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2020 Forester Touring
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Discussion Starter #1
Brand new vehicle (first Subaru), I noticed that the steering wheel has to be very slightly off center to the right for the car to go straight. I took the car to the dealer and they aligned it under warranty. However nothing really changed. I did some digging and I found a bunch of similar threads such as this one. This gave me a tip regarding the secret "Factory Settings" menu, where you can see steering angle. It can be accessed by holding the Home button and pressing the Tune button twice, then releasing the Home button (more here, videos at the bottom). This works while the car is on, in fact you can even drive with that menu up to see your steering input reading. Based on what I'm seeing, the vehicle is definitely aligned to 0 degrees reading, however what is considered 0 degree is IMHO about 2 degrees off. When I center the steering wheel to what I believe the center should be, the reading is about -2.5.

I don't really know what this means. I am wondering if any of you guys can try this and look at your readings, is your 0 input perfectly centered? If it's just my car, I don't really know what this means.
 

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2009 Legacy
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491 Posts
@WackyDriver I don't have your vintage Subaru but do know that's a very simple calibration that can be performed by the dealer or someone that has a two way OBD2 tool. The procedure involves holding the steering wheel at whatever is the perceived zero and pressing a button on the tool. It literally takes seconds.

I'm surprised they couldn't get that straight. Bring it back.
 

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2009 Legacy
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Thanks. Do you know if this would require another alignment after?
It shouldn't as long as when you hold the steering wheel straight, it follows a straight line.
The angle measured by the firmware is just off by however many degrees. A steering reset just takes whatever that number it measures and calls that zero.
It shouldn't require surgery unless something is wrong.

But, like @Makingforestergreatagain suggests, it is on their dime.
 

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2020 Forester Touring
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190 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Have you tested in a parking lot where you know there isn't a crown to the road?
I've tested on all types of roads. But the "Factory Settings" menu I described straight up gives you the sensor output, which wouldn't have anything to do with the road. 0 center is simply not where I think it needs to be. I have an appointment with the dealer again tomorrow, I asked to speak to a tech.
 

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2019 Forester Limited
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187 Posts
Reading the shop manual for 2019. Assuming 2020 is the same. I saw no option to “re-zero” the readout. I did see info regarding actual physical adjustment of the wheel as part of this process, but no mention of a corresponding electronic readout in degrees. They also mentioned centering the wheel via toe-in adjustments, which is standard stuff. It’s not at all well written and scattered between two sections of the manual (typical of manual). Sorry. Thought there might be something helpful. Maybe someone else can make more sense of it.
 

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2019 Forester - Touring CVT
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8 Posts
@WackyDriver I don't have your vintage Subaru but do know that's a very simple calibration that can be performed by the dealer or someone that has a two way OBD2 tool. The procedure involves holding the steering wheel at whatever is the perceived zero and pressing a button on the tool. It literally takes seconds.
I'm surprised they couldn't get that straight. Bring it back.

Thanks. Do you know if this would require another alignment after?
An alignment would be required. The calibration to set the steering angle readout will not change the physical connection between the steering wheel and the front tires. If the steering wheel requires right input to go straight, then this will not change as a result of the calibration. Only a wheel alignment can change the steering wheel position.
 

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I have a nearly brand new 2019 with exactly the same issue. I asked the dealer to fix it while they were working on a separate problem, and they claimed their tech road tested it and there was nothing wrong and wouldn't address it further. The alignment is perfectly fine and the car doesn't drift at all, it's just that the steering wheel just isn't centered properly. I have to turn it noticeably to the right to drive straight, which feels exceedingly unnatural in North America where you are typically adjusting slightly to the left for the road camber. It bothers me enough I would probably pay an alignment shop to fix it if the dealer keeps refusing to help.
 

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2009 Legacy
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An alignment would be required. The calibration to set the steering angle readout will not change the physical connection between the steering wheel and the front tires. If the steering wheel requires right input to go straight, then this will not change as a result of the calibration. Only a wheel alignment can change the steering wheel position.
Unless I totally misunderstood his explanation, he rides straight while he holds the steering wheel straight.
If it doesn't you're right: that would require a steering wheel alignment.

His position indicator is off by two degrees: ie, using some function to get into a special mode, it shows two degrees while he's holding his steering wheel straight (and the car is thus riding straight, as he explained).
That's a calibration. It requires you to issue an OBD2 two way function to execute.
 

