Steering wheel does not self-center after cornering on Citroen C1

I’ve noticed recently that the steering wheel on my girlfriends Citroen C1 '09 does not self-center after having taken a corner. It tends to need some help for the last say 15 degrees to top-dead-center. This goes for both directions. The steering is light and smooth all the way.

It could be that it has always done this, but I don’t drive the car very often… any ideas what it could be?

The car has done only 8000km (5000 mls) since new.

I think the first step is to check the inflation pressure on the tires. Under and over inflated tires behave differently than tires at the proper inflation pressure. Once you’ve established that the pressure is correct, you have one less variable to deal with.

Pressure is good. Checked this recently. I am wondering whether the fact that I installed winter/snow tyres a few weeks ago could be part of the issue. Unfortunately I don’t recall whether the problem occured prior to the new tires being installed… Could it be done to the tyre type?

Have your alignment checked by a competent tech.

I don’t know what country you are in but here in the USA we have something called a “warranty”. You should have one on a 2009 car. Take it back where you bought it.

Is it extremely cold where you live? Do you love hockey? Eh?

I have no idea as to the cause of your concern but I am suprised that you don’t at least try to seek warranty consideration for this problem. The Citroens I have driven (only SM’s) had the oddest feel in the steering of any car I have ever driven. I am also suprised that Citroen still makes cars. In the late 70’s I worked in a VW shop next door to a shop that only worked on Citroens (this was possible as it was LA). Well Citroen had a model called the “SM”, so this shop owner (with tounge firmly in cheek) called his shop “SM World”, I always got a chuckle out of this. The SM was a good but quirky car. This guy prepeared a SM for a land speed record attempt and went on to set some kind of record in the paticular class he raced in (under 3.0 liters). This “race prepped” SM managed to do slightly over 130 mph at Bonneville back in 1977.

Back in the '70s, Citroens still had their unique central hydraulic pump powering the steering, brakes, and suspension. I am not surprised that the steering had an odd feel, as I seem to recall that their brake pedals had less travel than anyone else’s.

However, at this point, Citroens are very conventional cars, and their technology is no longer unique to that brand.

Like you, I also can’t figure out why someone wouldn’t seek free repairs under the car’s warranty coverage.

If the tire pressure is correct it’s at least possible there could be a caster problem. The car is essentially a new one but it only takes one healthy whack from a pothole, curb marker, etc. to alter things.

If this is the case, then warranty will not pay for it. As to curb whacking, etc. this is something that happens quite often and many people are not aware they may have damaged something. In many cases they do not even remember hitting a curb or whatnot.

(While she’s improved dramatically, my daugher wrote the book on corner clipping. It seemed like ever time she drove a car one could always see fresh scuff marks on the RF tire, followed immediately by the “who, me?” routine.)

I’ll add to the previous suggestions a good check of the ball joints and other articulated joints related to steering. If one of these is shot, defective, or somehow damaged it could prevent the steering from returning to dead center.

Not only did the brake pedal have less travel the SM did not even have a brake pedal in the normal sense. The brake pedal could best be described as a large bulb on the floor. These cars had a unique ability to parallel park into the smallest of spaces.

A bulb for brakes? You heard the saying: French engineers copy no one and no one copies French engineers.

The Peugot line, also French (like the 205) was very popular in Europe in the 80’s. Peugot had a very sucessful Paris/Dakar rally team. I think that race has been down sized a bit, not sure.

I am wondering if there was also a tire size change when the winter tires were put on. If that is true, then the pressure needed would be different as well.

MFacey? Give us more details. What was the original tire size and pressure? (It’s on the door placard!) What tire size did you put on?