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Discussion Starter #1
My brother just bought a 2016 LE AWD with Upgrade Package. The car drives great, smooth and its a very solid car.

The only one thing I find it "different" from my Acura is that the steering wheel is not exactly 100% straight, somewhere at 12.02 position, just "very slight" to the right and we are talking just .02 to the right (100% straight would be 12.00).

The car drives straight even if I let go my hands, it would go straight for a few seconds before requiring attention, however if I were to centered the steering wheel (moving from 12.02 to 12.00 position), the car would pull to the left a little. Wheels alignment are OK (car still under 50 km or 30 miles), dealer said they checked the alignment during the PDI.

Is this acceptable? I'm OK with the very slight not 100% centered steering wheel as long as it will not effect the tires in the future. I guess its just human nature to automatically "straighten" out the steering wheel when its not 100% straight, lol.
 

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Would not be acceptable to me on a new car. The wheel can be straightened by very slight (canceling) adjustments to the toe on both sides. If the steering wheel is off to the right, the left front wheel should be toed in a very small amount and the right front should be toed out exactly the same amount. Total toe-in will be exactly the same afterwards but the steering wheel will move slightly to the left. The short story is whoever set up the alignment (dealer or at factory) didn't have the steering wheel straight when they set it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Would not be acceptable to me on a new car. The wheel can be straightened by very slight (canceling) adjustments to the toe on both sides. If the steering wheel is off to the right, the left front wheel should be toed in a very small amount and the right front should be toed out exactly the same amount. Total toe-in will be exactly the same afterwards but the steering wheel will move slightly to the left. The short story is whoever set up the alignment (dealer or at factory) didn't have the steering wheel straight when they set it.
Hey Jerry, thanks for the reply. Is the "toe on" the same or something like the link below?

Steering Wheel not centered while driving straight? Here's how I centered mine (pics) - Corvette Forum
 

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Hey Jerry, thanks for the reply. Is the "toe on" the same or something like the link below?

Steering Wheel not centered while driving straight? Here's how I centered mine (pics) - Corvette Forum
Yep, he is doing the same thing. Adjusting the toe by identical self-canceling amounts which effectively changes the steering wheel position. FWIW you don't even have to raise the Rav4, you can see the tie-rods by looking in behind the front wheels with the car on the ground. However, given that your car is new, I would insist that the dealer do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yep, he is doing the same thing. Adjusting the toe by identical self-canceling amounts which effectively changes the steering wheel position. FWIW you don't even have to raise the Rav4, you can see the tie-rods by looking in behind the front wheels with the car on the ground. However, given that your car is new, I would insist that the dealer do it.
Great, thanks again. Will bring the car to the dealer next week and will report back.
 

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In my experience and with my RAV on most roads the steering will require slight correction to the left, but that is because the roads here have center crowns to direct rain water off the pavement. For a vehicle to pull towards the left here generally would indicate an alignment or other related problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
In my experience and with my RAV on most roads the steering will require slight correction to the left, but that is because the roads here have center crowns to direct rain water off the pavement. For a vehicle to pull towards the left here generally would indicate an alignment or other related problem.
Very interesting as that's exactly the service advisor told my brother when he first picked the car, cause it rains a lot here, lol.

We drove to Seattle this afternoon on I-5 and I didn't notice the not "centered". I hope the dealer would be able to tell if my steering wheel is "centered" or not next week by using whatever tools they have and if its already "centered", then I'm OK with it.

The 2016 RAV4 is really a nice car, so quiet (according to Toyota, the 2016 RAV4 has the quietest interior in RAV4 ever, 55% more insulation and other sound proofing measures than those of 2015) and the ride is definitely A+ with the default 17" wheels, standard Michelin Latitude Touring HP tires, the new Digressive Valve Shock on all 4 corners (smarter shocks), updated suspension & stiffer rear suspension mounting points, improve number of spot weld & support mount in rear.
 

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So, what is your reference to say that the wheel is "0.02" off? If you are using the top of the dashboard than bear in mind the dash isn't 100% flat / horizontal easier.

Regarding using toe-in to adjust the steering wheel position, this is fine in a car build in the past century, but won't do any good in the RAV. Modern cars have steering position sensor in the steering column that communicates with the stability control. Basically, the purpose of the sensor is to communicate the driver's intention ("I want to go straight" vs. "I want to turn", as well ashow fast is the steering wheel being turned - gentle curve vs. crash avoidance maneuver, etc.). The computer compares the signal from the steering wheel sensor and if it detects that the car's motions differs from the driver's intentions, stability control kicks-in to correct car's trajectory to match driver's intentions.

