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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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