What Causes your Steering Wheel to not be Straight - All Possible Reasons
When your steering wheel is not being straight, it is probably out of alignment, and its steering and suspension systems are not functioning at proper angles. This often results in uneven, rapid tread-wear, and you may need to replace your tires much earlier. Misaligned wheels cause uneven wear on the tire, poor gas economy, and uncomfortable ride while driving. Here at oneHOWTO, we have identified what causes your steering wheel to not be straight, along with other related aspects.
Causes of steering wheel not straight
The first step is to know the causes of steering wheel not being straight, as there are certain other symptoms that differ and could indicate the source of the problem. Check for these signs to determine why your steering wheel is not straight:
Steering wheel not straight after hitting curb
Heavy impact while hitting something during the drive can cause the wheels to get misaligned. If you suddenly slammed the brakes and the car hit a curb, a pothole or a tree with a jerk, it may disturb the suspension system of the steering wheel, and the car may start steering to one direction. This may happen after an accident too.
Car pulls to one side
Over time, the auto parts may wear out and the car may start showing signs of wear and tear. Auto parts like the suspension springs become slack and worn out, due to which the wheel alignment may pull to one side, and the car may start driving abnormally. In order to prevent excessive wear and tear, take your car for regular service checkups, and get the bolts screwed whenever necessary. For more information, take a look at our article: Why is my car pulling?
Height modification can be one reason for your steering wheel not being straight. When you modify the height of your car, the suspension system needs to be modified too to suit the changes. A car’s suspension system is custom designed to work at certain heights. If you modify your vehicle’s height without modifying the suspension too, your car’s wheel may suffer from serious misalignment.
My steering wheel is not straight but wheels are
If you have recently taken your car for an actual wheel alignment, certain mechanics will only correct the wheel alignment and forget about the steering wheel. If, after a test drive, you notice your wheels are straight but your steering wheel isn't, make sure you take it back to the mechanic, it's pretty quick to fix.
Symptoms of steering wheel not being straight
If your steering wheel is not straight, look for these symptoms of wheel misalignment:
- Wheel misalignment occurs when your wheels are positioned at dissimilar angles. There might be a minor difference, but enough to cause uneven wear on your tires. Check your tires for wear, and if both tires at the front and the rear look same, then the problem is probably not misalignment. If one tire is more worn out than the other, then it probably needs alignment
- If you have hard time keeping your steering wheel straight while driving, and the vehicle tends to move left or right on its own, then probably it is misaligned
- While driving, let the steering wheel maneuver the car on its own. If the car drifts to left or right, it is a sign of misalignment
- When your tires are misaligned, they will tend to pull against each other, due to which you may feel a little vibration in the steering wheel. The stronger the wheel vibrates, the more seriously your tires are misaligned. Click here to find out Why does the steering wheel vibrate?
How to solve the issue
After checking the alignment, the mechanic will adjust the angles at the toe, caster and camber using appropriate tools and machines. First of all, make sure that all your tires are inflated properly. Then follow these instructions to fix the issue:
- Disconnect the battery’s negative wire to disable the air bags
- Turn the steering wheel to reveal two screws on the upper right and upper left corners
- Remove these screws and pull off the plastic cover
- Unscrew the Torx screws that you will find inside as well
- Remove the nut that holds your steering wheel in its place. You will find this nut right in the center
- Remove the steering wheel
- Rotate to the desired position
- Push back on the spine
- Replace the nut and tighten to secure the steering wheel in place
- Replace the air bag
- Replace the plastic covers
- Replace the steering column covers and all screws
- ake a test drive and adjust again if required
It is recommended to get your wheel alignment checked at least once every year. By doing this, your tires will last longer, your vehicle will consume much less fuel, and your drive will remain as comfortable as new.
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