If you adjust the steering wheel's position without re-calibrating the steering wheel sensor you will give conflicting inputs to the stability control computer. The steering wheel will tell the computer that you want to turn, while the motion sensors will tell the computer that the car is moving straight - an uncontrolled skid / understeer.

That's why the steering wheel sensor has to be re-calibrated after alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So, what is your reference to say that the wheel is "0.02" off? If you are using the top of the dashboard than bear in mind the dash isn't 100% flat / horizontal easier.

Regarding using toe-in to adjust the steering wheel position, this is fine in a car build in the past century, but won't do any good in the RAV. Modern cars have steering position sensor in the steering column that communicates with the stability control. Basically, the purpose of the sensor is to communicate the driver's intention ("I want to go straight" vs. "I want to turn", as well ashow fast is the steering wheel being turned - gentle curve vs. crash avoidance maneuver, etc.). The computer compares the signal from the steering wheel sensor and if it detects that the car's motions differs from the driver's intentions, stability control kicks-in to correct car's trajectory to match driver's intentions.

If you adjust the steering wheel's position without re-calibrating the steering wheel sensor you will give conflicting inputs to the stability control computer. The steering wheel will tell the computer that you want to turn, while the motion sensors will tell the computer that the car is moving straight - an uncontrolled skid / understeer.

That's why the steering wheel sensor has to be re-calibrated after alignment.
Thanks for the input.

I forwarded your reply to the service advisor where my brother bought the car and got the following reply:

Hi Matt,
If you would like us to attempt to address this, I can book an appointment for you to have the alignment/steering wheel adjusted one time. Calibration will also be included to make sure the sensors read correctly.

Let me know what works for you.

Thank you!

Well, now I'm on the fence as the more I drive the car I'm beginning to think maybe this is the characteristic of Toyota's electric power steering (my previous car was a 21 yrs old Acura Integra with just the regular power steering).

I'm on the fence because upon close observation on most road surfaces (especially on highways), be it 12.02 or 12.00 (centered) the car drives straight:smile, and I'm thinking maybe this tiny movement/play is "normal"? or maybe its just getting used to it as I noticed it the most was on the 1st day we drove the new car home from the dealership (1st day switching from my old car).

The car is great so far and I'm trying not to visit the dealer at all costs if possible (even its under warranty).
 

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Most people I would guess wouldn't even notice if their steering wheel is slightly off, but it would bug me to no end...LOL. All roads have a crown so water won't collect in the middle. If you're driving in the middle lane in a perfectly straight road you're steering wheel should be also be straight (assuming there's not enough wind to push your car to the left or right). I would get it done because if you're anything like me I would always notice it and try as I might I won't be able to just ignore it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Most people I would guess wouldn't even notice if their steering wheel is slightly off, but it would bug me to no end...LOL. All roads have a crown so water won't collect in the middle. If you're driving in the middle lane in a perfectly straight road you're steering wheel should be also be straight (assuming there's not enough wind to push your car to the left or right). I would get it done because if you're anything like me I would always notice it and try as I might I won't be able to just ignore it.
Thanks for the feedback!

I'm even more confused now after reading:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/123-4-4-general/174058-question-sport-mode-new-owner.html#post2019993
"I prefer Normal Mode. In Sport Mode, I find the car to be too jittery, busy and the steering too sensitive. I like very slight play in the steering wheel, which Normal Mode gives me, so I don't jerk into other lanes too easily. I also prefer the throttle response in Normal."

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/123-4-4-general/174058-question-sport-mode-new-owner.html#post2019993

I kinda wish someone can take a test drive of my car and tell me if its "normal", cause I'm trying to avoid going to the dealer at all costs cause if its "normal" characteristic of the Toyota's electronic power steering, meaning "no problem" with our RAV4 in the first place and we brought the car to be serviced/corrected, there is always a possibility they might messed up and make it worst, lol!
 

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I kinda wish someone can take a test drive of my car and tell me if its "normal", cause I'm trying to avoid going to the dealer at all costs cause if its "normal" characteristic of the Toyota's electronic power steering, meaning "no problem" with our RAV4 in the first place and we brought the car to be serviced/corrected, there is always a possibility they might messed up and make it worst, lol!
Why don't you go to a Toyota dealer and test drive another RAV? You will be able to see if there is any difference between the two.

Electric power steering definitely feels different than old-style hydraulic power steering, and some people have hard time to adjust. That said, electric power steering is way better, more precise and allows better control than hydraulic power steering.
 

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Don't presume that the problem is with the front end. You need to get the car 4 wheel aligned.

