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Steering wheel off center even after alignment

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Old 06-16-2011, 01:08 AM   #1
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Default Steering wheel off center even after alignment

This is my first time posting on here, so may I be excused if I've done something wrong.

I have recently driven my '96 civic into a kerb rather violently going about 50kmph accidentally in an attempt to avoid squashing an animal running across the road.

I blew my rear-right tire in the process, and replaced it with my spare. After pumping all my tires back up, I noticed that my steering wheel was now off centre, roughly pointing towards the 1 o'clock position.

So I brought it town to get it realigned, but even after the realignment the steering wheel is still pointing towards the same position.

Although the wheel is off, the car still drives straight.
The man who realigned the wheeled said the back wheels couldn't be 'realigned'.

Does this mean the car is simply damaged? Or am I missing something important?
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:51 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

You prob have a bent control arm.

Lol they really told u they just couldn't align it?
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Old 06-16-2011, 04:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

A control arm? What is that and how can I fix it?

Yeah, they said the rear wheels were not adjustable after tinkering with the bolt in the suspension.

I can't remember exactly what they said. Something about 'straight bolt' but I could be horribly wrong. You can probably tell I'm not much of a mechanic.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

telling you that they couldn't get the back adjusted shows honesty... giving the car back "aligned" without the steering wheel being straight is shoddy and unprofessional.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

They should have locked the steering wheel in place and THEN aligned it... You need to get your money back... They obviously didnt know what they were doing... If they can't align it, they should tell you and not charge you anything...
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

The steering wheel WAS held in place during the alignment. I suppose I should have mentioned that.

Do you guys still think it is a problem with my wheel alignment?
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:48 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

when they align a car...they set the wheel at center, then align the wheels...
Take the car to an alignment shop...not a shop that has an alignment rack...
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

You guys are dumb, its not your control arm. Here's how to make your steering wheel straight. At the bottom by your gas and break pedal if you look above it you'll see a cover covering the steering wheel shaft/bar, take that cover off. Then you will see the knuckle which is held on by two bolts one on the bottom of it and one top. Unloosen those you may have to turn your steering wheel to get to each bolt. After those bolts are off don't remove the knuckle just yet turn your steering wheel back so your wheels are straight, then take the knuckle off. After that straighten the steering wheel to where you think it is straight then put the knuckle back on and then put the bolts back on the knuckle. Put the cover you took off back on and you're done.
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

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Originally Posted by that_boy_sammy View Post
You guys are dumb, its not your control arm. Here's how to make your steering wheel straight. At the bottom by your gas and break pedal if you look above it you'll see a cover covering the steering wheel shaft/bar, take that cover off. Then you will see the knuckle which is held on by two bolts one on the bottom of it and one top. Unloosen those you may have to turn your steering wheel to get to each bolt. After those bolts are off don't remove the knuckle just yet turn your steering wheel back so your wheels are straight, then take the knuckle off. After that straighten the steering wheel to where you think it is straight then put the knuckle back on and then put the bolts back on the knuckle. Put the cover you took off back on and you're done.
or just do the same with the steering wheel itself... fewer bolts to loosen. remove airbag, undo center nut, pull wheel off and put back on straight. reinstall nut and airbag.
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

Before you attempt this make sure the wheels turn the same amount both ways. I have seen it where the shop aligns the wheels without making sure the rack is centered.
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

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Originally Posted by hondamark35 View Post
or just do the same with the steering wheel itself... fewer bolts to loosen. remove airbag, undo center nut, pull wheel off and put back on straight. reinstall nut and airbag.
That's too much of a hassle to undo all that junk. You also need like an impact gun or a breaker bar to undo that center bolt, a socket wrench with some serious force wouldn't undo that thing.
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:14 AM   #12
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

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Originally Posted by that_boy_sammy View Post
That's too much of a hassle to undo all that junk. You also need like an impact gun or a breaker bar to undo that center bolt, a socket wrench with some serious force wouldn't undo that thing.
i dissagree. i do it this way all the time with normal hand tools..
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:28 AM   #13
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

Lol same here. Nothing a lil leverage can't handle.

