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In '06 I purchased a new GTI. One minor issue I had was a steering wheel that was turned slightly to the left when going straight. I pointed it out and the dealer straightened it. A few weeks ago I purchased a CPO '16 Passat. During the test drive I noticed that the steering wheel had to be turned slightly to the left when going straight. I pointed it out and they agreed to fix it. After getting the car back the issue remained, but this time the wheel had to be turned slightly to the right when going straight. I pointed this out to them and they told me to bring it back.

After the second service visit, they claim the alignment is all correct and that the steering wheel issue I'm noticing is due to crowning of the road and other imperfections. So I go pick up my car and go on a test drive with the service adviser. We find a road that we both agreed was nice and flat and I can clearly see that the steering wheel is off-center, this time it's back to its original state in which I have to turn it slightly to the left to go straight. Adviser claims there's not much else they can do and that the tech said if he made any more adjustments it would throw the alignment off. I stated to the adviser that I was not satisfied with the results, but I also did not want to leave my car with them again.

I had a chance to drive two different loaners, a GTI and a base Jetta. Both had the same steering wheel issues. What is the deal here? Is this normal? My Passat tracks straight, but it's so annoying to see the steering wheel not straight. Will another dealer have better luck fixing this for me?
 

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Late models suffer from both bad alignment from the factory and the fact that the steering wheel is not centered with the seat.

It's just plain weird that the wheel isn't centered in the cabin, but that's most likely from all the platform sharing.

And there are plenty of threads about how many VWs suffer from bad alignment and the dealers with incorrect specs.

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Yes. I haven't taken my Jetta in but it's cocked to the left a good amount when it's going dead straight.
 

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BS . Even if they couldn't change the suspension alignment (the two reasons they can't is because they're incompetent or they don't want to), they still could adjust the position of the steering wheel on the column.
 

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Centering the steering wheel simply requires lengthening the tie rod on one side by a set amount and shortening it on the other by the same amount. It may be as little as 1/2 turn of the tie rod or as much as 2-3 or more turns if it's bad. This doesn't throw the toe off at all if you do the same adjustment on both sides. You don't even need an alignment rack, just jack up the car, pull off the wheel, loosen the lock nut, and turn the inner tie rod. Rise and repeat on the other side but in the opposite direction. If the wheel is cocked to the left going straight, you'll need to shorten the left side and lengthen the right. This is assuming the tie rods mount to the rear of the knuckle like they do in FWD cars generally.
 

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Having been a dealer service technician this IS a common problem but it CAN be corrected. There are lseveral techtips (read: not TSB's) available about the position (tilt) that the steering wheel must be in and also the use of a level on the wheel itself. One thing that techs often overlook when doing alignments on these is electric steering racks is basic settings and to check for software updates to be downloaded. From a client position it can be frustrating but believe me it is double for the techs.
 

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When checking for steering wheel alignment on any new vehicle listed, be aware that the position of the steering wheel can vary up to 2.5 degrees total. This is dependent on the position of the height adjustment of the steering wheel itself. In the full up position, the steering wheel is set approx. 1.25 degrees off center to the right and accordingly, 1.25 degrees to the left in the all down position. By controlling the offset, when the wheel is pulled into the normal driving position (center tilt) it will be centered. When testing for steering wheel center, make sure the adjustment is centered on the tilt.
From a Vw tech tip.
 

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When checking for steering wheel alignment on any new vehicle listed, be aware that the position of the steering wheel can vary up to 2.5 degrees total. This is dependent on the position of the height adjustment of the steering wheel itself. In the full up position, the steering wheel is set approx. 1.25 degrees off center to the right and accordingly, 1.25 degrees to the left in the all down position. By controlling the offset, when the wheel is pulled into the normal driving position (center tilt) it will be centered. When testing for steering wheel center, make sure the adjustment is centered on the tilt.


From a Vw tech tip.
Interesting, never knew that. Could also be a tech that needs that breathing room and can't drive the car with the wheel and seat in the set position. Bet they push on the wheel, make an adjustment, then customer gets the car and pulls the wheel back, and BLAMMO THE WORLD EXPLODES.

Crowning, lol.
 

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Exactly what I came here to say. It's as easy as it gets. Anyone who says they cannot do this is lying or has no idea how to work on cars.
Doesn't really work like that when you have electric steering though
 

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Funny you bring this up. I bought a 2014 GLI ED30 brand new, loved the car, loved the 6-speed and everything; but after a few days of driving I noticed the same thing. I called the dealer and they said it was "due to the crowning on the road" which would make sense, however I had my doubts.

I performed an experiment in Mexico where I drove on the wrong side of the road and to my surprise, the wheel was completely level, or straight. So I brought it back in, and they said that it was fine. They did an alignment and sent me on my way - still crooked. So I pulled over, looked up some VwVortex threads on the issue and went back like 30 min later with a real hair across my ass about it because it was not just me, and they were trying to pull the wool over my eyes.

The final verdict was that the wheel was put onto the column like 1 or 2 'cogs' over from dead-center. Afterwards it seems to be a lot better. I'm super OCD about stuff like that and since they removed and re installed the wheel it seems a lot better IMO. Maybe my subconscious just ignores it now because I don't want the first car that I bought on my own to be flawed.

YMMV that is just my personal experience.
 

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I've owned 4 VW's ('01 Jetta, '10 Jetta, '13 GLI, and my current '16 GTI). The answer is no for all of the VW's I've owned. The only issue I had was after I had the clutch replaced on my '13 GLI, the steering wheel pointed dramatically to the left - I promptly returned to the dealer after driving 2 miles and they corrected the issue by aligning the car (they "forgot" to align the car after putting everything back together).


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Having been a dealer service technician this IS a common problem but it CAN be corrected. There are lseveral techtips (read: not TSB's) available about the position (tilt) that the steering wheel must be in and also the use of a level on the wheel itself. One thing that techs often overlook when doing alignments on these is electric steering racks is basic settings and to check for software updates to be downloaded. From a client position it can be frustrating but believe me it is double for the techs.
Just a weird thought here: So, do they set the alignment, and then go into some computer setting and tell the system that "this" steering wheel position (move the wheel to the appropriate spot) is the new "0", and the system compensates for it? Given it's as much an electrical connection as a mechanical one, it might be easy if that were the case. :confused:
 

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This came up in the Jetta VI thread. Seems to be an issue on 2016-2017. My 2015 was dead perfect, my 2017 had true alignment but the wheel was cocked to the left. To quote myself from that thread with what I found:

A crooked steering wheel is an indication of the toe angle not being within specifications. If the toe is within spec, you can adjust the tie rod ends equal and opposite amounts on the front wheels - this will keep the toe as is, but center the steering wheel.

BTW an off-center wheel in a new car is surprisingly common. Search "steering wheel off center new car" on Google and you'll hear about this on everything from WRX's to G37's to Tesla's.
In fact, when I started typing this into Google, Google actually recommended the search phrase, "steering wheel off center new car."
 

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The position of the wheel does not/ cannot be changed electronically. The steering angle sensor and rack both have a '0' position that are aligned via the basic setting, so you're not driving with a wheel that's actually straight but your measured values show something other than 0.00*. I always did the basic setting before AND after the alignment before a road test to verify my work- and yes there have been several times when a vehicle has been reracked to make more adjustments as I am extremely picky about my work and making it as perfect as possible.

When you replace or disconnect the battery in these vehicles and have to turn the steering wheel full left and then full right for the light to go out, you're essentially performing the steering angle sensor to the rack basic.
 
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