I just had a 4 wheel alignment done on a vehicle.

While taking it for a test drive, I noticed that the steering wheel is not quite centered for the vehicle to drive straight. It's not pulling in either direction on it's own; it's just that "straight" for the vehicle is not exactly the same as "centered" for the steering wheel.

I don't know whether or not it was like that before the alignment was done.

Given that the vehicle is not pulling to either side, is this an alignment issue, or purely an issue with the steering wheel?

Is it easily correctable?

  • 4
    This frequently happens when you take your car for an alignment. When was the last time you saw someone get behind the wheel of your car during the alignment process? It's just not something they care about as long as the wheels are straight. Take it back and have them fix it. Commented May 19, 2015 at 7:26

5 Answers 5


First of all, that is the job of the shop where you did the alignment, not just the wheels they should also check if the steering is aligned with the position of the wheel (they are entitled to do so).


  1. You can definitely take it to the station back and show them the problem; there is a good chance that the engineer might have forgotten to do the steering alignment (that's what I would do if I was in your situation). Plus, for them its like a 10 minute job and they should not make a fuss about it.
  2. There is a very good DIY on the net but it requires you to pull up your car on an ramp and I don't think many of us have ramps in our houses anyway, check out this post (or archive if link broken) for information on how to DIY.
  • Thank you. I will take it back to the shop. The link you provided is not working... can you fix it? Commented May 19, 2015 at 6:26
  • Its working for me ... what is the error you are getting on clicking it?
    – Shobin P
    Commented May 19, 2015 at 6:37
  • 2
    Solution #1 is spot on ... this is the shop's job to get it right. They need to take care of it and are obligated to do so. Commented May 19, 2015 at 10:39
  • 1
    @RockPaperLizard I wonder what happened to this issue? Did you take it to the shop?
    – Shobin P
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 7:35
  • 1
    Thanks for following up! I followed your advice and took it back to the shop. I was surprised that they didn't complain at all. They threw it up on a rack, fixed it, test drove it, and I was out in less than half an hour. It now drives as expected. Thanks for your advice! Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 2:40

There is a splined coupler where the steering shaft attaches to a u-joint prior to exiting the firewall (you should be able to see this under the steering wheel/firewall area) and going into the rack and pinion or steering box. Normally, to align the wheel to the tires you point the tires straight a head, loosen the coupler, pull the coupler off the splined shaft and re-orient the steering wheel, re-tighten, etc. If you are not familiar with this, or feel comfortable, I suggest you take it back. Plus you paid for a service, they should make it right.

Now if this is steer by electric, I have no idea, I have not messed with those before...


don't give yourself to much stress on this the problem came from two fixing (1) there is a joint from the tyrod End and the suspension look for professional Engineer to help you adjust it or (2) the steering knuckle under the steering wheel inside your vehicle to reset it for you am sure it will be OK


I have driven a car where the steering wheel center was slightly off-center when the wheels were straight. No problem at all. As the problem was slight, nobody complained about it in mandatory yearly inspection. I drove the car 40 000 km like that. No accidents at speed whatsoever.

If you had a 4-wheel alignment done, this was probably caused by the alignment so it's their job to fix it. But otherwise I wouldn't care about the problem.

If I were buying a used car that has this problem, I would carefully check the wear pattern of the tires. If the date code on the tires is old, and no unusual wear has occurred (and the car hasn't been in an accident), I would say to the seller that it's very suspicious that the steering wheel is off-center and that it could be the sign of an improperly done alignment, so the problem of steering wheel being off-center needs to be fixed and the alignment needs to be checked. So, I would negotiate the price way down. If the seller agrees to sell the car for reduced price, I would drive away smiling, fully well knowing that I got a good deal, and not do anything to the problem of steering wheel being off-center.


I think that your problem is caused by the incline of the road. The driving surface is not straight but slightly inclined to the sides for water drain (like this /\ ). So, in normal driving conditions, when driving straight, the steering wheel will be slightly tilted to the left (for right side driving). Go on an empty road and drive on the other side of the road and you will notice the steering wheel will be tilted slightly to the right.

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