Why Is My Steering Wheel Off-Center When I’m Driving Straight?

We here at Oxford Automotive can answer that question quickly and easily: Your steering wheel is off-center when you’re driving straight because your wheels aren’t aligned correctly. This is one sign of a bad wheel alignment, and you might notice the steering wheel is crooked right after you’ve had the wheels aligned. There are other less obvious signs, as well. Let’s discuss them below so you can identify a wheel alignment problem before it becomes an even bigger issue that ruins your tires.

Vehicle Suspension 101

Let’s talk about your vehicle’s suspension first because this puts the signs of a bad wheel alignment into perspective. Your car, truck, or utility vehicle is designed to go straight unless you use the steering wheel to turn it in a different direction. Vehicle suspension in its natural position has the wheels pointed forward. Your steering wheel and wheels are part of your automobile’s suspension, so, in essence, an alignment issue is a suspension issue, and an alignment issue can be caused by a suspension issue.

When Your Wheels Aren’t Aligned…

When your wheels are not aligned properly, you will notice that your steering wheel is off-center, i.e. the logo is not straight, even though your wheels are straight. Another clear sign that your vehicle is not aligned is pulling. You may be driving straight but your automobile keeps creeping to the left or to the right, leaving you with the headache of correcting it constantly. Your tire tread might also wear down unevenly because the misaligned wheels are bouncing up and down on the road’s surface.

DIY Alignment Test

If you’ve noticed any of these things, give your vehicle a DIY alignment test. Find a flat and deserted well-paved road. It can also be a parking lot or any place where the driving surface is level, in good shape, and there’s no danger of hitting anything. Drive in a straight direction and let go of the steering wheel. Even though you don’t have your hands on the wheel, your automobile should still drive straight. If it begins to pull to the right or the left, your wheel alignment is bad and needs to be adjusted.

We can do that for you here at Oxford Automotive in Oxford, PA. Schedule an appointment by calling 610-890-8938. We will test your wheel balance and alignment and make the necessary adjustments. If you haven’t had your wheels aligned in at least two years, it’s time, so give us a call today.

Photo by lzf from Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro

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