Had alignment done, steering wheel of center on brand new car. Am I just picky?
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This is a discussion on Had alignment done, steering wheel of center on brand new car. Am I just picky? within the Suspension & Wheels forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Just got my brand new DGM hatch on saturday and I noticed the steering wheel was a bit off center. ...

  1. #1
    Registered User crash55's Avatar
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    Had alignment done, steering wheel of center on brand new car. Am I just picky?

    Just got my brand new DGM hatch on saturday and I noticed the steering wheel was a bit off center. So I took it in and got a free alignment from the dealer. They said it wasn't off enough to warrant an alignment but since it would be free they would do it anyway. They said they made a minor adjustment to the rear suspension. Fine. However after driving home, I noticed the steering wheel is still off.

    Now when I say off, it's VERY slight. So slight that I keep second guessing myself and thinking I'm either crazy or too picky. Either way, it's bothering me on a new car. Basically if I straighten the wheel perfectly, I go a bit to the left. To keep the car straight I have to hold the wheel very slightly to the right. I'm talking less than an inch. Maybe less than half an inch. Am I being picky? In a crap car I wouldn't notice due to wheel slop, but in this car every bit seems to matter. I'm debating whether or not I'm being too picky and each trip to the dealer will yield the same result, or if it's a legitimate issue that should be fixed. Let me know what you all think. Thanks!

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    Registered User Soobvirgin's Avatar
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    If you said you had to hold the wheel slightly to the left, I'd say that was normal because you're constantly steering to compensate for the camber of the road. But to the right? That doesn't sound normal. Any adjustment to the rear, most likely won't affect how the steering wheel sits. Did you tell the dealer that the problem was not that the car was pulling but that the steering wheel wasn't centered? If so, take it back and tell them it's still not fixed. They might be able to adjust it by moving the track rods by the same amount on each side so as not to knock your alignment off. At least, that's the way it used to be done. I can't say for sure on the WRX. But yeah, if it bothers you, take it back to them.

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    If it bothers you, you have every right to say so. I had a similar issue in my Honda and asked that they fix it. They did.
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    Registered User crash55's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input. Ill bring it in for them to fix.

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    Registered User hagen505's Avatar
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    I have that problem with a Kenworth truck that I use for work, and your right it's super distracting. It just throws you off and the more you think about it the uncomfortable you become. I'd try to get it fixed or it will haunt you.

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    Registered User rurso01's Avatar
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    So my winter tires are here and I called and found centering rings. The only issue is the guy has to know the size and is making me jump through hoops. I'd rather not lug in the tire/rim. I told him the size I need and he still seemed confused.

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    Registered User crash55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rurso01 View Post
    So my winter tires are here and I called and found centering rings. The only issue is the guy has to know the size and is making me jump through hoops. I'd rather not lug in the tire/rim. I told him the size I need and he still seemed confused.
    Not sure rurso. You just mount the tires. I just had mine done for free since my car is new and I bought the tires/wheels barely used from a guy who works at the dealership and recently sold his WRX. I plan to mount them my self for subsequent changes though. Other than my steering wheel issue, which was there before changing wheels/tires, the car rides nice. I picked up Michelin Pilot Alpin PA2s 16" on 05 WRX wheels for $350. The tires had one season on them and the wheels had a few scratches and nicks. Good deal

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    Registered User crash55's Avatar
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    Also you totally jacked my thread lol. I thought I'd mentioned my winter tires earlier but I hadn't. Oh well, I'll let you off this once!

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    I don't think that you're picky at all, crash55. My wife has a 2012 Impreza 2.0i, that had exactly 8 miles on it when we bought it. That said, I noticed the 2nd time that I drove her car that the steering was off "slightly," much like was the case with your car. I had been trying to figure out if it was just the road, if it was indeed the car, or if I was just going crazy from being out in the sun too long. Well, I tried to ignore it for weeks, that turned into months. Finally, I just couldn't take it anymore. So, I went on YouTube and found a couple of vids on how to do a "rough and dirty" alignment, and guess what? Her alignment was indeed off by 1/16 of an inch(passenger side front). 1/16 shouldn't really be enough to bother about, but I adjusted it myself(shhhhhhh!!!!) and what do you know, the car tracks straight and true now, with no annoying "push/pull/not properly centered" feeling. As a side note, when I asked the service department people at the dealership about it, they pretty much laughed at me in disbelief and said that the "assembly techs at Subaru know what they are doing when they set the alignment on these cars." I am so glad that I have another useful skill to add to my "toolbelt of knowledge!"
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    My new 2013 had the same issue. I noticed only when driving at highway speeds, so it didn't appear during my limited test drive. Now I have 2000 miles on the car and the steering tracks better with no off-center feel. Check you tire pressures to ensure they are as listed in the door jam sticker. Put over 1000 miles on the odometer and see if the problem remains. Could be tires are not true and need a little wear in to get the steering to settle a bit.

