How to Center a Steering Wheel 

How To Center a Steering Wheel

A steering wheel is an integral part of any vehicle. It provides the driver with a way to control how the vehicle moves, and it also helps them stay in line with their desired path. However, sometimes after years of use or even during routine maintenance on your car, you may find that your steering wheel isn’t staying centered like it used to do. This can be frustrating for both new drivers and experienced drivers alike.

While you can simply take it to a mechanic, many car owners choose to fix this issue themselves. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to center your steering wheel. Let’s take a look at some of these options.

1) Adjust the Tilt Wheel (If Your Vehicle Has One)   

One way to center your steering wheel is by adjusting the tilt mechanism on your steering column or turn signal stalk if your vehicle has one. The first thing you’ll want to do is check the owner’s manual for instructions on how to properly adjust it. If you’re not allowed access to this feature, then another option may be necessary. Turn off the car and let it cool down for about an hour so that you’re not over-stressing any lines or hoses.

Using a wrench, try to loosen the bolt that holds the steering column in place. If you can’t get to it easily, then try turning your steering wheel at its highest speed until you can find an open window for access. Once you have access, use your wrench to turn the bolt counterclockwise until it comes out of its socket by one full rotation. Slowly tighten this down with your wrench and watch how your steering wheel moves as you do so. Keep tightening until you’ve reached the desired distance between the left and right sides of your steering wheel when looking at it directly from behind (there will be less than half an inch). Make sure that there isn’t too much play on the steering wheel. If there is, you run the risk of having your steering wheel fall off while you’re driving, which can cause all sorts of safety issues.

Once this is done, check for bumpy or irregular movement on either side of your steering wheel and then re-tighten it down with your wrench if necessary. You’ll also want to center your sidemirrors so that the car’s body appears centered in them when looking directly behind you.

2) Use a Steering Wheel Puller Tool   

If adjusting the tilt mechanism isn’t an option for you due to physical limitations or access problems, then another method may be what you need. By using a tool called a “ering wheel puller,” many car owners report that they’re able to set their steering wheel straight without having to take it into a mechanic. These tools can be purchased at most automotive stores for around $30, and your vehicle’s owner’s manual should have instructions on how to use this device properly.

You’ll also want to make sure you sand or grind down any rust or corrosion on the hole where the puller attaches until it has a good, solid grip on the mechanism inside of the steering column. This will give you better control over each individual turn of your steering wheel as opposed to trying to force the entire mechanism back into place with brute strength alone.

3) Use a Floor Jack to Center the Steering Wheel 

When your steering wheel loses its proper center alignment, it can be very difficult to get the front end of your vehicle back into place when you’re doing any sort of repairs.

While adjusting the tilt mechanism on your steering column is one way to do this, another option involves using a floor jack and two hydraulic jacks in conjunction with each other so that you can find exactly where your car’s “sweet spot” for balancing is.

Start by putting the hydraulic jacks under both ends of your car and pump them up until they’re secure and in line with one another. Slowly lower down the car onto its wheels while keeping an eye on how they react to each other. You should find that one tire will lift off the ground first due to weight distribution. This is the tire that needs higher air pressure in it so that you can level out your car’s front end once and for all.

4) Use a Long Metal Rod to Align Your Steering Wheel 

If you don’t have access to hydraulic jacks or a floor jack, then another simple way of centering your steering wheel may be available to you. All you’ll need is the car’s owner’s manual and an 8-inch (or longer) metal rod that is strong enough for supporting the weight of the car in case it slips off.

Start by finding where your vehicle’s center point is when looking down at it from the driver seat. By using this as your reference point, place the end of your metal rod on top of this point and slowly lower down your steering wheel onto it until it reaches its center alignment mark. Mark around where this hole is so you’ll know exactly where to line your steering wheel back up at if it moves out of place at any time.

5) Use WD-40 or Another Lubricant to Align Your Steering Wheel

  If all else fails, one other option is to use lubricants such as WD-40 to break up the rust and corrosion that’s keeping your steering wheel from moving smoothly. You can then use a pair of pliers or something similar to simply twist the mechanism into place until you’re able to tighten down the tilt mechanism on your steering column again. This should only be used as a last resort because lubricants will attract dust and dirt over time, which can cause further problems for the inner mechanisms of the car if not cleaned off.

Overall, it’s important that you try taking care of your car on a regular basis so that problems like this don’t come up out of anywhere. By checking tie rod ends, steering linkage and other components on a monthly basis, you’ll be able to catch many common issues before they have the chance to become bigger ones down the line.

6) Put a Jack Under the Axle and Raise it Up to Align Steering Wheel

The only problem with this method is that you can’t raise up one side of your car more than the other since both tires will get raised together. In some cases though, this might be good enough. Just make sure not to drive off from under it because if one of your tires isn’t touching the ground, there’s a chance for it to fall over underneath itself.

If you’re trying to properly align your steering wheel so that both wheels are in line with each other, then another solution may involve using a floor jack and two jacks under each axle on your vehicle independently while someone holds down on the brake pedal. Do this by pumping up one of the jacks under your car’s chassis while someone else pumps up the floor jack. Slowly lift one tire off the ground so that you can align it in with its partner on the other side. Once they’re in place, have an assistant let go of the brake pedal and lower both things back down to normal size for safety purposes.

