On February 18, 2010, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened Preliminary Evaluation PE10-008 to investigate complaints of steering wander or drift in model year (MY) 2009 and 2010 Toyota Corolla and Matrix vehicles. The complaint descriptions indicated dissatisfaction with the on-center steering feel in the subject vehicles. Some drivers (~25%) related the feel to driving in a strong crosswind and others indicated that the effort and attention required to maintain heading increased driver fatigue on long trips. These complaints all relate to the system operating as designed and do not involve failure of any steering system components.
The subject vehicles are equipped with an electronic power steering system that was introduced in the MY 2009 vehicles. The power assist, including on-center steering feel, is controlled electronically and is part of the system calibration. Toyota responded to steering feel concerns from some customers by issuing a technical service bulletin (TSB-0140-10 "STEERING ON-CENTER FEEL") that released an optional EPS electronic control unit that has a re-calibrated on-center feel.
Accordingly, this investigation is closed. The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist. The agency will continue to monitor complaints and other information relating to the alleged defect in the subject vehicles and take further action in the future if warranted by the circumstances.
For further details see the attached VRTC and ODI Closing Reports.