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    Registered User crash55's Avatar
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    I switched from stock to winter (slightly used) tires and wheels with the same issue. Also went back again. The issue is the dealer I'm going to won't center the steering wheel then redo the alignment. Total BS. They keep saying there's nothing they can do without throwing off the alignment. Sounds like laziness to me. I'm taking it to a different dealer (which is actually closer to where I live) and from talking to them it sounds like they understand and will fix it. They confirmed they will center the wheel THEN do the alignment. We'll see on the 22nd when I take it in.
    2013 DGM Hatch WRX - STI STS currently only mod

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    Quote Originally Posted by crash55 View Post
    I switched from stock to winter (slightly used) tires and wheels with the same issue. Also went back again. The issue is the dealer I'm going to won't center the steering wheel then redo the alignment. Total BS. They keep saying there's nothing they can do without throwing off the alignment. Sounds like laziness to me. I'm taking it to a different dealer (which is actually closer to where I live) and from talking to them it sounds like they understand and will fix it. They confirmed they will center the wheel THEN do the alignment. We'll see on the 22nd when I take it in.
    Good luck with the other dealership.

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    Registered User crash55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4WDFrenzy View Post
    I don't think that you're picky at all, crash55. My wife has a 2012 Impreza 2.0i, that had exactly 8 miles on it when we bought it. That said, I noticed the 2nd time that I drove her car that the steering was off "slightly," much like was the case with your car. I had been trying to figure out if it was just the road, if it was indeed the car, or if I was just going crazy from being out in the sun too long. Well, I tried to ignore it for weeks, that turned into months. Finally, I just couldn't take it anymore. So, I went on YouTube and found a couple of vids on how to do a "rough and dirty" alignment, and guess what? Her alignment was indeed off by 1/16 of an inch(passenger side front). 1/16 shouldn't really be enough to bother about, but I adjusted it myself(shhhhhhh!!!!) and what do you know, the car tracks straight and true now, with no annoying "push/pull/not properly centered" feeling. As a side note, when I asked the service department people at the dealership about it, they pretty much laughed at me in disbelief and said that the "assembly techs at Subaru know what they are doing when they set the alignment on these cars." I am so glad that I have another useful skill to add to my "toolbelt of knowledge!"
    I must have missed this post last time somehow. Do you have a link to this? If this dealer fails, I may have to resort to this. Didn't want to though because it's under warranty. You know? The "I shouldn't have to" feeling.
    2013 DGM Hatch WRX - STI STS currently only mod

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    Registered User Heide264's Avatar
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    Check your tire pressures. They may be uneven.

    Also, my stock tires always pulled to the right pretty badly after getting a proper alignment, even with rotating them. New tires cleared up the issue.
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    Moderator   Sasquatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crash55 View Post
    The issue is the dealer I'm going to won't center the steering wheel then redo the alignment. Total BS. They keep saying there's nothing they can do without throwing off the alignment. Sounds like laziness to me.
    It is BS / lazy. I hang out in the shop where I get my alignments done and watch (they are quite OK with that). The steering wheel is "locked" at dead center, then the alignment is done. The wheel is freed only after all the number are in.

    Many years ago I had an alignment done by a Ford dealer (had an Escort). The wheel was off center a tad. Took it right back to them and they fixed that in less than 10 minutes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heide264 View Post
    Check your tire pressures. They may be uneven.
    A quality shop should check that prior to the alignment. Mine will also put weight equivalent to me on the driver seat / floor.
    Last edited by Sasquatch; 12-12-2012 at 04:14 PM.
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