Slightly crooked steering wheel after tire rotation + lower ball joints

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For those who followed, i replaced both lower ball joints a few days ago. While at it, i decided to rotate tires as i've never done it and they have 50k km on them (30k miles) and wear is more advanced on the rear ones. Tires were changed in july of 2019 and an alignment was performed at the same time. Since then, i was surprised that the car would not go perfectly straight and would slowly steer itself to the right if i kept my hands of the wheel for a few seconds. I got used to it enough not to ever think about it again. I thought that this behavior is normal since roads are slightly tilted to the right to let rain escape. Maybe they have to take that into account when they perform an alignment and they didn't however.

I rotated tires in a X pattern. Now the car goes perfectly straight and doesn't steer itself to the right anymore but i've noticed that the steering wheel is crooked a few degrees to the right. Should i be concerned and do something before getting a new set of tires + an alignment? (i plan to change tires next fall anyway). Do you think my way overdue tire rotation is the issue? It drives perfectly, no unusual noise or vibration or any weirdness going on.
X-Pattern.jpg

PS: Obvious to me but car is rear wheel drive, if it makes a difference.
 
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M119

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BTW, is a X pattern tire rotation OK for a real wheel drive or did i miss something? Do you think that my crooked wheel with the car going perfectly straight after the tire rotation is the aftermath of uneven wear caused by a poor alignment to begin with? Or just way too many miles without a rotation, hence the uneven wear (that i can't see).
 

M119

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I will swap front tires and see how it behaves, If at least the steering wheel is straight again it will do in the short term. If not, this is the kind of detail that can make me stop enjoying driving so it will be time for a proper alignment and a new set. 30k miles is not a lot but they're slightly cracked anyway, and not as silent as they used to be. How often do you rotate them? Next set i will rotate every oil change i think.
 

M119

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previously aligned with a worn ball joint? other suspension arms disturbed during work?
With the old ball joints yes. They weren't problematic at the time. I was very careful not to hit or mess with anything during installation.
 
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That should be part of the alignment. Take it back and have them redo it.
If reading correctly, the alignment was done almost two years ago in July of 2019. Not sure they would redo it for free after that amount of time if that is what you are suggesting.
 
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If reading correctly, the alignment was done almost two years ago in July of 2019. Not sure they would redo it for free after that amount of time if that is what you are suggesting.
Well, there's your problem. After work like that you need an alignment, just no way to avoid it.
 
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You have two tire issues.

The tires that used to be on the front have uneven conicity causing the pull. That can also cause the steering wheel to be off center, which they compensated for during the alignment. The last thing we do during an alignment is road test, and adjust the tie rods slightly to compensate for irregularities with the tires that cause the steering wheel to be off center.

Now, when you moved those tires to the rear, the pull is gone, and will cause the steering wheel to be off center.

On a RWD car, you should rotate the back tires straight to the front, and cross the front tires to the rear.
 

M119

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If reading correctly, the alignment was done almost two years ago in July of 2019. Not sure they would redo it for free after that amount of time if that is what you are suggesting.
A little late i think indeed.
You have two tire issues.

The tires that used to be on the front have uneven conicity causing the pull. That can also cause the steering wheel to be off center, which they compensated for during the alignment. The last thing we do during an alignment is road test, and adjust the tie rods slightly to compensate for irregularities with the tires that cause the steering wheel to be off center.

Now, when you moved those tires to the rear, the pull is gone, and will cause the steering wheel to be off center.

On a RWD car, you should rotate the back tires straight to the front, and cross the front tires to the rear.
Thanks for the explanation, i will definitely swap right/left front tires and check how it behaves.

Worth mentioning, old ball joints weren't terribly bad but had enough play in them not to pass the roadworthy inspection we have here. It passed it successfully after i installed the new balljoints and they check alignment as part of the process.
 

M119

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Just swapped them and it seems a little better but the front right tire (used to be rear right tire) is down to the wear indicator.

Here's some gibberish for you if you're bored. Here is the alignment report from 2019:
IMG_20210412_152737.jpg


Roadworthy inspection report values from February of 2021:
IMG_20210412_152838.jpg


Second inspection after i replaced both lower ball joints in order to pass the test:
IMG_20210412_152911.jpg


Ripage = Skidding
Dissymétrie suspension = Suspension asymmetry
Avant = Front
Arrière = Rear
G = Left
D = Right

Translation for the first page is a little hard for me as i'm not sure what it refers to or what it means in french.
 
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