The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received over 500 consumer complaints about the steering on 2009 and 2010 Toyota Corolla and Matrix vehicles, expressing concerns that the cars wander at highway speeds and can be difficult to control. After an investigation, Toyota has confirmed that the “design and performance of the steering system is appropriate.” However, the automaker has issued a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) that would allow dealers to replace the electronic power steering electronic control unit (ECU) if a customer complains, but will not issue a recall.
Toyota claims the problem is a design characteristic and not a safety issue. By avoiding a formal recall, it will save Toyota from adding almost 750,000 more vehicles to the 8.5 million recalled this past year. In addition, it would save on cost and legal requirements.
Toyota tells us that the revised programming will change the steering feel, but it will not affect the handling performance.
In our tests, we noted that “the steering is a bit light and rather vague on center,” but we did not judge it to be a safety issue.
If you own one of these models and want the steering fix, you will need to request the change through your dealership.—Liza Barth