97 Buick Century Steering issue

I’m looking to sell my dad’s '97 Buick Century Limited, but it has a problem with the steering and I want to have an idea of what to tell any potential buyer. The short of the problem is that when you step on the gas the car steers to the left but only when you get on it. The more you get on it the more it goes left.
So a little more detail here. So if the steering wheel is alligned correctly, it sits at 9 and 3 o’clock, but it isn’t, it sits at 8 and 2. It goes pretty much straight at that position; it would take a couple blocks at least to go from the left side of a lane to the right. It doesn;t pull hard or anything, you can easily steer it with one finger. So the problem comes when you get on the gas, either stopped to cross a road or going 55 to pass on a highway. When you get on it the car starts to vere off to the left if you don’t let the steering wheel automatically correct itself back to a 9 and 3 position. So it still goes straight unless you don’t let the wheel move. The more you get on it, the more the steering wheel goes back to 9 and 3 position. So if you don’t floor it, it won’t go all the way back to 9 and 3. As soon as you take your foot off the gas it will automatically correct itself back to the 8 and 2 position. However when you are just cruising the wheel is at 8 and 2, doesn’t matter if your going 15, 30, 50 or 75 mph.

What you are experiencing is–more than likely–just “torque steer”, which is characteristic of many FWD cars. The problem originates with a design where drive axles are of unequal lengths, and I suspect that these late '90s GM FWD cars had drive axles that are very different in length on the left and right sides.

So–in other words–this is probably normal for that car and is not something to worry about.

I think you’re experiencing torque steer, but the steering wheel being out of alignment by that much suggests to me that you have a contributing problem. At some point the car was not properly aligned, and it was never corrected.

When aligning a car, the firs thing that should be done is to straighten the steering wheel. That puts the joints in the links between the steering rack and the wheels in their proper position. This is important, because the link moves in an arc as it goes up and down. Its end should move in roughly the same arc as the arm on the hub that it pushes to steer the car. If not, it can produce steering inputs as the front suspension moves through its travel. If the rack is off center when the toe in adjustments are made, it will not travel in the proper arc. I suspect that this is contributing to your problem.

So, in summary, it needs to be aligned correctly before making any assumptions. However, it is the purchasers responsibility to test drive the vehicle and determine if it’s handling is acceptable to him/her. It is not your job to get this corrected, simply to present the car “as-is”. Give an honest answer if asked, say you “believe it’s probably torque steer but the car would need to be properly aligned before making any assumptions”, but the less you say unless asked is the better.

Thanks guys, that is a relief and exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to be able to have some kind of idea if anyone asked about it. I was worried that is was going to be some huge expense but a simple allignment, hopefully, won’t deter any buyers. thanks again.

Sincere best.

It is torque steer, but in your case, there may be more to the story. Do you notice it steering slightly to the right when you let off the gas or touch the brakes? If so that is a sure sign that you have a broken motor mount, but even if it doesn’t do this, I would get all the motor mounts inspected anyway. Broken or worn motor mounts aggravate the torque steer, and you have more than the normal amount.