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Alignment/Turbo Questions


I have a 2015 Sportage with 21k miles. I have noticed that while driving, it seems like I often have the steering wheel slightly turned to the right side. This may have always been there, but I just noticed it recently. My tires look great and show no abnormal wear. The SUV is also AWD. Do I/ should I get an alignment done? 4 wheel alignment? How often do these need to be performed? I don’t drive the vehicle hard, and haven’t hit any curbs, huge pot holes, etc.

What is the best way to test for an alignment issue?? Where is the best place to usually find a perfectly flat road?

Also, I have noticed that a lot of vehicles are using twin turbo’s on their engines. Why do they (and the racers on street outlaws) choose to use this method vs one turbo that is the size of the two combined? Is it a spool issue? Anyway, I was just curious why a lot of engines go the twin turbo route (ecoboost, etc.)

Thanks so much guys!

The best way to see if you have an alignment issue is to let the shop check all the settings and correct them if needed. Also say you think the steering wheel is off center. You just have to look around where you live for a flat road, it is that simple.

It does sound like an alignment issue, many roads have what is called a crown, the center is higher to promote water drainage, and in that situation some cars may tend to drift to the right. Is the car drifting? or it is possible the steering wheel is not centered properly, either way a good alinment should fix things, but it is typically not covered under warranty.

The car does drift If I let go of the steering wheel. I am trying to find a really flat road to test it on. I did find this special at KIA. Is this what I would want to fix the issue? I don’t think the steering wheel is off center, but I’m not sure.

Also, any ideas on the turbo thing?

Yup and yup.
Realize that an out-of-alignment rear wheel can create excess rolling resistance (pull to one side) just as readily as an out-of-alignment front wheel.

Consumer Reports when they take delivery of a new vehicle always gives it a thorough checkup and an alignment. They once review their data and found that a great many new vehicles were out of alignment beyond what could be attributable to variation in alignment machines. They found other common issues too, but alignment was one of the biggies.

Just put ( why twin turbo’s ) in Google and you will so many articles you can’t read them all. Google is your friend.

Awesome, thanks!

One turbos with a large mass to spin up will have more lag than two smaller turbos each will less impeller mass.

Try an experiment. Get a mountain bike and a road bike. Tip them both pver. Now try spinning with your hand each wheel. The lighter of the two, the road wheel, will spin up much easier and faster.

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Also, at 20,000 you should have rotated your tires a couple times. If not, have that done too. Tires can develop a wear pattern and cause the car to pull even if the car is in alignment. It’s also more critical with AWD to keep the tires wearing evenly so they are all the same.

I think you should do a four wheel alignment and not just the front though. But the last four cars I’ve had have never been aligned and the other one only after 100,000 as a precaution.

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I do alignments on an as-needed basis. If the car develops a pull or starts to feel vague at speed or I’ve hit something or I see strange tire wear.

I rotate my tires at each oil change and actually measure tread depth to identify wear patterns… but I am a bit OCD :wink:

+1 to @the_same_mountainbik for the twin turbo question. Twin turbos are typically used on 6’s, 8’s and 12 cylinder engines because their dual banks of cylinders each can use a small turbo. Inline 4’s nearly always use one turbo.

Turbo’s are added for more power out of a given engine size. That can be used for performance OR it can be used to reduce the size of the engine - the Ford Eco-Boost concept. Smaller engine theoretically gives better mileage since the turbo doesn’t add any power until you really hit the gas.

Twin turbos (actually having 2 separate turbochargers) are very rare on new cars except on very high-performance cars. Automakers started with more than one turbo a while back for two reasons. First, to reduce turbo lag. Turbo lag is very uncommon in new cars, but for years automakers struggled with it. The problem in gasoline engines is that the turbos need to be spinning to make compression which helps boost power. However, to be spinning, the car’s engine needed to be in a higher rev band. So, when the engine was at a low rev band the car needed to first shift down, then build revs, then it would have dramatically more power suddenly. Automakers used a pair of turbos to help with this and one turbo was always enabled at lower RPMs while the second was conventional and would build boost at 3,000 RPMs or so and up. The second reason was engines with two banks, like a V12 or even a V8 or V6. In that type of engine, some automakers used two separate turbos with dual intake paths in order to better plumb the engine and make it more powerful and responsive. Rare. What most now do use is a “Twin-scroll” turbocharger. The goal of twin-scroll turbos is to reduce lag (and of course create compression and more power). Twin scroll turbos are a bit more complicated to explain. The basic idea is to speed up the turbo at lower RPMs using two channels in the turbo plumbing that take advantage of exhaust gas pressure pulses. Here is a video. Here is a Popular Mechanics short-take. Automakers also now use turbos with variable geometries that can change their vane angles or other components to try to make the best use of the exhaust flow pressure waves. Up next will be electrically-powered turbos that are not run of the engine’s crankshaft or accessory belt, and won’t use the exhaust gas to turn them, but rather the compressor will be powered by an electric motor. These will be used in hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicles that have a battery that can be the power source for the turbo. This is a very cool future design that will have very small IC engines with big power and good efficiency.

I am not a fan of the concept of variable vane angle turbos. Normal turbos are finicky enough, and now they want to introduce moving parts on a rotating part? That’s a recipe for early failure.


Airport runway… :grin:

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Yeah, just make sure other guys aren’t using it to check their alignment. :wink:


Most roads have a crown that tilts the car to the right, so the driver has to turn the steering wheel a little to the left to correct for the tendency to drift to the right. On most modern vehicles that effect is pretty minor, esp when the tires are new. Since you have to turn the steering wheel to the right, you do probably have something a little amiss there OP. First experiment I’d do if I had that problem is swap the tires left/right. If you now have to turn the steering wheel the other direction, you know it is something to do w/the tires. Most tire companies say you shouldn’t swap tires left/right, so I’d only do that as an experiment, not as a fix.

If it’s not the tires, then you probably need an alignment. It could be just that the tie rods need to be adjusted to center the steering wheel, but there cold be other things involved, so best to leave that task to an alignment shop.

Shadow, I loved the photo!
Looking it over carefully, it looks like it’s an entire 5000 foot runway visually shortened in length by a very, very long focal-length lens, giving it a lot of depth-of-field and making minor changes in the runway’s altitude look like a roller coaster track. The foreground and the far background are both in focus, which suggests the long focal-length (deep depth of field) theory.

I’m also going to guess that the aircraft was struggling with strong crosswinds. Clearly he has a lot of yaw in there, however that too would be visually exaggerated if my long-length theory is correct.

Loved the photo. I love a challenge.

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agree 100%, those were my thoughts also when I first saw the photo.