hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,082 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.

2003 Toyota Prius steering problems

steering problem

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2003 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #8

Aug 012009


  • 84,000 miles


2003 Toyota Prius, steering wheel shakes when making left turns. Car has had scheduled services. Shaking started as a rattle/grinding sound at the steering column. Shaking now happens when turning left or right, at startup or while driving on interstate. Most recently steering was un responsive at 50+mph. The vehicle has been in for service 3 times prior to today with no troubles found. Today (3 days after warranty expired) dealer finds crack in steering column same as that in recall for 2004 - 2006 Prius see recall 06V188000. Dealer wants $2500 to repair.

- Ellijay, GA, USA

problem #7

Oct 282009


  • 90,661 miles
2003 Prius steering rack and pinion failure, when engine is cold and when in a forward or reverse at slow rate of speed (under 5 mph) steering wheel will shake violently for several seconds, once stopped steering wheel will stop shaking. Dealership reports rack and pinion and steering related computer needs to be replaced. 2001 and 2002 Prius model had recalled on similar issue.

- Chesapeake , VA, USA

problem #6

Feb 012009


  • 95,000 miles
I have a 2003 Prius with 100K miles. At about 95K miles I began to notice an anomaly in the steering. When I back out of my driveway to my right the steering wheel shudders. This happens more frequently when it is cold. The shudder happens occasionally other places, usually at low speed. I have read the other reports and worry about the more severe failures others have reported. My dealer quoted me $2300 to repair the problem which he described as the "steering box". even at 100K miles this definitely seems like a recall issue to me because it is so safety critical.

- Sebastopol, CA, USA

problem #5

Jul 192008


  • 88,000 miles


Erratic behavior of electric power steering. Uncontrollable shaking of steering wheel. An un safe condition. There has to be a lot these problems because replacement steering racks are on back order and no prediction of when they will available. With no parts available and car un safe then car is useless.

- Mineral, VA, USA

problem #4

Aug 012008


  • 72,000 miles
I currently own a 2003 Toyota Prius with about 76,000 miles. I am active duty military currently stationed in germany. I have encountered a steering problem where the steering wheel shutters and shakes as if you are driving on rough terrain. It usually occurs between 5 mph and 30 mph while in a turn. When this occurs you temporarily lose control of the steering and potentially, the car. After doing some cursory research on line this appears to be a recurring problem with the Toyota Prius (priuschat.com/forums/care-maintenance-troubleshooting/36358-03-power-steering.html ) I think it has also been an issue with the 2001-2002 models that have been recalled for this problem but not for the 2003 and beyond. I believe that this does affect the ability for the car to be driven safely. We took it in to a dealer here in germany and they gave an estimate of 2500 euro for repair, which equates to about $3800 us dollars. The car is only worth approximately $10,000. Because of the extreme cost, I conducted research on the problem and then called Toyota to see if this would be covered because this is a manufacturer's defect with the engineering. To my dismay, Toyota informed me that it was not covered and to make matters worse, that they would not cover this vehicle regardless because I am stationed overseas.

- Apo, AE, USA

problem #3

Aug 042008


  • 36,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Prius. While driving approximately 10 mph and attempting to slightly turn the steering wheel to the left, the steering column became stuck in a fixated position. The contact could not complete the turn. She pulled to the shoulder of the road and restarted the vehicle to resume normal operation. The following day, the vehicle was towed to a repair shop and the steering main shaft assembly, tilt column assembly, and bolt were replaced. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and it is currently being repaired. The failure and current mileages were 36,000. Updated 10-07-08 the consumer stated she has not experienced any more failures since the repair was done. Updated 10/15/08.

- Mill Valley, CA, USA

problem #2

Mar 072008

Prius 4-cyl

  • 69,355 miles
I was driving home from work on a Friday evening, turned right, and the steering wheel locked. I slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting a parked truck, and spent the next several minutes trying to regain steering control. The next day I had the car towed to my local dealership, and was told the electronic steering rack had failed and needed to be replaced, at a cost of approximately $2000 (as the steering system warranty only extends to 3 months or 36,000 miles.) my car has just over 69,000 miles on it. I have adhered to the maintenance schedule, and always bring it to the dealer. There is nothing I could have done to prevent this failure, and I am shocked that there were no warnings or redundancies in place to detect the failure of such a critical system. I live in los angeles, and if I had been on a freeway or canyon road when the failure occurred, I would likely have been killed. There have been two issues relating to the Prius steering system (recall #18732/NHTSA # 00V285000 and tsb # 0403/NHTSA # 10008428), but I was told that neither of these applied to my vehicle. I picked up my car today and was told the work is covered by a 1 year, unlimited mileage warranty. I find it unacceptable that Toyota provides such a short warranty on such a critical piece of equipment. If this part ever fails again, I am extremely likely to be hurt or killed. I am happy to have my car back, but am pretty terrified to drive it, or any Toyota, again. I understand that cars don?T last forever, and I am generally very happy with how my Prius has held up. However, I also think the manufacturer has a responsibility to do everything it can to ensure the safety of its customers. I want to know what systems are in place to prevent this part from failing again, what Toyota will do if it does fail again, and what Toyota has to say about the failure and incredibly high price tag of a system that has been recalled in other models, and could have cost me my life.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #1

Feb 082004

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,667 miles
My tires were worn to the cords, all four of them, on both sides, the inside was worse. I took it to the dealer (Toyota of glendora) and asked them to check it and the alignment, among other things. I had just 22,667.0 miles on it. They called me and said the tires were just "worn out" and that there was nothing wrong with the alignment. I took it to Firestone (who warrantied the tires) and was told by 3 different professionals there that the tires were not worn out, that the side walls were destroyed due to faulty alignment. I had to pay for 4 new tires and an alignment. I wrote to Toyota who referred me back to Toyota of glendora. Toyota of glendora contacted me by phone and denied ever telling me there was nothing wrong with the alignment. They claimed they couldn't fix the alignment because all 4 tires were bad. I claimed they lied about the alignment to keep from keeping it over night again, building up to the lemon law. I feel they damaged my alignment when they replaced my entire rack and pinion steering in Oct 03, they denied this saying that replacing the rack and pinion doesn't affect the alignment. They didn't tell me about the damage to the tires which they should have noticed last time they rotated them. I want them to pay for my alignment and perhaps my four new tires, they refused and hung up on me. I wrote to Toyota again and they responded with a letter deferring to the dealer, Toyota of glendora.

- Azusa, CA, USA

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