Majority of you guys that's have posted CLEARLY don't know a damn thing on how to correctly do an alignment. Its quite entertaining
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:21 AM   #14
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

Why did you tell him his control arm is bent when he CLEARLY stated the car drives straight just the steering wheel is off center?
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:27 AM   #15
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

If you drive your car in a straight line on a level road does it pull to either side with your hands off the wheel? When going straight on it's own is the wheel in that position?
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:31 AM   #16
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danieln02 View Post
Although the wheel is off, the car still drives straight.
The man who realigned the wheeled said the back wheels couldn't be 'realigned'.
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:10 AM   #17
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

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Originally Posted by that_boy_sammy View Post
Why did you tell him his control arm is bent when he CLEARLY stated the car drives straight just the steering wheel is off center?
a bent control arm won't necessarily cause the car to veer one way or the other. on the same token the alignment can be way out in several respects yet still track straight and have a normally positioned steering wheel.

my guess is that N/A is aware of what can happen when a car is driven into a curb resulting in a misaligned steering wheel.

my theory is that the shop drove the car onto the lift, crooked steering wheel and all and adjusted the damaged side overlooking the possibility that the geometry of the individual components was skewed. the undamaged side was left alone because it was in spec and all the adjustment was made on the damaged side leaving the steering wheel in the same position. not the right way to do it... replace the damaged component(s) and realign.
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Old 06-18-2011, 01:52 PM   #18
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

I didn't read most of the posts here, I'm not going to lie and say I did.

But there seems to be a bunch of mis-communication. Everybody's telling you the control arm is bent, that probably isn't the case, though it may very well be.

Take it back to the alignment shop, and tell the guy you want the "steering wheel center aligned." At all alignment shops I've went to, they won't center align the steering wheel as part of a 4-wheel alignment unless you ask them to. Just because the car goes straight, doesn't mean the wheel is center aligned, they have little correlation.

If he can center align the steering wheel and all your alignment vals are in the green, you should be fine.
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:09 PM   #19
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

bent front end parts... possibly bent/twisted frame
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:45 PM   #20
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

there is no reason why you can not have a straight steering wheel unless you bent your tie rods to the point that they can not be adjusted i do alignments at work. i cant understand why they would not of straighten your steering wheel. all it takes is locking steering wheel down and setting toe adjustments to both be negative and both be positive. if ones negative and one positive thats a crooked steering wheel even if the specs are all in the green. all this taking off steering wheel and doing it like that ya it will work but you already paid for an alignment so might as well take it back should be like a 3month warranty depending on where you got it.
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Old 06-18-2011, 06:07 PM   #21
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

a proper alignment will be set with the steering wheel level.

a crooked wheel shows that the tech was lazy and is probably a butcher who shouldn't be working on cars.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:52 AM   #22
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

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a proper alignment will be set with the steering wheel level.

a crooked wheel shows that the tech was lazy and is probably a butcher who shouldn't be working on cars.
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Old 06-20-2011, 04:01 AM   #23
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

Indeed, there's no reason the wheel shouldn't be centered when the tech is adjusting the front toe. It's not difficult. The tech was lazy and they should fix it for no charge.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:06 PM   #24
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

LMAO!!! You guys are HILARIOUS!! Bent control arm, bent front end parts, twisted frame LOL! A couple of people tried to logically point out the mis-communication and mis-understanding that's going on here.

The wheels, the rack and the steering wheel all have to be aligned at center. It sounds like they just missed the steering wheel. Beneath the steering wheel at the floorboard, there is a knuckle with 2 bolts. This has to be detached, rotated and put back on to correct it. That is all.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:27 PM   #25
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Default Re: Steering wheel off center even after alignment

Why did you bump an old thread?
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