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Off Center Steering Wheel


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Recently, four days ago, I did buy a Toyota Auris Hybrid, 2016, from Swanson Motor Company in Newton Abbot. After the checks and the test drive that I did, I have failed to notice that my steering wheel is actually not centred, and to drive straight, is staying a little rotated to the left. I have also noticed that the car it does pull to the left now. It's not something too significant but if you focus on it, it's easy noticeable.

I have contacted the dealer... And they said that because I took the test drive, and because I have paid, they don't know if I did something, like hitting a pothole or so, and they are not willing to help me. In the first instance, I have accused the previous drivers or doing so. Also, the car has failed the MOT due to a front tyre being worn, I think by the driver side saying out of my mind now, which was not followed by an alignment. To me, this looks more like a likely scenario, as I have experienced it before, but it does not necessarily mean that this is the issue. Also, it does not explain the off centre steering wheel.

However, at some point was my words against the sales man words, and eventually we reached an agreement for me to take it to a garage to be checked, as the distance between me and Swanson Fords, the approved dealer where I bought it from, is 200 miles. I am not necessarily happy about this, as I have to pay myself for the check, and I am confident that I have not hit any pothole to create this issue. I have been very careful in fact, as I paid £11,330 + plus an extended warranty for this car of £368.

I am going to attach some images and a short video on YouTube, and guys, please give me your opinions on this matter with how you would do in my situation.

I am also considering legal rights, such as ''Consumer Rights Act 2015'', as I am still within the period of 14 days, respectively 30 days. It may not work like this but it's something that I would try. However, I like the car and I all want is this to be fixed.
 

 

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Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, in the first six months since purchase it is down to the selling dealer to prove the fault wasn't there at the time of purchase. Really the car should be returned to Swanson for checking and repair - the fact that the dealer is 200 miles away from you is irrelevant. 

Swanson may be an authorised Ford service centre, but, from their website, that seems to be the only approved status they have, and nothing associated with Toyota.

Do they not have any centres closer than 200 miles where they could check the alignment?

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Very difficult to say from that video. It appears to me that the car is pulling to the left on its own and that periodically you correct it by straightening the wheel.

You mention tyres. Are both of the same manufacture and tread pattern.

It may or may not be an alignment issue. You can have an issue where the wheel is not centred but the car still tracks straight and true or you can have a problem where the car only runs straight if the wheel is held in the straight ahead position. A bent suspension part, unequally set track rods, all can do this. 

It needs a proper 4 wheel alignment imo to rule things out and get to the bottom of the problem. 

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It needs a 4 wheel alignment asap £40-60 why its on the rack, get them to check over the suspension

you will scrub the tires if it's not sorted

Are you near to Harpenden ?

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1 hour ago, FROSTYBALLS said:

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, in the first six months since purchase it is down to the selling dealer to prove the fault wasn't there at the time of purchase. Really the car should be returned to Swanson for checking and repair - the fact that the dealer is 200 miles away from you is irrelevant. 

Swanson may be an authorised Ford service centre, but, from their website, that seems to be the only approved status they have, and nothing associated with Toyota.

Do they not have any centres closer than 200 miles where they could check the alignment?

I don't know if they do have any centres. However, I did message the sales person that I did the transaction with, and I have requested to be arranged an appointment in my area in order to be checked to be repaired accordingly. In case that they will fail to do this by Saturday, I will look forward to claim my money back in some legal why under the Consumer Right Act 2015, as I am still within that 14 days period. Even if it looks fairly straight forward, I don't expect too much from it, as I don't have experience in this way.

I did mention that I can provide all my driving from the test drive to today's point, as I have it registered in my Google Maps timeline, and that they can check for potholes, and if they believe that I hit something to cause the steering to be off-centre and the car to pull to the left, then I will be open to look at it.

 

1 hour ago, Mooly said:

Very difficult to say from that video. It appears to me that the car is pulling to the left on its own and that periodically you correct it by straightening the wheel.

You mention tyres. Are both of the same manufacture and tread pattern.

It may or may not be an alignment issue. You can have an issue where the wheel is not centred but the car still tracks straight and true or you can have a problem where the car only runs straight if the wheel is held in the straight ahead position. A bent suspension part, unequally set track rods, all can do this. 

It needs a proper 4 wheel alignment imo to rule things out and get to the bottom of the problem. 

All the tyres are different on the car, the newest one being by the driver side. I took a video of the front two, maybe it will give a better insight.
 

 

1 hour ago, flash22 said:

It needs a 4 wheel alignment asap £40-60 why its on the rack, get them to check over the suspension

you will scrub the tires if it's not sorted

Are you near to Harpenden ?


Yes, I am in Hatfield.

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There is no 14 day period within the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The only 14 period I'm aware of as regards refunds relates to distance selling (ie goods ordered over the internet). As you test drove the vehicle and subsequently bought it, presumably distance selling doesn't apply.

https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act-aKJYx8n5KiSl

As far as I can see, under the above act, the selling dealer isn't obliged to carry out repairs, etc which are local to you.

