A perfectly aligned car is very necessary to enjoy the motoring experience. If for some reason, the car is not in a perfectly aligned state, then it can be a very bothersome issue for the car driver. Steering wheel off center when driving straight can be annoying.
So to properly understand the problem, I have broken down the whole problem into this simple article.
What Causes Steering Wheel Off Center When Driving Straight?
There can be many causes for a nonaligned steering wheel in the car as it involves many subsystems in the whole steering geometry. It can be divided into the following subsections-
1. Bad Wheel Alignment
For a steering wheel to point straight while driving the car, the wheel alignment of the car must be in a tiptop state. If the car alignment is not according to the specifications, then it can lead to a crooked steering wheel or a wheel that is not straight while driving.
Depending on the degree of bad alignment, it can sometimes be a serious situation as it can lead to the loss of control.
2. Steering Wheel Wrongly Installed
It might so happen that for some reason the steering wheel was removed and while installing it back, the Mechanic might have screwed up the installation. It is very necessary that when you are installing the wheel, it must be aligned to the correct center position.
An improperly installed steering wheel will not become centered and will cause the steering wheel off center when driving straight.
3. Accidental Damage To Chassis
Sometimes a small accident like a Fender Bender can severely affect a car’s suspension system. It is not necessary that you must be involved in a serious accident to cause it. It can also happen in a very minor accident.
If the suspension component is compromised during the impact, then it will cause this problem and the steering wheel will not center while driving straight.
3. Bad/Worn Out Suspension System
A bad car suspension can also lead to the steering wheel being off center when driving straight. There are many components in the suspension such as the steering rack, tie and rods, ball joints, and other such components which have rubber bushings by them.
When they fail due to wear and tear, then it can off-center the whole geometry of the car suspension, it can also lead the steering wheel not to remain Centre while driving state.
How To Fix Off-Centered Steering Issue?
This issue is not that difficult to repair and can be sorted out in the following manner-
1. Reinstall The Steering Wheel
The steering wheel not centered when driving straight can be a result of a bad steering wheel install job, which was not done properly. It can be for whatever reason. The problem is just an easy job, it should be removed and installed according to the procedure set up by the manufacturer.
It is not a very costly job and can be easily done. Since these days the cars have airbags in them, proper care must be taken while handling the airbag units of the steering wheel as a static discharge can easily set them off and can cause very serious injuries.
2. Accidental And Body Repairs
In case the issue arises due to an accidental impact, a proper chassis repair is in cards to eliminate the issue. Sometimes in the case of a serious accident, a major component of the body panel has to be replaced.
In such cases, repair of the body panel that does not give promising results should not be done. It will never eliminate the issue. Also since it is related to the safety of the car, the repair must be done properly.
3. Looking After Suspension
Since the suspension plays an important role, if the suspension is not in proper shape then it can cause issues. It can be due to a bad component such as a tie end rod or the steering rack. It could be an issue related to bad alignment, bad alignment can cause the steering wheel to off-center.
To attend to his issues, a proper car mechanic should check your car’s suspension. If alignment is the issue, then an alignment machine is the only option.
How Expensive An Off-centered Steering Can Be?
You can fix these issues by spending as low as $100 to as high as 1000 to 2000 Dollars. The issue involves a lot of components and reasons. So there is a wide variety of scales for the cost to fix the issue. If the car is accidental then the repair will be expensive.
The suspension components can bump the repair cost up to $500. But a simple alignment and steering wheel adjustment job cost under $100.
How Dangerous Is It To Drive With Bad Steering?
As this is related to the steering and alignment of the car, it can be a serious issue. It can compromise the overall handling of the car. If the steering wheel is off by a huge margin, then can greatly affect the handling of the car.
The car driver can easily lose control over it. You should address these issues as soon as possible. Otherwise, also, it can eat up your brand new tires or can damage the disc brakes.
How Far Can One Go With A Bad Steering?
Bad alignment or a bad suspension component can seriously affect the car’s handling. You should not drive the car at all costs because it can lead to a very serious accident. But if the car alignment is off margin by a very few percentages, then you can drive around. Still, you should be very careful.
It can be concluded that the steering wheel off center problem should be attended to at the earliest because it can really affect the handling of the car and you can easily lose control over your car. The issues do not involve any complex technical details, so they can be fixed very easily. If you still have any questions then comment down below.