Steering wavering back and forth-CX5

Pew

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Hi folks,

'19 CX5, only driver, alignment was done months ago and was pretty spot-on. Tires were rotated at a discount tire last week and I double checked the torque with my own wrench today. I made an alignment appointment for tomorrow just in case.

So this morning I noticed my alignment was off and pulling to the left on my '19 CX5 about 3 miles away from my 46 mile drive to the office. It was perfectly fine before then. I had to angle my steering wheel to the right to go straight; like one of my rear toe was off by a couple degrees. Thinking that a small pothole I hit at an angle with the driver front tire this morning in 5-10mph traffic could have caused it, I made an alignment appointment.

Then on the way home I noticed something else, I had to angle the wheel to the right to drive straight but sometimes I could hold the steering wheel straight and the car will drive straight! It was as if the alignment was moving itself - but on bumps and road crowns. I made sure all the lugnuts were torqued right and did a quick look/feel under the car but nothing looked obviously damaged or loose.

I drove around the neighborhood and had the same thing. Came back in, lifted the drive front wheel off the ground, did a second look/feel, then drove around the neighborhood again and it seemed like the problem fixed itself or at least, went away for the moment. I do notice that I use less force to turn right, left turn steering force is normal, and the car feels "snappier" when turning right like my driver front toe is negative a couple degrees. Also did seem like the car "jittered" around more on those small and continuous wavy bumps on the highway.

I'm kind of lost by this, I'm not sure what I should check first or why this is even happening. I still have the alignment set for tomorrow, but I'm supposed to drive 9 hours on Wednesday to see some family.
 
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Sounds like something has either come loose, or is worn and needs replacing. An alignment and inspection is the logical step to take. The alignment tech should be able to find the problem, all you can do at this point is describe the symptoms to the tech.
 

Pew

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Thanks guys. I hope it's just an alignment issue - I've always had issues with my alignments on my cars so I hope I'm just overreacting.

One thing to consider, some vehicles don't drive well with 0 toe in. Or even a touch of Toe-Out. It can cause all sorts of weird driving dynamics.

That's true. I had my evo set to 0 toe but the CX5 is just set to factory settings. But this experience felt as if the toe was moving by itself. Definitely not a normal feel and I immediately knew something was off. I thought it was the alignment until the car started wandering left and right where it shouldn't have been and needed big steering corrections
 

Pew

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Just for the heck of it, turn off LDW if you have it on.

I did that too the second time I went out to drive around the neighborhood just to make sure. I don't remember the LDW going off when the car was drifting and getting close to the lines when I was driving home on the highway.
 
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I did that too the second time I went out to drive around the neighborhood just to make sure. I don't remember the LDW going off when the car was drifting and getting close to the lines when I was driving home on the highway.


It was just a thought that the sensor might have gone wonky. I have it on but Intervention is unchecked to avoid the computer driving against me.

It might not be structural or mechanical. Maybe a sensor in the electric steering is out?
 
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Thanks guys. I hope it's just an alignment issue - I've always had issues with my alignments on my cars so I hope I'm just overreacting.



That's true. I had my evo set to 0 toe but the CX5 is just set to factory settings. But this experience felt as if the toe was moving by itself. Definitely not a normal feel and I immediately knew something was off. I thought it was the alignment until the car started wandering left and right where it shouldn't have been and needed big steering corrections
if it's actively 'shifting' your tracking, on different roads with different 'crowns' to them, something's loose or busted/shifted .
a little toe-in is what makes a vehicle hold course, of course. : )
 

Pew

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It was just a thought that the sensor might have gone wonky. I have it on but Intervention is unchecked to avoid the computer driving against me.

It might not be structural or mechanical. Maybe a sensor in the electric steering is out?

No lights are on but if the alignment doesn't fix it, that's my next thought. Might just take it into the dealer if the alignment doesn't fix it though; me fixing things tends to take a lot longer and more money than planned :(

if it's actively 'shifting' your tracking, on different roads with different 'crowns' to them, something's loose or busted/shifted .
a little toe-in is what makes a vehicle hold course, of course. : )

Right, it's one of those "well I shouldn't have to steer so far on this road" things coupled with "is there a ghost steering my car?" Maybe a bolt was loose and the pothole I hit this morning was the cherry on top.
 

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Was a steering angle sensor reset performed after the alignment?
I'm not sure but I didn't notice anything off after the previous alignment.

I just drove ~ 10 miles and it feels like the alignment has settled in a way where it's only slightly off centered to the right. I'll drive it on the highway tomorrow after the alignment as well, to make sure.
 
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I'm not sure but I didn't notice anything off after the previous alignment.

I just drove ~ 10 miles and it feels like the alignment has settled in a way where it's only slightly off centered to the right. I'll drive it on the highway tomorrow after the alignment as well, to make sure.


Discount Tire may not have been aware of these things.
 
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What you are describing is exactly what my wifes 2017 Mazda 3 has been doing for a while. The alignment changes on a daily basis, some days perfect, other days it pulls left, sometimes quite hard.. half a mile later, stops pulling, take your hands off the wheel and it tracks perfectly straight. No irregular wear on the tires, everything felt tight as a drum, when I went crawling under looking for problems. Its been doing this for about a year now.

Luckily I have detected a (new) slight rattling sound over rough roads and last week when I was changing the oil and rotating the tires around, I have detected some very slight sloppiness and a tiny bit of knocking when I grip the passenger side front tire at the 3 and 9 clock positions and wiggle the wheel front to back. Finally, something concrete I can show the dealer so that I dont get another "cannot duplicate problem" diagnosis. Perfectly tight when attempting to move it from the 6 and 12 clock position. Ball joints, both outer tie rods, and all the bushings are tight. I'm suspecting something in the steering rack is going bad and has been going bad for a while. Inner tie rods maybe? Or maybe the rack and pinion... who knows. Taking it to the dealer next week, we have an extended warranty and I personally know the service manager and I've talked to him several times about this issue, so hopefully this wont be painful.
 

Pew

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What you are describing is exactly what my wifes 2017 Mazda 3 has been doing for a while. The alignment changes on a daily basis, some days perfect, other days it pulls left, sometimes quite hard.. half a mile later, stops pulling, take your hands off the wheel and it tracks perfectly straight. No irregular wear on the tires, everything felt tight as a drum, when I went crawling under looking for problems. Its been doing this for about a year now.

Luckily I have detected a (new) slight rattling sound over rough roads and last week when I was changing the oil and rotating the tires around, I have detected some very slight sloppiness and a tiny bit of knocking when I grip the passenger side front tire at the 3 and 9 clock positions and wiggle the wheel front to back. Finally, something concrete I can show the dealer so that I dont get another "cannot duplicate problem" diagnosis. Perfectly tight when attempting to move it from the 6 and 12 clock position. Ball joints, both outer tie rods, and all the bushings are tight. I'm suspecting something in the steering rack is going bad and has been going bad for a while. Inner tie rods maybe? Or maybe the rack and pinion... who knows. Taking it to the dealer next week, we have an extended warranty and I personally know the service manager and I've talked to him several times about this issue, so hopefully this wont be painful.

It's a scary feeling, like the tie rod or control arm is going to fall off. I got the alignment done this morning and only the passenger front tire was off from the last alignment as well. Odd since I didn't hit anything on that end but I'm going to assume it was something loose unless it happens again. Let's hope your issue is very painless and they'll be able to fix it quickly.
 
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