Steering Wheel Off Center: The Causes and The Fixing Methods

Have you ever encountered the problem of steering wheel off center? It’s annoying because when the wheel is not in the center, you have to make adjustments to your driving and sitting position. 

It could lead to safety concerns and physical discomforts like shoulder and back pain if going on for a long time.

Steering Wheel Basics

A steering column connects to your steering wheel. At the end of that column is a gear known as a pinion, which meshes with matching teeth on top of a flat bar known as a rack. 

Turning the pinion causes the rack to move to the left or right. The rack’s ends connect to tie rods, which link to arms that extend rearward from the wheel hubs. 

A threaded collar is located on the tie rods; rotating it makes the tie rod longer or shorter, angling the wheel inside or outward. 

Of fact, this only applies to a rack-and-pinion system, although most steering systems are essentially comparable in terms of steering linkage.

Why Is My Steering Wheel Off Center?

There are several reasons for the steering wheel to move off-center. It could happen due to shoddy engineering and design. 

Although it is rare, it is not unheard of. Most people never notice. But, a car can come out of the factory with the steering wheel off center or tilted.

It may happen when you bump the suspension after hitting a pothole. Such sudden jolts displace the components from their original factory-set positions. 

A similar problem will occur if you spend too much time off-road. When you drive for a long time on the rocks, the numerous bumps and impacts will push the steering wheel slightly off center.

Also, the position of the steering wheel depends on the thrust angle of a vehicle. The misalignment of the rear wheel or axle affects the angle between the thrust line and centerline. The result is a crooked wheel.

off centre steering wheel
Off-road driving can mess with the wheel alignment. (Photo: Rac)

Steering Wheel Off Center: How to Fix It?

When you are fixing a bent wheel, you have to work on three angles – caster, camber, and toe.

Caster – refers to the forward or backward tilting of the top of the steering axis. It regulates the steering’s directional control. According to the measurement, the backward tilt is considered positive (+) while the forward tilt is negative (-).

Camber – has control over the directional operation and tire wear. The angle refers to the bending of the wheels from the upright position. It becomes a positive (+) angle when the wheel’s incline at the top is outward. It will be negative (-) when it angles inward.

Toe – refers to the extent of the angle the front or rear wheels are turned in or out. The toe angle is positive (+) when the wheels are turned in and it is negative (-) when they are turned out.


The easy ways to fix steering wheel off center problem are:

Method 1

It is the simplest method but you need to have some technical knowledge about the mechanism of a vehicle. Also, you have to have the correct tools because it involves removing the steering wheel from its case.

Just take it out and set up again in the right position. It is also possible to correct the alignment without removing the wheel. But, the process involves more time and cost.

steering wheel is not centered
You have to remove the wheel to fix it. (Photo: Autohome)

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Method 2

When the tilting is too much, you should take the vehicle to a service shop. The mechanics use a machine for the alignment that takes care of all four wheels and the thrust angle.

They will also check the caster, camber, and toe angles to make sure that the steering wheel is not off-center.

DIY Fixes For Steering Wheel Off Center

While it’s preferable to have a professional technician analyze and repair an off-center steering wheel, there are a few do-it-yourself remedies you may attempt at home. 

One alternative is to adjust the tie rod ends manually, but this necessitates the use of specific equipment and skills and can be dangerous if not done correctly.

Another possibility is to rotate your tires, since uneven tire wear might result in an off-center steering wheel. This interim workaround, however, will not solve the core problem. 

It’s critical to remember that doing DIY repairs without the correct expertise and tools can be risky and cause more harm to your vehicle.

How A Steering Wheel Off Centre Can Affect Your Car?

Driving with an off-center steering wheel might have an impact on your vehicle’s performance and safety. It can cause uneven tire wear, resulting in decreased traction and handling and possibly a blowout.

steering wheel crooked
Driving with a faulty steering wheel may have an impact on your vehicle’s performance and safety. (Photo: My Car Makes Noise)

A steering wheel that is off-center can also cause your car to pull to one side, making it harder to maintain a straight line and increasing your chances of an accident. 

Furthermore, an off-center steering wheel might cause early wear on your vehicle’s suspension components, resulting in costly repairs in the future.

How To Prevent The Steering Wheel Off Center?

While certain reasons for an off center steering wheel are inevitable, you may take precautions to avoid them. One critical measure is to get your wheels adjusted on a regular basis.

This is especially critical if you regularly drive on rough roads and encounter potholes or curbs. Another approach is to have your suspension components evaluated for wear and tear on a regular basis and replaced as needed. 

You may also avoid the aggravation and potential safety dangers of driving with an off-center steering wheel by following these precautions.

Check out this video from Bros FOURR Speed to find an easy way to straighten your steering wheel in relation to the wheels of the car!

Final Words

A steering wheel off center can be an annoying and even hazardous condition, but it can be resolved by addressing the underlying issue. 

A competent technician can identify and repair problems caused by misalignment, damaged suspension components, or a bent steering linkage to provide a safe and enjoyable driving experience.

You may avoid the aggravation and safety dangers of an off-center steering wheel by taking precautionary actions and frequently inspecting your vehicle. Thank you for reading this post, and we hope it was useful in resolving your steering wheel issues.

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