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Steering wheel is off-center. Dealer says it's a bent rim

5724 Views 19 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Mister Dave
In the days after I had the dealer add washers and tighten the axle bolts (very high torque) I noticed the steering wheel naturally wanted to rest a few degrees turned to the right at any speed. I took it back to the dealer and they say nothing in the axle bolt repair would cause the steering wheel to be out of alignment. They said the wheel alignment was perfect which I had verified by a chain automotive shop. The front rims look fine with some minor curb scratches and peeling paint that is common for those wheels. The runs smooth and the car doesn't seem to pull either direction so its doesn't seem like anything is dragging the car to one side or the other, just he steering heel is misaligned.

They even switched the front wheels and it still behaves the same which is puzzling. I suggested putting the rear tires in front but they said that wouldn't make a difference either. I also suggested pulling wheels from a used Volt on their lot but they don't have any used volts..

I am I off base thinking the axle bolt repair could have caused the misalignment? Did the electronic steering somehow get messed up? I am going to have my Indy look at the front rims without telling him which rim is suspect to see if sees a bent rim.

Any comments, ideas, or similar experiences appreciated.

2012 Volt Black
CU51xx - 73K miles
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Thanks for all the replies. I did suggest to the service manager that a slight tie rod adjustment is worth a try but he didn't buy it. I am going to talk to him again this morning.
I had the clicking noise when accelerating or decelerating. They put the washers on and I assume used the same nut. I probably should have researchedmore and did it myself since I do a fair amount of work on cars but that is some high torque. They charged a full hour of labor at $160 to do the job. Others here have been charged about $106.

The axle nuts really should be covered by the powertrain warranty of which I only have a few days left. They don't seem to be a wear item and it is just part of the powertrain basically falling apart. Anyone have any good arguments for convincing them it should be covered by the powertrain warranty?
I was going to take the front wheels off to look at the rims tonight but someone needed the car. I had it at the chain automotive place yesterday to have the steering wheel centering adjusted and I don't think they improved it much if at all. I can always go back there and try again as it won't cost anything. The dealer could have just taken the wheel off and showed me the bent rim but never offered anything like that.

It still drives in such a way that the wheel is noticeably to the right on a leftward slope and barely even on a rightward slope. I'm sure that would annoy most of. I don't think it is pulling left or right, but very slight if at all.

Thanks all for the discussion.

It's been a decent dealer so far and this is the first bad experience but they also did something kind of outrageous that belongs in it's own thread.
To conclude this thread, I bought new rims from Tire Rack and had my chain place install them and do yet another alignment with the emphasis on getting the steering wheel straight. Psychologically it is hard to convince myself it it perfectly straight be it probably is. The old rims had paint bubbling off so I was happy to see them go. I also sold the car to a family member who took it to another state so I wanted it be good for the long haul for them.

I still have the old rims and may take them dealer for a blind test to see if they can pick out the two front aka bent rims.

They never did quote rims to me. I don't know if the were trying not to be pushy or just trying to claim it wasn't there responsibility.

I have since picked up a mint 2014 Volt with a custom leather interior with less than 20k miles for decent price. Thanks for the replies.
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