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Not straight - Off center steering wheel

sircoffee

Well-Known Member
184
73
California
Vehicle Model
Civic EX
Body Style
Sedan
My steering wheel isn't perfectly straight; it is slightly off to the left like 11:58 instead of 12:00. And I never hit a curb. I always knew that the steering wheel was slightly off centered and it didn't bother me before, but after a boring long road trip, I started to notice it more and more. Since my car has like 8K miles, I don't know if this is considered "wear and tear" or claimable under warranty. Anymore have a similar problem or any thoughts/Comments/Suggestions?
 

Nix

Jötunn Moderator
VIP Member
10,765
8,162
Lew-vul, KY
Body Style
It's A Fast Pig!
Its alignment most likely. Tie rods aren't perfectly centered. You would probably have to pay to have an alignment done.
 

sircoffee

Well-Known Member
184
73
California
Vehicle Model
Civic EX
Body Style
Sedan
Its alignment most likely. Tie rods aren't perfectly centered. You would probably have to pay to have an alignment done.
Mmmk. Front End Alignment or all Wheel Alignment. (Serious Question, I don't know the difference.)
 

Monk

Well-Known Member
4,218
2,196
SW Virginia
Vehicle Model
2012 Civic EX
Body Style
Coupe FG3:ASM
Because these are front wheel drive, the rear end has independent suspension that needs the same tender care as most fronts do, and all 4 corners need to be in sync, it's just more attention that needs to be done.

Where as a rear end drive that has a straight axle doesn't have all those moving parts that need adjusting, in most cases the only way we'd need to adjust the rear would be if the tracking bar or some other thing isn't allowing it to stay centered.

At any rate, alignments are considered routine(although there are free alignments built into some maintenance contracts, that you may have, or not, it would be advantages for you to find out while you're there getting the work done).

Like @Nix said it's the 1st place to have done........
 

Nix

Jötunn Moderator
VIP Member
10,765
8,162
Lew-vul, KY
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It's A Fast Pig!
The only things that are adjustable from the factory in the rear is the toe setting. Camber is not adjustable.

In the front they can barely, like 0.5 degrees, adjust camber and the toe settings. The tie rods should be able to be adjusted to center the wheel. I don't think I've seen a single front/rear alignment option anywhere in a while. Just have them do all 4.
 

sircoffee

Well-Known Member
184
73
California
Vehicle Model
Civic EX
Body Style
Sedan
Mmmk thanks guys. I'll give the dealer a call on monday. (its saturday here and they closed on sunday (at least the service department is).
 

Monk

Well-Known Member
4,218
2,196
SW Virginia
Vehicle Model
2012 Civic EX
Body Style
Coupe FG3:ASM
The only things that are adjustable from the factory in the rear is the toe setting. Camber is not adjustable.

In the front they can barely, like 0.5 degrees, adjust camber and the toe settings. The tie rods should be able to be adjusted to center the wheel. I don't think I've seen a single front/rear alignment option anywhere in a while. Just have them do all 4.

The thing that comes to mind for me is, any thing that can get bent from running over s--- is adjustable, even if it has to be replaced with a new part to do it....... that being said, the steering wheel could be the culprit as well........

I was impressed with my '92 Jeep, I had it for about 150k and it never needed a wheel alignment.... and I did have it checked a few times usually when I bought new tyres. But it looked as the parts were stronger than a road cars might.
 
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japiotski

Well-Known Member
2
0
I wouldn't look passed the factory alignment to be off. Mine was from day one and i adjusted it myself at the shop. Also the curves of the steering wheel up top (what you can see through the wheel) doesn't exactly have the same horizontal line of reference as the H in the center nor with the curves of the dash. In other words it always looks crooked to me. Very fine line for it to look dead even and hardly any road is dead flat so you'll be correcting for road crown anyways.

I dead set the wheel exactly where I thought it was level and it does look better but it's all relative if your wheels are aligned as far as wear goes.

I was surprised to find that it was my rear toe that was out which when corrected throws my front toe off. Easy fix since nothing has weathered under the car yet and adjustments broke free easily. Either way my point basically is you will never know what your alignment is till you get one done/checked. Even if the car drives straight doesn't mean the alignment is right. When in doubt check it out.

