Mercury Milan Steering Wheel Crooked from AC Chip Repair...?

I dropped off my 2006 Mercury Milan at a local Ford dealer this morning to have an AC temperature chip replaced because my air was not cold and prior diagnostics determined the chip no longer functioned. This turned out to be quite a costly repair. I was told it took 9 hours of labor requiring the entire dashboard to be removed. After picking up my car, I started driving home and immediately noticed the steering wheel was angled about 45 degrees to the right while I was driving straight. I have never seen something like this (and my car has been out of alignment before). I took it back to Ford to tell them that the steering wheel was crooked while the tires were straight and the manager said she didn’t know how this could have happened because they never even lifted the vehicle. In spite of being an avid listener for years, I know next to nothing about cars. Any ideas about what might be wrong? Silver lining…the AC works now.

They might have removed the steering wheel to get the dashboard out. I’ve never removed one, but maybe it is possible to reinstall it in the wrong orientation. If they didn’t mess w/any alignment or suspension components, and the car didn’t fall off the lift, that’s be my best guess. If so, it should be easy enough for them to put it on correctly. But it would make me wonder a bit what else they may have done incorrectly. After all it is pretty simple to determine that the steering wheel is off by 45 degrees.

Edit: I should add that the steering wheel on my truck has been off by 30 degrees for the past 40 years … it’s something I can live with … lol …

"requiring the entire dashboard to be removed"
There’s your clue. They must have removed the steering wheel to remove the dash, and then not put it back on straight.

This should NOT be corrected with an alignment (if it even can). That’ll throw your steering system off by uncentering your steering links. You’ll end up with wierdness, steeering inputs as the wheels go up and down, a condition sometimes called “bump steer”. It needs to be corrected by removing and reinstalling the steering wheel.

Do you have the work order from the dealer?

And if so, can you read exactly what it states?

Because I looked up the repair procedures for every component for the HVAC system for your vehicle. And not one requires the removal of the dash or the steering wheel where a CHIP is involved.


“the manager said she didn’t know how
this could have happened”

The manager is clueless. I totally agree with the first two replies. The steering wheel must be removed and re-installed correctly. @“the same mountainbike” is correct - they MUST not try to correct it with a wheel alignment.

Hopefully the manager isn’t as stupid as he sounds…

I hope for some verification here, but I recall that many cars and Ford/Mercury in particular, had two splines on the steering shaft siamesed with matching siamesed grooves on the steering wheel to get the wheel properly set on the assembly line. Of course there could have been several wide grooves in the wheel that I never paid attention to and maybe one of you guys whose memory is better than mine will post here to clear up that question but if there are no alternate alignment grooves the wheel would have to be forced down on the shaft with the nut which would damage the steering shaft and the wheel.

However, a mechanic who would let that cock-eyed wheel get back to the customer needs to find a new career and his manager should help him load up his tools and follow him to the employment office.

I truly appreciate all of your comments! There’s very little on the invoice that’s helpful other than perhaps the part #/“description”: sensor asy 139812

Either the steering wheel was removed and installed on different splines, the steering shaft was disconnected and reconnected 180 degrees off, or someone banged a wheel into something (curb, etc) and bent a suspension component.

There’s no way a mechanic should have run the car out the door like that and while it’s not done at all dealers, there should be a quality check so to speak on every repair just to assure that nothing is amiss.

I was the shop foreman at one multi-line dealer and we had one trainee utility man who was very sharp mechanically. When every repair was done I double-checked it or had the trainee do it if I was busy elsewhere.
That way it was assured that if someone brought a car in for a vibration, pulling to one side, no cold A/C, or whatever the complaint was the paperwork was not completed and the keys never handed over to the customer without every job being verified to be correct.

Insist on a front end check and alignment as well as correcting the steering wheel placement. Tell them you are not taking the car back until that is done. Take it up with the regional manager if you have to.

The Milan should have Electrical Power Steering (EPS). When the EPS motor was replaced on my 2010 Cobalt for a recall, it was returned with a crooked steering wheel. I believe the EPS was not properly calibrated.

There is a recall on the Milan EPS so I would return the car and ask to have the steering recalibrated and the recall done.

Ed B.

The steering wheel is centered mechanically. EPS does not replace the mechanical operation of the steering system it only assists in turning the wheel. I hope to never see “fly by wire” steering on automobiles.

Actually saw an article recently about a major car manufacturer (forget which) is experimenting with steering “by wire”. There is a clutch that engages manual steering if power is lost.

I feel the “big one” coming @Bill.

Now that “Johnny cabs” are being tested, the steering may not even have a driver to control it!