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2020 Forester Touring
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190 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Yes you misunderstood. When I hold the steering wheel perfectly straight, it reads out -2.5 degrees or so, and the car drifts slightly to the left. When I hold the steering wheel to the computer's 0 degrees read out (which to me is off-center to the right), the car drives perfectly straight. In other words they aligned it perfectly to computer's 0 read out, which IMHO is in the wrong position. So if I'm understanding correctly, the steering wheel and/or its' sensor need to be recalibrated to properly reflect 0, and from there the vehicle needs to be aligned.
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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I'm thinking the computer read of where zero is (which sounds to be correct) isn't the issue at all. At zero the car rolls straight, apparently.
It's the fact that when the suspension was aligned, the steering wheel was not EXACTLY centered, so software isn't going to change that - It's a mechanical issue.
It will be interesting if the dealer can manage to get the wheel exactly in position (2 degrees is closer than most cars on the road will ever get).
BTW - The actual wheel position is insignificant if the car is rolling straight.
Without the readout provided, most people would have trouble noting a 2.5 degree variation in a wheel, which is a variation of 0.0069444....

I'm thinking the dealer will listen, perform an eye roll when the customer isn't looking and address the "significant" non-issue, by pretending to do something.
When that doesn't fix the non-problem, the OP will be told that is the best they can do...
Or maybe not.
 

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I noticed this issue as soon as I bought it. Steering wheel is several degrees clockwise from straight up while the vehicle is pointed straight.
 

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2020 Forester Touring
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Ok gentleman, thankfully unlike @DragonSubie7's prediction, I got assigned "one of their top guys", considering I was in the second time in as many days. I asked to speak to him and showed him the problem. Basically showed him the "Factory Settings" screen as well as my understanding of where centered should be, he acknowledged that it's about 2.5 degrees off to him as well (based on the live screen readout). He said that he will use a special level on the steering wheel to get it exactly centered before aligning, which he says they rarely ever do, but since I need it perfect he'll do it as such. About 30 minutes later he comes in and brings me to the shop as the car is on the alignment rack. He shows me that the level reads exactly leveled at the same position it was before (as was from the factory). In other words when the steering wheel is leveled to the ground, it's effectively about 2.5 degrees off. This of course is very puzzling, because as you sit in the car, it's very much noticeably off to the right. I know I'm not crazy because not only do we have people in this very same thread with this complaint, but I've found many such complaints on various Subaru forums regarding new models. Everyone says the same thing, it's slightly to the right. There must be something about the sitting position, or the dash, or something that causes this phenomenon. Long story short, the tech said lets center it exactly how you want it and go from there. So I got to set the steering wheel exactly to what I believe the center is and he locked it in place with special devices. From there he performed the alignment again and also reset the steering wheel angle sensor so it reads 0 where I want it to read 0. He said it's an important step as a lot of eyesight (and such) systems use that input to make proper decisions.

Long story short, the steering wheel now is perfectly centered as I drive, and the "Factory Settings" read out for steering input is on point, I'm usually hovering around 0 when going straight. It took two tries and a good tech but my new car is finally just right. I hope this thread and post serves as a blueprint for everyone with new Subaru vehicles experiencing this bizarre phenomenon.
 

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2019 Forester Limited
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@WackyDriver , Let me see if I understand. With the steering wheel measured level, the sensor read zero (how you brought it in). With the steering leveled by eye, the sensor read 2.5 degrees. The alignment was redone with the wheel level by eye, and the sensors re-zeroed.

This sounds like when I papered a wall in my first house. I redid it, because although the paper's pattern was dead level, the walls were not. After redoing it with the paper now aligned to the wall (but not at all level) it all looked fine.
 

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2020 Forester Touring
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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
@WackyDriver , Let me see if I understand. With the steering wheel measured level, the sensor read zero (how you brought it in). With the steering leveled by eye, the sensor read 2.5 degrees. The alignment was redone with the wheel level by eye, and the sensors re-zeroed.
From the factory the steering wheel & steering angle sensor, which outputs live data via the "Factory Settings" screen is aligned spot on with a steering wheel leveling tool. It's a very sensitive level but otherwise it looks just like a regular level with a bubble in the center you would use for hanging a picture on a wall. So yes I think your interpretation is correct. While it appears the steering wheel from the factory is centered to the ground so to speak, it's not really centered to you as a driver. So from the drivers perspective it's off about 2.5 degrees to the right. I've never experienced anything like this before on a new vehicle, but this is my first Subaru and it seems to be a fairly common complaint with the newer models.
 
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