I have pics so you can see how "bad" it was off but can't post them from here

*It's Darkout just on tapatalk*
 

chyld_89

Well-Known Member
34
26
What's up guys? Sorry to bring back this old thread, but I've been wondering for some time, after reading these posts, I haven't seen anyone mention this and wanted inputs from those who have fixed or are gonna fix the center steering wheel alignment.

So long story short, back in March of this year (2015) I hit a nasty pothole n blew my tire. Next day I get both front tires replaced (for evenness purposes) and I notice my steering wheel was at the 11:58 position as well. Go to dealer and get an alignment only to see my steering wheel is still off center. When I talked to the rep there, he just told me that something could be bent and that I'd have to either deal with it or go to the body shop-mind you I had already gone to this dealership to fix this problem a few times already, so I gave up on it.

Now with March around the corner (tax season ;)) I'll finally purchase coilovers, rims, and tires, BUT, the steering wheel is giving me concern now because when I went to a different dealership to get another opinion about fixing it, the rep there had told me that it could be my frame that's damaged and that, that could be the reason why my steering wheel is off center; ergo I won't be able to buy the things I want if I have to fix the frame. My frame!? Are you kidding me :(!?

So fellow peers, I'm sorry again for bringing this thread back and I'm sorry for making this post a little long even though I tried to make it short, but what's your input on my dilemma? Is it merely a tie-rod that's bent? Can the steering wheel just get straightened without affecting the wheel alignment? Or worse case scenario; if my frame is damaged, how much am I looking at for repairing it? I realize you guys can't see my car, but if you have friends or heard of stories that's similar to mine, please advise. Thanks in advance!
 

dpetro1

Well-Known Member
What's up guys? Sorry to bring back this old thread, but I've been wondering for some time, after reading these posts, I haven't seen anyone mention this and wanted inputs from those who have fixed or are gonna fix the center steering wheel alignment.

So long story short, back in March of this year (2015) I hit a nasty pothole n blew my tire. Next day I get both front tires replaced (for evenness purposes) and I notice my steering wheel was at the 11:58 position as well. Go to dealer and get an alignment only to see my steering wheel is still off center. When I talked to the rep there, he just told me that something could be bent and that I'd have to either deal with it or go to the body shop-mind you I had already gone to this dealership to fix this problem a few times already, so I gave up on it.

Now with March around the corner (tax season ;)) I'll finally purchase coilovers, rims, and tires, BUT, the steering wheel is giving me concern now because when I went to a different dealership to get another opinion about fixing it, the rep there had told me that it could be my frame that's damaged and that, that could be the reason why my steering wheel is off center; ergo I won't be able to buy the things I want if I have to fix the frame. My frame!? Are you kidding me :(!?

So fellow peers, I'm sorry again for bringing this thread back and I'm sorry for making this post a little long even though I tried to make it short, but what's your input on my dilemma? Is it merely a tie-rod that's bent? Can the steering wheel just get straightened without affecting the wheel alignment? Or worse case scenario; if my frame is damaged, how much am I looking at for repairing it? I realize you guys can't see my car, but if you have friends or heard of stories that's similar to mine, please advise. Thanks in advance!
When the alignment is done the tech needs to make sure the wheel is straight when setting the toe.

I would only worry about bent parts if they cannot get it aligned
 

JonnyRotten

Well-Known Member
1,673
771
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Vehicle Model
Civic Si
Body Style
coupe
What's up guys? Sorry to bring back this old thread, but I've been wondering for some time, after reading these posts, I haven't seen anyone mention this and wanted inputs from those who have fixed or are gonna fix the center steering wheel alignment.

So long story short, back in March of this year (2015) I hit a nasty pothole n blew my tire. Next day I get both front tires replaced (for evenness purposes) and I notice my steering wheel was at the 11:58 position as well. Go to dealer and get an alignment only to see my steering wheel is still off center. When I talked to the rep there, he just told me that something could be bent and that I'd have to either deal with it or go to the body shop-mind you I had already gone to this dealership to fix this problem a few times already, so I gave up on it.

Now with March around the corner (tax season ;)) I'll finally purchase coilovers, rims, and tires, BUT, the steering wheel is giving me concern now because when I went to a different dealership to get another opinion about fixing it, the rep there had told me that it could be my frame that's damaged and that, that could be the reason why my steering wheel is off center; ergo I won't be able to buy the things I want if I have to fix the frame. My frame!? Are you kidding me :(!?

