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Steering wheel not aligned

Question : My car's steering wheel is perpetually not aligned. It feels heavy, rough and vibrates spontaneously at low and high speeds. The car is under warranty and each time I take it to the Proton service centre, they never seem to fix the problem or are only able to temporarily fix it.

I find your explanation regarding the tyres unlikely as the source of the problem. There is no way that my tyres are already 50 per cent worn, as the problem has been present since delivery of the car. The service centre insists there is a problem with the 'steering bush' but no matter how many times they mucked around with it, the problem persists. Can you provide more information regarding other causes of this problem? What exactly is a 'steering bush'? Is it possible that the 2005 special edition Waja is defective with regards to this seemingly crucial component? Do I need to get the service centre to check the car's suspension joints and shock absorbers?

Answer : When one speaks of steering not aligned or wandering, etc. there are many areas that can be the cause of the problem. With the space that this column has, we cannot go into all the details But try to make an educated guess. If tyres are not the problem, then one has to look at:

1. Wheels. If the wheel offsets are not according to specs, then one can have heavy steering and even wandering on uneven roads. If your original wheels have been replaced with wider ones, this could be a problem area as the offsets could be incorrect.

2. Steering. There could be a problem with the power steering pump, the rack assembly or even the rack mountings. Many steering racks are rubber mounted and if the mountings are no good due to age or even fit, the rack could move resulting in wandering, etc.

3. There is a possibility of a third cause and that is the control valve within the steering rack assembly. This control valve has a torsion bar that deflects when steering load is put on it and this opens a valve to allow hydraulic fluid on either side of the rack -- thus providing power assistance. If this control valve is faulty, the steer ing will be heavy sometimes. The solution is to pull the whole assembly out and service it.


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