Steering Wheel Return to Center

Steering Wheel Returnability

Steering wheel returnability is greatly dependent on caster. As the vehicle is driven, steering and suspension components wear and alignment angles and settings change. If something is binding in the column, linkage, or gearbox, steering wheel return to center may be affected. The caster setting is vital to steering wheel returnability. Most vehicles incorporate positive caster on both wheels. Due to the crown developed into most roads a little less caster is added to one side and a little more to the other. This helps keep the vehicle traveling down the road straight with little effort.

Binding front end parts cause steering problems. Check the tie rod ends, idler arm, and other linkage for binding. Be careful when installing these parts, many vehicles require the wheels to be straight on the final torque. If the wheel is turned, it will act as a spring returning it to the turned position. Binding ball joints will also cause memory steer. Inspect all pivot points in the front end. Worn front end parts can cause this condition.