News

Mahindra XUV 700: Mandatory steering calibration after wheel alignment

There's an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)/SRS that involves taking a baseline before wheel alignment and then calibrating using the software. In my case, the wheel alignment at the Trichy Service Center was done without the software calibration and that resulted in inconsistent steering feedback and subpar driving experience in general.

BHPian Mudhalaipatti recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

It's been a while since I last updated. I have been busy relocating to coimbatore, which consumed almost a full month. The Red Rage has now clocked almost 13K and I must start with the 10K service.

I gave the vehicle for 10K service to Shiva Automobile service centre in Trichy and the vehicle came back the same day with the usual items

  • Engine Oil Replacement
  • Engine Oil Filter Replacement
  • Tyre Rotation/Wheel Alignment

The last one was interesting and this was not a recommended item in the service manual. Anyway I received the vehicle and start driving it. Right off the bat or rather clutch, the vehicle feels different. The steering is haywire. The steering wheel is hunting. Doesn't stay in one place. Earlier while driving over the same potholes, it felt like I was flying over them. Not anymore. The steering feedback is jut too much. It's tiring to keep the steering steady.

Also I sense uneven resistance to turning, uneven return to centre position and what not. One of my most liked feature is this steering setup and having lost it, feels like loosing a limb. I think of taking it to Shiva Automobiles to correct it, but then I'm not too convinced of the capabilities and decide to wait it out. I was going to Coimbatore anyway in a few weeks time and so I drive with this strange setup.

But then the steering feedback is just too much. I steer extremely light and so this uneasiness is palpable. Take it to a Tyre shop for wheel balancing and alignment, thinking that it could be a case of improper alignment. But even after this third party alignment, the vehicle feels the same. i.e uneven steering.

And finally I'm in Coimbatore and the folks at CAI were prompt in returning my call to take a look at the vehicle. Man, the traffic in Coimbatore needs a separate thread in itself. I was not prepared for this, would be an under statement. Anyway, take the vehicle to CAI Coimbatore at 9.30 and the Service Head had already briefed the Co Tek and another technician and we take the vehicle for a ride.

During the initial 5 minutes, I take time to explain the issue to the Co-Tek and he listens intently. Barely 30 seconds after I finish, he tells me that he knows what the problem is and asks me if I can stay for an hour to get the problem corrected. Uh what - under an hour for correcting the steering issue and the software flashing ? Back in Trichy, those guys would have a full day. Anyway I was pleasantly surprised and wait in the lounge. Just past the 45 min mark, the Service Manger walks in and tells me that the job is complete and we can go for a test ride.

This is amazing. First the Co-Tek acknowledged, understood and diagnosed the issue within such a short time and going well beyond, delivered the fix under an hour. So take the vehicle and I could sense the steering had improved, but wanted to drive on some craters to validate. I was short on time and got back home. And have been driving for a couple of weeks now and the steering is back to it's normal self.

Some key observations from this interaction.

XUV700 has EPS - Electronic Power Steering. I.e steering has it's own motor and the torque delivered by this motor is controlled by the ECU. And as you can imagine, the torque is higher during lower speeds and lesser in higher speeds and it's finely calibrated.

10K service doesn't mandate a tyre rotation. However if it's done, there's a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)/SRS that involves taking a baseline before wheel alignment and then calibrating using the software. In my case, the wheel alignment at the Trichy Service Center was done without the software calibration and that resulted in inconsistent steering feedback and subpar driving experience in general.

While it appears that this SOP/SRS is standard process and should be followed for all vehicles with EPS, being a new vehicle, I suppose the Service Center missed to follow it.

And so the vehicle is back to it's normal self, no suspension sounds, no uneven steering feedback.

Got to wash the car after a while and noticed tiny scratches and streaks in the rear bumper. Looks like quite a few butt kissing happened in Coimbatore and I didn't feel anything.

Almost always I use the power washing method and don't touch the car unless it's heavily soiled. And when I do have to use the manual method, I go with the two bucket method, taking extreme care to avoid swirls. Even with this precautions in place, the vehicle has visible streaks in one unlikely place. Not the metal surfaces, not the front facia. But rather on the rear brake light plastic casing. Uh !!

Sorry guys for the boring text only post. It would take a few more weeks to get in to a rhythm and I shall post some pics of the Red Rage in action.

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
A helmet will save your life