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I was having steering wheel vibration problems with my 2002 Prius. It seemed to be getting worse as time went by. My car had about 20K miles when the problem first started. I took it to the dealer who told me that maybe I needed an alignment. I had just put on brand new tires (which I thought was very early tire wear for the mileage so far) and didn't want to spend the money for an alignment as I didn't think that that was the problem. The steering vibration worsened over the next 5K miles as I again took it to the dealer, who told me that they couldn't help me because (and I'm quoting) "THEY COULD NOT DUPLICATE THE PROBLEM". Therefore, they could not know for sure that the steering vibration was the real problem. Shortly afterwards, I received the letter from Toyota telling me that they would extend my warranty for this problem. I took it back to Toyota and showed them the letter. They pretended that they never heard about the problem and tried to tell me my car was not eligible because my VIN # was not included in the warranty. My VIN # was listed on top of the letter. We insisted that they take care of the problem and they told us they couldn't. I called up the District Toyota office and registered a complaint. Then I heard from my dealer who said that unless they could 'DUPLICATE THE PROBLEM", they could NOT help me. We insisted that this was a SAFETY ISSUE and that we would take our concerns to anyone who would help us resolve this. My husband then threatened to take this issue to the public via Radio and TV stations and to pickett the outside of their dealership and complain to the BBB, etc etc. We FULLY intended to follow up on every threat and I think they knew it. So, after 5 more phone calls and a lot of "passing the buck" they finally agreed to fix the problem. It took them three days to get the part and fix it, but I am now a satisfied customer again. Up until this issue came up, I was a very proud owner of my Prius. The only thing that worries me is that maybe in another 20K miles, this problem will resurface. If you are experiencing this problem with your steering wheel, whatever you do, DO NOT BACK DOWN UNDER PRESSURE. All of the Toyota reps that I spoke to pretended that they were unaware of the problem and played dumb. The "cannot duplicate the problem" was their mantra as well. Don't fall for it. Insist that this is a "consumer safety issue". That's the line that seems to turn them around. Good Luck and keep me posted on your successes. Littlelinda (*_*)
 

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Many thanks for your posting. I too have encountered the denial from Toyota and their insistance that they need to "DUPLICATE THE PROBLEM". I was not one of the lucky ones to receive the letter, but it sounds like you still had to fight for repairs, even with letter in hand.

As I have noted in a prior topic, Toyota has been very insistent that the warranty extension is VIN-specific and not a blanklet for all cars in the affected model years. Your experience with Toyota has been the same as mine. They seem to be wanting to limit their warranty exposure, but yet stay on the good side of the National Transportation Safety Board and thereby averting a larger recall of all 2001-02 cars.

My steering problem seems to be getting worse, but occurs at very slow speeds (below 5 mph) and usually when cold. Can you provide some specifics about your symptoms? When it occurred, at what speed, etc. Also, did you see any warning lights? Toyota Customer Service indicates that the warning light is an explicit requirement to make it a candidate for replacement.

Thanks again,
Mark
 

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I had the stearing Repaired on my prius, it took a while to recreate the problem for them.... What I ended up doing is setting up a video camera in my car and taping every morning to see if it happened, when I finally got it on tape there was no issue with them having to recreate the problem once they saw the tape.
 

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Mark this is littlelinda (who posted the article) I would have sent you a personal e-mail, but I figured that it would be better to post it so that others to be able to also read it.
My advice to you is to try to video tape the vibration. The vibration on my car started when cold and at very low speeds, usually when backing slowly out of my garage. Since it only happened at such a low speed, I kind of ignored it in the beginning. But, as my mileage got higher, the problem became more frequent and at various speeds. Only one time did my dashboard show some kind of warning, but it quickly went off and said something to the effect of "problem resolved". It happened so fast that I barely had time to read what it said. Anyway, my letter about the extended warranty just extended my factory 3 year, 36,000 mile warranty that comes with the car. So, assuming that you have not put 36,000 miles on your car and it's been less than 3 years, then you should be covered for this problem under the car's "original" factory warranty anyway. Apparantly this problem started with the first Prius' on the market in 2000. So, this is NOT a new problem for them, BUT it is a very costly one. I've read that parts and labor costs around $3,500+. So, they'll give you all the resistance they can. Just DON"T BACK DOWN. Videotape your car each morning as you pull out of your driveway and hopefully, you'll be lucky enough to get it on tape. Then, they can't deny the problem. Also, just threaten to take your case to the local news "consumer advocate" in your hometown about their uncooperation. Hopefully, they'll eventually come around and do the right thing. Good luck, keep me posted. Littlelinda
 

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another tactic: try a different dealership. don't tell them that you've been to another dealership with that problem.

another thing to try: let them keep the car a few days, and have a tech try it out first thing in the morning, backing up.
 

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The realities, and suggestions, you folks have presented in this thread have already been very clearly predicted long long time ago.

IF you dare verify the validity of these comments, use the search mechanisms in this site for posts by poster dissed. Additionally, go to the Yahoo site and read up on poster "treading". These postings were made close to a year ago and they essentially detail what was to befall - and is apparently now befalling - a large number of classic owners.


An unlimited milege warranty on a steering rack is unprecented by a company this prides itself on quality and workmanship. It may not be the rack!

As stated, infactuation can lead to denial.

I am anxious to hear folks take on those early foreboding messages.
 
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