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And I drove over 3600 miles from Louisiana to Quebec and back with no steering issues at all. I prefer the smaller steering wheel.
 

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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.
We've never experienced this in our 2010 that was purchased new, and the steering has pretty much felt the same since day 1. It might be worth a trip to the dealer to see if there's something up. If they say everything is okay, ask for a test drive of another new Rav on the lot and see if it does the same thing.

There's an outside possibility you have an alignment issue, but it still shouldn't cause sticktion.
 

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We've never experienced this in our 2010 that was purchased new, and the steering has pretty much felt the same since day 1. It might be worth a trip to the dealer to see if there's something up. If they say everything is okay, ask for a test drive of another new Rav on the lot and see if it does the same thing.

There's an outside possibility you have an alignment issue, but it still shouldn't cause sticktion.

its not alignment, and when I said I'd owned used cars, I meant a 94 camry that had 76K when I got it, a Toyota pickup with 260K and a Nissan Sentra with over 200K.

The stiction is very slight, but it requires force to overcome, unlike a loose steering setup where you can steer with 2 fingers. It feels like its not broken in yet to me. We only have about 1100 miles on it.
 

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If I experienced what you're describing, I'd probably tend to look at some other things first, like wheel bearings or suspension, just to make sure everything is snugged up to specification. It could be possible that some problem like this causes the steering to take up the slack caused by the midadjustment before actual steering takes place, and that causes both the step feeling and sticktion you're getting.
 

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Re:Constantly over/correcting steering on freeway - 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?

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I have a 2008 Rav4 limited V6 and have a similar problem. When I'm at highway speeds I constantly have to correct my steering, only slightly, but enough that I can't really relax or take my eyes off the road. I find if I look away from the road for a second to adjust the radio, or some other control I start to drift a bit into the other lane. I'm mostly aware of this when commuting on a busy highway. I was going to take it to the Toyota dealership to check it out and maybe reset my power steering control, but am not sure if it is worth my time, it could just be due to the electronic steering.
 

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Sticky streening

I have the same problem.the steering will move a 1\4 from center and not hold center. And it feel weird. i have a 2007 sport v6. this problem started about 3 months ago at about 103000 miles. the steering was fine until that. all i have to do is stop the car and turn off the ignition for a few seconds and start the car backup. the steering returns to normal. and i know normal because i have owned the truck whole time. this has to be a flaky motor or actuator. the restart must reset it some how. can any one that understands this steering help.
 

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I'm with Rav4Two. I find the highway steering of my 2011 V6 Sport to be phenomenal....
Agreed, I just drove my 2011 RAV4 Sport 700 miles on the interstate this weekend. It tracks straighter than any other car I have ever driven. I was in slightly windy conditions and the RAV still tracked nicely.
 

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I have the same problem.the steering will move a 1\4 from center and not hold center. And it feel weird. i have a 2007 sport v6. this problem started about 3 months ago at about 103000 miles. the steering was fine until that. all i have to do is stop the car and turn off the ignition for a few seconds and start the car backup. the steering returns to normal. and i know normal because i have owned the truck whole time. this has to be a flaky motor or actuator. the restart must reset it some how. can any one that understands this steering help.
I've noticed that mine isn't tracking straight. It is almost as if the steering wheel is off centre. I have to keep on adjusting the wheel or else I will quickly end up in the other lane. My alignment was checked twice, and both times this passed.

I think this is a pretty dangerous condition where someone could get hurt....
 

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For those of you with the steering problem, do you have your alignment specifications? If so, what is the thrust angle and front setback that is measured on your cars?
 

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For those of you with the steering problem, do you have your alignment specifications? If so, what is the thrust angle and front setback that is measured on your cars?
Hello,

I had the alignment checked, as per the dealership, only the rear needed to be adjusted:

Front before:

Total toe: 0.14
Steer ahead: -0.04

Left front camber: -0.4 Right front camber:-0.8
Left front toe: -0.03 Right front toe: 0.11

Rear before:

Total toe: 0.09
Thrust angle: -0.20

Left rear camber: -1.8 Right rear camber:-1.3
Left rear toe: -0.16 Right rear toe: 0.25

Rear after alignment:

Total toe: 0.07
Thrust angle: -0.00

Left rear camber: -1.7 Right rear camber:-1.4
Left rear toe: -0.03 Right rear toe: 0.04

- After the alignment was done I didn't feel a big improvement, however I'm not sure where to go from here.
- I have extended warranty so I was hoping they would diagnose/fix the problem without charging me, unfortunately I had to pay for the alignment.
- I'm thinking I should have taken it back to the dealer where I purchased it from a few months back, they may have done the alignment without charge.

