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Steering Wheel off centre



  Renault Clio GT
Hi there, this is my first post on this forum.



Car details: 2009 Renault Clio GT VVT 128



I have an issue with my steering wheel in that it is off centre a few degrees to the left causing it to drift left. This issue occurred after an incident in a car park where I stalled whilst on full lock turning left. The engine would not start unless I came out of full lock but since the car was turned off the steering wheel was locked in place. I did the only thing I could and forced it out of full lock with all my might and there was a definite snapping sound/sensation.



This then caused a multitude of issues, namely a broken suspension coil, an engine management issue (oxygen sensor, not sure why) and the steering wheel to hang left. I have had the suspension coil replaced however that did not solve the issue of the steering. I then took it to another garage who did the tracking which made no difference at all. I have taken it to Renault main dealer and they say they too need to do the tracking in order to proceed looking at the issue (even though I've told them it's been done before). Is it worth me spending another £120 on top of what I have already spent to have them do the tracking?



Would anyone know what the cause of this issue to be? To add extra detail, if I hold the steering wheel straight it will go dead straight ahead so it seems the steering wheel & wheels are aligned just the steering wheel itself has gone off centre.



Any input on this would be greatly appreciated. Cheers.
image0.jpeg
 

Martin_172

ClioSport Club Member
the tracking needs done, the original garage who have done the tracking have not centred the wheel properly when doing it. Find a local alignment place with a good reputation, My local place only does alignment and have a fantastic rep and charge £35 + vat so don't pay over the odds, especially on a car which only has adjustable toe. just find somewhere with a decent lazer alignment setup such as a Hunter
 

Jack1998

ClioSport Club Member
  Renault Clio 1.6 Rsi
Could very well be the tie rod ends. Watch the start of the video and these chaps have exactly the same problem and fix it by changing the tie rod end.

 
  Renault Clio GT
Thank you both for your replies.

@Martin_172 My only hesitation about getting the tracking done again is that the garage (who have a good reputation) have already looked at it twice, and as I mentioned above if the steering wheel is held in a central position the wheels are dead straight ahead, which is why I wondered whether I could have damaged something in the steering column/mechanism itself.

@Jack1998 I think my issue is different to the guys in the video above. They have to hold the steering wheel a little to the left to go straight, whereas mine goes straight if held straight, it's just the steering wheel always wants to return to its 'natural' position slightly to the left, this gets quite fatiguing after a while and makes it borderline undriveable on long journeys/motorways. I will bare this in mind and mention to the garage when I get it in.
 
Are your tyre pressures correct?

A soft tyre on the front end will increase friction/drag and pull the steering wheel to the side with the soft tyre.


I don't understand how breaking your steering lock will have caused any of these issues, though - it sounds like they are coincidental.
 
  Renault Clio GT
@White16valver Funnily enough I did pump my tyres up just before I noticed the steering problem so potentially I've messed up there but I don't think so as I pumped all four tyres up to the correct & same pressure, I would have thought the garage would check these too, I would imagine there would have to be quite a visually noticeable difference to cause such an effect on steering. I will however check the pressures again when I get her back from Renault dealer.

I completely agree that it doesn't make sense these issues occurring together but all I can say is all 3 issues (broken coil spring, wonky steering & engine management issue (lambda sensor)) all occurred straight after snapping the steering lock. The engine light came on straight away (potentially from me pressing the start button about 50 times) but I only had to drive about half a mile home so didn't notice the steering or clonking from broken spring til next time I drove it.
 

Martin_172

ClioSport Club Member
Thank you both for your replies.

@Martin_172 My only hesitation about getting the tracking done again is that the garage (who have a good reputation) have already looked at it twice, and as I mentioned above if the steering wheel is held in a central position the wheels are dead straight ahead, which is why I wondered whether I could have damaged something in the steering column/mechanism itself.

so its not that the steering wheel is off centre its that it is pulling left?

miss matched front tyres
seized/cracked suspension top mount bearing
wrong spring fitted, was it a GT specific spring that was fitted to the car? they are different from normal mk3 clio items
 
  Renault Clio GT
The steering wheels natural position is off centre as in the picture above and this is causing the car to veer left. So I have to hold it straight against its Will in order to go in a straight line when driving.

I think all the tyres are matching so this shouldn’t be the cause and if it was it would have presented itself before. I had both front springs replaced at the same time, didn’t ask what they were and didn’t know they were specific ones to the GT.
 

Martin_172

ClioSport Club Member
If both front tyres are matching and both front springs are matching even if the wrong ones then I'm going wheel alignment. It's the only thing that could cause it to pull it's self left other than possibly a sticking brake caliper
 

Matt W

ClioSport Club Member
  Suzuki Jimny
If both front tyres are matching and both front springs are matching even if the wrong ones then I'm going wheel alignment. It's the only thing that could cause it to pull it's self left other than possibly a sticking brake caliper
I had the stuck caliper on mine, you can tell by all the smoke coming out of the wheel after every journey 😂
 
  monaco 172
The rack could be damaged.

If your original problem was cured by turning the wheel has hard as possible causing a broken coil spring and a loud crack, then perhaps it wasn't the steering lock, but something jamming the suspension?

Is there any play in the rack? If you move the steering wheel a cm or so left to right, can this movement be seen in the wheels?
 

Martin_172

ClioSport Club Member
The rack could be damaged.

If your original problem was cured by turning the wheel has hard as possible causing a broken coil spring and a loud crack, then perhaps it wasn't the steering lock, but something jamming the suspension?

Is there any play in the rack? If you move the steering wheel a cm or so left to right, can this movement be seen in the wheels?
That was my first thought, fractured spring, caught on the top mount jamming it, pull enough on wheel until the spring jumps. You wouldn't be able to overcome the steering lock I wouldn't have thought, that's is their design after all!
 
