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Old 8th October 2012, 17:14   #1
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Default Maruti WagonR : Steering tilted to the right?

All,

I have a 4.5 year old wagonr, done about 25,000 km. The car as such has run fine all these years without any issue. Recently, i have a feeling that the power steering feels as if it is tilted ever so slightly to the right and i have to apply just the slightest of pressure to keep it straight. Its not a very obvious feel, and others who have driven the car havent reported anything, but i just sense it ever so slighlty. The feel is perhaps more on the Konkan roads - where the roads are such that its peaked at the centre, and curves down towards the edges, so that the left edge of the road is slightly below the centre - can this cause it?

Separately, I have had about 3 punctures over the last year, and all of them have been to the front left tyre. Yesterday, in fact the puncture happened on the tube "joint", and i had to replace the tube.

Could these two issues be related in any way? I wonder if it is related to do with wheel alignment/balancing, my service station has recommended to do this at the next service, but i am wondering if there may be some other issue. Or is it just a feeling?

Any comments/thoughts appreciated.
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Old 8th October 2012, 17:19   #2
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Default re: Maruti WagonR : Steering tilted to the right?

Why don't you get the alignment checked straightaway? If the wheels are wrongly aligned, it can cause such a feel on the steeting
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Old 8th October 2012, 17:28   #3
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Default re: Maruti WagonR : Steering tilted to the right?

When was the last time the wheels were balanced?

Did the front tyres get any strong hit? If you havent aligned your tyres recently, it is 99% probable due to bad alignment. Also, leaving the tyres unaligned may eat up the tyres too. So get the alignment done as soon as possible and check if the problem still persists.
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Old 8th October 2012, 17:33   #4
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Default re: Maruti WagonR : Steering tilted to the right?

Well, as far as i remeber, i dont think the wheel balancing or alignment has ever been done..I usually trust MASS to recommend these things at the regular servicings, and they only recommended it during the last servicing last month. I am now having a embarassed/guilty feeling that this is supposed to be done much more frequently, and i have missed it.

No hits to the car - front or otherwise.

I think i should get it checked right away!
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Old 8th October 2012, 18:20   #5
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Default re: Maruti WagonR : Steering tilted to the right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neeraj Dabake View Post
Its not a very obvious feel, and others who have driven the car havent reported anything,
Test the wheels on a flat straight stretch with your hands off the steering. A properly aligned car will follow a straight line without driver intervention.

Additionally, look for wear on tires and replace both tires upfront if necessary. Be particular with the alignment shop for drive test post alignment and re alignment if necessary to the point of your satisfaction.

The more you trust, the more you are befooled.
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Old 8th October 2012, 18:48   #6
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Default re: Maruti WagonR : Steering tilted to the right?

Get an alignment and wheel balancing done. Otherwise it may lead to higher expense later.
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Old 8th October 2012, 22:46   #7
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Default re: Maruti WagonR : Steering tilted to the right?

More or less it is the wheel alignment. I had similar issues along with some noise which magically disappeared after the alignment and balancing. Rotation of wheels can be done too. Maybe you can use the wheel which keeps getting punctured as the spare wheel.
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Old 8th October 2012, 22:49   #8
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Default re: Maruti WagonR : Steering tilted to the right?

Do a visual inspection of the right wheel and suspension.
Then check and correct wheel alignment.
How is the front tyre wear pattern?
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Old 9th October 2012, 00:15   #9
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Default re: Maruti WagonR : Steering tilted to the right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neeraj Dabake View Post
Well, as far as i remeber, i dont think the wheel balancing or alignment has ever been done..I usually trust MASS to recommend these things at the regular servicings, and they only recommended it during the last servicing last month. I am now having a embarassed/guilty feeling that this is supposed to be done much more frequently, and i have missed it.

No hits to the car - front or otherwise.

I think i should get it checked right away!
Yes it should be checked right away. Strange that you have never done it all these 25000 kms. MASS doesn't normally talk about wheel alignment/balancing. They assume that the owner is knowledgable.
In Kolkata, to keep the tyres and the steering feel in good shape, we check the alignment every 5000 kms. Do a proper alignment, balancing and rotation of tyres every 10K km.
Alignment and balancing also needs to be done if there is some work on suspension and/or axles.
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Old 9th October 2012, 11:09   #10
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Default re: Maruti WagonR : Steering tilted to the right?

Thanks all (cawnpore ghost, Altocumulus, AbhishekB86, rajeev k, subratasenn) for your comments and suggestions!

cawnpore ghost - i tested the car on a flat stretch in my office parking with hands off the steering - cant notice any particular tilt that way.

rajeev k - visual inspection looks okay. all tyres only seem to have the normal wear and tear. So, it doesnt look like one is particularly more worn out than the others.

Unfortunate that MASS didnt point this out earlier. I guess i need to try and become more knowledgable. Wow - alignment every 5-10 thousand km sounds as if i have really been ill-treating my beloved wagonr by not doing this even once yet.

