Does not steer straight

Myron from Long Beach Business Development Manager Posted   Latest   Edited  
2013 Kia Optima EX 2.0L (6) 6-spd (A6MF2)

Please watch the video so you can see what the problem is and tell me what the solution is?


Myron from Long Beach


Business Development Manager

Forgot the video link in my original post and had Scott fix it for me!

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Cuba from Phila


Mobile Technician

So you have had this problem going on 6 yrs now? What work has been performed? What has been checked?

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Mario from Weston



Lemon law? I know there's an issue with those motor operated steering couplings. Like this:


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Rick from Saint Charles


Technical Support Specialist

Check and Recalibrate the Steering angle sensor. It will cause a pull when the vehicle is in motion with active wheel speed sensor signal. If calibration is off a couple of degrees it will try to center the steering to the "0" degrees with the electric rack and pinion. I can't believe the possibility that no one has inspected the calibration thus far. Just a recommendation. Thank You

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Michael from Clinton


Mobile Technician

If the vehicle has Electric Power Steering, there may be a reset process to re center. See if you can find someone with KIA GDS software and go through the options. Check the basics as well like Caster and Camber.


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Rick from The Woodlands



See if you can check the EPS configuration with the GDS. I have seen several that the steering was way too light and over responsive. I reset the EPS configuration and corrected the issue. 

Good Luck!!

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Glen from Arthur



Solution 1 : Call dealership or AM shop that will get more info, do needed testing & preform proper repair.

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Eric from Edgerton




Your video is a little short and hard to tell what the vehicle is doing since I can't see the road but I think I get the idea. Your complaint is that the car wanders from side to side, is too sensitive and/or hard to keep going straight down the road. It drives like you have a loose gear box on an old car or truck or a loose pitman arm which is allowing the front steering to move slightly independently of the steering wheel. Is that correct?

I've run into problems like this on a lot of newer vehicles made since the late 2000's. It's all the driver's fault. ;-) Please read completely through my long and rambling reply before you get upset with me, I'm not blaming you, just saying it could be something caused by you and not the vehicle, since the exact same problem was caused by my father in both of the vehicles he owned that exhibited the same wandering type of problem. I've also had many customers with the same complaint after they purchase a newer vehicle.

Seriously, in my experience it has been a driver perception problem, but, since I can't drive your vehicle I can't say for sure it is with you but it was with the two newer vehicles my father bought. We finally moved him back to a nice older 2008 car that I knew didn't suffer from this problem.

My father complained about the same problem with both of his brand new vehicles, right out of the show room. Within a week of owning both he was back at the dealership complaining about the exact same issue that you are complaining about. The dealership couldn't duplicate the problem and even had him drive a couple of other new cars and my father said they acted the same way.

He asked me to look at it so I went with him to the dealer, he drove there and showed me the problem he was having. Once we arrived at the dealer I drove the vehicle myself, all by myself and was unable to duplicate the problem that he could so easily reproduce over and over. Then I rode in the back seat with the dealer tech in the passenger front while my father drove. The problem was there all the time. Then the dealer tech drove and my father was in the front passenger seat, the dealer tech couldn't reproduce the problem. Then I drove and I couldn't reproduce the problem. Then I remembered a car my wife drove a while back when I owned a used car lot. At first she couldn't drive it, she said it was too touchy, hard to control around the center, couldn't keep it going straight. The car had performance steering, A quick ratio gear box that took her a week to get used to. The next car after that was soft and unresponsive around the center. Took another week to get used to.

From what I can see in the video you are having the same problem my father was having. The steering was too sensitive and it was hard to control and keep going straight ahead, at least for him. I showed him how I could drive on a flat level road with the tires properly filled and no wind and get the vehicle going straight down the road and let go of the steering wheel, hovering my hands around the outside of the wheel. The vehicle would go straight for at least 300 or 400 yards, sometimes over half a mile before it started to move off center, then it would go left or right, it didn't prefer one way over the other.

Caster was reduced in a lot of newer vehicles in order to reduce rolling resistance and increase gas mileage. This was especially noticeable in mini vans and SUVs since they were taller and more likely to be unstable. Unfortunately caster is not adjustable so you (and my father) are stuck with the problem. 

I ended up taking an older GM mini van and setting the alignment to the correct specifications and letting my father drive it. According to him it drove perfect. Then all I did was reduce caster, leaving camber and toe exactly the same. Once I reached 1.5 degrees or less he started complaining about the same issue, wandering, hard to control, he said it was pulling but I would call it drifting since it moved off center rather slowly. Then I added caster back in and it became a nice to drive mini van again.

I didn't tell him what I was doing to the van until I was done with the experiment, each test drive was labeled with a letter and his notes about the ride were on the same paper as the letter. On the back of the page was the specs I had set the front alignment to. It was obvious that as caster changed his perception of how the vehicle drove changed too. I never had the vehicle way out of spec or set to unrealistic settings either. I just reduced the caster and then increased it. 

I did the same basic thing by lowing his tire pressure on the front and rear tires from the recommended 35 psi to as low as 24 psi which was where it felt normal again.

With my father driving and the tires and alignment set correctly and me in the passenger seat and him complaining about how poorly it was handling I could reach over and take the steering wheel in my hand, have him let go and show him how it drove perfectly with me steering it or even with no hands on the steering wheel. As soon as he started to control the vehicle you could feel the difference. If I rode with him long enough I would start to get car sick and I never get car sick, he just kept moving the steering wheel back and forth over correcting the vehicle as he drove it down the road. 

Unfortunately I feel that is the same thing that is happening with you. Again without being able to drive it myself or ride with you I can't say for sure but I've ridden with a lot of people who have the exact same issue as you do, including my father. He is very happy with his 2008 Corolla that doesn't suffer from that problem. Otherwise see if there is a way to increase the caster on the front of your vehicle. Best guess I can give you.

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Mario from Weston



Looking forward to the fix!

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