  1.5 dci renault clio
I have kinda the same problem when I'm driving in a straight line my car wants to take me to the left all tyres are fine it's after I had the steering rack changed
 

LOK

ClioSport Club Member
  Trek
I had a somewhat similar issue recently. It might not be the root of your problem but a camber bolt moved/turned on one side completely messing up the steering. The issue was not picked by the workshop doing the tracking I had done to sort the pulling to one side. As I said might not be the source of your issue but it was for me and tracking did not detect it.
 
  Renault Clio GT
@Martin_172 A fractured spring is a possibility, I did hit a pot hole pretty hard on the front left just over a year ago, hard enough that I needed the wheel beaten back into shape & a new tyre so there is every chance there was damage there before. On the steering lock side of things, there was a message on the display telling me I had to come out of full lock before the engine would turn (or words to that effect) which seems like a bit of a design flaw to me.

@LOK That's interesting, how did you end up diagnosing and then fixing that issue?

It's been a few months since I've driven so can't really remember it from before but the steering feels sooooo slushy and not responsive at all, have to rotate the wheel to what almost feels like full lock to go round a bend sometimes and the first quarter of a turn or so either way feels like it does next to nothing.
 

LOK

ClioSport Club Member
  Trek
@Martin_172 A fractured spring is a possibility, I did hit a pot hole pretty hard on the front left just over a year ago, hard enough that I needed the wheel beaten back into shape & a new tyre so there is every chance there was damage there before. On the steering lock side of things, there was a message on the display telling me I had to come out of full lock before the engine would turn (or words to that effect) which seems like a bit of a design flaw to me.

@LOK That's interesting, how did you end up diagnosing and then fixing that issue?

It's been a few months since I've driven so can't really remember it from before but the steering feels sooooo slushy and not responsive at all, have to rotate the wheel to what almost feels like full lock to go round a bend sometimes and the first quarter of a turn or so either way feels like it does next to nothing.
I didn't diagnose it Mark Fish did - there was 1.5 degree difference in camber between the two front wheels. This must have happened while my car was being serviced at Rentech. Mark will replace my Eibach camber bolts with standard bolts that he prefers.
 
It's been a few months since I've driven so can't really remember it from before but the steering feels sooooo slushy and not responsive at all, have to rotate the wheel to what almost feels like full lock to go round a bend sometimes and the first quarter of a turn or so either way feels like it does next to nothing.
What tyres? What pressures? What suspension geometry?
 
  Renault Clio GT
@White16valver I've just got my clio back from the garage. Don't have time now but will check the tyres & pressure over the weekend and get back to you, I know a few of the tyres are pretty worn but don't think that would be the cause of the issue as they'd have been worn beforehand too.

I will also jack up the front of the car and see what happens with the wheels & steering as that should provide some clues too.

Cheers for all your help so far guys
 

M90SR

ClioSport Club Member
Have you considered that when you broke the steering lock, you twisted the steering column?

The tracking has been set with the steering wheel positioned correctly, as you say the car steers straight holding the wheel central, so that is not the problem.

When you drive in a straight line, the steering angle sensor thinks you are steering to the right, and the EPAS is constantly attempting

to turn to the left to where the steering angle sensor would indicate the steering is central.

You could prove this theory by pulling the EPAS fuse

The fact the wheels are not turning at a speed consistent with turning to the right may also be activating the traction control, which often means retarding the ignition timing, so incorrect combustion could explain the Lambda fault.

I believe this is the correct column for your car, but confirm with the seller before buying, and that it is not from a stolen car!

 
  Renault Clio GT
@M90SR Yes that is exactly the kind of thing I think I may have done (twisted/damaged the steering column).

Where would I find the EPAS fuse to test this & what would I actually be looking for after?

What you’re saying about the related engine fault is really interesting too, I am convinced the faults are related and I don’t know if I mentioned but I’ve already had the lambda sensor replaced and it blew within 10-20 miles, which makes me think there is something causing it to break rather than it just being worn out etc.

Do you know how big of a job it would be to fit something like that? Like is it something any old garage could do?
 

M90SR

ClioSport Club Member
@M90SR Yes that is exactly the kind of thing I think I may have done (twisted/damaged the steering column).

Where would I find the EPAS fuse to test this & what would I actually be looking for after?

What you’re saying about the related engine fault is really interesting too, I am convinced the faults are related and I don’t know if I mentioned but I’ve already had the lambda sensor replaced and it blew within 10-20 miles, which makes me think there is something causing it to break rather than it just being worn out etc.

Do you know how big of a job it would be to fit something like that? Like is it something any old garage could do?
Pulling the fuse was not my best idea, as it services other functions that you need.

Try removing the column shrouds and see if you can unclip the connections to the column, though you may need to drop the column to access them.



The object of exercise is to confirm that with the power assistance removed, the steering is not being weighted to the left.



I need a VIN number to advise on correct used parts.
 
  Clio 182
Have you considered that when you broke the steering lock, you twisted the steering column?

The tracking has been set with the steering wheel positioned correctly, as you say the car steers straight holding the wheel central, so that is not the problem.

When you drive in a straight line, the steering angle sensor thinks you are steering to the right, and the EPAS is constantly attempting

to turn to the left to where the steering angle sensor would indicate the steering is central.

You could prove this theory by pulling the EPAS fuse

The fact the wheels are not turning at a speed consistent with turning to the right may also be activating the traction control, which often means retarding the ignition timing, so incorrect combustion could explain the Lambda fault.

I believe this is the correct column for your car, but confirm with the seller before buying, and that it is not from a stolen car!

This is the first response that indicates that someone read and understood the original post! I drew the same conclusion from the presented information - does not mean it is definitely the cause, but definitely logical.
 


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