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I have heard good things of Harpenden Mill autocare from friends/associates in that neck of the woods, you may want to look them up

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52 minutes ago, FROSTYBALLS said:

There is no 14 day period within the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The only 14 period I'm aware of as regards refunds relates to distance selling (ie goods ordered over the internet). As you test drove the vehicle and subsequently bought it, presumably distance selling doesn't apply.

https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act-aKJYx8n5KiSl

As far as I can see, under the above act, the selling dealer isn't obliged to carry out repairs, etc which are local to you.

I understand and quite does make sense. However, I will look for an official somewhere in case of something.

Probably, the issue itself is not a big, but it does make me feel like I am not respected. I give myself the possibility to be wrong but the dealer does not want to take responsibility at wall despite their public commitment for their customers. 

50 minutes ago, flash22 said:

I have heard good things of Harpenden Mill autocare from friends/associates in that neck of the woods, you may want to look them up

Thank you for the suggestion. I will keep it on my list.

 

In this way, I have checked KwitFix, which has some latest technology in wheel alignments. What do you know about them?

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kwik fit ? i wouldn't let them service a wheelbarrow

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I had a similar 'tracking' problem years ago on a car after having front wheel alignment done, because the garage had done the front alignment with the steering lock ON, rather than doing it properly with steering lock off and using special tool holding the steering wheel in the straight ahead position in the driver's seat. The car drove straight and true, but wheel was off centre, so drove it straight back and they did it properly.

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If you do a search for hawkeye hunter centres.  They seem to be the best system.  Like any tool it's only as good as as the operator.  In my experience this will be easily sorted.  Other options include some alignment centres based on motorsports.

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4 hours ago, alex_alexs28 said:

All the tyres are different on the car, the newest one being by the driver side. I took a video of the front two, maybe it will give a better insight.

That is not ideal if all are of different types as they are bound to have slightly different characteristics such as rolling resistance and 'give' that will tend to influence the straight and true running. 

Ultimately you are going to have to wait and see the outcome of a proper wheel alignment. 

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46 minutes ago, catnash said:

If you do a search for hawkeye hunter centres.  They seem to be the best system.  Like any tool it's only as good as as the operator.  In my experience this will be easily sorted.  Other options include some alignment centres based on motorsports.

As being an advanced technology, I assume the price it's also higher. What should I expect to pay for this?

5 minutes ago, Mooly said:

That is not ideal if all are of different types as they are bound to have slightly different characteristics such as rolling resistance and 'give' that will tend to influence the straight and true running. 

Ultimately you are going to have to wait and see the outcome of a proper wheel alignment. 

I see. I believe that is my best option and I will look forward for it. Tomorrow I am due to have a CatLock installed by Toyota and I will ask about the wheel alignment.

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20 minutes ago, alex_alexs28 said:

As being an advanced technology, I assume the price it's also higher. What should I expect to pay for this?

I see. I believe that is my best option and I will look forward for it. Tomorrow I am due to have a CatLock installed by Toyota and I will ask about the wheel alignment.

Depends how many adjustments.  I've heard of about £80 for a full range.

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Get a four wheel alignment done at an alignment centre (NOT Kwik Fit or Toyota). Expect to pay anything from £40 to 100.

Get a printout of the before and after settings.  It will quickly reveal any suspension or chassis damage.

Note that in the UK cars will often drift to the left slightly due to road camber.

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The car has a problem with alignment which is obvious, however it is very important to find out ASAP what has caused steering off centre., bad alignment, something worn out, or previous accidents and poor repair. My advice is to take the car to nearest Toyota dealer or reputable garage to carry on proper check and make correct alignment on all 4 wheels and if everything ok you can keep the car and ask the seller to reimburse you for the bill or if the car had a major fault as a result of an accident best to get it back to them for refund. Buying a used car from any dealer is simply a lottery. 
Wish you Good luck 👍

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11 hours ago, mrfixer said:

Get a four wheel alignment done at an alignment centre (NOT Kwik Fit or Toyota). Expect to pay anything from £40 to 100.

Get a printout of the before and after settings.  It will quickly reveal any suspension or chassis damage.

Note that in the UK cars will often drift to the left slightly due to road camber.

Yes, I did notice the camber on the road. Although I am aware of it, I still feel that the car pulls left but unable to make a clear assessment. Sometimes it does harder, which is usually more significant at higher speeds, sometimes just a little and sometimes almost not at all but I did notice that all the time the steering is coming back to it's left off-centre position and I believe that in the process it might cause that pull. 

Anyway, what do you mean exactly by a printout and how to get one?

10 hours ago, TonyHSD said:

The car has a problem with alignment which is obvious, however it is very important to find out ASAP what has caused steering off centre., bad alignment, something worn out, or previous accidents and poor repair. My advice is to take the car to nearest Toyota dealer or reputable garage to carry on proper check and make correct alignment on all 4 wheels and if everything ok you can keep the car and ask the seller to reimburse you for the bill or if the car had a major fault as a result of an accident best to get it back to them for refund. Buying a used car from any dealer is simply a lottery. 
Wish you Good luck 👍


Thank you for the reply!

I see that you are from Hertfordshire. Which garages around do you think that are reputable and that I can go confidently to it for a good check?

