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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
79,489 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2001 Toyota Prius steering problems

steering problem

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2001 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Nov 142015


  • 13,620 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the steering wheel became stiff while making a left turn and the power steering light illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 11V304000 (steering). The failure mileage was approximately 13,620.

- Dayton, TN, USA

problem #21

Jan 122015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 230,000 miles
I have started having an intermittent power steering issue. As I am driving the steering wheel begins to shake and I receive an error message that there is an issue with the power steering system. Then the error clears and says the problem is solved. This issue happens intermittent and sometimes lasts longer. I know in the past there was a recall on the power steering unit in the past. I believe the previous owner had the recall service done, but I do not understand that if the service was performed why my vehicle is having this issue with my Prius.

- Kingsport, TN, USA

problem #20

Aug 032011


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Toyota Prius. The contact received the recall notice associated with NHTSA campaign id number 11V304000 (steering:electric power assist system). An authorized dealer was notified and the contact was informed that they would inspect the vehicle before performing repairs. The contact stated that according to the recall notice, the dealer was supposed to repair the vehicle if it was included in the recall. The manufacture was notified and offered no assistance. The vehicle was not yet taken to the dealer to find out whether or not repairs were needed. The failure mileage was 140,000.

- Lafayette, CO, USA

problem #19

May 252011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 65,704 miles


While driving into a freeway our 2001 Toyota Prius experienced a violent shaking of the steering wheel and the ps and exclamation warning lights came on. My wife pulled over and shut the vehicle off and the error cleared. I decided to drive the vehicle to the dealer the previous owner done all the service and repair. As I pulled into the service area the violent shaking happened again. I researched the issue online and found the there was a recall of the power assist steering unit due to a faulty sensor. When I questioned the dealer regarding the recall the service guy became defensive and said it is not covered under recall and warranty is expired so it is a chargeable repair. I reviewed the recall notice and warnings but my vehicle is not in the VIN range but the problem is exactly the same and cost $4000 to repair. I don't believe this is a fair process if some vehicles were repaired while others have to be paid for by owners.

- Downey, CA, USA

problem #18

Jan 202011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 148,000 miles
Steering wheel, uncontrollable shudder, will literally rip itself out of your hand or grip. Usually happens during the first of the day when it's relatively cold. While slowly moving the vehicle, the steering wheel will start to vibrate violently, in an un controllable manner. Sometimes the power steering will just error out while driving down the street during the day, loosing all power steering as well.

- Bonham, TX, USA

problem #17

Jan 202011


  • 34,000 miles
I have a 2001 Prius. I bought it in 2003. Ever since I bought it, the steering wheel sometimes wobbles when I back up and turn the wheel. This has been consistent since 2003. This winter, when the weather has been very cold, the steering wheel has shuddered violently several times, wobbled while driving forward twice, and now the warning light for power steering is on. I am taking it to the dealer tomorrow, Jan 21 2011. I have read about the wobbling steering wheel while backing up since I bought the car. I am also seeing that there was an extension of the warranty on the steering column, but I never received notice, and my dealer denies any recall regarding this problem.

- Lake Forest Park, WA, USA

problem #16

Dec 022008


  • 150,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Toyota Prius. The contact stated while driving 30 mph, an unknown warning light illuminated and the steering wheel immediately became stiff and hard to control. The failure would occur intermittently and when doing so, the steering wheel would also shake abnormally. The contact would shut off the vehicle and when restarting, the steering would resume normal operation. The manufacturer was contacted and advised the contact that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 00V285000 (steering: Gear box -other than rack and pinion) therefore they would not assist with the repair. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 150,000 and the current mileage was 205,000.

- Marseilles, IL, USA

problem #15

Jun 132010


  • 112,000 miles
My 2001 Toyota Prius steering 'groans' when the wheels are turned far left or right. This defect occurs more often in warm weather and after the car has been driven. The vehicle has not been in any accidents.

- Concord, MA, USA

problem #14

Apr 272006


  • 150,000 miles
Power steering repeatedly fails on 2001 Toyota Prius requiring that vehicle be stopped and restarted to clear failure. Extreme safety hazard when driving on roads at all speeds and in curves. Occurs after vehicle driven more than 500 miles continuously. Power steering still failing as of 7/29/2010. Dealer refuses to fix despite warranty enhancement notice. Request NHTSA issue nationwide recall for all 2001-2002 Toyota Prius with similar power steering problem as failure of power steering unit is extreme hazardous condition.

- Stockton, CA, USA

problem #13

Jun 042010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Toyota Prius. While driving at approximately 65 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument panel and the vehicle lost power steering. The contact pulled over and restarted the vehicle. Upon restart, the vehicle operated as normal for approximately 30 minutes before the failure recurred. The failure occurred about twelve times while driving for at least 30 minutes. The contact called the manufacturer who informed the contact that the vehicle was serviced by a prior owner for the recall 00V285000 (steering: Gear box (other than rack and pinion). The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The failure and current mileages were approximately 109,000. Updated 10/20/10 the consumer stated the vehicle still has not been repaired. Updated 10/21/10

- Bunker Hill, WV, USA

problem #12

Mar 012010


  • 116,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Toyota Prius hybrid. While driving at speeds of 65 mph, the steering wheel began shaking excessively. Immediately, the power steering warning light illuminated on the warning panel for a few minutes. The contact also stated that while traveling downhill with her foot on the brake pedal, the pedal would vibrate. The manufacturer was contacted and stated that the vehicle was repaired three separate times under various recall campaigns by the previous owner. They were unwilling to assist with any further repairs to the vehicle. The VIN was not available at the time of the complaint. The approximate failure mileage was 116,000 and the current was 118,000.

