Toyota Rav4 steering issues - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 11-14-2012, 02:50 AM
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Toyota Rav4 steering issues

Greetings! I'm a proud owner of a black 2007 V6 Toyota Rav4 sport since spring! It's the best driving car I've ever owned but one thing did bother me though. For such a sporty and relatively light car, the steering feels very heavy and stiff for my taste. I've driven an 08 CRV, 98 Pathfinder, and my parents own a 08 Camry Hybrid and the steering feels much lighter on those vehicles. The steering feel reminds me of my dad's 98 Pontiac transport which was **** to drive. The dealer we bought it from assured me this is normal for a RAv4. Funny thing is that when I'm steering on gravel, the steering feel becomes much lighter and I much prefer to have it this way! Is there anything I can do to lighten the steering feel?

On another note, my Rav4 has developed a tendency to pull to the right. For example when I pull up to an intersection, the steering wheel would pull to the right by itself like 20 degrees or so by my estimates. Strange thing is that when I'm driving at highway speeds, this issue disappears and the steering remains very straight. I'm guess it's an alignment issue? I'd like to hear your thoughts!
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#2 (permalink) Old 11-14-2012, 07:39 AM
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I haven't heard of that complaint before. Typically people say the electric power steering is too light. Perhaps the sport has a heavier steering feel vs the limited and base versions? Other people would have to confirm that. The only difference I could think of is that the sport has larger/wider tires and rims vs the limited and base.

As for your steering tendency to pull near intersections, this can be cause by the "ruts" in the surface of the street with wider width tires. If you are not centered in the ruts, when you brake or accelerate, your vehicle can have a tendency to pull to the left or right depending where you are in the lane. This is more common in asphalt covered roads. Do an experiment and drive more on the left side of the lane, vs centre, vs more on the right side of the lane and see what happens under braking/acceleration, does you RAV pull in different directions based on lane position? If so, you probably found your answer. The fact that you say it disappears at highway speeds leads me to believe it's NOT an alignment issue.
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#3 (permalink) Old 11-14-2012, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THe_Silencer View Post
On another note, my Rav4 has developed a tendency to pull to the right. For example when I pull up to an intersection, the steering wheel would pull to the right by itself like 20 degrees or so by my estimates. Strange thing is that when I'm driving at highway speeds, this issue disappears and the steering remains very straight. I'm guess it's an alignment issue? I'd like to hear your thoughts!
When you pull up to that intersection, are you applying the brakes?

2009 V6 4wd Base
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#4 (permalink) Old 11-14-2012, 08:25 AM
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What tire pressures are you running? Are all four tires the same brand and wear?

Fred
2006 RAV4 V6 4WD Red Limited - wife's
2006 Accord V6 Hybrid - Dr. Dyno's - quick as the RAV but +8 mpg
2003 Odyssey V6 - handy people & cargo mover
1999 F-250 4X4 Diesel - snow plow, Bully Dog chip
2001 F-250 4X4 Diesel - truck camper, TS chip, 20' bike/trike dyno trailer
2004 Suzuki DRZ-400S Dual Sport

It's the pedal (or the handgrip) on the right!!
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#5 (permalink) Old 11-14-2012, 03:07 PM
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I own a 2007 V6 rav4 Sport, with the stock wheel/tire sizes. I find my steering is a bit too light for me. Very happy with it, but used to the slightly stiffer feel of Subarus. I have absolutly no steering or pulling issues at all. Just giving you something to compare to...
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#6 (permalink) Old 11-14-2012, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
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When you pull up to that intersection, are you applying the brakes?
Yes I am. This steering wheel pull is at it's worse when I'm slowing to a stop.

It seems like the consensus here is that the Rav4 generally has too light of a steering feel and heavy steering is not normal at all? Is there anything I can do like adding more steering fluid?
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#7 (permalink) Old 11-14-2012, 03:51 PM
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You could also test drive another Rav4 and see if it feels the same.

2008 V6 Sport 4WD Flint Mica
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#8 (permalink) Old 11-14-2012, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by THe_Silencer View Post
Yes I am. This steering wheel pull is at it's worse when I'm slowing to a stop.

It seems like the consensus here is that the Rav4 generally has too light of a steering feel and heavy steering is not normal at all? Is there anything I can do like adding more steering fluid?
There is no fluid, it's electric/electronic power steering. Heavy steering and pulling means something is wrong, have it looked into promptly.

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2008 Base V-6 front wheel drive
2008 Limited V-6 front wheel drive
Both with Tow Prep Package
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#9 (permalink) Old 11-14-2012, 06:24 PM
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Just to clarify, the pull developed many months after we got the car. I've had several flat tires due to bad luck so we're running on different brands of tires for the time being. he steering pull I'm guessing its due to the tires not being the same/rotated properly so I'm not too concerned. It's just weird how the issue goes away completely at highway speeds.

The heavy steering has always been a trait of car. It doesn't really negatively affects how the car drives and I've never heard an steering related noises, I just wish it was lighter. Compared to a 08 Camry hybrid or even my old 98 pathfinder, the differnece is night and day. If I can somehow get the steering to feels as light as it does when I'm steering on gravel, that'll be perfect.
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#10 (permalink) Old 11-14-2012, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THe_Silencer View Post
Just to clarify, the pull developed many months after we got the car. I've had several flat tires due to bad luck so we're running on different brands of tires for the time being. he steering pull I'm guessing its due to the tires not being the same/rotated properly so I'm not too concerned. It's just weird how the issue goes away completely at highway speeds.

The heavy steering has always been a trait of car. It doesn't really negatively affects how the car drives and I've never heard an steering related noises, I just wish it was lighter. Compared to a 08 Camry hybrid or even my old 98 pathfinder, the differnece is night and day. If I can somehow get the steering to feels as light as it does when I'm steering on gravel, that'll be perfect.
If the car pulls to the right when braking, that would suggest a brake issue to me. But with your tire issues, why not try a tire rotation to see if that has any effect?
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