I am going to get this tested - and will report back soon!
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Old 9th October 2012, 11:47   #11
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Default re: Maruti WagonR : Steering tilted to the right?

I faced a similar issue of car pulling to the right. Turns out the front right tyre had developed a slight bulge on the inner side which was leading to the car pulling to the right. Got all 4 tyres replaced. They were nearing the end anyway.

Use a coin or a key to determine the depth of tread. Inspection should also be at multiple points in the tyre by moving the car slightly forward each time. It could be that the bulge is hidden when u look at a tyre at only on point.

Go to a competent tyre shop and get the balancing & alignment. Ask the tyre guy to check all the tyres throughly.

3 punctures on the same tyre would be a terrible coincidence, so I would pay special attention to that tyre.

Also bear in mind that 5 years is a good time to get your tyres replaced. Though your running is not much, the tyre compound would have hardened or deteriorated over the last 4.5 years. Give a thought about changing your tyres.

I am especially cautious about tyres as they are the only thing that maintains your cars contact with the tarmac.

Good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neeraj Dabake View Post
Thanks all (cawnpore ghost, Altocumulus, AbhishekB86, rajeev k, subratasenn) for your comments and suggestions!

cawnpore ghost - i tested the car on a flat stretch in my office parking with hands off the steering - cant notice any particular tilt that way.

rajeev k - visual inspection looks okay. all tyres only seem to have the normal wear and tear. So, it doesnt look like one is particularly more worn out than the others.

Unfortunate that MASS didnt point this out earlier. I guess i need to try and become more knowledgable. Wow - alignment every 5-10 thousand km sounds as if i have really been ill-treating my beloved wagonr by not doing this even once yet.

I am going to get this tested - and will report back soon!
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Old 9th October 2012, 14:28   #12
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Default re: Maruti WagonR : Steering tilted to the right?

lsp - thanks! Well, as you guys must have guessed by now, am no expert - but will nonetheless try to see if i can figure out anything using key/coin at multiple points. I came across one more post on team-bhp with pictures of how to do this - thats pretty helpful!

I am just having a thought - if I am going to have to replace the tyres anyway pretty soon, i might as well do it right away, rather than doing the whole alignment/balancing thing now, only to replace the tyres soon. Although there have been no direct hits to the tyres, having driven it all over the pathetic roads and potholes in Mumbai must have been pretty bad on the tyres - probably worthwhile just replacing them? Any thoughts on this?

If and when I replace the tyres, I will be opting for tubeless - I think costs around Rs. 3-4 k per tyre. I presume wheel balancing/alignment is much cheaper? Budget is not a primary issue, but if I could rather stretch these tyres for a further minimum 3 years, would definitely prefer to postpone the replacement costs.

Has anybody used their tyres for ~ 7 years before?! (given that my running is on the lower side)..

Last edited by Neeraj Dabake : 9th October 2012 at 14:30.
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Old 9th October 2012, 15:09   #13
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Default Re: Maruti WagonR : Steering tilted to the right?

Quote:
I am just having a thought - if I am going to have to replace the tyres anyway pretty soon, i might as well do it right away, rather than doing the whole alignment/balancing thing now, only to replace the tyres soon.
My opinion is that check the alignment first so that the defect can be diagnosed first and then go for tyre change. From your posts it is understood that your tyres have some more safe life left in them. Therefore, rather than holding the steering always to the left correct the defect first.

Last edited by rajeev k : 9th October 2012 at 15:10.
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Old 9th October 2012, 17:41   #14
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Default Re: Maruti WagonR : Steering tilted to the right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neeraj Dabake View Post
If and when I replace the tyres, I will be opting for tubeless - I think costs around Rs. 3-4 k per tyre. I presume wheel balancing/alignment is much cheaper? Budget is not a primary issue, but if I could rather stretch these tyres for a further minimum 3 years, would definitely prefer to postpone the replacement costs.

Has anybody used their tyres for ~ 7 years before?! (given that my running is on the lower side)..
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajeev k View Post
My opinion is that check the alignment first so that the defect can be diagnosed first and then go for tyre change. From your posts it is understood that your tyres have some more safe life left in them. Therefore, rather than holding the steering always to the left correct the defect first.
If your tyres are okay, you can use them till at least 40,000 km. So, that will be your 7 years.

But without period alignment and balancing and tyre rotation, I doubt whether they'll last till then.

And yes, I completely agree with Rajeev K that you should do a proper alignment first before going in for new tyres so that the defects are rectified. Wheel alignment, balancing and rotation are not expensive.

You can of course go for tubeless tyres, provided the rims are okay. Any dent/bent on the rims (happens once in a while while repairing the punctures) you need to replace the rims too.
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Old 9th October 2012, 17:54   #15
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Default Re: Maruti WagonR : Steering tilted to the right?

rajeev k and subratasenn - thanks again!

i am going to take an MASS appointment for the wheel balancing and alignment right away! I will report back the findings as soon as done. Hopefully, that should take care of the issue and i will be able to make these tyres last much longer
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