Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Steering wheel not centered

Steering wheel not centered — how to fix

Steering wheel not centered after hitting something

If you’ve hit something like a curb and your steering wheel is no longer centered, you most likely bent a steering or suspension component. The most commonly damaged components are:

• Tie rod
• Control arm
• Strut
• Wheel

damaged suspension steering
Steering wheel not centered after alignment

An off-center steering wheel after an alignment is the #1 complaint from customers. It’s caused by poor craftsmanship/laziness on the part of the auto tech.

During the alignment, the auto tech is

steering wheel lock during alignment

The steering wheel should be centered and locked during and alignment

required to center the steering wheel and then set the alignment based on a straight wheel. Lazy techs reach through the driver’s window to “eyeball” the steering wheel, rather than sit in the vehicle and straighten the wheel from a “straight-on” point of view. That’s the first instance of laziness.

After the alignment the tech is supposed to take the vehicle for a test drive and double check for wheel centering. If they find that it’s off center, they have to bring it back into the shop, put it on the alignment rack and straighten the wheel. Some alignment techs skip this step, call it “good” and hope you won’t notice.

If you steering wheel isn’t centered after an alignment, TAKE IT BACK TO THE SHOP and complain. The tech must make it right. It’s just part of the alignment process.

©, 2022 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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