All comments welcomed
 

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Years ago when I bought, sold and drove a lot of Saabs, Fiats and Volvos I used to do my own alignments using the sight-along-the-side-of-the-tires method. It was for toe-in only. (Caster and camber I had no clue on but figured that was pretty good from the factory or needed professional equipment.)
Also known as the "string" method, it's the same as I'd learned and use for adjusting the rear wheel on a motorcycle, except used on the front toe on a car/truck for adjusting new tierods.

After many many cars I discovered that toe-in or toe-out had a major effect on tracking. Don't remember exactly but I believe a slight toe-out improved tracking.

The other factor was finding what I call the center of the steering, the position the steering "wanted" to be in with no input from the driver. Had to be done on the road and I don't know of any machine that does it. For that step it didn't matter whether the steering wheel was straight or not or if the car "pulled" to either side. The next step was adjusting the tierods to aim the wheels straight to eliminate any side pull. Then remove the steering wheel and put it back on straight. Some times it took quite a few test drives and redos but I could get them as perfect as I wanted.

About the only people who might have a clue about this are race car guys, not the techs trained on their alignment machines that can spit out numbers to "prove" to you it's "right."
 

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Hello,

I had the alignment checked, as per the dealership, only the rear needed to be adjusted:

Front before:

Total toe: 0.14%
Steer ahead: -0.04%

Left front camber: -0.4% Right front camber:-0.8%
Left front toe: -0.03% Right front toe: 0.11%

Rear before:

Total toe: 0.09%
Thrust angle: -0.20%

Left rear camber: -1.8% Right rear camber:-1.3%
Left rear toe: -0.16% Right rear toe: 0.25%

Rear after alignment:

Total toe: 0.07%
Thrust angle: -0.00%

Left rear camber: -1.7% Right rear camber:-1.4%
Left rear toe: -0.03% Right rear toe: 0.04%

- After the alignment was done I didn't feel a big improvement, however I'm not sure where to go from here.
- I have extended warranty so I was hoping they would diagnose/fix the problem without charging me, unfortunately I had to pay for the alignment.
- I'm thinking I should have taken it back to the dealer where I purchased it from a few months back, they may have done the alignment without charge.

All comments welcomed
The rear alignment looks good except that's a LOT of camber. I guess it's not adjustable on the Rav so we may all be stuck with whatever it is.

I'm not sure exactly what's being referred to by "steer ahead". The term I am familiar with is "front setback" which is basically what thrust angle is for the rear. These measure if one wheel is in front of the other, and is important for driven wheels because for a front wheel drive vehicle, the wheet further in front will cause a torque rotating forward around the other front wheel. Thrust angle is the same but for the rear wheels of rear-wheel driven cars.

I don't like toe that is different side to side. That can cause tracking issues and single wheel bump sensitivities.
 

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For comparison, here's the spec sheet they faxed me when the dealership performed a wheel alignment on my RAV in March of 2011. Looks like it's in degrees rather than percentages:

 

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For comparison, here's the spec sheet they faxed me when the dealership performed a wheel alignment on my RAV in March of 2011. Looks like it's in degrees rather than percentages:


Thanks for posting your alignment, I stand corrected, my posted specifications were supposed to be degrees.

I'm not sure what differences between our alignment readings I should be looking at. Does your RAV4 need constant correcting of the steering on the highway?

Thanks
 

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Thanks for posting your alignment, I stand corrected, my posted specifications were supposed to be degrees.

I'm not sure what differences between our alignment readings I should be looking at. Does your RAV4 need constant correcting of the steering on the highway?
Only if I floor it! The combination of V6 and 2WD causes some torque steer. Mine tracks straight and true at highway speeds. If I take my hands off the wheel, it will very slowly veer to the right, which I attribute to the crown of the roadway.
 

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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...
Hello Michael503,
I have the same issue after 135k miles with no issues. Please advise if you were ever to remedy this issue. Thx!
 

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Constant need to adjust the steering is due to play in the steering components.
Since this is an electric assisted steering, it will not provide a good feed-back for that play, only the need for corrections. The wheel might still feel "OK", but the wheels will wander (move).
A good alignment shop will refuse to do alignment when that happens. But most will happily get your money.
 

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Constant need to adjust the steering is due to play in the steering components.
Since this is an electric assisted steering, it will not provide a good feed-back for that play, only the need for corrections. The wheel might still feel "OK", but the wheels will wander (move).
A good alignment shop will refuse to do alignment when that happens. But most will happily get your money.
Due to my same symptoms of "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 then I end up oversteering to correct it. Usually which come and go, yesterday it was stiff, today it's gone. My Dealer says it is the Intermediate Steering Shaft, so oI am having it replaced next week.
 
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