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I am planning on installing an OEM heated steering wheel but I'm concerned that I might not have the wheels and steering perfectly aligned, and I'll install the new steering wheel slightly off-centered. Would this be corrected on the next alignment visit?

The vehicle is a 16' Volvo XC90 and has electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering.

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The alignment checks are for your tires relative to each other -- they'll make sure both tires are pointing the same direction at the same time. They don't check whether your steering wheel is aligned, so you're out of luck there.

However, it seems that it's not too hard to tell when the steering wheel is off center. if you'd like, you can take a picture of what the steering wheel looked like relative to the dash before you take it off, then try one notch over to see how different it looks.

This is a steering wheel (on a Volvo XC90) in the proper orientation: Proper Orientation picture

And this is one just one notch off. One Off picture

These are screengrabs from this YouTube tutorial, which seems to walk you through the whole process if you'd like to take a look.

  • Thanks for the valuable answer, but what do you mean by "notch"? Is the steering wheel connected to the bolt by "notches", i.e., "degrees"? In other words is 1 degree 1 notch? If so, I am all set as that isn't (or shouldn't be) too hard really! – thediyer Nov 20 '18 at 3:00
  • Yes; there's a shaft that the steering wheel fits on to, with splines that will limit the number of ways you could possibly put the steering wheel on. I think you're golden ;). – Cullub Nov 20 '18 at 3:04
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    Excellent!! Time to find a steering wheel that is not $750 brand new. – thediyer Nov 20 '18 at 3:05
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You don't have to replace the steering wheel. You have a mechanic pull it (or you borrow a steering wheel puller) and then put it back on correctly. HOWEVER a proper alignment will in fact fix a crooked steering wheel. The proper way to align a car is to center the steering wheel and then adjust the wheels to it. Additionally this is the ONLY way to adjust it on some cars as there is a flat spot in the shaft the steering wheel fits against. Source: I have done alignments.

  • Well I need to replace the steering unit to add the heated steering option on the car. I will need a puller or will it slide right out when I undo the bolt? – thediyer Nov 20 '18 at 13:25
  • you'll almost certainly need a puller although what kind of puller you need i can't say. You may have threaded holes on each side of the main bolt for screwing in an 8mm bolt into. These could either be for attaching a puller or they could actually push the wheel off as you tighten them. It depends on the car and i don't know this model. – John Lord Nov 20 '18 at 17:30
  • I have a 2016 Volvo XC90. Electric assist steering. – thediyer Nov 20 '18 at 19:15

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