Off Center Steering Wheel (even after 4 wheel alignment)

I have a 2007 Mercedes G500. The steering wheel is constantly off-center in the counter clockwise direction. The dealer says this is normal, seriously. I spoke with Mercedes customer service and they said to get the vehicle aligned. I told them the dealer did a 4 wheel alignment. Any ideas on why the steering wheel is not properly aligned?

The steering wheel can be, and should be, centered by adjusting the front tie rods which control the toe in or out on the front wheels.

That should be part of the alignment job and should involve nothing more than a half turn out on one side and half turn in on the other to straighten it up.

I asked the dealer about the tie rods, since someone had mentioned they could be bent. The dealer said that is not the issue. I do plan on taking it to another mechanic to see if the dealer does not know what they are talking about (some reviews online about this dealer say people have problems getting problems diagnosed).

Before you do anything, BTW OK4450 is absolutely correct, first have someone drive your car while you follow it with another vehicle to see if it is tracking straight. Some vehicles will “dog track” or “crab” going down the road. That is the rear wheels track slightly to one side of the front wheels.

There are a number of reasons for this to happen, worse case is a bent frame, but with a 4 wheel independent suspension, it is usually due to the rear wheels being out of alignment with relation to the front wheels. If that is the case, then you need a really good alignment tech.

Car drives straight? Does not pull? Take it to ANY other garage that does alignments and give the money, they will center ur wheel

@ok4450 is absolutely right. The steering wheel can be off center to the right or the left and still be in perfect alignment. Your dealer is full of beans and you can tell him I said so. You really need to find a good independent mechanic that can work on a Mercedes. They are foreign but not that foreign.


Ask the dealer if they took road crown into consideration when they were doing the alignment

If they don’t know what road crown is, then perhaps you need to have it aligned elsewhere

Pardon me for saying so, but your truck has a very old-school steering setup, which just about any alignment guy will be familiar with.

You don’t really need to go to the dealer for an alignment anyways.

My Ford truck’s steering wheel has been off-center for 40 years! Somehow I manage.

OK4450 is absolutely right, there is nothing mysterious about this. The car can be perfectly aligned to specs and have the steering wheel off center, All that has to be done is to turn the tie rod end on both sides in the same direction and amount until the steering wheel is centered and has the same amount of travel in both directions.

What’s ludicrous is the dealer telling the OP an off-center steering wheel is normal. It could certainly be off due to something being bent, but given the prior statement by the dealer about this being normal one has to wonder about the accuracy of their claim that a bent component is not an issue.

Yes, I meant the dealer is lazy or incompetent and skipped the last step in an alignment.

Its even more ludicrous for the dealer to charge for a 4 wheel alignment in a vehicle that has solid axles front and rear.

A little look shows a Benz service bulletin that may have something to do with this problem. It’s kind of along the lines of bent tie rods. TSB B-33.15/09

It involves the panhard bar being slightly bent and provides a measurement on it. One would think the Benz alignment guy would be familiar with this bulletin; unless he’s one of those don’t care toe-job and run it out people.

Yes, the mechanic is lazy and/or incompetent. And the shop manager is a gutless seat warmer it would appear. For many years a tool was needed to hold the steering wheel centered while setting the toe but for several decades the column has locked with the ignition switch making it very simple to set the wheel at center and for a “professional” job the wheel must be centered.

Thanks for all the comments everyone! Hopefully I will have this resolved shortly using an independent mechanic that services Mercedes locally (not many to choose from in the rural area I live in!)

The tech on the dealerships alignment rack does not know what he is doing…Centering the steering wheel is NOT rocket science…Modern alignment equipment does this automatically…

I learned something new from this thread. I always though the way to re-center the steering wheel was to remove it (somehow) and put it back on again in the correct position. The proper method appears to be easier also: leave the steering wheel alone and do the job with the tie rod positioners, moving them both the same amount. Valuable information for folks like me, amateur drive-way do-it-yourselfers. Thanks to all.

Most steering shafts have a missing spline on them. This means the steering wheel can only go on in one position.

There is a downside to constantly recentering the steering wheel by removal and reinstallation.
This involves constantly adjusting the toe by means of the tie rods. Eventually this could lead to a situation where one tie rod is screwed in too much and the other out too much.
This can lead to the car crabbing down the road or worse; the lack of threads on one side could strip out and steering could be lost.

If carried to the extreme, offsetting the toe will result in the car having a reduced turning angle on one side while the other side will bottom out before reaching the limit of the steering gear. Also, off centered rack and pinions will pull toward the offset.

I took the vehicle back to the dealer this past week. Now the steering wheel is off center to the right (instead of to the left). They told me they adjusted the right side toe angle. They are apparently completely incompetent since they cannot tell when a steering wheel is level or not. I suppose using a certified Mercedes technician is no guarantee of quality.