So fellow peers, I'm sorry again for bringing this thread back and I'm sorry for making this post a little long even though I tried to make it short, but what's your input on my dilemma? Is it merely a tie-rod that's bent? Can the steering wheel just get straightened without affecting the wheel alignment? Or worse case scenario; if my frame is damaged, how much am I looking at for repairing it? I realize you guys can't see my car, but if you have friends or heard of stories that's similar to mine, please advise. Thanks in advance!

When the alignment is done the tech needs to make sure the wheel is straight when setting the toe.

I would only worry about bent parts if they cannot get it aligned

My guess is that nothing is bent on the car, especially the frame. You will bend lots of other things well before bending your frame. Either the rep you spoke with hasn't got a clue what he's talking about or you need to take your car to another dealership that knows what they are doing/talking about.
As @dpetro1 said, when the tech is checking and adjusting your alignment one thing that they do is attach a device that holds your steering wheel straight. If the tech is not careful he/she can set it slightly off centre and then adjust the front end with it crooked.
I would mention to the tech that you want them to pay close attention to setting the steering wheel perfectly straight when the alignment is done.
 

tacthecat

Well-Known Member
212
80
Cheshire, MA - USA
Vehicle Model
2012 Si
Body Style
Sedan
My guess is that nothing is bent on the car, especially the frame. You will bend lots of other things well before bending your frame. Either the rep you spoke with hasn't got a clue what he's talking about or you need to take your car to another dealership that knows what they are doing/talking about.
As @dpetro1 said, when the tech is checking and adjusting your alignment one thing that they do is attach a device that holds your steering wheel straight. If the tech is not careful he/she can set it slightly off centre and then adjust the front end with it crooked.
I would mention to the tech that you want them to pay close attention to setting the steering wheel perfectly straight when the alignment is done.

Tech was not paying attention when the alignment was done. I have same issue - pot hole, rim, tire. Drove car for 3 months and steering wheel stayed centered and fine. Replaced rim, 4 tires, and after the alignment steering is still fine but I'm at 11:58:30 and will live with it for another 60,000 miles or the next pothole. Yes, it's annoying but not worth the grief of taking it back in.
 

sircoffee

Well-Known Member
184
73
California
Vehicle Model
Civic EX
Body Style
Sedan
Go to a tire shop to get an alignment. They specialize in tires and should know alignments too.
 

Darkout

Supporting Member
VIP Member
1,107
807
Cocoa, FL
Vehicle Model
Civic Si
Body Style
Coupe
Sounds like your relative "level" steering wheel wasn'e "level" with what the tech thought. Sounds like a simple toe adjustment but i honestly wouldn't care to worry about it as long as it drives straight. I've learned over the years that if tires don't wear funny and you don't have a pull then your alignment is fine. IDC what a machine spits out as far as numbers.

Prime example, I put rear camber arms and front bolts to spec my alignment in perfect. I got everything on point with what the machine said but my steering wheel points to 12:10 going straight. No pull no feathered tire wear and drives great. It's just a front toe readjustment to fix but I haven't bothered even with new tires AFTER I did my alignment. Wear is perfect in the 1k miles so far. Point being don't look so hard at the "picture" you see of the wheel not perfect and level, even if your actual alignment is.

Mind you as well if you get coils and new suspension upgrades. You'll need an alignment off the bat sure but give time for everything to settle then get a second alignment done to make sure nothing's shifted. Just my 2 cents
 

Darkout

Supporting Member
VIP Member
1,107
807
Cocoa, FL
Vehicle Model
Civic Si
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Coupe
Go to a tire shop to get an alignment. They specialize in tires and should know alignments too.

You mean like Tire Kingdom that hire's your average shade tree mechanic that will screw a job up then have the car come to the dealer where I look at it and laugh, only to tell the customer you need all new wheel studs cause they impacted the wrong pitch lug nut on ALL 4 WHEELS! 500$ bill after 1500$ in rim upgrades can piss you off. Find a good tech you can talk to and trust and stick with them.

This is a true story that happened 6 months ago
 

chyld_89

Well-Known Member
34
26
Thanks a lot guys! Really...guess I'll wait until the end of March when I get my goodies and see if I can center my steering wheel then.
 
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