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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased a used, 2017 Volt with ~25K miles (single owner lease, regularly serviced, car appears to be in impeccable shape). It came with Westlake tires, a brand with which I wasn't previously familiar--traction and handling seem quite good, road noise seems fine, possibly there's some impact on efficiency/range. And the tires may be irrelevant to my question below, it just seemed important to mention them.

I notice that on the highway, if I make a slight left turn (e.g. a gentle bend in the highway or a lane change), there's a slight sticking or pulling feeling--like the car wants to continue in that direction--when I'm steering a few degrees to the left and as I try to return the steering to center. It's pretty mild, and not hard to steer through, but I do notice it regularly.

I don't notice any off-center pull at other times, e.g. on a straight, flat road, the car tracks straight, so I think that means it's not an alignment issue? It isn't related to acceleration or braking, so it's not a torque steer or braking issue, I believe. The tires all all evenly inflated to spec, so it's not uneven inflation. The tires have lots of tread left and no signs of uneven wear, so I think that's not the issue.

So that leaves...the differential? The suspension? Power steering? Something else?

Thoughts about trying to diagnose this? I'm going to the dealer in a few days for the recall many of us have been doing, so I'll have a chance to engage them. I'm also still within the fairy comprehensive (I believe) 90-day warranty, having purchased it (non-CPO) from the dealer.
 

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I too have a 2017 Volt Premier with Lane Keep Assist. What you are describing sounds exactly like LKA trying to nudge you back into what it believes is your lane. Turn LKA off for a while and see if it goes away. You can search here for LKA. Lots of haters, yes other cars do it better ... but I very much like it. Now that I am used to it I "understand" that my intention is to override LKA (it ALWAYS lets you override). Every once in a while (read, I'm distracted) ... LKA is a real wake up.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I too have a 2017 Volt Premier with Lane Keep Assist. What you are describing sounds exactly like LKA trying to nudge you back into what it believes is your lane. Turn LKA off for a while and see if it goes away. You can search here for LKA. Lots of haters, yes other cars do it better ... but I very much like it. Now that I am used to it I "understand" that my intention is to override LKA (it ALWAYS lets you override). Every once in a while (read, I'm distracted) ... LKA is a real wake up.

Ooh, that's an interesting theory. I'm not noticing any steering wheel vibration--I thought LKA was supposed to vibrate the steering wheel when it was activated--but that aside, it's possible the system is mistakenly activating under particular circumstances.

But my guess is this isn't the explanation, because it happens when I'm nowhere close to a lane marker. If anything, the effect is trying to pull me toward lane markers, when I'm trying to steer to stay away from them. Or maybe the system gets confused by gently curving roads?

I should emphasize the effect is very subtle. Initially I thought it had something to do with the tread pattern on the tires, but noticing it's only to the left, not the right, and the tread pattern being symmetrical, that doesn't seem to be a plausible explanation.

EDIT: According to that video, the seat vibrates ("if equipped"), not the steering wheel. Interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Could be as simple as needing an alignment or possibly loose/worn ball joint.
To be clear, most of the time there's no particular pull to the steering, i.e. it's neutral. When I'm driving, and making a gentle turn to the left (say, a gently curving highway), as I return to center, there's a particular spot a few degrees left of center which, as the steering passes through it, pulls just a little, as though the car wants to stay going in that slightly leftward direction. The effect is quite subtle, but I notice it regularly.

Doesn't this sound less like an alignment issue?

I don't know enough about vehicle dynamics to know whether a loose/worn ball joint fits what I'm describing.
 

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I too have a 2017 Volt Premier with Lane Keep Assist. What you are describing sounds exactly like LKA trying to nudge you back into what it believes is your lane. Turn LKA off for a while and see if it goes away. You can search here for LKA. Lots of haters, yes other cars do it better ... but I very much like it. Now that I am used to it I "understand" that my intention is to override LKA (it ALWAYS lets you override). Every once in a while (read, I'm distracted) ... LKA is a real wake up.

Great suggestion. I agree with this, try turning the function off, and see if you still have a concern. I'm one of those that really dislikes it, and and mine is always off.
 
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To be clear, most of the time there's no particular pull to the steering, i.e. it's neutral. When I'm driving, and making a gentle turn to the left (say, a gently curving highway), as I return to center, there's a particular spot a few degrees left of center which, as the steering passes through it, pulls just a little, as though the car wants to stay going in that slightly leftward direction. The effect is quite subtle, but I notice it regularly.

Doesn't this sound less like an alignment issue?

I don't know enough about vehicle dynamics to know whether a loose/worn ball joint fits what I'm describing.
Assuming it's not LKA or an electronic system trying to steer your vehicle and your tires are evenly worn. It's not pulling left or right and your steering is center. The road doesn't have a hump. But when you turn your wheel to one side, it feels like it wants to go to that side and it turns too easily to that side, it's your ball joint.
 

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Assuming it's not LKA or an electronic system trying to steer your vehicle and your tires are evenly worn. It's not pulling left or right and your steering is center. The road doesn't have a hump. But when you turn your wheel to one side, it feels like it wants to go to that side and it turns too easily to that side, it's your ball joint.

There was a recall about something similar a few years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
There was a recall about something similar a few years ago.
My car's a 2017, for what it's worth.

I haven't noticed the effect since I turned off LKA, but it's subtle, and I don't drive a lot, so that doesn't necessarily mean that was the issue.

