start with the BT plate and see what happens
Actually, I'd start with an alignment. You would be amazed at the number of cars that come off the transports and are not really in true alignment.

Getting the car aligned to spec, with a hint of toe-in up to the spec limits will help just about any high speed driving situation. I got my car aligned about 2.5 years after its purchase and it drove like a new car, and certainly better than it did the day I picked it up.

If you see how these cars are loaded, strapped down for transit and then unloaded you would understand why they should be aligned almost the moment they get to the dealer.

After the alignment, if the road performance isn't up to your standard, go ahead and try other methods, but beware, replacing the stiffening plate may require another alignment to adjust for the new geometry and stiffness of the body. Alignments in modern cars are very wholeistic because wheel geometry is based greatly on the condition of the whole vehicle body, not just suspension components.

Oh, and this has to be stated, the Prius has a rather high and slab sided body. In a cross wind, any vehicle of this design is going to be affected by wind. I recall the best piece of advice I ever got about cross wind driving came from my dad; just slow down.
 

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It's interesting. I live in a part of California that is notorious for having strong winds. If I were to compare my Matrix with the Prius I'd have to say that the Prius handles crosswind far better.
 

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FL_Prius_Driver said:
I have read in more than a couple of posts that if you go to the dealer, you can get a free alignment on a new Prius....but you have to ask specifically. Feedback please.
Inside the first 12 months of ownership Toyota has an "adjustment period". However during my first 12 months of ownership the dealer did cover the first alignment the vehicle had to correct for its strange behavior. However that dealer didn't have their own alignment rack and had to outsource the alignment to Les Schwab. Well, they gave it a lick and a promise and that was it. Since I didn't like having Schwab touching my car I took what they did and left it at that. The dealer covered the cost of the service.

The Schwab alignment wasn't much of an improvement over the factory settings.

When I found out that the dealer got a rack I started thinking about getting an alignment again and they did it perfectly.

So, use the 12 month "adjustment period" to your advantage if something doesn't feel right about the car, but in heavy cross wind the car will be buffeted around a lot. Drive cautiously.
 

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Thank you jeromep. That was the info I was looking for. The two things I check are does the steering wheel point straight when driving straight, and (where very safe and slow), let go on a FLAT road and see if there is a drift right or left. So far so good with all Toyotas I have got.

The Prius does sit higher and narrower than the 99 Camry, so there is a little more wind effect, but nothing like the 76 Corolla. Depends on what car you got your "wind effect calibration" from.
 

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My dealer wouldn't do an alignment check during the 12 month period because they didn't see a problem worth checking.

Take care about deciding what is center for the steering. The dash is sloped which causes an optical illusion. I determine center by comparing the horizontal area of the steering column shroud to the steering wheel.
 

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However if the steering wheel looks at all different to you than what you have been observing for all your car ownership life, it probably is off center.
A lot of us observed this phenomena after having a steering system recall. Usually, one trip back to the dealer corrected the fault. The wheel should not look a quarter inch off center when driving down a straight highway.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think the car is alligned properly. My tire pressures may have been a little off but not much. Actually I have not experienced anything like the wind on my 400 mile round trip since then. I found out afterwards that we were getting gusts of over 50 MPH that day so I guess any car would be erratic in that situation but the Prius was probably a little more erratic because of its high profile. Thanks to all of you for your help
 

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hyperion said:
However if the steering wheel looks at all different to you than what you have been observing for all your car ownership life, it probably is off center.
The recall put it from being offcenter (not aligned to the shroud but rather the dash slope) to being correct (aligned to the shroud RATHER than the slope).
 

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lowbone said:
I think the car is alligned properly. My tire pressures may have been a little off but not much. Actually I have not experienced anything like the wind on my 400 mile round trip since then. I found out afterwards that we were getting gusts of over 50 MPH that day so I guess any car would be erratic in that situation but the Prius was probably a little more erratic because of its high profile. Thanks to all of you for your help
If you haven't had the alignment checked, I suggest that you might want to. My car had some pretty goofy handling in crosswinds from the beginning and I found out that the rear toe in was way out of spec.

I documented it in a PriusChat thread, "2007 Model Alignment Issues" http://priuschat.com/index.php?showtopic=34373

After getting the alignment fixed, handling in crosswinds is much better. The car still can get pushed around a little bit, but the constant correction isn't necessary anymore.
 

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I can say that better tires have reduced the effect for me. With the stock tires, even as they had worn down a little, I fought it even in moderate wind. With newer, wider, stickier tires (a little worse mileage, but way better handling,) it takes pretty strong winds to even notice. Before, if a semi passed me, I would feel like I was going to be blown off the road, now I barely notice.
 
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