6) Metal rod or a steering wheel alignment bar with two hydraulic jacks

If all else fails, a final method involves using a metal rod or a steering wheel alignment bar with two hydraulic jacks in conjunction with each other when trying to find your car’s exact sweet spot when it comes to balancing out your front end after repairing any damage that may have been done to it previously. Start by putting both hydraulic jacks under your car and pump them up until they’re secure and in place.

Once the hydraulic jacks are in place, use a metal rod or a steering wheel alignment bar to look down from your driver seat and see if you can find where the center of your car lies when it’s viewed through the windshield that way. If your front end is off balance, then pick one side of the car and slowly move it up or down with one of the jacks until both wheels line up again so that you won’t need to do too much extra work afterwards.

7) Use Tractor Jacks Under Each Axle to Level Out Your Steering Wheel

To align your vehicle’s front end after doing repairs on it using tractor jacks under each axle, start by putting both jacks under your car and pump them up so that they’re secure and in place. Once the hydraulic jacks are stable, get your car up to a high enough speed where you won’t be able to feel out of whack steering wheel syndrome so that you can test it out for yourself while reaching at least forty miles per hour on a road with little traffic in order to ensure your safety.

If you’re experiencing a case of warped brake rotors after driving around too much or going through several stop-and-go traffic lights, then you’ll need to either have them replaced by taking them into a professional shop or do it yourself if you know-how. In some cases, warping may be caused by your brake pads get worn down over time due to misaligned wheels, so that’s another problem that may need to be addressed as well if you’re experiencing it. If either one of your car’s brake rotors is warped, then you’ll have a hard time stopping the vehicle when driving around since the wheels won’t be able to kick back against them completely anymore after being pushed forward too many times before they stop spinning entirely.

8) Follow the same steps if using Tractor Jacks but also put Stabilizer Stands on Axle Ends That Are Raised

After doing all the work yourself, make sure not to drive off from under your car or any other heavy duty vehicle because there is a chance for it to fall over onto itself if one of its tires isn’t touching ground. If the car is elevated too much, then it’s possible for it to fall over. If you’re having difficulty finding your vehicle’s center under its chassis when using a steering wheel alignment bar, then you can use one of the small jacks that are attached to each axle end in order to level out its overall height.

Since this process takes quite some time and requires at least three people working together in order to make any real progress with it due to the weight of these cars if they aren’t lifted up enough, another method involves using stabilizer stands at the end of each axle in order to lift both tires up into place independently without needing an extra set of hands when doing so. Although this is certainly much faster, there is still a chance for someone to get hurt or injured if using stabilizer stands that aren’t meant for this kind of work.

Around the same time, you should consider inspecting your tires’ air pressure as well since it can become much harder to steer your car around even when both wheels are perfectly aligned because its rear end can easily come loose without any assistance from hydraulics in order to keep it down while also preventing unnecessary accidents from happening out on the road. Although you might be tempted to give your car a test drive after doing all the work yourself, avoid doing so until you’re sure that everything is exactly where it’s supposed to be by checking up on all of these things first.

9) Use Stabilizer Jacks Under Each Axle and Raise and Lower Your Car’s Front End After Doing Work

Once your car is back on the ground, it may become easier to steer but still stay out of any crowded areas in case something goes wrong again while you do test runs to see if its overall height, along with other measurements are correct. Before doing this though, make sure that all stabilizer stands are removed from both sets of your vehicle’s axle ends using a jack because there should be very little room underneath them for you to fit this tool into before doing so.

To check up on tire pressure while also checking the treads around each one of them, use an air pressure gauge to make sure that each tire is filled with exactly the same amount of air pressure within every single one of them. If there are any issues with how much air is inside of all four tires, then you’ll want to let some of it out until they’re filled up evenly before lowering your car back down onto the ground again from your jacks so that you can test drive it around a bit to see if everything was done successfully.

10) Raise and Lower Your Car’s Rear End After Doing Work Using Stabilizer Jacks

Once all the work is finished, raise or lower your car using jack stands or stabilizer jacks placed underneath either end of each axle in order for it to be lifted up high enough even if just a little bit before doing this. Now that your car is raised into, check both sets of its rear tires before lowering it back down again by using a tire pressure gauge to make sure that both of them are filled with the same amount of air pressure inside every single one of them.

Now, you can let your car back on the ground and test drive it around to see if everything is balanced out perfectly and nothing moves when going through different types of terrain such as stepping on or off an incline or decline without any problems whatsoever. If everything works like new, then you’re all set but if not, then you’ll need to try this process over again until your car is fixed up like brand new once more.

Final Thoughts:

Whether you’re not sure how to center a steering wheel yourself or simply don’t want to take the time out of your day to do so, there are plenty of services that can help with this for an affordable price. Once you know someone or have access to a service that can help, all you will need to do is pay them for their time and effort so that they can center your steering wheel on your car with little to no issues at all. While this may sound like something that doesn’t really matter, it becomes much harder for anyone who has had their rear tires taken off their car to move it around with a steering wheel that’s completely misaligned.

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