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Discussion Starter #1
I've noticed while driving straight down the parkway that the steering just wants to remain in position (when it's not being corrected within a brief time) It's as if the position has a slight ''V'' indentation and it requires a little extra effort to get it out of this 'not locked, but slight resistance sensation'.
Obviously locked would mean a dangerous situation.
It just doesn't feel right.
The car has power steering and I have placed the same size tires on the front as the rear. I don't believe the latter would be the cause though, because so many have changed out tires and never complained.
So not being familiar with innards of the steering, I'll make an an uneducated guess that that there is some sort of a magnetic holding
phenomenon being created, which could cause this... Or there is a lubricating issue. Any thoughts would be welcome.
 

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He's not mine
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I've got power steering and same size rubber on four corners. And, I kind of wish I shared your experience. Doesn't seem like a bad thing to me ... unless it's a lot stronger than you describe. I'm also clueless as to what it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've got power steering and same size rubber on four corners. And, I kind of wish I shared your experience. Doesn't seem like a bad thing to me ... unless it's a lot stronger than you describe. I'm also clueless as to what it is.
Our smarts must be corrected much more frequently than larger cars, so when I drive at about 50 MPH and the wheel really isn't corrected for about 20-30 seconds this happens. It is not a pleasant feeling however.:(
 

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From the Intro to Service manual...

Steering centering
This function returns the steering to the center posi
tion once the driver stops applying steering torque.
The power steering motor is actuated accordingly by
the power steering control unit.
"Active center feeling" function
When the steering wheel is registered in the center
position and there are no steering movements, the
power steering motor is energized by the steering
assist control unit so that a sufficient torque is
produced to hold the steering in the straight ahead
position. This actuation conveys an improved steering
center feel to the driver. The system is continuously
calibrated and learns the center position automati
cally. The longterm calibration is performed via the
ESP wheel sensor system.
:)
 

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I've noticed while driving straight down the parkway that the steering just wants to remain in position (when it's not being corrected within a brief time) It's as if the position has a slight ''V'' indentation and it requires a little extra effort to get it out of this 'not locked, but slight resistance sensation'.
Obviously locked would mean a dangerous situation.
It just doesn't feel right.
By "It just doesn't feel right", do you mean it is different than it has been in the past? Or do you mean, Thus has it always been?

A thought experiment.

Three possibilities.

1. There is a electrical problem.

2. There is a mechanical problem.

3. There is no problem.

1. The only electrical problem that springs to mind is a lack of input from the torque sensor in the steering column. This sensor initiates operation of the steering assist motor. Such a fault should set a fault in the EPS control unit and turn on a warning lamp. To test, disconnect the steering assist motor on the steering rack (good luck) or pull the fuses for the EPS, fuses 18 and 35. The latter will set a fault in the stability control system and illuminate the nanny lamp. Probability of fault 1 is low.

2. A mechanical problem would be resistance to movement in part that should, um, move. (Duh.) Internal resistance in the steering rack and/or assist motor I would think is unlikely. A tight upper strut bearing is possible but not particularly likely. A tight outer tie rod end or ball joint is the most likely. One would need to disconnect the outer tie rods to turn each of the strut and knuckle assemblies be hand to test.

2.5 A alignment fault causing too much toe-in may produce a plowing effect and feel as you describe. Maybe. I can not know what you are feeling.

3. ??? I don't know, you're too sensitive? Find a similar vehicle for comparison.
 

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I wish my steering would do that, my car's steering has never been centred from day 1.

Dealer plays the "road is crowned" card. M'kay...a road crown doesn't explain why my steering wheel is off centred to the right, but okay...

Funny, the dealer is now willing to address the issue too, since I'm no longer covered under the alignment portion of my warranty. :wink:
 

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Neon: You need to find someone who is competent on a 4 wheel alignment machine, so that your steering wheel is centered. Your airbag will not function properly, if the wheel is off center. Setting the toe on each front wheel correctly will result in a centered steering wheel. Rear wheel reference has to be used to accomplish this and the computerized alignment systems will do this perfectly if the operator knows how to compensate the sensors and use the equipment properly. This is an easy task for a properly trained alignment technician.
 

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Indeed. The alignment issue (and the dealers' refusal to fix it until the warranty expired) is something else I brought up to SmartUSA.

...And don't even ask about that...I say I could only be contacted at 2PM CST or 6PM CST (or later). So they call me at 11:15AM?
 

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I've noticed while driving straight down the parkway that the steering just wants to remain in position (when it's not being corrected within a brief time) It's as if the position has a slight ''V'' indentation and it requires a little extra effort to get it out of this 'not locked, but slight resistance sensation'.
Obviously locked would mean a dangerous situation.
It just doesn't feel right.
The car has power steering and I have placed the same size tires on the front as the rear. I don't believe the latter would be the cause though, because so many have changed out tires and never complained.
So not being familiar with innards of the steering, I'll make an an uneducated guess that that there is some sort of a magnetic holding
phenomenon being created, which could cause this... Or there is a lubricating issue. Any thoughts would be welcome.
I recently experienced this phenomenon in my 2008 smart passion cabrio with power steering. I went on a trip which was basically 24 hours round trip and experienced this probably 4 or 5 times. Your description is exactly what occurred while on the highway. I only notice this on the highway, first time was in 2009 and it has not gotten any better or any worse since then. It takes a bit of effort to get it to overcome the center position, but once it gets passed that point it moves quite easily. It can be a bit frightening until the steering wheel starts the slightest bit of movement that must be overcome.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for sharing this unusual symptom. It's not that 'misery loves company' but that there is another smart owner with a similar issue.
Perhaps power steering is contributing here as it attempts to bring the wheel in a centered position. Since I had the two larger wheels/tires mounted in the front the steering is wheel is off a bit. Maybe one tire is larger in dimension than the other and this confuses the centering feature. The car never pulls to either side and tracks true however.
I guess I'm going to ask to put the new (pre-owned) tires to be put in the back and see what happens.
Thank you all for your input.:)
 
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