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09 HL LTD 2WD
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Guys. I'm looking at a 2012 Prius 3. I've been test driving it for a few weeks, and noticed that it tracks very oddly. Sometimes it pulls to the right, sometimes a bit to the left. Occasionally, it goes straight. I'm pretty sure it's not the slope of the road. It's not the hubs, and the wheels seem to spin freely -- so I think the brakes are okay. [At first I wondered if a caliper was sticking, causing it to pull randomly.] Anyone heard of this issue? I just don't think it's a simple alignment issue -- usually a car pulls one way when out of alignment.
 

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Not necessarily..
1. did you check alignment? No telling without that done.
2. As you have rack and pinion, goofy things parallelogram steering does are not applicable
3. you likely have EPS - electric power steering. If that's the case, then who knows. Electronics tend to get gremlins in them
4. check tire pressure and equalize it
5. my wild guess is you have ripped cord somewhere in one of the tires. Ripped or delaminated. So tire behaves differently, causing directional force this or that way. Rotating tires and watching if pattern changed proves this.
6. Otherwise, you have damaged suspension components. Control arm bushings, strut suspension, trailing arm bushings, various ball joints... something is loosy poosy doing what it wants to do. So that has to be inspected on a car lift.
 

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09 HL LTD 2WD
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Discussion Starter #3
Not necessarily..
1. did you check alignment? No telling without that done. I took it to Les Schwab for a 'free alignment inspection.' The tech told me the outside edge of the tire was worn, which I already knew -- and the sales guy saw it. And, that concluded the inspection. He would not tell me one way or another if I needed an alignment. I need to start paying (capable) people to maybe find the problem. I'm probably giving this car back to my sister in law, so I don't want to sink too much money into it. I was thinking about jacking it up, and poking around myself.
2. As you have rack and pinion, goofy things parallelogram steering does are not applicable not sure I follow
3. you likely have EPS - electric power steering. If that's the case, then who knows. Electronics tend to get gremlins in them above my pay grade
4. check tire pressure and equalize it done
5. my wild guess is you have ripped cord somewhere in one of the tires. Ripped or delaminated. So tire behaves differently, causing directional force this or that way. Rotating tires and watching if pattern changed proves this. Maybe. Two tires were cracked/weathered -- not safe, so we replaced those. Put both on the front. Two others seem okay according to the tech, and the costco guy. Those two are Michelins.
6. Otherwise, you have damaged suspension components. Control arm bushings, strut suspension, trailing arm bushings, various ball joints... something is loosy poosy doing what it wants to do. So that has to be inspected on a car lift.Pretty sure this is the case. The car was rear ended some time ago fairly moderately. Hard enough where the Prius hit the car in front. Damage on both ends. So, I'd hate to drop $80 on an alignment, if I'm going to fix this stuff, then probably need another alignment after. The sister in law is letting us drive the car, so I wouldn't mind trying to fix it myself.
Please see my responses in bold above.
 

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09 HL LTD 2WD
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Discussion Starter #5
Front or rear tire?
Alignment is out of spec, either on toe in/out or on camber or on both.
That's where you need to start.
I guess. It just seems that if it just needed an alignment adjustment, then it would only be pulling one way. The wear was on the outside edge, Front-Right mostly, maybe some on Front - Left. However, I have no idea if they got worn in the back, then were rotated at some point.
 

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Usually it's tie rod ends. If they are really loosy goosy, you may have "snaking" on the tarmac driving. Is there a lot of play in steering wheel turning side to side?
Any half way decent shop will NOT do alignment, unless tie rod ends and ball joints are to spec.
Otherwise, Toyota does not provide any camber adjustment, what results in tires edge eaten up.
Then, there's what I mentioned before.
 
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