Every car guy knows when their car is OK and when it is not. Some things you can see and they are obvious, others can be heard or felt. No matter what the case is you should give your car a look and let it be checked by professionals.
Today we are talking about things you can see, and this one is easy to notice. It is literally in front of your eyes and those of you that are very meticulous about details, will not be able to live until this is fixed. We are talking about the off-centre steering wheel inside your car. This is something everyone can see, it is obvious and it can have serious issues attached to it.
There are several things on the car that are rather important and need to be in pristine condition when it comes to your safety. Tires, brakes, seatbelts and seats are all the things you need to have in check for your safety but there are so many other things that you need to watch out for. When it comes to the steering wheel and its being off-centre several things can impact it and today, we will discuss it. If you happen to need any of these things to make your car as safe and reliable as possible, check out Midas and see what they offer.
An off-centre steering wheel can mean several things and those that are obvious are usually the suspension issues, bent control arms, struts, ball joints and eventually the alignment of the wheels.
Most of us that daily drive our cars already know when something is off. You look for vibrations, and noises and you see things like the one we are talking about today. Now how exactly do the things we mention impact the steering wheel to be off-centre?
When it comes to suspension issues, we usually start to experience those when we don’t save our car over bumped roads or when our speed isn’t adjusted according to the conditions we have. Small and big potholes and bumpy roads over time can wreck your entire suspension system and that includes the things we listed.
If you were in any type of accident or if you are constantly riding curbs you may experience bent control arms that may affect the position of the steering wheel. These are made out of lightweight metals for lower costs and overall weight savings and they are easily bent or can snap in extreme situations. Control arms also have ball joints at their end and they connect to the wheel hub. Now, these are made to have a certain lifespan and even if you do take care of your car they can fail. This is because that part of your suspension is made to withstand movement and ensure a smooth ride. Because of that and other factors that impact it, ball joints fail, and get a lot of play and this is what can affect your steering wheel position and cantering.
Tie rods are also something you need to take care of and they can impact the position of the steering wheel the most as well as ruin your tyre geometry. Tie rods have one side that has a thread and can be tightened or loosened depending on the needs and the placement of the tyre. This is what, mainly impacts your tyre geometry, and if those are not tightened or placed correctly over time, they can make your steering wheel off-centre and can make your tyres go bad on one side. That is, next to the steering wheel problem, another pointer you need a new tyre alignment and if you neglect that for extended periods you will waste a lot of money on tires because they will not contact the road well and will be destroyed on one side while remaining brand new on the other side.
Although it doesn’t seem like the part that can impact the steering wheel centring, your struts can be at fault that your suspension isn’t as it is supposed to be. Several parts can become loose and gain a lot of play over time. This can cause slow but sure deterioration of other parts and can eventually cause your strut to snap, break and lose fluid. All of this impacts the other parts that are beneath it, like the ones we already mentioned, and those can eventually cause your steering wheel issues and alignment issues.
There is another rather obvious thing that can affect the position of your steering wheel and it is if you or the prior owner had any job done on the steering wheel itself, the airbag or the steering rack. All of these things need one thing done before they are addressed and it is to take off the steering wheel. Now there are mechanics out there that can secure the rack or the wheel before they take it off for the sole purpose of avoiding it being placed out of centre afterwards. Those that don’t care about this will not do it and they will take off the steering wheel, make the repairs and return it to the rack, eyeballing the entire process and leaving it as is.
The repair for this is easy, you need to take off the airbag slowly and carefully, if your car has one, and unbolt the big nut that is holding the steering wheel attached to the steering column. You can make slight rotations and find the right groove it needs to sit to be cantered when driving. This can be a little tedious and back and forth until you get it right but it is an easy fix you can do it by yourself if everything else with your car suspension is OK.
The last thing we want to make clear is that, when cars are concerned, no small thing should be overlooked and considered to be irrelevant. The smallest things in your car can often lead to big problems and even circumstances that nobody wants. Your safety in your car and on the road is of utmost importance and you should treat each issue on your vehicle like it is a huge one, no matter how ridiculous it may seem.