Hey, is your vehicle’s Steering wheel is not straight? If yes. Then keep reading. In this article, I have listed the 4 Reasons why your car steering wheel is not straight.
Imagine you are driving at night, in the middle of the woods, and you notice that your steering wheel has been behaving kind of strangely. You lower the speed and remove your hands from the steering wheel once you observe that the steering wheel has oriented off center, but the car is tracing forward. Before you assume someone is messing with your car or maybe there is a ghost playing some trick on you in the middle of the night, you have to realize what you are experiencing is normal but also one of the most bizarre experiences a driver can face. The car steering wheel is not straight due to technical problems, and only some mechanical intervention can repair the vehicle’s misalignment.
A misaligned steering wheel is rare and usually arises due to technical problems in vehicle suspension.
Know all about Car steering wheel
A steering wheel is a car steering control. You can also call it a hand wheel or a driving wheel. Most contemporary land vehicles have steering wheels, including all manufactured cars, buses, light, and hefty tractors, and trucks. The steering wheel is the component of the steering system that the driver controls; The rest of the steering mechanism responds to the driver’s actions. This could be done mechanically, as in the case of pinion and rack or recirculating ball steering gears, with or without the use of HPS (Hydraulic Power Steering), or using computer-controlled motors, as in certain contemporary production cars (also called Electric Power Steering).
The steering wheel is something that you rotate to give your car/ vehicle direction. At a glance, the functioning of the steering wheel is not that complicated for someone not well versed in the mechanics of a car. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. When you rotate the steering wheel in certain parts, transfer the direction of movement of the steering wheel to the steering shaft to rotate the wheels in that particular direction.
The rack and pinion steering system is the most common steering system used today in most LMVs (Light Motor Vehicles) and SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles). The rack and pinion system transforms the rotational motion of the steering wheel to turn the car wheels in their respective direction.
In the rack and pinion system design, the steering wheel connects to the steering column, which connects to a rack (an extended metallic component with saw-like teeth that connects the two front wheels). The shaft connects to the rack with the assistance of a gear wheel known as a pinion. The pinion gear fits into the rack. The steering column spins when the steering wheel rotates, which turns the pinion gears at the bottom. The rack moves left or right depending on the movement of the pinion gear.
Modern cars assist the steering wheel with additional power (Hydraulic or electric) to help turn the steering wheel quickly with lesser power.
Reasons why your car steering wheel is not straight
An off-center or crooked steering wheel is rare and usually happens due to misalignment of the wheels; the reason behind it can be some technical problems in vehicle suspension. Vehicle misalignment is the most significant factor contributing to a steering wheel that appears out of the center. However, there are numerous ways this misalignment might begin, and each necessitates mechanical intervention to fix it. It’s possible that striking a curb or being in an accident threw off the alignment, but it is easy to fix.
Once the wheel gets adjusted, the steering wheel will center in your hands.
Here are some reasons that can cause it:
The usual wear and tear
The car’s suspension fails naturally after the wear and tear of the components that make up the suspension. Extreme wearing can require a complete replacement of the steering system/suspension. To prevent this, take your car for inspection of the suspension and replace worn-out components.
A vehicle’s steering or suspension components can get damaged adversely if it suffers a sudden shock that traverses the vehicle’s front end, damaging the fragile parts situated in the vehicle’s front end. The shock alters the vehicle’s front-end alignment, which alters the steering wheel alignment. You can experience this type of shock when the car falls into a pothole or hits a curb while traversing at high speeds.
A car crash/wreck distorts the front end of the car, which affects the steering and suspension components and changes the caster, toe, and camber values, thus changing the alignment of the car’s steering wheel. Crashes often cause frame damage to a certain degree and are not easily repairable.
Modifications to ride height
This car’s suspension makes it easier to work at a particular height. The car manufacturers tune every suspension component to work in that specific height.
Modifying the height with the installation of a lift or leveling kit distorts the steering wheel alignment if the suspension alignment is not adjusted to compensate for the difference. You should take the help of an expert to do these modifications.
How to adjust an off-center steering wheel
Having an off-center steering wheel can cause unnecessary stress on vehicle suspension and can give rise to a lot of problems while you are driving your car. If you are driving at high speeds, it can cause steering difficulty and the working of brakes which increases the risk of accidents on the road. It can also cause premature wear and tear on the tires, so it is wise to fix the problem as soon as you encounter it.
If you want to fix the problem, your best bet is to get your car repair service from a car mechanic. However, if you want to fix the problem by yourself, here is a step-by-step process of what you can do:
Start the engine of your car.
Turn the steering wheel a few times; this releases pressure from the power steering system.
Turn the engine off, with wheels straight pointing at 90 degrees.
A tie rod is coming out of the steering wheel; it connects the steering wheel to the steering knuckle on the front wheel. On each side of the tie rod, there is a nut present. Loos the nuts on either side and adjust until the steering wheel comes in the center.
These will probably solve the problem for you. However, we advise you to get the car fix from the nearest car service center. They have competent and experienced individuals to handle your problem tactfully.
Also, if you try to repair the problem yourself, you can damage the car further as the car suspension has many minor components, and even a little mistake from your side can prove fatal for the car.
Steering wheel not straight after wheel alignment
The steering wheel generally gets straight after wheel alignment. If the car steering wheel is not straight after wheel alignment, then the alignment was not done right by you or the mechanic. This generally happens when you or the mechanic who aligned the vehicle is not aware of the proper procedure to align the particular vehicle.
To align your vehicle correctly, you must properly adjust the toe, camber, caster, and thrust values. The combination of these values dictates the straightness of the wheels.
We should follow certain specs for steering wheel position. It is still possible to be within specification but have a misaligned steering wheel due to some fault.
The steering wheel is not straight after the wheel alignment problem can also arise if there are damaged steering components such as a bent tie rod, crooked steering knuckle, or control arm caused by accidents or collisions.
Suppose the car steering wheel is not straight. In that case, it can cause a lot of trouble to your car and potentially threaten your safety. Additionally, having properly aligned steering wheels, a well-aligned vehicle moves straighter and has uniform wear of tires. It also provides a ride experience for the drivers. If you encounter any of the symptoms of a misaligned driving wheel, get to the nearest steering service center or car steering repair shop and get it aligned properly. The average wheel alignment cost in Australia might range from $50 for smaller vehicles to $150 for heavier vehicles. On average, you should check your vehicle’s alignment every 10,000 km every six months.
You should also check for misalignments in the steering wheel. After hitting potholes or cubs, which can cause vehicle wheel misalignment. Getting frequent alignment servicing will increase your tire lifespan. If you do not check your vehicle for the steering wheel not straight issue and fix it, you will have to spend a fortune to replace the prematurely worn-out tires and vehicle suspension system.
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