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Old 07-01-2012, 08:37 AM   #1
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Unhappy Bad steering?

I seem to have this steering problem on my 2012 Focus SE. I bought my Focus last october. As of right now I have just under 10k miles on it. I've read other forum posts where members talk about the steering being so bad that when they drive down the road they are "sawing back and forth on the steering wheel left to right making course corrections" or something to that effect. Mine doesn't seem to be that bad to that extent, but mine is enough that it is very annoying. I think I know why this is happening.

Okay so when I bought the car I noticed the car would seem to require all these little course corrections left to right when I drive down a relatively straight road. When I'm going around a curve on the highway, I can feel the steering wheel wanting to pull in th opposite direction that I'm turning. Also the steering seemed just overall too heavy, even for a front wheel drive car. Now this is only the second car I've owned with electric steering. I had a new 2011 Fiesta and put 8700 miles on it before trading it for the Focus. The Fiesta's steering was perfect. Steering effort was dead on and none of this wandering garbage like my Focus. But with the Focus I thought that maybe the tires just needed to wear in a bit or some such. When I test drove a Focus before buying mine, I really didn't drive it much ( probably less than 10 miles) on the test drive, so I really didn't have a basis for comparison with mine. I mean it was a test drive. Not like I could really spend a lot of time with it. But at my first 5000 mile scheduled maintanence, I mentioned it. They told me they didn't detect anything. But the mechanic didn't put that many miles on it (maybe 5 miles tops) and the roads around the dealership are mostly all straight and 40-45 mph zones.

Okay so a couple of weeks ago I flew out to California for a week and got a Focus sedan as a rental. Had like 24,800 miles on it. I drove from San Francisco, up the Pacific coast highway, up into Oregon (to Crater lake) and back down through Napa valley back to San Francisco where I turned the car in. I did this over a weeks time and put just under 1600 miles on the car. So I got to spend some time with the rental under all differnt conditions. Hills, flats, steep curves, etc. So now I really had a basis for comparison between another Focus and my own. Results? The rental Focus steered perfectly. Showed none of the symptoms of my Focus and was a pleasure to drive unlike mine is.

So here is what I think is wrong with mine in a nutshell. The steering wheel is trying to return to center too agressively. I know the steering wheel should try to return to center after you make a turn or steer off center, but mine seems to be doing it way too hard. It's really evident when going around a turn on the highway. Now I could see if I was going around a hairpin turn at high speed. Sure the car is going to pull to the outside of the turn from the centrifigal force under those conditions. But driving on a long gentle curve 60-65 mph, the car shouldn't be acting like it wants to drive the opposite direction I'm steering. In other words if I'm going around a corner that curves to the right, I can really feel the steering wheel pulling to the left. Now I'm not saying I have to hold the steering wheel down with tons of force to counteract it, but it's there. Way more than it should be. And it's even been dangerous on a few occasions IMO when I've been going around a curve with a car beside me in the other lane. As I was going though the curve, I let up the pressure on the steering wheel just a little too much and the car jinked towards the other lane. Luckily I was able to react quick enough, and steer it back the other way in time. A car's steering wheel should not be trying to "return to center" with that much force.

So perhaps other members cars with the steering problems are doing the same thing? It would make sense. If they are driving down a road that even looks like it's staight and have to make little course corrections (because no road is going to be perfectly staright or level) left to right, they are steering the steering wheel off center, even if only a little bit. So if the steering wheel is agressively trying to return to center, it will feel like the car is pulling or wandering the opposite way they are steering the steering wheel off it's center. Does that make sense? Around town it's more of an annoyance, but where I really feel it is around curves at highway speeds under the conditions I've described. I really like my Focus and hope it can be put right. Otherwise I may ultimately have to get rid of the car in the spring.

Last edited by Pennut; 07-01-2012 at 08:37 AM. Reason: spelling error
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