I have a dealer appointment in the morning for the battery management recall we're all doing. I guess I'll mention it, though I'm a bit hesitant to have them go down the rabbit hole given how subtle it is.
 

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My car's a 2017, for what it's worth.

I haven't noticed the effect since I turned off LKA, but it's subtle, and I don't drive a lot, so that doesn't necessarily mean that was the issue.
If memory serves me, when this was a serious problem with the Gen1, it usually only showed up after a somewhat lengthy drive on a relatively straight highway. And, although some steering racks were replaced, I believe the official FIX was a software update.

FYI, I'm pretty sure it was reported that exercising the steering from lock to lock while siting still reportedly gave temporary relief.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
With Lane Keep Assistance (LKA) off, I couldn't recreate the subtle left pull I sometimes notice, on a particular point in the steering spectrum, on the highway. So I decided not to mention it during this morning's service appointment to do the recall we're all doing. And my guess is LKA was causing the effect. I think it mostly happened when I was on gentle curves on the highway, and I suppose I might have been not-perfectly centered in the lane or the curve might have tricked the system. I've never noticed either the steering wheel or seat vibrate, but maybe that's very subtle?
 

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With Lane Keep Assistance (LKA) off, I couldn't recreate the subtle left pull I sometimes notice, on a particular point in the steering spectrum, on the highway. So I decided not to mention it during this morning's service appointment to do the recall we're all doing. And my guess is LKA was causing the effect. I think it mostly happened when I was on gentle curves on the highway, and I suppose I might have been not-perfectly centered in the lane or the curve might have tricked the system. I've never noticed either the steering wheel or seat vibrate, but maybe that's very subtle?
Good move.
 

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I notice that on the highway, if I make a slight left turn (e.g. a gentle bend in the highway or a lane change), there's a slight sticking or pulling feeling--like the car wants to continue in that direction--when I'm steering a few degrees to the left and as I try to return the steering to center. It's pretty mild, and not hard to steer through, but I do notice it regularly.

Thoughts about trying to diagnose this? I'm going to the dealer in a few days for the recall many of us have been doing, so I'll have a chance to engage them. I'm also still within the fairy comprehensive (I believe) 90-day warranty, having purchased it (non-CPO) from the dealer.
Greetings,

Many years ago on the Gen I Volts, your symptoms could occur repeatedly on cool days after driving at highways speed for an extended time - say 50 miles or so - on relatively straight roads like Interstate Highways.

I could only get my MY2013 to repeat the symptoms with those conditions, so it was hard to explain it to a Service Writer or Tech. Since it occurred under warranty, my Chevy dealership replaced the rack-&-pinion per a GM bulletin. That SEEMED to work until....you guessed it.. another cool day on the Interstate driving in a straight line.

The 2nd trip to the dealership, this time expecting to have to, again, get a loaner and all that, I was surprised to learn that GM figured out that it was a steering programming fix that would take care of the problem.

I now have 126K mile on that vehicle and the problem has not returned,

Fast forward to Jan. 2020. I purchased a used MY2014 to replace my remaining gas-only vehicle. Sure enough, on a trip to the Texas coast on a cool February morning and I feel the familiar sticking at too-dead-center in the steering wheel. A trip the next day to the dealer and < $100 got the programming done on it as well.

The problem has not returned on either vehicle.

Cheers,
 

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Could be as simple as needing an alignment or possibly loose/worn ball joint.
The fact that it only has 25K and replacement tires indicates excess wear of the original tires. This could be caused by Toe error due to curb impact. It is also possible that alignment error could affect the calibration of LKA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Good move.
It's almost certainly LKA, it's been a few days and I cannot recreate the effect without it on. Now I'm curious to play with it back on and figure out why it's engaging. There's a particular curve on the highway where it pretty consistently engages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The fact that it only has 25K and replacement tires indicates excess wear of the original tires. This could be caused by Toe error due to curb impact. It is also possible that alignment error could affect the calibration of LKA.
I don't think there's any way for me to know why it doesn't have OEM tires. But you're right, it's strange. I don't at this point notice any quirky handling behavior (other than the above) or uneven tire wear.
 

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I noticed this briefly on a 2016 Gen 2. There was a slightly shiny surface on the highway and the sensor was fooled. Very rare.
 

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If memory serves me, when this was a serious problem with the Gen1, it usually only showed up after a somewhat lengthy drive on a relatively straight highway. And, although some steering racks were replaced, I believe the official FIX was a software update.

FYI, I'm pretty sure it was reported that exercising the steering from lock to lock while siting still reportedly gave temporary relief.


Sorry,

I didn't read your post before I wrote mine. You're correct on all points about the Gen 1's having this issue. If I recall correctly, GM did not do a blanket recall for it but took care of it under warranty - if the owner still had any, or on a case-by-case basis for a fee for those of us, like me, that noticed it on an out of warranty vehicle; my 2014 that I purchased in 2020, for example.

I can't speak to whether the Gen II's could experience the SAME issue.

Cheers,
 

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With Lane Keep Assistance (LKA) off, I couldn't recreate the subtle left pull I sometimes notice, on a particular point in the steering spectrum, on the highway. So I decided not to mention it during this morning's service appointment to do the recall we're all doing.
If your car is still covered under a 90 day warranty, then I think you should definitely mention the issue. It could be a lane keep sensor (camera?) issue or something else the mechanics might be familiar with. The bumper-to-bumper warranty really saved me a lotta $, and I'd hate for you to find out later that your issue is a symptom of something that might cost a lot of money to fix in the future.
 
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