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#1 (permalink) Old 01-03-2013, 01:35 PM
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Cold Weather Startup Steering Column Noise

Hello All,
I am hoping someone out there can help me with some advice on an issue I am having with my 2009 Rav4 V6 Limited. I live in a very cold climate and when the temperature gets below about -20 degrees celcius (0 degrees f), I am hearing a mechanical 'screeching' noise from inside of the steering coumn when I hit the push button starter. At more moderate temps or once I have warmed up the interior, I hear the mechanical sound and it simply sounds like an actuator moving (maybe disengaging/engaging a steering column lock or something?). Any ideas on what it is and is this a cause for concern? FYI, dealer has no ideas for me.
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#2 (permalink) Old 01-03-2013, 02:10 PM
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The timing does sound like the steering lock on your Limited. You should be able to hear that even when it is not screeching, so that you could compare the timing of the sounds.

Try turning the steering wheel, particularly if you are parked on a slope, to take the pressure off of the lock before starting. The steering lock will limit the wheel travel before you start. So if you could feel out that range of travel, and put the wheel midway between the limits, that could ease pressure on the locking mechanism.

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#3 (permalink) Old 01-03-2013, 04:12 PM
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Thanks Carbon - that's a good suggestion I will try. The more I read up on this type of issue the more it seems it is the electro-mechanical steering wheel lock system I am dealing with.
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#4 (permalink) Old 01-03-2013, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by LT4Lover View Post
Thanks Carbon - that's a good suggestion I will try. The more I read up on this type of issue the more it seems it is the electro-mechanical steering wheel lock system I am dealing with.
I don't know if it's possible, but you might look into lubricating that mechanism with teflon or silicone grease--or something else that works in extreme cold.

James
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#5 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 03:14 PM
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Well, unfortunately the situation is even worse than I could have expected. The problem is, in fact, the electric steering column lock actuator. I tried taking the pressure off by moving the steering wheel - no help. Then since i could not see any easy way for me to access the area to clean/inspect I took the vehicle in to the dealer - they inform me that it would cost a minimum of $600 just to try to access the area & that this part cannot be replaced individually. The entire electric steering mechanism is $3000 to replace!!! Total bill if it completely fails will be near $4000. Wow - that's enough to turn me off from ever buying another push-button start vehicle. My only option now is to try to keep the interior of the vehicle from ever getting to those low temps by using an in-car heater. Sure hope that works!
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