Toyota RAV4 Forums banner

1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
It has always been this way... alignment made no difference. Had everything checked more than once but nothing found.
It feels as if the steering is a little too hard at high speeds... no play, just too hard.
Anybody else feeling this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,370 Posts
Our 2010 tracks very straight. It is blown around a bit by wind, but doesn't have much of a tendency to follow wheel ruts or anything.

Some things to check:

Do you have equal tire pressures all around
Are your tires the same brand and are they equally worn all around?
If you rotate tires side to side or front to rear, does the tracking change?
Have you had your suspension checked for issues, like maybe a leaking strut or a bad bearing, or maybe something binding up the steering rack?
Does the ride height look even side to side?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,014 Posts
Could just be you just have a death grip on the wheel @ the 10 and 2 position. That will make you wander all over the road due to the tight steering and over compensation. Try a lighter touch.....that's assuming there are no real mechanical or tire problems. Sounds silly I know but it works for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
486 Posts
I know you say it was aligned but....I had the exact same problem and lived with it until I needed new tires a few weeks ago. Went to Sears and found that all 4 tires were toed in. That created twitchy steering at highway speed - but the car drove dead straight. Now the problem is gone.

I'm not advocating Sears, but take the car somewhere so they can do a quick alignment check. You shouldn't have to pay for a full alignment unless it is out. I've learned that getting a second opinion on alignment issues is a good idea as not everyone knows how to do one properly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,372 Posts
Sometimes the problem is related to driver technique - drivers who focus their eyesight on the roadway just in front of the car have a tendency to try to compensate for every perceived road problem, while drivers who focus farther ahead make fewer steering corrections and so the car moves ahead without the jerky motions which can occur from over corrective steering. My RAV4 has no problem with the highway steering being "too hard." It is nice and tight as it ought to be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,042 Posts
Good suggestion to raise your gaze to look further down the road. This is a common technique taught in motorcycle riders education, but I've not seen it called out in car driving lessons. Looking too close at the road in front of you could also be symptomatic of a vision problem. I drove like that into my early 20s until I discovered I was quite near sighted!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
428 Posts
Hello, welcome to the board :)

Here are few things you can do to confirm your observations:

1) Road crown - some areas have severe crown angle, this is to allow for fast water draining. I can't tell where you are from, but for example most East Coast States have sharp crown due to heavy rain falls they get throughout the year. Steep crown usually makes a car feel like it is pulling. See if you can find a flat road and confirm the pull there or simply try all lanes of the hwy and observe any changes in pull direction after you change lanes

2) Tire pressure - I suspect this was checked at time of alignment but good to confirm on your own

3) Tires - check the thread depth on all tires and all grooves. See if there are any anomalies. Tire conicity also plays a role and some tires have different angle than other. If your tires are not original, then this may be a major factor. Tires get matched to the car at time of manufacture and I've never seen any tire shop do that

4) Extra weight in car - check for any extra cargo you may have in the back cargo area. Remove any thing extra that should not be there.

5) Brake caliper seized - this is a long shot, but if you have a seized caliper it may cause the brakes to drag and pull
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
I'm with Rav4Two. I find the highway steering of my 2011 V6 Sport to be phenomenal.

Seriously, the best in that category of any vehicle I've owned, including several BMW's.

Maybe you should ask your dealer if you could test drive a new one, and see how it compares. If it's a lot better, tell them to get to work on figuring yours out!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,892 Posts
You shouldn't have to but running higher pressure in the rear tires than the front may help.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,892 Posts
That's one I haven't heard. What is the reason for this?

Thanks.
It comes up a lot with trucks and trailer towing. Higher pressure makes the tire more stable to sideways or lateral movement. If the rear wheels, for whatever reason, move laterally more than the front, sway is introduced.

Three examples:

Yesterday I loaded my '99 F-250 pretty heavy with firewood logs. When I got out of the woods to the road I noticed one of the rear tires was low on pressure. Turned out it had 50# not 80. Had to drive 45 mph all the way home to avoid sway. With 80 I could have safely run 55-60.

Small trailers, particularly single axle ones, all have a sway speed limit depending on the loading, tire pressures and tow vehicle. At the limit the trailer can be seen swaying sideways just slightly on its own. Increasing pressure on the trailer raises the sway speed.

Back when radial tires replaced bias plies and snow tires went on the back, running radials on the front and non-radial snows on the back created an instant wander often described as, "its all over the road."

So what you want for good tracking is more lateral stability in the rear than in front. Adjusting tire pressures will help if everything mechanical checks out and proper loading (keeping the weight forward) doesn't.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,370 Posts
Dr. Dyno, I can buy that - just never experienced that myself.

We put on the winter tires and drove over the mountains to weekend getaway in central Washington. The Rav tracked straight and true. This is a great vehicle to travel in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the replies.
Let me add a few more observations to the issue...
I can "feel" the problem when the car is parked too (and engine running). Moving the steering whell 1/4 in. to the right or left, i feel the steering wheel sticking to something. If I move it 1/2 in, the it breaks free from that and feels smooth as it should. I say "as it should" because I'm comparing with my Jetta side by side (I actually parked them side by side close together with engines running - I'm outside both cars moving both steering wheels at the same time.)
This reflects exactly what I'm getting on the road. As I'm driving, any small correction has to break free from the sticking initial move and it becomes an overcorrection.
That test with both cars kind of rule out all of possible alignment/tires/driving-habits issues that could explain this.
One last note, my Jetta doesn't have that problem, I can drive it all day long. Now the Rav4 will get my hands tired in less than a hour of freeway...

Any more suggestions are greatly appreciated...
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,014 Posts
Since it has a "hitch" in the steering it sounds like a mechanical problem with the steering itself. That should be easy for a mechanic to duplicate then diagnose.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,892 Posts
I can imagine exactly how it feels and why it's frustrating. Problem with mechanics is if they don't have a clue how to fix it they'll just say it's "normal." My have to go to quite a few to get one who understands it. I'd be going thru every adjustment the electric steering has marking it and tweeking it.
BTW, what year & model do you have, & where are you located?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
454 Posts
I agree with this one, same thing I was taught in advanced motorcycle education course. Look way down the road where you want to go. Especially in corners, look well in front of the vehicle. Looking at things right in front of you causes "object fixation," you tend to steer towards what you are looking at. That's why a lot of motorcycles end up in the ditch or Aramco barriers. Same applies to cars.

Good suggestion to raise your gaze to look further down the road. This is a common technique taught in motorcycle riders education, but I've not seen it called out in car driving lessons. Looking too close at the road in front of you could also be symptomatic of a vision problem. I drove like that into my early 20s until I discovered I was quite near sighted!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
549 Posts
It sounds like a calibration of the torque sensor needs to be done. This is needed when ever you remove the steering column assembly or power steering ECU or steering wheel or if there is a difference between right and left as you describe. You need to see if any codes from your OBD. The steering center is set by motor amp and Torque volts. This is done by someone who knows how to work on electric drive systems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
I don't know about the rest of you, but I find mine particularly tiresome on long trips. Perhaps it is because it is new, but all of my other vehicles can be steered easily, in small increments, with one hand. The wheel moves freely. On the Rav, there is a certain amount of friction to be overcome before the wheel will move 2mm. Its not much, but its there. Just enough to require a firm grip to steer it, and it is tiresome after a few hours of interstate. Usually I can correct for road drift with very light pressure, but the small diameter wheel and the friction make this more of an effort. Perhaps it will get better when it breaks in, I've owned a new car before, just used ones with lots of miles on them.
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top