- Red Bank, TN, USA

problem #11

Feb 172010


  • miles
My 2001 Toyota Prius' steering wheel shaking violently this symptom has been happened to my 2001 Prius since 2008. I had been trying to contact Toyota for a replacement but no feedback. Lately the symptom getting worse until now.

- Falls Church, VA, USA

problem #10

Dec 182009


  • 40,000 miles
The steering wheel on my 2001 Toyota Prius suddenly starts shaking violently when I start up the car. It seems to occur during cold weather. I have to stop the car when it happens because steering is no longer possible when the shaking happens. This shaking has occurred at least 5 times. If I let the car warm up for a few minutes before driving it seems to reduce the occurrence of the shaking.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #9

May 172007


  • 60,000 miles
While investigating the Prius for accelerator issues, I think you should also follow-up on the well known power steering issue with the '01 and '02 models. There are likely still hundreds of these vehicles still on the road. Worse, even though this issue was addressed by a factory recall (NHTSA assigned recall no. 00V-285) Toyota placed a 5 year limit on the warranty service. What is worse, once the recall replacement has been performed, Toyota will no longer perform further replacements at their cost. If the failure should happen again, as it did for me as a third owner of the vehicle, it is an expensive replacement (at over $1,300 usd). At this point to my best knowledge any current owner of an '01 Prius or certain models of the '02 Prius are gambling that an essential safety related component of the car such as the electric assist power steering will not fail. It remains completely unclear to me that the replacement power steering assist units on these models are any more healthy and immune to the problem that were the original units that were subject to recall, since mine failed on me after having been replaced. As further evidence I cite the operation flow chart I in the ssc Y05 technical instruction update from your own website at which shows that even for vehicles that fell within the warranty time period, Toyota felt that if the work had been done once, it did not have to be done again. in my case, the repair was expensive enough I traded the vehicle rather than repair it. I do not know whether the dealer repaired the vehicle before it was resold and that is my greatest concern. I urge the NHTSA to re-open an investigation into this issue, since the Prius is already under investigation for acceleration issues.

- New Boston, NH, USA

problem #8

Dec 042009


  • 59,000 miles
I have a 2001 Toyota Prius. Sporadically, the steering will shake violently. It seems to happen when I turn the steering wheel. Mechanics cannot figure out what is wrong. This past weekend the power steering warning light when on and I lost power steering. It came back on when I stopped the car so it may be a computer glitch. The shaking is getting worse.

- Falls Church, VA, USA

problem #7

Jan 022009


  • 122,000 miles
Steering wheel shakes violently when backing when backing up after morning start up, this has been reported to dealer several times and they were unable to confirm problem, the problem continues and we now have light movement of the steering wheel when moving forward at highway speeds in a strait line this movement is a slight tug from left to right. The warning indicator has come on and is reset when restarting, looking at the 2000 recall it sounds like the same condition.

- Kelseyville, CA, USA

problem #6

May 012006


  • 65,427 miles
I am the original owner of a 2001 Toyota Prius. In 2002, we experienced a shutter and loss of power steering when turning the steering wheel at low speeds. The electric motor-assisted power steering (emps) rack had failed at 13,396 miles. Toyota replaced the emps rack under warranty. In 2006 at 65,427 miles, we reported to Toyota that the power steering failed while making a turn and the instrument warning lights illuminated. Fortunately, we were able to bring the vehicle to a safe stop. Toyota replaced the second rack at no charge. In 2008 at +105,000 miles, we experienced a noise in the front end that sounded like rubber bushings squeaking when the steering wheel was turned from left to right. Toyota informed us the emps rack had failed a third time. Toyota also told us that it is not their responsibility to correct the problem, but was willing to pay for the new parts and not the labor. A check of the internet blogs indicates that failure of the emps is a common problem with the first generation Prius, first introduced in 2001. Numerous owners have reported emps failure on their vehicles. Second owners of the Prius appear to be less likely to get a satisfactory resolution of this problem from Toyota than first owners. Unexpected loss of power steering while turning the vehicle can be a scary and unexpected event potentially leading to loss of control of the vehicle and personal injury. I strongly recommend that NHTSA investigate this situation.

- Pleasant Hill, CA, USA

problem #5

Mar 052008

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,012 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Toyota Prius. While driving at any speed, the steering wheel vibrates. The failure worsens when making left and right turns. The failure has occurred ever since the vehicle was purchased. The vehicle has not been taken to a dealer. The current mileage was 69,110 and failure mileage was 69,012.

- Shelby, MI, USA

problem #4

Jun 012007

Prius 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 26,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Toyota Prius. While driving between 2-5 mph, the steering wheel would intermittently shake. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The failure mileage was 26,000 and current mileage was 27,000. Updated 01/11/08. The consumer was told he would be charged for replacing the steering rack. Updated

- Chevy Chase, MD, USA

problem #3

Oct 072005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
The contact stated that 2001 Toyota Prius was having trouble with the steering wheel. When the wheel was in certain position it shuttered violently. The problem was intermittent. This happened just a few times since 2001, and in the last week, it was happening daily. The contact had not taken the car to the repair shop prior to this week. The contact was taken vehicle to dealer for a check up on the steering. There has been no success in contacting Toyota as of now. She will contact Toyota soon. The contact stated that the vehicle was very unsafe to drive. There has been no near misses, but this condition was very scary. Updated 12/27/05.

- Lansdale, PA, USA

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