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I have a 2011 Rav4 (not an AWD) that I think has steering issues, especially when accelerating when turning. Something just isn't correct. I've had it looked at and nothing has been found. I still think the issue is present and would like a recommendation on what kind of shop to bring it to and how I find it.

A few months ago, the steering started feeling different. Alignment didn't seem so bad, but I noticed the pulling to the right especially when accelerating out of a sharp turn. It felt like the car didn't want to go back to center. Also the slight vibrating feeling of corrective adjustments that the Rav seemed to be making. I had others drive it and they didn't feel it.

I knew tires were close to needing replacement, so I brought it in, mentioned my issues, and bought 4 new Michelin Defenders. Maybe it was the tires? They advised that getting new tires is a good time for an alignment. Although the tire guys said my tire wear looked even, maybe it was the alignment? I brought it to AAA shop for an alignment. They gave me the nice color printout, took my $60 and said thanks.

The steering still felt weird. So, I brought it to a Toyota dealer a week later – not the one I usually go to, but the one closest. I explained the situation. They did … an alignment. Said everything else was fine – that they checked and "even tugged" at things. They said I would be fine and the steering was good. $110 and thanks.
The steering was still off. So, I made an appointment with my original Toyota dealer. They test drove with me and the guys said he felt nothing. He said they had it up on the lift and tested a bunch of things. They only had it for 45 minutes, so not sure if they really could test a lot of things. No charge. He told me it was probably my not being used to driving with new tires. Whatever.

I still feel the pulling. I found articles about torque steer and that seems to describe what I am experiencing. I'd like to get rid of my concern for this by feeling like someone really did look at what might be causing what I swear is happening.

How can I qualify a non-dealer shop to look at an issue like this? I don't want to just spend money to feel better, but really think something is wrong. I was thinking that this kind of issue would be best served by a Toyota dealer, but I guess not.

Thanks for any advice.
 

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If you have a V6 FWD and you're getting on it pretty heavy, then yes, torque steer is certainly an issue. I have a V6 AWD and I feel it when I get on it.
 

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[

Thanks for any advice.[/QUOTE]


I'm Not mechanically knowledgeable, But, since everything mechanical has been checked out, it make me think of an electrical/Computer problem, since we have electric power steering, which is I believe is hooked in with the Traction Control, Vehicle stability and ABS computer(ECU?)
Maybe press the button on the dash for a few seconds to disable the traction control while you go for a drive to see if it affects the problem.
Ott.
 

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Given that it sounds like you've owned this vehicle for some time now and you've noticed a change in the way it feels within the past few months, I would say it is likely not torque steer by itself. Torque steer would have been noticeable when your vehicle was new and should have been somewhat consistent throughout its life. That said, the torque steer feel could be amplified other mechanical issues...

Total shot in the dark, but based on some of my experiences with past vehicles, I'd check your CV (constant velocity) joint boots and make sure they're in good shape. If you hear any ticking when you accelerate and turn it could be a sign that those joints are going bad in which case you may need new front axles. This is a pretty common issue across just about all front wheel drive vehicles as they age regardless of make and model. Something else to have checked would be your wheel bearings. If those are starting to go, you can get some odd symptoms too.

For better or for worse if you had the dealership test it out and you trust them then I'm not sure you'll necessarily get different results with other mechanics especially if you don't have one that you already know and trust. Unfortunately, the (totally unscientific) way to really figure out what the issue is may be to let it get worse and then bring it back in. Since it sounds like you're very in touch with your car you probably notice small nuanced differences whereas other drivers (including mechanics) may have trouble knowing what's normal for your particular vehicle and whatever they may feel could very well be sort of "collectively" normal for their usual experience.

Sorry that's probably not much help, but I've definitely been there... good luck!
 

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A V6 would have a "V6" emblem on the driver side of the front grille. If not then it's a 4 cylinder.
This is not a sure way to tell if it's a 4 or 6. I removed the emblem from mine as many others have. The only way to be absolutely sure is to open the hood and look at the motor LOL.
 

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Back to the original steering issue. Is it possible some part of the suspension got damaged? Has it been put on a lift and inspected?

I mention it because I just had to replace the whole rear subframe on our 2006 due to being nearly rusted thru near one of the four mounting bolts. That's unlikely on your 2011 but some other kind of damage or looseness is possible.
 

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This is not a sure way to tell if it's a 4 or 6. I removed the emblem from mine as many others have. The only way to be absolutely sure is to open the hood and look at the motor LOL.

So removed the emblem for stealth mode? Awesome! My V6 with 4WD is a beast! :smile
 

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Hi did you ever work out what the problem was?? I have a 2008 CV6 and I think it has the same issue.
Not torque steer as this is simply felt when accelerating and backing off.
No, it is a definite sticking or binding feeling and doesn't return to center when driving at any speed, acceleration or not.
Very painful to drive long distance because I have to constantly readjust the steering to stay in a straight line!
Changed the top mount bearings on the struts and checked the lower ball joints for wear but no love there.
I'm hoping it's not the rack and pinion because it appears one would have to take the engine out to replace the rack!!
😓😤
Any advice would be great!
 

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Hi did you ever work out what the problem was?? I have a 2008 CV6 and I think it has the same issue.
Since the OP hasn't been on the forum since 2018, like many other times we never hear the solution.

In your case I'd definitely suspect something loose in the steering (ball joints, tie rods, control arms, etc.) since I can't recall anyone ever replacing the rack. Maybe have someone watch each front wheel as you move the steering wheel very slightly. There should be zero play.

The only other out-of-the-blue possibility is a weak battery. This would be a new one for the battery but we've seen literally untold weird symptoms the battery can cause.
 

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Since the OP hasn't been on the forum since 2018, like many other times we never hear the solution.

In your case I'd definitely suspect something loose in the steering (ball joints, tie rods, control arms, etc.) since I can't recall anyone ever replacing the rack. Maybe have someone watch each front wheel as you move the steering wheel very slightly. There should be zero play.

The only other out-of-the-blue possibility is a weak battery. This would be a new one for the battery but we've seen literally untold weird symptoms the battery can cause.
Thanks,
Yes had the battery checked and replaced but no help. Was wondering if it might be a faulty speed sensor but there's no lights coming up on the dash at all. Do you think this might be possibility?
I have had a so called "suspension and steering specialist" look at it but they couldn't see anything, also my local mech had a look and couldn't see movement. He suggested changing the topmount bearings on the strutts but this had no relief.
Cheers!
 

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Thanks,
Yes had the battery checked and replaced but no help. Was wondering if it might be a faulty speed sensor but there's no lights coming up on the dash at all. Do you think this might be possibility?
I have had a so called "suspension and steering specialist" look at it but they couldn't see anything, also my local mech had a look and couldn't see movement. He suggested changing the topmount bearings on the strutts but this had no relief.
Cheers!

Resolve your issue yet? Was it the rack? Chasing similar issues and am starting with intermediary shafts
 
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