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16 minutes ago, alex_alexs28 said:

Yes, I did notice the camber on the road. Although I am aware of it, I still feel that the car pulls left but unable to make a clear assessment. Sometimes it does harder, which is usually more significant at higher speeds, sometimes just a little and sometimes almost not at all but I did notice that all the time the steering is coming back to it's left off-centre position and I believe that in the process it might cause that pull. 

Anyway, what do you mean exactly by a printout and how to get one?


Thank you for the reply!

I see that you are from Hertfordshire. Which garages around do you think that are reputable and that I can go confidently to it for a good check?

Hi, 

I live in Hemel Hempstead and usually I do service my car by myself. For MOT and wheel alignment I used to go to  Pro tyre in Milton Keynes as there was a friend of mine who was in charge with the alignment and he is really good indeed, it’s not just the equipment but the mechanic too. He left the business and now I am using protyre in Hemel , I don’t know the guys there but last year they done an alignment for me and all is perfect, well I needed alignment only because a different garage I needed to use urgently had messed my steering similar to yours. If you live near Hemel worth give them a try, equipment they have is good and the guys seems ok, tell them the problem you have and explain, they may also check the car for you for previous accidents, anything broken, just speak to them. Here is the link. https://www.protyre.co.uk 
Unit 5, Trade City, Maylands Ave, Hemel Hempstead HP2 7EB

Steven Eagell Toyota in Watford and St. Albans been dealing with about other issues and they seems fine too. 
Good luck 👍

 

 

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Thank you, Tony. I will save your suggestion and I will leave an update with what is going to happen.

For the moment I am waiting an answer from the dealer to see what the next step will be. I would pay myself for the checks and alignment but somewhere inside I refuse to, because then I have to chase them to pay me back or also, if something is worst, then if I send the car back, will be with an alignment from me and I think that is too generous of me 😅

I will leave updates with what is going to be. Thank for everyone's responses. I am grateful!

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15 hours ago, catnash said:

If you do a search for hawkeye hunter centres.  They seem to be the best system.  Like any tool it's only as good as as the operator.  In my experience this will be easily sorted.  Other options include some alignment centres based on motorsports.

 

The John Bean Visualiner is another great system iirc that is sold by Snap-on, it's a 45 min trip to the place i trust tho

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello everyone,

I am coming back with an update over the latest attempts to fix the off-centre steering and the left pulling.

So, I have booked with Steven Eagle Toyota over the phone a four-wheel alignment, and they said that they will give me a free visual check and a loan car too. Although, if you take the loan car completely free, there is an excess of £1,500, even for little scratches, so I opted to pay £9,95 to reduce my excess to £50. 

Next day, my car has been checked, and they did the four-wheel alignment. They said that they didn't see anything wrong with the car overall, and that now drives good. It was good to hear this, a relief.

I came to pick-up my car. I dropped the loan vehicle, which no one has checked it, at least not with me there. I have paid what I was due and I started to drive way. I have noticed that my steering was centred but was still pulling left kind of like before. However, I said to myself that I might be exaggerating, so I continued to use it like this over the weekend.

I had a trip of a few hundreds miles and it was good overall but it still bothered me, so I called again to have it checked again.

Initially it was for the next week but Tuesday morning, while driving, I felt at one point that my steering became too light or loose. It was confusing, because there was a bit of both. At motorway speeds it felt unstable, even at slight movements, and at low speeds it felt loose and it looked to me that I have to steer more than usual. It did worry me, so I called Toyota to amend my booking and to have it checked faster.

I went yesterday, I got a loan car so I can compare and it was no where near. I had 2020 Yaris, and I could have seen that stays straight and that I can feel that is not light or loose steering.

They have checked the car again and they said that they can not fault the car in anyway. They put the car again for alignment  saying that is the same thing but it actually improved the pulling, because there are slightly different values than in the first alignment You will see the papers in this post. I told them about the Yaris, that doesn't feel like this but they said that is normal because is a completely different car. I do understand that but for me it still feels too light and not too normal to be such a difference. Now, to get peace of mind, I will go again to drive an Auris like mine but I am sure that it will feel different. Because, literally, if I drive at 70 mph, I feel like it is very easy to loose the control of the car. 

I have attached the two alignments so you can see the first values, second ones and the last ones that I currently have on the car.

So... now I have a very light steering and despite the mechanic from Toyota saying that is normal, I do feel while I am driving that it doesn't feel normal. I am not really sure what to so from here.

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Hi, 

at least the steering wheel is centred now., are all 4 tyres exact same make and model and are the pressures correct ? I can see your car is equipped with 225 17” tyres which can make the things worse. My car also pulls a bit to the left, and all previous Toyota hybrids that I had, some more , some less , and I think as been mentioned earlier because of the roads. You can try to swap front with rear tyres, set the pressures and give it a try, and also you can try driving on opposite side of the road if no cars around and it’s safe to do so, if the car pulls to the right then it’s nothing to worry about the car and it’s just because of the road camber. Cars equipped with wider tyres or different brand tyres  are more prone to pulls to one side. 👍

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