When new, our 2013 LTD's steering wheel was not centred. The cause, determined by the dealer performing an alignment was related to one of the rear wheels. When the rear wheel was corrected the steering wheel was almost but not quite centred. Dealer had another go at the steering wheel which made it a bit better. Since I live quite a distance from the dealer, and the roads around the dealer are not conducive to testing I just centred it myself over a few weeks. Must have done a good job as a recent alignment before new tires found the alignment to be dead on.

When you are testing find a piece of quiet road that will allow you to drive down the centre. Then test it on the roads you normally drive on. In wind or a road with an exaggerated slope to the ditch the steering wheel will be off centre.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update:

Went to another Toyota dealer and explained to the service advisor I wanted a 2nd opinion (just to be sure) and he was nice enough to get a technician to go with me for a test drive. I told the technician that my previous car was an Acura Integra and just wanted to make sure that the kinda soft brake pedal feel is normal (I've no problem with the brake pedal feel, but just to test him out, lol), he drove my car for about 15 mins and upon returning to the dealership, he told me that the brake pedal feel is normal (I knew that, lol), and I asked him "are you 100% sure?" he said "yes" and then followed by "however your steering wheel is OFF" and he also told me that he has been a Toyota tech for the past 18 years, at that moment I told myself "bingo". He also told me that the off center steering wheel would be easily fixed (they just need to keep the car for about 1 hr) and should I decide to get it done later, no harm to the car/tires either.

I'm glad that we finally get to the bottom of this very minor issue, but how on earth could the dealer that sold my brother the car missed this during the PDI (I'm sure they performed a test drive during PDI, no?) and the 2nd day when my brother brought the car back (after a technician test drove the car, they told him that all alignments were OK and the car drove straight).

Right now I'm not having a lot of confidence of the service department that sold my brother the car, however the 1st service inspection (6 month) and 2nd service - oil/filter change (12 month) are free (included as part of the new car purchase), if you were me, would you go back to the dealer?
 

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How do you measure .02 off? I am sorry but there is no way you can eye it and see that kind of measurement.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
How do you measure .02 off? I am sorry but there is no way you can eye it and see that kind of measurement.
Estimate:wink, cause if its 11.55am or 12.05pm position, you could easily tell. Mine is between 12.00pm and 12.05pm, just slightly off.

I'm just glad the mechanic from the 2nd dealership confirmed the OFF center and NOT my own imagination. In all, its no big deal except it needs to be fixed within the 1st 30 days upon new car delivery, after 30 days you are on your own (**wheel alignment is not covered under the 3 yrs comprehensive or 5 yrs powertrain warranty).

**Adjusting the steering wheel always involves wheel alignment.
 

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Actually if anyone wants to try centring their steering wheel and are not covered by warranty - it is quite easy and an alignment is not necessary unless there is another reason for an alignment.

Lets imagine that your wheel seems to be slightly cocked a bit to the right when the vehicle is going straight. Another way of describing this would be that when holding the steering wheel dead centred the vehicle tends to go left because the wheels are turned slightly left.

To fix the problem you need to push the left(drivers side) wheel out a bit and pull the right side in a bit.

You need a couple of wrenches, on the tie rods loosen the nut and turn the shaft to either lengthen (push out) or shorten (pull in). Before you do anything clean the tie rod surface and scribe a line or magic maker a line across the parts so that you can easily return to the original position. When you make the adjustment just try 1/4 inch between your scribed line. This can be a bit confusing when you are looking from the ground up so take a nut and bolt with hold them up to the tie rod and turn to confirm that you are moving in the right direction, you can also use the lock nut to confirm you are lengthening or shortening. Take the car for a drive to evaluate.

Note the above is based on a 2013 RAV4 which has the steering links behind the wheels.
 

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Interesting thread.m I just drove our new RAV home today...4 hour drive on the highway. Noticed that the steering wheel is off to the right a bit so if I put the wheel straight the car drifts left. Unacceptable! Going to our local toyota dealer on Monday to get this straightened out...no pun intended.
 

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Interesting thread.m I just drove our new RAV home today...4 hour drive on the highway. Noticed that the steering wheel is off to the right a bit so if I put the wheel straight the car drifts left. Unacceptable! Going to our local toyota dealer on Monday to get this straightened out...no pun intended.
Update...took the car for an alignment...it was good but the wheel was was not cantered...it now. Had it centered and realigned. Done under warranty...
 

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Noticed it on my car after I left the dealership, never test drove the car as I did at previous dealership. Gave it till about the 500 mile mark didn't even out steering wheel was off to the left. Told dealer they did a 4 wheel alignment no questions asked, issue resolved.
 
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