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Tracking Problem After New Tyres Fitted


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#1 Chris81

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 08:58 AM

I've had new tyres fitted to the front of my Yaris. Straight away I've noticed that the steering wheel is now slightly to the left (in the '5 to' position) when the car is going straight ahead. The car seems to drive perfectly straight - it doesn't pull to either side when let go of the steering wheel. It's just that when driving perfectly straight ahead the steering wheel now points to the left! I took it back to the garage where they checked the tracking (didn't put it in the air - just used some clamps) and they said it was perfect, so I'm baffled.

The same thing happened a year ago when newer tyres were put on the fronts. At that time the garage said tracking was slightly out so they adjusted it and it was fine ever since. Only now I've had new tyres put on its got the problem back.

I'm hoping cfc1 can shed some light!

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#2 cfc1

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 11:01 AM

Ye shall see the light my friend... mibbies :lol:

We get this quite a lot, after fitting new front tyres a car can pull to one side or the steering wheel can be slightly off centre.

If your old tyres were worn on one edge (normally the inside edge) it can be a sign that the tracking is out, even although the car didn't pull or anything, once the new tyres get fitted problems like yours can show up, this is because the car is trying to wear the tyres down on one edge again.

Just because the car appears to drive in a straight line doesn't mean the tracking is ok.... and just because the garage checked your tracking and told you it is ok, doesn't mean it actually is... their guages might need calibrated or perhaps the Toe settings are fine but the the rear flags (these are the guages on the rear wheels... these should point to the same number indicating that the car is centred, in other words, the front wheels are in a direct line with the rear wheels) could be out, if the front wheels aren't in a direct line with the rears, then the steering wheel will be off centre.

I'm not saying this is the case with your car, what you could try is swapping the front wheels from left to right (providing you haven't fitted directional tyres) do this to see if the steering wheels sits centre or the other way (to the right in your case) if so then it could be down to the natural track of the tyres, the natural track of a tyre is what way (left or right) the tyre will turn if rolled in a straight line in lab conditions, if it goes left.. the tyre is heavier on the left side... just like a bowling ball, if it goes right... the opposite. You will have noticed the lines on the tread of new tyres, one of these lines represent which side of the tyre is heavier, the fitter should fit the tyres so that the natural track of the tyres doesn't cause the car to drift to one side etc... I have also known this to affect the steering wheel. So swapping things around a little can aleviate any problems.

If after doing this nothing changes it tends to rule out a tyre problem, then If it was me I'd want the tracking checked again (possibly at a different garage just incase the original garage needs the guages calibrated) I would also get the suspension checked for worn bushings etc, althouh I'd think yours should be ok as it isn't a major issue you are having.

My money would be on the tracking being slightly out, but "still within tolerance", this means that the tracking can be out by say 1.5mm and still be classed as ok, I can't recall what the settings are supposed to be for the Yaris, but lets just say it's supposed to be -1... the settings could read... -1 + or - 1.5, this would mean that -2 can be classed as ok. Like I said though, I can't recall what the Yaris settings are, so perhaps your is out, but still in tollerance... this could be causing the steering wheel to be off centre, but tracking ok.


If your not sure what I mean.. let me know and I'll ry to explain a little easier.

#3 Chris81

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 11:43 AM

Thanks for the reply. The garage said my tracking was at zero. They put a clamp on the steering wheel and 2 front wheels but I don't know what they actually measured. The thing is, there's always a tiny bit of play in steering wheels left to right, so once its parked up you could straighten the wheel to the centre but its not as if the front wheels would move - dunno if that makes sense - I'm trying to say that the wheel is slightly off centre ('5 to') rather than anything severe.

I can't swap the fronts left to right as they are directional tyres. Suppose I could try front to back but they're the same brand and are also quite new. I think I'll take it back to the dealers as they got it centred ok last time.

As for the old tyres - yes the nearside front was worn on the outer edge. Is this consistent with the steering wheel pointing slightly to the left (and car driving perfectly straight when let go of wheel). must say I find it all very confusing!

#4 cfc1

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 11:59 AM

The garage said my tracking was at zero.


Set at zero means that the front is pointing in a straight line... but zero may or may not be the proper settings, perhaps it should be set to -1 or something... need to check.

They put a clamp on the steering wheel and 2 front wheels but I don't know what they actually measured


They clamp the steering wheel in the centre position.. for obvious reasons. They measure the toe settings on the front, the front guages point in to ways...

1. Accross the front.. front toe, this will be what they have set at zero, which may or may not b the correct setting. They also point down each side of the car to the guages (rear flags) on the rear wheels, the readings on the rear flags should be the same.... if the left is at 5 then so should the right, this keeps a centre line down the car, if this is out then your steering wheel will be off centre, but the toe (tracking) settings could still be ok, but you should still go back and get it sorted out if need be. When this setting is a mile out you see cars "crabbing" down the road... looks like they are going sideways?.. this is because the front wheels aren't in a direct line with the rear wheels, even although the front toe settings could be right it is out of allignment.


Suppose I could try front to back but they're the same brand and are also quite new


Worth trying as it could be down to the way the tyres were fitted. There are lines down the tread of new tyres, one of these lines represent the natural track (explained in my earlier post) the tyres on the rear could be fitted with the natural track more suited for your car.

As for the old tyres - yes the nearside front was worn on the outer edge


This is 100% normal on cars with power steering, but only if it is a slight feathering rather than heavy werar, this is because here in the UK we turn right more often than we turn left (roundabouts) and the weight of the car gets pushed over to the nearside feathering the outside edge.



I can't remember if I said earlier and I'm too lazy to look now :lol: , but... if you have lowered your car or put on any aftermarket suspension parts that are different from standard then the standard tracking settinhs might not work with your car anyway, the standard tracking settings are only for the standard suspension setup. If your car has been modified in this way then you need to get a Full Global Geometric Check/Adjustment done, instead of doing just 3 or 4 angles, a geometric check does 15 or so different angles such as castor and camber... so if you've modded the car's suspension, try going down that road.

#5 Chris81

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 08:50 AM

Thank you for the detailed reply - it's always appreciated. I took the car to a different garage and they adjusted the tracking so the steering wheel is now straight. Like you say, worth getting a second garage to check! Cheers.

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